Golden start to Olympics dashed

The Bolton News: Mark Cavendish crosses the finish line in the men's road race Mark Cavendish crosses the finish line in the men's road race

Britain's hopes of a golden start to the Olympics were dashed as the nation failed to pick up a medal.

But the Games got off to a fabulous start following the spectacular opening ceremony.

Huge crowds turned out to line the route of the 250km men's road race, millions watched the day's exciting competition action on TV, the weather was good and there were no reported transport problems.

Sprinter Mark Cavendish began the day as one of Team GB's best hopes for a gold and thousands of people lined the route of the men's road race through Surrey into central London. But Cavendish missed out on a podium finish amid dramatic scenes, coming in almost a minute behind the leaders.

While the route was packed with spectators, the Games' organisers Locog launched an investigation into empty seats at venues on the Olympic Park. In the Aquatic Centre - which saw a surprise visit by the Queen - there were hundreds of empty seats despite all public tickets having been sold.

The disappointment of Cavendish's defeat was followed when Team GB's Hannah Miley could manage only fifth place in the 400 metres individual medley. She had been seen as a genuine medal hope after winning silver at last year's World Championships.

Miley was cheered on by an ecstatic home crowd at poolside but the final was won by Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye, who set a new world record. It leaves Team GB yet to register in the medals table.

Meanwhile at Wimbledon, Andy and Jamie Murray crashed out in the first round of the Olympic men's doubles in a very tight battle with Austria's Jurgen Melzer and Alexander Peya. The pair edged the first set but could not close it out and went down 5-7 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 after two hours and 23 minutes.

Anne Keothavong's Olympic debut ended in heroic failure on Centre Court as the east Londoner gave former world number one Caroline Wozniacki an almighty scare in the women's singles before going down in three sets. The 28-year-old from Hackney, the world number 76, produced a performance brimming with fighting spirit, but the Dane's class told in the end as she recovered to claim a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win in just under two hours.

Elena Baltacha fared better, overpowering Hungary's Agnes Szavay. The 28-year-old was always in control against an opponent who has been plagued by injury problems over the past year as she claimed a 6-3 6-3 win in just over an hour.

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