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August 23, 2017

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UK basks in glow of stunning opening

LONDON -- The London Olympics moved into competition mode on Saturday to award the first gold medal and announce its first doping case as Britain awoke euphoric after a stunning opening ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II toured the Olympic Park and Chinese shooter Yi Siling captured gold in the women's 10-meter air rifle. On the negative side, The International Olympic Committee banned Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku after he tested positive for a banned steroid, stanozolol, on July 23.

Superstar swimmer Michael Phelps, meanwhile, barely qualified for his final.

South Korea's Park Tae-hwan was reinstated in the 400 meters freestyle final at the London Olympics on Saturday after winning an appeal against a disqualification, world governing body FINA said.

Park, defending the Olympic title he won in Beijing four years ago, was initially disqualified after officials ruled that he false started in his morning heat but won an appeal to overturn the decision.

On Friday night, the British monarch was one of the hits of the opening ceremony that was heralded in the local media as "breathtaking and bonkers" and which had placed the city at the "center of the world."

The queen provided the highlight of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle's high-adrenaline show. With film trickery, Boyle made it seem that Britain's 86-year-old monarch parachuted into the stadium with James Bond star Daniel Craig.

"Boyle's inventive ceremony grabs the license and thrills," said the Guardian, and all of Britain agreed.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the four-hour long ceremony was "stupefying."

"The big anxiety we had was, could we do something that would rival Beijing," said Johnson. "I think we knocked the spots off it."

Johnson, a conservative, said he was delighted with the political parts of the show. "The thing I loved was the heavy political stuff. I loved the emergence of the urban proletariat and the rise of the chimneys and the forging of the ring."

Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan claimed an unexpected but deserved win in the men's Olympic road race Saturday, wrecking Mark Cavendish's hopes of delivering a first gold of the games for the hosts.

Colombia's Rigoberto Uran won the silver with Norway's Alexander Kristoff taking the bronze after 249.5 km of racing which finished in the shadow of Buckingham Palace on The Mall.

Race favorite Cavendish finished well off the podium as Britain's highly fancied team were undone by a combination of tactical racing and some incisive, late attacks.

With no race radios and teams of a maximum five riders, Britain were constantly tested throughout the race which took in nine laps of the hilly 15.4 km Box Hill circuit, to the south of London.

Hungarian fighter Eva Csernoviczki bounced back from being strangled unconscious to claim an unlikely bronze medal in the women's under-48 kg Olympic judo competition on Saturday.

Csernoviczki was rendered unconscious as she tried to resist a strangle in her quarter-final loss to Belgium's Charline van Snick. The referee immediately stopped the bout, awarding it to Van Snick, while the slumped Csernoviczki's arm started shaking before she regained consciousness.

Having lost in the quarter-final she was given a second medal chance in the repechage.

She beat China's Wu Shugen and then stunned world number one Tomoko Fukumi with a foot sweep in a sudden death golden score period to earn a podium finish.

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