This is it. The Closing Ceremony is on Sunday. And on the second to the last day of the Rio Olympics, the athletes continue to dazzle & amaze us with their astonishing feats. It has been a good summer Olympics overall. The host nation Brazil has done an outstanding job of meeting all the challenges, expected & unexpected. Thank you, Brazil.
Now to the news behind the scenes.
The Australian Olympic team reports that nine of its athletes have been fined after being detained for falsifying games accreditations. The nine were taken into custody when officials suspected the athletes' accreditations had been tampered with to gain access to Australia's basketball semifinal against Serbia.
Instead of waiting three weeks, an expedited hearing resulted in the nine being fined 10,000 reals, about $3,100. No criminal convictions will be recorded & records of the proceedings will be expunged after two years.
The Australian team leader, Kitty Chiller, insists that the athletes were not at fault & it was tradition for the athletes to put a sticker on the accreditation with another venue's access code but Brazil treats such incidents much more seriously.
And in much happier news, the Uzbekistan taekwondo team is the friendliest team in all of the Olympics. Before they get down to kicking opponents, the Uzbekistanis give their opponents small Uzbekistani figurines as gifts before the matches. They believe it's the courteous thing to do. And its a wonderful way to show just how friendly & warm the Uzbekistan people are! They exemplify the spirit of the Olympics & the best human qualities of kindness & caring. You're all awesome, Uzbekistani taekwondo team!
And now to the events that were contested in the second to the last day of the Rio Olympics.
In the sport that mattered the most to the host nation, Brazil has won gold in men's soccer, for the first time in history. It is a sweet revenge on the Germans who beat them at the last World Cup in Brazil, where Brazilian star Neymar, suffered a back injury in a collision with the Germans.
The game tied 1-1 with Germany. Penalty kicks, with Neymar scoring the last goal, ensured a 5-4 Brazil win over Germany.
Germany takes silver. And in the bronze match, Nigeria beat Honduras 3-2. Nigeria takes bronze.
It is a sweet, golden redemption for Gwen Jorgensen, United States, who won gold in the women's triathlon at 1:56:16. Four years ago in London 2012, she was in the lead when her tire went flat. The inexperienced, fairly new triathlete was then passed up by Nicola Spirig-Hug of Switzerland, who went on to win the gold while Jorgensen ended up 38th.
This time, Jorgensen dominated, eventually pulling ahead to win the US' first ever gold in women's triathlon.
Nicola Spirig, Switzerland, would finish 1:56:56 for the silver. And Vicky Holland outsprinted British teammate Non Stanford for the bronze, finishing at 1:57:01.
Women's cross-country mountain bike
In women's cross country mountain bike, Jenny Rissveds, Sweden, pulls ahead of the competition to win gold with a time of 1:30:15. Beijing 2008 silver medalist Maja Włoszczowska, Poland, finishes at 1:30:52 for silver. And Catharine Pendrel, Canada, survived an early crash to finish at 1:31:41 for bronze.
There is a new dominant superpower in men's badminton, & his name is Chen Long of China.
For the past decade, badminton has been dominated by Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, top ranked, & Lin Dan of China, Beijing 2008 & London 2012 champion who relegated Lee Chong Wei to silver. Long have these two been considered the top players in the sport.
But a new star has risen. Chen Long of China beat Lee Chong Wei at the 2014 & 2015 world championships. And in the gold medal match, Chen Long defeated Lee Chong Wei 2-0, once again relegating him to silver, for a third time! China takes gold, & Malaysia will settle for silver, again.
Over in the bronze match, rising star Viktor Axelsen, Denmark, defeated China's Lin Dan, defending Beijing 2008 & London 2012 champion, 2-1. Denmark takes bronze. And it's the end of an era & the beginning of a new one in badminton.
For the sixth straight Olympics, American women have won gold in women's basketball, continuing a long dynasty. The US beat Spain 101-72 in the gold medal match. Spain settles for silver. Over in the bronze match, Serbia beat France 70-63 to claim the bronze.
Women's flyweight gold medal match
Defending London 2012 champion, Nicola Adams, Great Britain, defeated Sarah Ourahmoune, France, 3-0, to successfully win gold in women's flyweight division. Adams is now the first female to win back to back Olympics titles. Sarah Ourahmoune will deliver France the silver.
Men's bantamweight gold medal match
Meanwhile, defending London 2012 champion Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana, Cuba, defeated Shakur Stevenson, United States, 2-1 in men's bantamweight division. Carrazana's pinning Stevenson to the ropes & delivering a flurry of punches in the last few moments of the final round gave Carrazana the edge to take the gold. Stevenson takes silver for the US.
Men's middleweight gold medal match
Over in the men's middleweight, Arlen Lopez, Cuba, defeated Bektemir Melikuziev, Uzbekistan, 3-0 to take the gold. Melikuziev settles for silver.
It was a golden, rich day for the canoers & kayakers in the last races of the Rio Olympics. All the gold winning teams & medal winners have won multiple Olympic medals in the finals Saturday.
Men's kayak single 200-meter sprint
In the men's kayak single 200m sprint, Liam Heath of Great Britain wins gold, adding to the men's K2 200m silver medal he won with partner Jon Schofield on Thursday.
Maxime Beaumont, France, takes silver. But in a remarkable feat, Saul Craviotto Rivero, Spain, & Ronald Rauhe, Germany, both tie at 35.66 seconds for bronze! Rivero adds the bronze to his K2 200m gold medal win.
Ronald Rauhe, K2 500m gold Athens 2004, silver Beijing 2008, bronze Sydney 2000, ends on career high with his K1 200m bronze here at Rio 2016.
Men's canoe double 1,000-meter sprint
Germany’s Sebastian Brendel & Jan Vandrey picked up gold medals in the men’s canoe double 1000m. Brendel adds a second gold to the one he won in the men's canoe single 1000m on Tuesday.
Isaquias Quieroz dos Santos & his partner Erlon de Souza Silva held on for silver after leading for the majority of the race. Quieroz dos Santos is the first Brazilian athlete to win three medals at a single Olympic Games, having already won silver in the C1 1000m & bronze in the C1 200m. It's an amazing haul for dos Santos.
Dmytro Ianchuk & Taras Mishchuk of Ukraine took bronze in the challenging race.
Women's kayak four 500-meter sprint
Hungary's Danuta Kozak, Gabriella Szabo, Tamara Csipes, & Krisztina Fazekas-Zur won gold the women's K4 500m sprint. The London 2012 champions successfully defend their title. Danuta Kozak, Gabriella Szabo, & Krisztina Fazekas-Zur were on the London 2012 gold team.
This is Danuta Kozak's third Rio gold. Her two other gold medals in Rio came in the women's K2 500m & K1 500m. She now has 6 Olympic medals in her career, including 5 golds & 1 silver, becoming one of Hungary's most decorated athletes. Gabriella Szabo now has a second gold to add to her K2 500m gold, in addition to a London 2012 K4 500m gold & Beijing 2008 K4 500m silver.
Germany's Sabrina Hering, Franziska Weber, Steffi Kriegerstein, & Tina Dietze take silver. Franziska Weber & Tina Dietze also won silver in the K2 500m Rio games.
The bronze went to Belarus' Marharyta Makhneva, Nadzeya Liapeshka, Volha Khudzenka, & Maryna Litvinchuk. Nadzeya Liapeshka, Volha Khudzenka, & Maryna Litvinchuk were on the London 2012 K4 500m bronze team.
Men's kayak four 1,000-meter sprint
Germany's Max Rendschmidt, Marcus Gross, Tom Liebscher & Max Hoff won gold in the K4 500m sprint. Max Rendschmidt & Marcus Gross add to another gold they won in men's K2 1000m here at Rio. Max Hoff is the London 2012 K1 1000m bronze medalist.
Silver went to Slovakia's Denis Myšák, Erik Vlček, Juraj Tarr, & Tibor Linka. Erik Vlček adds silver to his Beijing 2008 K4 1000m silver & Athens 2004 K4 1000m bronze. Juraj Tarr was on the Beijing 2008 K4 1000m silver team.
It's a repeat for Czech Republic's Daniel Havel, Lukáš Trefil, Josef Dostál, & Jan Štěrba who take bronze. All were on the London 2012 bronze team. Josef Dostál adds bronze to a K1 1000m Rio 2016 silver.
Men's Diving 10m platform
Aisen Chen, China, won gold in men's 10m platform diving. He also won men's 10m synchronized dive with partner Yue Lin here at Rio 2016.
Silver went to German Sanchez, Mexico. He has a silver from London 2012 10m synchro dive.
Bronze went to defending London 2012 champion David Boudia, United States. He & partner Steele Johnson picked up silver in 10m synchro dive here in Rio 2016.
Inbee Park, South Korea, won the first gold in the return of women's golf at the Olympics, 116 years since Paris 1900, the only other time women were allowed to play golf at the Olympics. Silver went to top ranked Lydia Ko, New Zealand. And bronze went to Shanshan Feng, China.
Russia wins its first ever gold in women's handball, beating France 22-19. At Beijing 2008, Russia won a silver. This is France's first Olympic medal in women's handball, a silver.
Defending London 2012 champions Norway defeats Netherlands 36-26 for bronze.
Men's Modern Pentathlon
Every Olympics, I discover a new sport that is totally unfamiliar with me. This year, that sport is the modern pentathlon. I knew about the decathlon & heptathlon in track & field. And I know about the biathlon in the winter games. But I'd never heard of the modern pentathlon. What is the modern pentathlon?
The modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport that comprises five different events: fencing (epee), 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, & a final combined event of pistol shooting & a 3200m cross-country run. And they keep tweaking the sport every few years.
World record holder, Alexander Lesun, Russia, won gold & scored 1,479 points, setting an Olympic record in men's modern pentathlon.
Pavlo Tymoshchenko, Ukraine, scored 1,472 for silver.
And Ismael Marcelo Hernandez Uscanga, Mexico, scored 1,468 for bronze.
I don't know why they call the other gymnastics artistic gymnastics, instead of the more appropriate athletics gymnastics. Because really, the most artistic gymnastics is the rhythmic gymnastics.
Rhythmic gymnastics is the one where the tall, flexible, fully grown women use hula hoops, clubs, ribbons, & a ball to perform floor exercise dance routines. There's an individual all around contest & a team contest. And on Saturday, the individual all around contest was held.
Gold went to Margarita Mamun, Russia. The silver went to Yana Kudryavtseva, Russia. And bronze went to Ganna Rizatdinova, Ukraine.
As wonderful & talented the other gymnasts were, I have to mention a special shout out to the American rhythmic gymnastics team: Natalie McGiffert, Kiana Eide, Alisa Kano, & Kristen Shaldybin. Four years ago as young teens, they relocated to the Chicago area & trained with former Belarusian national team coach Natalia Klimouk at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics in Deerfield. No one ever expected they would be good enough to make the Olympics. They were the test group to see if a rhythmic gymnastics program can succeed in the US.
These ladies finished last in qualifying Saturday. And they cried as they left the floor. But those were tears of joy, because they made Olympics history as the first ever American team to qualify for the Olympics. Atlanta 1996 was the first & last time the US fielded a team as a courtesy berth given to all host nations. This team, put together four years ago, is the very first American team to qualify for the Olympics on their own merits. They earned their spot the hard way, through hard work & grit & determination. Together, they made the impossible road to the Olympics happen.
|USA's team compete in the group all-around qualifying event of the Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016. / AFP / Thomas COEX (Aug. 19, 2016 - Source: AFP)|
And it's their last time performing together, because once the Olympics are over, the team will split up as the young ladies go off to different colleges & begin their young adult lives. They leave behind a remarkable legacy of hope & hard work. They were never expected to go to Rio, yet their hard work paid off when they medaled & scored in enough competitions to earn a spot at the Olympics. It's the best showing of any American team. And just being able to win a spot in the qualifying round is a huge accomplishment. Not everyone makes it to the Olympics, but these young ladies did. Congratulations, ladies on a job well done. Best wishes for the future.
Men's 80 kilogram plus
Radik Isaev, Azerbaijan, defeated Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga, Niger, 6-2 to claim Azerbaijan's first taekwondo gold medal. Niger takes silver.
The first bronze was won by Maicon Siqueira, Brazil, who defeated Mahama Cho, Britain, 5-4. And the second bronze went to Dongmin Cha, South Korea, who defeated Dmitriy Shokin, Uzbekistan, 4-3.
Women's 67 kilogram plus
World champion Shuyin Zheng, China, defeated Maria del Rosario Espinoza, Mexico, 5-1 for the gold. The silver for Espinoza adds to her Beijing 2008 gold & London 2012 bronze.
The first bronze went to Bianca Walkden, Great Britain, who defeated Wiam Dislam, Morocco, 7-1. The second bronze went to Jackie Galloway, United States, who defeated Gwladys Epangue, France, 2-1.
Track and Field
Men's 1,600 meters relay
In the mens 4x400m relay, the United States' team of Arman Hall, Lashawn Merritt, Gil Roberts, & Tony McQuay return the title to US, winning gold.
Silver went to Jamaica's team of Javon Francis, Peter Matthews, Nathon Allen, & Fitzroy Dunkley.
And defending London 2012 champions Bahamian team consisting of Chris Brown, Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, & Steven Gardiner take bronze.
Men's 1,500 meters
Matthew Centrowitz is the first American to claim Olympic gold in the 1,500 meter race in 108 years, since Mel Sheppard’s victory in the London 1908 Olympics. Matthew Centrowitz was fourth in London 2012. He is coached by his father, Matt.
Defending London 2012 champion Taoufik Makhloufi, Algeria, takes silver. He adds to another silver he all ready won in the 800m in Rio.
Bronze went to Nicholas Willis, New Zealand, the Beijing 2008 silver medalist.
Men's 5,000 meters
Mo Farah, Britain, successfully defends his London 2012 title, winning gold in men's 5000m. He all ready won the 10,000m earlier, now completing his long distance double.
But there was drama in the silver & bronze standings. Paul Chelimo of the US crossed the finish line second & initially award the silver. But hold on! The officials disqualify Paul Chelimo & Canada's Mohammed Ahmed, fourth, & Ethiopia's Muktar Edris for violating the rule to stay off the inside rail of the track.
Hagos Gebrhiwet, Ethiopia, had crossed the finish line third. With Chelimo disqualified, he was bumped up to silver.
Now Bernard Lagat, United States, fifth, the eldest 5000m finalist ever at 41, was bumped from fifth to third for bronze. But the US & Canada file protests. They succeed & Chelimo & Ahmed are reinstated. Chelimo is restored to silver, the first US medal in the 5000m since Tokyo 1964. And Gebrhiwet is awarded bronze.
Thomas Rohler, Germany, won gold in men's javelin, landing 90.30 meters.
Silver went to Julius Yego, Kenya, landing 88.24 meters, getting the first javelin medal ever for Kenya.
Defending London 2012 champion Keshom Walcott, Trinidad & Tobago, 85.38 meters, takes bronze.
Women's 1,600-meter relay
For the sixth straight Olympics in a row, the US women's 4x400m relay team has won gold. The United States' team was made up of Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo, Phyllis Francis, & Natasha Hastings. Allyson Felix now has a track record 6 gold medals, 9 Olympic medals overall.
Silver went to Jamaicans Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie Ann McPherson, & Shericka Jackson.
Bronze went to Great Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, Emily Diamond, Anyika Onuora, & Eilidh Doyle.
Women's 800 meters
It's an African sweep in women's 800m race.
Caster Semenya, South Africa, dominated the women's 800m race, easily holding off the field & taking a huge lead in the last lap to win the gold. Semenya won silver behind Russia's Mariya Savinova in London 2012, but Savinova faces a lifetime ban for doping!
Silver went to Francine Niyonsaba, Burundi. And Margaret Nyairera Wambui, Kenya, claims the bronze.
Women's High Jump
It's a European sweep in women's high jump.
It was a four way tie in women's high jump that led to a jump off to break the tie & sort out the medal winners. The women all cleared the jumps until they all failed the 2 meter mark. They all passed the 1.97 meter mark. But the winner was Ruth Beitia, Spain, who didn't miss any of her attempts. Silver went to Mirela Demireva, Bulgaria, who missed one attempt. And bronze went to Blanka Vlasic, Croatia, who missed three attempts, one for each height increase from 1.88m 1.93m, 1.97m, til they all failed to clear 2 meters.
China defeats Serbia, 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23) to win gold in women's volleyball. Their coach, Jenny Lang Ping, made history as the first female coach to send a team to the final, & she's the first person to win women's volleyball gold as a player & a coach.
Serbia wins silver, their first ever medal in women's volleyball.
Meanwhile, the United States defeated Netherlands, 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-19) to take the bronze.
Water polo (Men)
In men's water polo, Serbia defeats defending London 2012 champions Croatia 11-7 for the gold. It is Serbia's first gold in men's water polo.
In the bronze medal match, Italy beats Montenegro 12 -10 to take the bronze.
Men's Wrestling 125 kilogram
Taha Akgul, Turkey, defeated Komeil Ghasemi, Iran, 3-1 to take the gold. Iran takes silver.
The first bronze went to Ibragim Saidov, Belarus, who defeated Levan Berianidze, Armenia, 3-1.
The second bronze went to Geno Petriashvili, Georgia, who defeated Tervel Diagniv, United States, 4-0.
Men's Wrestling 86 kilogram
Abdulrashid Sadulaev, Russia, defeated Selim Yasar, Turkey, 3-0 for the gold. Turkey takes silver.
J'Den Cox, United States, defeated Reineris Salas, Cuba, 5-0 for the first bronze.
And Sharif Sharifov, Azerbajan, defeated Pedro Francisco Ceballos Fuentes, Venezuela, 3-1 for the second bronze.
And so ends the second to the last day of competition at the Rio Olympics. Sunday is the Closing Ceremony with just a few more events to be contested--the marathon, some boxing matches, etc. It has been a lively Olympics with so many surprises. And I can't wait to see how Rio closes the Olympics tonight!