The crowd at the Olympic Aquatics Centre arrived late, as if they were trying to stall off the inevitable. Anyone with a prized ticket to the first big showdown of the London Games had to know Michael Phelps was in trouble earlier in the day when he barely qualified for the final of the event he owns two gold medals in.
That was a shocker, but what happened Saturday night in the Olympic pool was simply mystifying. No self-respecting London bookie would have even dared to lay odds that the greatest swimmer in the world - no, make that the greatest swimmer ever - wouldn't even win as much as a bronze medal in his first race in these games.
The great swimming showdown to open the Olympics was a giant bust - unless, of course, your name is Ryan Lochte. The surfer dude from Florida dominated the 400-meter individual medley from the opening stroke, making an early case for himself as the face of swimming in these games while thrashing a guy he never used to be able to beat.
And in the ...