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Swim Stars Win The Day

Swimming superstars old and new dominated the first full day of competition at the Sydney Olympics.

And CBS News Reporter Steve Futterman says American women are already golden in two categories.

Jenny Thompson became the first American woman to win six Olympic gold medals, anchoring a U.S. women's 400-meter freestyle relay that set a world record of 3 minutes, 36.61 seconds. All her other golds have come in relays, too.

Clearly thrilled, she tore off her cap and goggles after touching the wall.

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But the real hero to the 17,500 frenzied fans at the Olympic aquatic center was Australia's teen idol, Ian Thorpe. Three times he swam, three times he broke records.

Thorpe set an Olympic mark in the prelims of the 400-meter freestyle and a world record in the final. Then he came back a few minutes later and anchored the men's 400 relay team, edging out the dogged American team and setting a world record of 3:13.67.

Thorpe's teammate, Michael Klim, broke the individual world record for 100 meters on the first leg of the relay. The United States had never lost a men's 400 free relay in Olympic or world competition.

Individually, Thorpe ripped through the finals of the 400 in 3:40.59, breaking the record of 3:41.33 he set in the same pool last May. Fans chanted "Thorpey! Thorpey!" Among those in the stands was Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

"I really wanted to bring it home for the crowd tonight," Thorpe said.

Yet another world record already had fallen by the time Thorpe got his: Yana Klochkova of Ukraine set a new mark in the women's 400-meter individual medley, winning in 4:33.59 seconds.

In the prelims Saturday, Thompson, and then the Netherland's Inge de Bruijn, had lowered the Olympic mark in the 100-meter butterfly.

Thorpe's world marks seemed almost inevitable after he, too, set an Olympic record earlier in the day, egged on by his overheated fans.

"I believe he's the best swimmer in the history of the world," American swimmer Josh Davis said.

In other Olympic news:

  • SHOOTING: A woman with a rifle bagged the United States' firstgold medal of the Sydney Games. Nancy Johnson of Downers Grove, Ill., won the women's 10-meter air rifle event on Saturday. Her father watched and wept with joy. "Winning the first medal - that's pretty cool," said Johnson. Johnson scored 497.7 points to beat Kang Cho-hyun of South Korea, who had 497.5. China's Gao Jing finished third with 497.2.
  • TRIATHLON: The inaugural Olympic women's triathlon ended with a tight finish and a little heartbreak for the host nation. Switzerland's Brigitte McMahon outkicked Michellie Jones of Australia in the final 100 meters and won the gold medal by two seconds. The swim-bike-run event finished in front of the Sydney Opera House. McMahon and Jones held hands and welcomed bronze medalist Magali Messmer of Switzerland as se crossed the finish line. Finishing fourth was Joanna Zeiger, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
  • SAMARANCH DEPARTS: The latest withdrawal from the Olympics was IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. A family friend says his wife, Maria Teresa Salisachs-Rowe, died Saturday in Barcelona after a long illness at the age of 69. The friend said Samaranch did not make it home in time. She had reportedly been suffering from cancer.
  • BASEBALL: Win it for the exiles. U.S. manager Tom Lasorda said Saturday that he wants his squad of minor leaguers to upset Olympic tournament favorite Cuba as a gesture of support to the Cuban exiles in Florida. "I'm saying this with my whole heart: We want to beat those guys to show all those Cubans that live in Miami and in the United States," Lasorda said.
  • CYCLING: Chris Witty came up short on her bid to become the fourth person to win medals at the Summer and Winter Olympics, finishing fifth in the women's 500-meter trial. But the news wasn't all bad. Witty had a personal-best time of 35.230 seconds. She won two medals, a silver and a bronze, in speedskating at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano. Felicia Ballanger of France won the gold in 34.140.
  • BOXING: Clarence Vinson got some inspiration from The Greatest as he won America's first Olympic bout. Muhammad Ali watched Vinson's 9-2 win over France's Rachid Bouaita. After the fight, Ali gestured to Vinson, a 119-pounder, as if to say "good job." Dante Craig of Cincinnati advanced later in the 147-pound division.
  • SOCCER: Tie, tie again. The American men's soccer team remained unbeaten - and winless - playing Cameroon to a 1-1 draw. The U.S. tied the Czech Republic 2-2 on Wednesday. Both goals came on penalty kicks. Patrick Mboma scored one for Cameroon at 16 minutes, and Pete Vagenas answered for the United States at 65 minutes.
  • GYMNASTICS: The U.S. men's gymnastic team worked its way into medal contention after a shaky start. John Roethlisberger turned things around for the Americans with a gusty performance on the pommel horse. After popping his right index finger out of joint during warmups, Roethlisberger had a trainer pop it right back in place, then scored a 9.6 on the horse. The U.S. team heads into Monday night's team finals in fourth place behind Russia, China and the Ukraine.
  • BASKETBALL: Sheryl Swoopes scored 29 points and Lisa Leslie had 24 as the United States opened its drive for the gold medal with an 89-75 win over scrappy South Korea. Though the U.S. women never trailed, they pulled away only in the final minutes.

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