Sunday's highlights at the Beijing Games

BEIJING STAR Michael Phelps began his long march toward eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics by winning the 400-meter individual medley in 4 minutes, 3.84 seconds -- smashing his own world record in the process. Phelps later qualified for the 200-meter freestyle with the fourth fastest time of the night.

WASHED OUT Rain caused delays and postponements at several venues in and around Beijing, including tennis and rowing. A number of riders crashed in a torrential downpour during the women's cycling road race after one rider in the center of the peloton appeared to skid on the wet surface and brought down a number of the women around her. All the riders got back on their bikes, but some lost precious time.

MEDALS The U.S. women's 400-meter freestyle relay team, anchored by 41-year-old Dara Torres, took the silver behind the Netherlands' Olympic record effort. It was the 10th medal of Torres' career. Stephanie Rice of Australia won the gold in the women's 400-meter individual medley in a world record time of 4:29.45. American Katie Hoff got the bronze.

China kept up the pace at its games, when Guo Wenjun got a gold in the women's 10-meter air pistol. Countryman Zhang Lin picked up China's first swimming medal of the Beijing Games with a silver in the men's 400-meter freestyle, behind Park Tae-hwan of South Korea and ahead of American Larsen Jensen.

Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon of Thailand won weightlifting gold in the women's 53 kilogram category, setting an Olympic record. Her last name didn't fit on the digital scoreboard at the Beijing weightlifting gym, so it was simply abbreviated as "J."

RECORDS The United States set a world record in the men's 400-meter freestyle relay preliminary. The team of Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner and Matt Grevers won their heat in 3 minutes, 12.23 seconds, erasing the old mark of 3:12.46 set by the U.S. at the 2006 Pan Pacific championships in Victoria, British Columbia.

WITDRAWN Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic withdrew from the women's tennis competition because of inflammation in her right thumb. The Serb decided to pull out after trying to practice on the eve of her opening match.

QUOTES "I wanted to sing on the medal podium but I couldn't stop crying. I was just happy to get the first one under my belt." -- Michael Phelps. MEDLEY MELODY MALADY During the medal ceremony for Phelps at the Water Cube, the recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" cut off near the end. Phelps broke into a wide grin. The surprised crowd, at first unsure what to do, then began clapping.

EMOTIONAL WIN A United States' men's volleyball team still reeling from the stabbing death of the coach's father-in-law opened Olympic play Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Venezuela. "We really felt the loss as one of our own," said U.S. captain Tom Hoff. "Maybe that's why it hurts so much. It hit so close."

CHINESE TAKEOUT Defending beach volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor easily won their opener, downing Japan 21-12, 21-15. ... Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou was barred from the Beijing Games by the International Olympic Committee for her role in a drug-testing scandal four years ago in Athens. She has the right to appeal. ... Their countries may be fighting, but a Russian and a Georgian shared an embrace on the medal podium. After the 10-meter air pistol event, silver medalist Natalia Paderina put her arm around bronze winner Nino Salukvadze, then kissed her on the cheek.

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHT Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams begin play in tennis.

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