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Today at the Olympics: Men's gymnastics, Lochte, and Franklin

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  July 30, 2012 05:10 AM

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LONDON -- As Day 3 of competition dawns with men's gymnastics and more swimming atop the daily docket, a mild controversy is brewing about plenty of good seats being available -- or appearing available, anyway. I've been at the swimming venue the past two nights, and it was stunning how many prime seats were empty, particularly Saturday night for Phelps-Lochte I. The IOC said in a press conference this morning it's working to remedy the situation.

Monday's must-see event: While one wouldn't have to look back beyond Jordyn Wieber's disappointment Sunday to realize that the unexpected can make itself known at any time in artistic gymnastics, the United States men's artistic gymnastics team is justifiably confident entering the team final today.

Led by Danell Leyva, who was tops in qualifying for the all-around, the US was first in the qualifying round and will attempt to capture its first team gold since Tim Daggett, Bart Conner, and future "American Anthem" star Mitch Gaylord put the US atop the podium in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Also worth watching: The spotlight remains on the pool at the London Aquatic Centre, where Ryan Lochte goes for his third medal and second gold in the men's 200-meter freestyle. Lochte is the leading man of these Olympics so far ...

... so it was a bit jarring to see him run out of gas and give up the lead in the 4x100 freestyle Sunday night as the US settled for the silver.

Lochte's event is one of four in which swimming medals will be awarded, with the main event on the women's side being effervescent 17-year-old Missy Franklin's quest for her first gold in the 100-meter backstroke. She's going to have a busy Monday -- she'll swim in the 200-meter freestyle semifinals less than a half-hour after the 100-meter backstroke.

Other medal events include diving (men's synchronized), fencing (women's individual epee), judo (men's 73-kg, women's 57-kg), shooting (men's air rifle finals), and weightlifting (men's 62-kg, women's 58-kg).

Tweet of the day: It's hard to explain these feelings. But I'm extremely honored to be an Olympian and be part of this team. -- @jordyn_wieber, tweeting four Instagram photos that show her stunned disappointment as she realizes she failed to qualify for Thursday's all-around competition in artistic gymnastics.

Sunday's big story: If you're from New England, the stunning outcome of the women's gymnastics qualifications were probably regarded as a thrilling twist for Needham's Aly Raisman, who earned one of two spots for Thursday's all-around and is suddenly the United States' best bet for individual gold.

But elsewhere, the story begins as one of disappointment, for the world champion Jordyn Wieber's failure to make the field is, as the Globe's John Powers wrote, "one of the biggest shockers in Olympic gymnastics history."

This is how it happens in this sport and in the Games. One step too far, one untimely wobble, and a lifetime dream vanishes in a puff of chalk.

Wieber and Raisman are close friends and roommates here, and while Wieber wore an unmistakeable look of devastation in the aftermath, she has been remarkably gracious after the initial shock, as the preceding tweet suggests. In a way, her grace amid disappointment is as much a part of the Olympic ideal as winning a medal.

Mind the gap, and stay right here for further updates throughout the day.

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