(CBS News) LONDON - President Obama cheered on the home team Thursday, 4,000 miles away from London’s Olympic Park.
He and a crowd chanted “USA, USA” as the president took a break from campaigning in Leesburg to cheer on Virginia’s golden gymnast, Gabby Douglas.
The 16-year-old helped mark a day of firsts on the mat and across Team USA.
Douglas’s win changed history. She’s the first African-American to earn the prize.
“It means so much,” she said. “All the hard work... If you push through the hard days, then you can get through anything.”
Michael Phelps pushed through in the pool, winning gold in the 200 meter individual medley.
He’s now the first male swimmer to win the same event at three consecutive Olympics.
It was the fourth medal from these Games for the teary-eyed star, and the 20th of his career, adding to his all-time record for most medals.
“Nothing’s changed,” he insisted. “I’m still the same person coming here, loving to race, and loving to have fun.”
But Phelps’ win was Ryan Lochte’s loss. The Florida native took silver and no longer holds the world record. His second-place finish was his last event in London.
“You know, it’s been a long journey, but for the most part, I’m happy,” Lochte reflected. “I can’t complain over getting five Olympic medals bringing back to my country. ... And at the same time, you know what? I am happy that I’m done. I get to actually take a deep breath and just relax now.”
Friday is his birthday, after all, and Lochte hopes to mark the occasion by not having to get in the pool.
Kayla Harrison, who scored America’s first gold medal in judo, says she’s excited to become a firefighter once she gets back home to Massachusetts.
“I have to take my EMT (emergency medical technician) certification test, and if a job opens up in the town I live in (Marblehead), I will get an interview.
“And having a gold medal on your resume is probably going to help me a little bit!” she laughed.
Also Thursday, the U.S. basketball team beat Nigeria by a whopping 156-73 - the most points ever for any Olympic team in the sport.