17 August 2016 Wednesday. Day 12 of the Rio Olympics.
Day 12 of the Rio Olympics was bursting with action & excitement as the athletes waged war for victory & dominance. As we wind down from the Olympics, we get to enjoy the amazing feats of athletes who set out on the quest for gold & admire their skills as they battle for glory.
First up, some behind the scenes news.
There has been a lot of talk about 24 year old Irish bantamweight 56 kilogram boxer Michael Conlan who went on a profanity laced rant, ripping into the Olympic boxing officials after the judges made the crooked, corrupt controversial decision to steal his victory & give it to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin, who totally got his ass kicked by Conlan.
It should be noted that Nikitin was also controversially awarded a victory over the Thai boxer Chatchai Butdee in the Round of 16, where Butdee was clearly the winner! The judges are crooked & have been bought!
Conlan, London 2012 bronze medalist & world champion, clearly had the advantage in all three matches, especially the final one, which was halted for a long time so the referee could attend to Nikitin's busted, bleeding eye!
And it's not the first controversial decision in Olympic boxing over the past two games. On Monday, Russian heavyweight boxer Evgeny Tishchenko was surprisingly awarded the gold medal when it was clear that he lost the fight to Kazakhstan's Vasiliy Levit! The crowd booed Tishchenko & the crooked judges right out of the ring!
Levit had clearly won that fight! The judges awarded Tishchenko the win, despite Tishchenko sustaining a serious cut to the head & spending the whole bout backpedaling, while Levit was on the attack! Clearly, a huge mistake was made! Levit should've gotten the gold! He was robbed by the crooked judges!
And the crowd at Conlan's fight also believed that Conlan was robbed! The crowd knows that Vladimir Nikitin got his ass kicked by Conlan! So when Conlan got angry at the injustice he was dealt, the huge vocal crowd supported & cheered the foul mouthed boxer as he launched into a well deserved profanity rich tirade on those crooked judges & their glaringly wrong decision! They cheered him as he flipped off the judges & called the amateur boxing federation's ruling body, AIBA, corrupt! And I, & the crowd, heartily agree!
In response to the crowd & national coaches & boxers complaining loudly about the terrible boxing calls & blatantly obvious wrong decision by the judges, the International Boxing Association, AIBA, has been forced to review its staff, & consequently, AIBA has fired 6 out of the 60 referees & judges at the Rio games for not performing at the level expected. The review of 239 bouts before Wednesday only revealed a handful of bouts that didn't meet AIBA standards, or so AIBA reports. Unfortunately, there is no appeal system in place for AIBA to review the decisions. And that's just ridiculous! There should always be an appeal system in place to mediate & resolve any conflicting results!
Several judges have complained that the new scoring system is confusing & they have yet to adapt to it. Under the old scoring system, the judges used a computer system to count each punch, no matter how effective, & award the bout to the fighter who was most active.
The new system, used for the first time at Rio, uses the 10 point scoring system used by professional boxing. In the the new system, judges declare a winner after each round based on a criteria such as the quality of punches landed, aggression, & tactics. Five judges score each bout, then a computer randomly selects which scorecards will count.
Some judges complained that they were having trouble transitioning fom the old scoring system to the new one, & AIBA should have done a better job of familiarizing the judges on the new scoring system, rather than spring the new, untested system on the judges for the first time here at Rio!
AIBA's executive committee conceded that it was very concerned with the scoring after the Conlan & Levit fights. Yet AIBA still insists that there is no corruption in the organization. I find that very hard to believe, considering just how poorly they've managed things here. And the fact that these huge mistakes in these fights have not been corrected leaves AIBA with no credibility & makes them appear corrupt at worst & incompetent at best. On the biggest stage in the world, they showed just how disorganized, ineffective, & unreliable they are as an organization. They are not fit to handle events at the Olympic level, & they are totally unprepared & unable to deal with the scoring crisis in their organization.
Say what you will about Conlan flipping off the judges & crooked boxing officials & cursing on live tv. He may be a hot headed, foul mouthed, angry boxer, but at least he's HONEST & COURAGEOUS for speaking out the truth.
Boxing is corrupt! The crooked officials make money off the blood, sweat, & tears of the fighters who put their bodies & souls on the line to entertain the blood thirsty masses. It's wrong to take advantage of these modern gladiators. Corrupt officials who steal from & take advantage of fighters must be punished! Corrupt officials are criminals who must be punished severely & harshly!
And speaking of corrupt criminals in need of punishment, Rio authorities have arrested Patrick Hickey--head of the Olympic Council of Ireland, president of the European Olympic Committees, & vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, member of the International Olympic Committee since 2012. Hickey has been arrested for corruption!
In a sting last week, agents busted a scalping ring that caught one executive & led to four other executives to be wanted in the criminal probe. Patrick Hickey is the sixth executive arrested for his role in conspiring to illegally sell Olympic tickets at exorbitant prices, in a con to make money. So far, there are now nine others being investigated for their involvement in the crime.
Authorities have seized more than 1,000 tickets being sold for high fees & allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland. The company suspected as the clearinghouse for the illegal activities is British hospitality provider THG Sports, which police say was also part of an alleged ticket-scalping scheme during the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil also hosted.
Wednesday morning, after his arrest, the authorities escorted Hickey to the hospital, under their watch, when he reported feeling unwell.
The Irish Olympic Committee says that Hickey has stepped down from all his official roles & will cooperate with the authorities who have taken him into custody. Keep the crooks out of the games & punish them!
In court related news, the U.S. State Department is encouraging cooperation with Brazilian authorities on their investigation into reports by U.S. swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen & two others who were robbed at gunpoint Sunday morning when their taxi back to the athletes villages was pulled over by robbers impersonating security officials.
A Brazilian judge on Wednesday had issued an order that the passports of Lochte & Feigen be seized & that the swimmers stay in Brazil as authorities investigate. Lochte's father reports that his son had returned to the U.S. before the order was issued.
The State Department says it has seen the reports of the judge's order & encourages cooperation with the Brazilian authorities in their investigation. The authorities have questions regarding the inconsistencies in the swimmers' stories regarding what happened. So far, there is no evidence of a crime taking place, with the supposed taxi driver no where to be found, & video of the swimmers returning show then seemingly relaxed & unconcerned. Ryan Lochte is back in the US. The authorities had Gunnar Bentz & Jack Conger pulled off their plane Wednesday evening to remain in the country, & the whereabouts of Jimmy Feigen are unknown at this time. Though he is reportedly in contact with authorities.
It all seems very suspicious, & I'm going to be really pissed off when it all turns out to be some sick hoax. Crime happen. Getting robbed at gunpoint is nothing to joke about, & it's not a good reason to mobilize the authorities on a wild goose chase & tarnish the reputation of the Rio games. Rio is a dangerous city. It doesn't need any glamorization nor made up stories to show just how dangerous the city can be.
In other news, Abbey D’Agostino, US, the runner who gained attention for helping New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin get back up to finish the 5000 meter race qualifier Tuesday after their collision, will not be able to race at the final Saturday. Her injuries, including a torn ACL, will prevent her from running the race.
Finally, Caster Semenya, 25, of South Africa has qualified for the 800 meter women's semifinal Thursday. She should make it all the way to the final. And all ready, the haters & losers are speaking out. Semenya is at the heart of a heated debate on hyperandrogenism, a natural condition where a woman has much higher levels of testosterone than normal.
In 2009, then IAAF made the poor & discriminatory decision to invade Semenya's privacy, violated her dignity by ordering her to undergo gender tests after she easily won the world title in 2009. Then she wasn't allowed to compete for 11 months after the tests. The IAAF made up their own discriminatory definition on what defines an acceptable female, & because she was not petite, nor overly feminine, & because she did not look like a female as defined by the ignorant idiots at IAAF, Semenya was ban from competition!
Furthermore, her medical records were leaked & her private life was totally scrutinized in a blatant attempt to label her as man, because she appeared so masculine & unfeminine like! That kind of invasive scrutiny & public bullying will mess with a person's state of mind & well being, especially when they are still a teenager! The mistreatment she suffered & unfair ban she endured totally affected her race when she was finally cleared to race at London 2012.
She was in the back of the pack, & she made a last lap surge to win silver. And that raised questions, because she clearly had more gas in the tank & should've easily won the gold. But now some wonder, did she deliberately take silver, to avoid the spotlight & harsh ordeal she underwent when she was subjected to cruel & discriminatory actions to prove her gender? Maybe.
Or it could be that she was a very inexperienced, new runner, & the year long ban had robbed her of valuable competition experience. At the 2009 world championship, she ran ahead of the pack, & easily won gold. At London 2012, she ran in the back & missed the gold. Perhaps running ahead is a better strategy for her.
Perhaps she should just run her race & pay no mind to the jealous haters who will go to hell for all the terrible things they have said & done to her. What goes around, comes around.
It's bullsh*t what the IAAF did to that girl. It's downright shameful & disgusting. How come they don't test all the athletes for gender? How come they don't test the men to see if the ones with low testosterone were really men in the first place? You don't single someone out & then publicly humiliate them because they don't fit your ignorant views on how a person should look & act. You don't bully someone just because they look different & act different. And you certainly don't attack someone deliberately because they are naturally more talented & skilled than the rest! Everyone, no matter how different they may look, deserves dignity & respect! They shouldn't be punished nor ostracized over something they have no control over!
So in order to compete, the IAAF basically wanted Semenya to take drugs to reduce the levels of testosterone that her body naturally makes! Basically, they wanted her to dope herself down, to slow down her natural abilities in order to compete! What kind of bullsh*t is that?
Thankfully, the IAAF was forced to drop rules that limited testosterone levels in female athletes last year after they were challenged by another runner at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Though the IAAF a$$holes say they may or may not appeal the ruling after the Rio Olympics!
What those IAAF bastards did was reprehensible & disgusting & sullied the soul of track & field. They had no right to publicly try to shame this poor girl, & they had no right to force her out of the games because she didn't look like nor acted like a female, in a manner that they preferred. So taking note from awesome Irish boxer Michael Conlan, I'd like to flip off the IAAF & say, F*ck you, IAAF! You crooked bastards! You corrupt pieces of sh*t!
And now to the games that were contested.
France has taken the gold in the equestrian jumping team event, the last time was Montreal 1976!
The US team performed remarkably, given that they were down a rider. Kent Farrington, Lucy Davis, Beezie Madden, & McLain Ward are world champion bronze medalists. They worked very well to reach medal contention. But then Beezie Madden had to withdraw from competition because her horse, Cortes C, sustained a tendon injury. So it was up to the other three to make the jumps as perfect as they could to stay in medal contention. They couldn't drop the lowest score, so all three had to ride as best as they could. It wasn't easy, but they pulled it off, & jumped their way to silver!
Germany defeats Canada to secure bronze in a jump off to break the tie, continuing the German streak of medaling in every equestrian event so far.
Gold medal team of France included Philippe Rozier, Kevin Staut, Roger-Yves Bost, & Pénélope Leprevost.
Silver medal team of the United States was made up of Kent Farrington, Lucy Davis, McLain Ward, & Elizabeth Madden.
Bronze medal team of Germany consisted of Daniel Deusser, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Ludger Beerbaum, & Christian Ahlmann.
Breaking the Chinese dominance in the sport, Tontowi Ahmad & Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia have taken gold in badminton mixed doubles against Chan Peng Soon & Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia. Chan & Goh take silver for Malaysia. China, the reigning Olympic champions were banished to the bronze match.
Ahmad & Natsir got to Wednesday's gold medal match in Rio by beating London 2012 champions Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei of China. Chan & Goh earlier defeated London 2012 silver medalists Xu Chen & Ma Jin of China. In the bronze match, Zhang Nan & Zhao Yunlei defeat compatriots Xu Chen & Ma Jin for the third place win.
On Friday, the meeting of China's Lin Dan & Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei in the Olympic semifinals is a much-awaited rematch of the last two Olympic finals, which saw Lin beat Lee for gold. Lee is top-ranked & had no problems making it through the tournament. Meanwhile Lin has dealt with some struggles, overcoming a major challenge Wednesday in his win over Srikanth Kidambi of India.
The Chinese have stumbled in these games, ending their usual dominance, giving way to other nations to take the top spots in badminton.
The medal races in men's 470 & women's 470 have been rescheduled for Thursday due to the lack of wind Wednesday.
Track and Field
The Americans find their stride on Wednesday, collecting a huge medal haul.
For nine straight Olympics, since Los Angeles 1984, Kenya has been on top of the steeplechase podium. And Conseslus Kipruto continues that winning streak, setting an Olympic record of 8:03.29 & taking the gold for Kenya.
American Evan Jager wins a historic silver, the first medal for the US since a bronze in 1984, & a gold in Helsinki 1952.
There were some very disappointing developments in the bronze race. Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi, Athens 2004 & London 2012 champion, was disqualified after Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France filed a formal complaint.
Mekhissi-Benabbad reported that Kemboi committed a lane violation. And the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the sport’s governing body cited Kemboi for an “infringement of the inside border.” So Kenboi is disqualified & Mekhissi-Benabbad of France gets bumped up to bronze.
I have to say, that is a pretty low, shameful way to medal--much more despicable than diving at the finish line. Prior to the disqualification, Ezekiel Kemboi had announced his retirement. The five time world champion is the most decorated man in the steeplechase, & at 34, he was the oldest in the race today.
And this French snitching is a very disappointing way to end a wonderful career. You suck, France! Especially given that Ezekiel Kemboi's one step out the lane would still not make Mekhissi-Benabbad's time any faster, & the infraction happened early in the race, way before the winners were decided. Mekhissi-Benabbad is not a champion. He's a chump!
Women's long jump
It's a one, two finish for the Americans in the long jump. Two time & reigning world champion Tianna Bartoletta, United States, jumped her way to gold! Bartoletta was also a part of the USA's world record-setting 4x100 relay in the London 2012 Games, running the leadoff leg. She takes part in the relays on Thursday.
Defending London 2012 champion, Brittney Reese, United States, will settle for silver.
And Ivana Spanovic, Serbia, twice world bronze medalist, claims an Olympic bronze.
Women's 200 meter
Elaine Thompson, Jamaica, has pulled of a sprint double, winning the 200 meter sprint! She also won the 100 meter sprint earlier on Sunday. It is the first time a sprint double has occurred for women's sprints since American Florence Griffith Joyner at Seoul 1988.
Reigning world champion, Dafne Schippers, Netherlands, couldn't catch Thompson soon enough. She ran out of track & takes silver. It is an amazing accomplishment for the heptathlete who just converted to sprints & has taken the sprints by storm. She was fourth in the 100 meter sprint.
Tori Bowie, United States, takes bronze to add to her 100 meter silver.
Women's 100 meter hurdles
Nia Ali, United States, took a year off to have a child, a son, & she has fought her way back to silver.
And American Kristi Castlin, whose father was killed by a gunman & was a student at Virginia Tech in 2007 when a gunman opened fire & killed 32 people, dedicated her bronze to victims of gun violence.
The three women are friends & hold each other in high regard. Now they're Olympic medalists. And they looked very stylish with their hair done & all decked out in jewelry!
I've got to be honest. All the women who competed in the hurdles looked fine! Not only did they perform magnificently, but they ran their hardest with all that hair done up, wearing their bling accessories! They were definitely the most attractive group on the track! Perfect 10s all around!
It was a historic day in women's freestyle wrestling as Japan sweeps all the top spots.
Women's 48 kilogram
Eri Tosaka of Japan, 2013, 2014, & 2015 world champion, is now an Olympic champion, winning gold by defeating Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan, 3-2. Stadnik repeats a London 2012 silver to add to a Beijing 2008 bronze. She has now medaled in all three Olympics she has competed in.
Number one ranked Stadnik scored a 2-1 lead early. But with four seconds left on the clock, Tosaka scores a 2 point take down, winning her the match 3-2.
Number two ranked Yanan Sun, China, easily dispatched Zhuldyz Eshimova, Kazakhstan, early in the match with a four point take down, then turned her over three times to score 10-0, winning her the bronze.
The other bronze medal was closely contested. Elitsa Atanasova Yankova of Bulgaria started with a 7-2 lead until Patricia Alejandra Bermudez, Argentina, took Yankoba down with a four point takedown, narrowing the score to 7-6. Yankova had to play smart & keep out of reach til time ran out, winning her the bronze, Bulgaria's first medal at the Rio games.
Women's 58 kilogram
There was great excitement & history made in the women's 58kg division. Japan's Kaori Icho won her fourth straight Olympic title, making her the first wrestler, male or female, to win four golds in four consecutive Olympics! And she becomes the first female to win four individual event golds at four Olympics! She is also a ten time world champion in her sport of wrestling freestyle.
Saori Yoshida, a Japanese teammate, has a very good chance of matching Icho's success in the 53kg match Thursday.
The fight for gold was difficult. Valeriia Koblova Zholobova of Russia put up a marvelous fight against Icho, leading 2-1. Time was running out as Icho made desperate moves to score on Zholobova. Down to five seconds, she makes a successful move that earns her two points for a dramatic 3-2 win!
Valeriia Koblova Zholobova takes silver.
And the bronze matches were just as tightly contested.
Tunisia's Marwa Amri was behind 3-2, when she scored a four-point takedown on Azerbaijan's Yuliya Ratkevich with less than 10 seconds left to win the first bronze medal match, 6-3. Tunisia gets its first ever medal in female wrestling.
India's Sakshi Malik had an even more dramatic match. The match tied 5-5 but Malik's opponent – Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan – was leading on criteria. It looked like it was all over, but Malik scored two points right as time expired to take the lead. Tynybekova's corner challenged, but lost, so Malik wins India a bronze with a final score 8-5. It is India's first medal in female wrestling & first medal at the Rio games.
Women's 69 kilogram
Japan completes a sweep of all women's wrestling golds with Sara Dosho in the 69kg division. Sara Dosho dethroned the reigning Olympic & world champion, Russia's Natalia Vorobeva, to win gold in the 69kg division.
In the dramatic showdown, it was down to the last minute with Vorobeva leading 2-0. Then Dosho scores a 2 point takedown in the final minute. Based on criteria, it was ruled that Dosho's two point takedown was worth more than Vorobeva's two 1 point score. So Dosho is declared the winner. Vorobeva takes the silver to add to her London 2012 gold.
The bronzes were won by Elmira Syzdykova of Kazakhstan & Anna Fransson of Sweden, with Fransson’s medal being the first for Sweden in women’s wrestling.
In a dramatic acrobatic final, eighth-ranked Shuai Zhao of China beat Tawin Hanprab of Thailand 6-4 to claim gold. Shuai Zhao's stream of kicks were particularly made more colorful by the brilliant yellow color of his pants--a nod to officials allowing athletes to adds single color to their usually all white uniforms. Hanprab, whose kicks didn't quite connect all the way, settles for silver.
The top medal favorites were surprisingly knocked out early, with one actually withdrawing due to injury. This left the field wide open.
Luisito Pie of the Dominican Republic & Taehun Kim of South Korea win the bronze medals. Luisito Pie (Dominican Republic) defeated Jesus Tortosa Cabrera (Spain), 6-5. And Taehun Kim (South Korea) defeated Carlos Ruben Navarro Valdez (Mexico), 7-5.
South Korea's Sohui Kim claimed the first taekwondo gold medal of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Wednesday, restoring some pride to the country that invented the sport. She defeated Tijana Bogdanovic, Serbia, 7-6. Bogdanovic takes silver.
The bronze medals were won by Patimat Abakorova of Azerbaijan & Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand. Patimat Abakarova, Azerbaijan, defeated Yasmina Aziez, France, 7-2. Meanwhile, Panipak Wongpattanakit, Thailand, defeated Itzel Adilene Manjarrez Bastidas, Mexico, 15-3.
Men's light-middleweight (69-kilograms)
Daniyar Yeleussinov, Kazakhstan, defeated Shakhram Giyasov, Uzbekistan, for gold. Yeleussinov proudly shows off the scar busted over his left eye from a head clash during his victory fight over Souleymane Diop Cissokho, France, in the semifinals. The deep cut was bleeding so profusely in the vicious fight with Cissokho that the fight was halted, & Yeleussinov, bleeding, was the winner by points. Two days later, the cut over the left eye is still fresh & opened up during the gold match. Yet with surgical tape doing a patch job, it was enough to stop the bleeding temporarily to allow Yeleussinov to win the fight.
It is a historic day in men's light middleweight 69kg boxing, as Kazakhstan becomes the first country to win back to back gold with four different fighters in the event--Daniyar Yeleussinov here in Rio 2016, Serik Sapiyev punched his way to victory at London 2012, Bakhyt Sarsekbayev in Beijing in 2008, & Bakhtiyar Artayev in Athens in 2004.
Cuba has a similar record, winning four back to back golds, but they did it from 1992-2004 with three gold medals for the great Félix Savon (whose nephew, Erislandy, took bronze this year), & a 2004 gold for Odlanier Solis in Athens 2004.
Shakhram Giyasov, Uzbekistan, takes silver. And No. 1 seed Mohammed Rabii, Morocco, & Souleymane Diop Cissokho, France, win the bronzes.
And No, this does NOT make up for the atrocity of those inept/corrupt judges robbing Kazakhstan's Vasiliy Levit of his well earned heavyweight gold medal. Not even close! And anyone who thinks that needs to have his eye busted wide open or his teeth knocked out!
Over in the table tennis team event, Germany (Bastian Steger, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Timo Boll) defeated South Korea (Youngsik Jeoung, Saehyuk Joo, Sangsu Lee), 3-1 for the bronze.
And China (Long Ma, Jike Zhang, Xin Xu) defeated Japan (Jun Mizutani, Koki Niwa, Maharu Yoshimura), 3-1 to take the gold, leaving silver for Japan. It is Japan's first ever medal in the team event.
The Chinese complete their sweep of the tennis table events. The men's team final concluded the Olympic's table tennis events in Rio, where China also won gold for the men's & women's singles events & the women's team event. China has now won 28 out of 32 golds awarded since table tennis became an Olympic sport in Seoul 1988.
It was a thrilling women's bronze medal match, as Kerri Walsh Jennings & April Ross (United States) battled top ranked Larissa Franca Maestrini & Talita Rocha (Brazil). Both teams lost their semifinals & were determined to make it on the podium.
Brazil started strong, pushing the Americans, & they won the first set. The Americans dig deep in the second set to make an incredible comeback & win the set. They duke it out in the challenging third & final set, with the Americans pushing hard & finally, overcome a fierce Brazilian opposition & partial home crowd to win the last set & win the match 17-21, 21-17, 15-9 for bronze. It is a remarkable feat for both teams to have lost a chance at gold less than 24 hours before, then come back to fight for bronze.
The gold medal match was just as explosive as the young upstart, fourth ranked Germany’s Laura Ludwig & Kira Walkenhorst took on number two ranked Ágatha Bednarczuk & Bárbara Seixas of Brazil.
From the start, the Germans had to put up with windy weather & a large, partial Brazilian home crowd that filled the stadium. Yet the young team did not let the pressure get to them, rather they thrived on it, & delivered amazing plays that led to them winning the match 21-18, 21-14.
The victory gave Germany its first medal in women’s beach volleyball, a gold, just four years after the German men took the top spot on the Olympic podium in London 2012. It was heartbreak for the host nation but a glorious & spectacular win for the young, energetic German team who didn't crack under pressure but instead became tough & brilliant like diamonds. And now, they're golden!
And so ends another fantastic day of competition where new champions are forged under fire & old heros give way to the new. Sunrise. Sunset. Such is life. And with the Olympics coming to a close, the sun is surely setting. Yet while there is still light out, there is enough time to see the glorious games that remain, the last chance for these athletes to achieve their dreams & prove their greatness. The time has come to make yourself a legend or step aside to make way for those who dare to risk it all for more.