Monday, August 8, 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics: Day 2

7 August 2016 Sunday Day 2 of the Rio Olympics

Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympics was full of action & a whole lot of wind! And because of high winds capsizing boats, the rowing events were canceled.
So I'd like to know where, you got the notion
Said I'd like to know where, you got the notion

To rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
Rock the boat, don't tip the boat over
Rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby
Rock the boat-t-t-t-t

But other events continued, with or without wind interference.

First up, the Shooting events:

Women's Shooting: 10m Air Pistol

In this sport, the competitors shoot a gun from a standing position to hit a target 10m away. And China claims a third consecutive gold in this event, with Mengxue Zhang, 25, winning with an Olympic final record total of 199.4 points. Guo Wenjun won the event in Beijing 2008 & London 2012, but she did not qualify for the final. With this win, Zhang has given China its first gold medal of the Rio Olympics.

Russia's Vitalina Batsarashkina,19, claims silver with a score of 197.1, giving Russia its second medal of the Rio Olympics. Greece's Anna Korakaki, 20, took bronze with 177.7 points, earning Greece's first ever medal for women in a shooting sport.

Women's Shooting: Trap

In women's shooting trap, the goal is to fire a shotgun to hit a clay target being launched from a machine.

Catherine Skinner, 26, delivers Australia its second gold in the sport, having won it at Athens 2004 with Suzanne Balogh. Defending gold medalist Jessica Rossi of Italy finished 6th. New Zealand's Natalie Rooney, 28, won a second place tie shoot off against American Corey Cogdell-Unrein. Rooney gets New Zealand the silver, the country's first medal of the Rio Olympics. And American Corey Cogdell-Unrein, 29, went to another shoot-off after tying Spain's Fatima Galvez, to successfully win the bronze. This is Cogdell-Unrein's second bronze, having won her first bronze at Beijing 2008.

Women's Cycling: Road Race

You would think that sports involving guns would be the most dangerous at the Olympics. But nope. The most dangerous sport is Women's Cycling: Road Race. After seeing so many top level men crash & injure themselves on the tough, grueling course, you know that the women were going to crash, too!

Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands was leading until a sharp turn caused her to lose control & crash hard in the same spot that took out the top men from the previous day's race.

Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali was leading yesterday's men's race when he crashed, breaking his collarbone in that same spot at Vista Chinesa. Several other men also crashed there in the men's race the day before.

Van Vleuten was leading American rider Mara Abbott down the Vista Chinesa climb when she came to the last hard corner, lost control & crashed.

Van Vleuten's crash opened the way for fellow Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen, Sweden's Emma Johansson, & Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy to work together over the final flat stretch to catch Abbott, who had destroyed the field on the hard climb up Vista Chinesa.

At about 100 meters from the finish line, they swept by Abbott, and van der Breggen out-sprinted Sweden's Emma Johansson to win gold, to make it back-to-back golds for the Netherlands. Her teammate Marianne Vos captured gold four years ago in London 2012. Sweden's Emma Johansson gets silver, & Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy gets the bronze.

Men's Weightlifting 53-kilogram

It was the battle of the golden gods in men's weightlifting 53kg. Long Qingquan of China, Beijing 2008 gold medalist, faced off against Om Yun-Chol of North Korea, the defending London 2012 gold medalist.

Long Qingquan of China set a world record with a total score of 307 kilograms, aided by a final 170-kilo lift in clean and jerk to break the tie with Om, winning him the gold by four ounces! The old record was 305 kilograms that Halil Mutlu of Turkey set at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Long is the first weightlifter with eight years between his first and second gold medal, in any men's or women's event. Om took silver with 303 kilograms and was beaten for the first time in a major competition since he won gold in London.
Sinphet Kruaithong of Thailand won bronze, becoming the first Thai male to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. He is the second Thai weightlifter to win in Rio, joining Sopita Tanasan, who won gold in the women's 48-kilogram on Saturday. Nine Thai women have won medals in weightlifting.

Women's Weightlifting 53-kilogram

In the women's 53-kilogram category, Hsu Shu-Ching of Taiwan won her first Olympic gold medal when Li Yajun of China failed to complete the clean and jerk.

Li set an Olympic record in the first round snatch by lifting 101 kilograms to take the lead into the clean and jerk. She was the last lifter to compete in the second round, but she failed to lift 126 kilos, costing her the gold & knocking her off the podium.

Hsu is the reigning world champion and won silver four years ago at the London 2012 Games. But there is drama brewing in the background. London gold medalist Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan failed a doping retest and could have that medal revoked, which would make Hsu a double gold medalist.

A tearful Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines won silver after failing to medal in the last two Olympics. She lifted in the 58kg class in the 2008 Beijing Games as a 17-year-old and impressed many in the field, but she failed on all her clean and jerk attempts in London. Diaz dropped down to the lighter class for Rio, which had just seven competitors. The strategy & hard work paid off. Jin Hee Yoon of South Korea won bronze, adding to a silver from the 2008 Beijing Games.

Men's Judo 66-kilogram

Fabio Basile of Italy (blue) and Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan compete during the Men's -66kg Elimination round of 16 on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 2 on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images South America)

A sensational day of shocks & surprises in the men's 66kg judo. Italy's Fabio Basile has taken the gold medal in the men's 66-kilogram judo division on Sunday, upsetting the top-ranked Baul An of South Korea in the final. This is Italy's first gold of the Rio Olympics.

Fabio Basile is an unknown, unranked judoku who barely survived an exciting, memorable semi-final against fellow unseeded competitor Adrian Gomboc of Slovakia.

Meanwhile, the heavily favored Baul had been dominant all day in his other matches; but Basile caught him unaware in a match-ending ippon throw, just over a minute and a half into the fight! What an amazing performance from an underdog to come out from the shadows & claim the top spot!

Masashi Ebinuma of Japan, bronze medalist at London 2012, & Uzbekistan's Rishod Sobirov take the Rio Olympics bronze medals. Rishod Sobirov is now a three time consecutive bronze medalist, having won bronze at Beijing 2008 & London 2012!

Women's 52-kilogram Judo

Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo (blue) and Odette Giuffrida of Italy compete during the Womens -52kg gold medal final on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 2 on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images South America)

And the surprises continue in women's 52kg judo, where two lefties met & fought in the final for gold. Kosovo's flag bearer at the parade of nations, Majlinda Kelmendi, defeated Japan's Misato Nakamura, the reigning world champion, to earn a final match against Italy's Odette Giuffrid. Kelemendi defeated Giudfrid, by scoring just once in the tightly contested match, winning Kosovo's first ever Olympics medal, a gold! Russia's Natalia Kuziutina & Japan's Misato Nakamura win the bronze medals.

Fencing, Men's Foil

My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die.

Venezuela's Antonio J Leal (L) competes against Canada's Maximilien Van Haaster during their mens individual foil qualifying bout as part of the fencing event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 7, 2016, at the Carioca Arena 3, in Rio de Janeiro. / AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI
(Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: AFP)

Italian Daniele Garozzo defeated top-ranked American Alexander Massialas on Sunday to win gold in men's foil fencing to give Italy its second gold of the Rio Games. Massialas brings America the silver.

Massialas is the first individual Olympic medalist the U.S. has produced in men's fencing since Peter Westbrook won a bronze at Los Angeles 1984, thirty two years ago! Russia's Timur Safin took bronze.

Women's Team Archery

South Korea turned in an outstanding performance on a windy day to win the Olympic gold medal in women's team archery for an eighth straight time in a row!

South Korea has claimed gold in this event since it was first introduced at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, thirty two years ago!

If society ever breaks down & becomes like the Hunger Games, these are the women I want on my side! Ki Bo-bae, Choi Mi-sun, & Chang Hye-jin weren't bothered by the blustery winds as they beat Russia 5-1 in the final Sunday at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Tuyana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova, & Inna Stepanova give Russia the silver. And the Chinese Taipei/Taiwan team of Le Chien-ying, Lin Shih-chia, & Tan Ya-ting beat Italy to win the bronze-medal match.

It was a clean sweep for South Korea, with the men's team capturing gold in a grand fashion Saturday.

Water Sports

Women's 3-meter Springboard Synchronized

China begins its quest for a clean sweep of the diving events. Shi Tingmao and Wu Minxia scored 345.6 in the first diving event of the Rio Games, leading a huge 31.77 points over Italy's Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape's 313.83 points. The Italians get the silver.

This is Wu Minxia's fourth consecutive gold in 3-meter synchro, becoming the first woman to win four golds in the same event at the Olympics. She also won in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, & London 2012.

It is a great silver win for Italy's Tania Cagnotto. Her father, Giorgio Cagnotto, won silver & bronze at Munich 1972, silver in Montreal 1976, & bronze in Moscow 1980 for diving events. Tania Cagnotto finally wins a medal, after having appeared on the Olympics scene since Sydney 2000. In London 2012, she was edged out of third to fourth place. Now, she finally has that Olympic medal that she has been chasing--which has to be a huge relief to her new diving partner, Francesca Dallape.

The biggest surprise medalists were Australia's Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith, who rallied from last place to earn the bronze with 299.19, edging Canada by less than a point! Everyone just assumed the Canadians would win bronze, but the Canadians made small errors that opened the way for last place Australia to seize the opportunity & make it on the podium. No one saw that coming, so good on ya! Fantastic job, ladies!


The last four events contested were the swimming events.

Women's 100m Butterfly

First up, the rivalry between American Dana Vollmer, London 2012 defending champion, & Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, current world champion & world record holder, fourth in London 2012. When Vollmer took time off from competition to have a child, Sjöström began to dominate the event.

And right from the start of the race, Sjöström took the lead, with Vollmer close behind. But at the turn, Sjöström started to pull ahead, exceeding the pace of her own world record. Vollmer was in second. Sjöström breaks her old record & sets a new world record of 55.48 sec!

Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden competes in the Women's 100m Butterfly Final on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images South America)

But surprise, surprise, 16 year old Penny Oleksiak of Canada powers from third place at the turn to outsprint Vollmer to the wall, giving Canada its second medal of the Rio Olympics, a silver! This is Canada's first individual swim medal since Marianne Limpert's 200m individual medley silver from Atlanta 1996, twenty years ago! An astounding job by Oleksiak!

Vollmer settles for the bronze, adding to her silver from the women's 4x100m freestyle relay the previous evening. A fantastic achievement for a new mom! Sarah Sjöström not only sets a new world record, but she also becomes the first ever Swedish woman to win a gold swimming medal.

Men’s 100m breaststroke

And the world record smashing continues in the thrilling men's 100m breaststroke! All eyes were on British phenom Adam Peaty, who set a world record of 57.55 sec during the previous evening's qualifying heats. And he broke that day old record by setting a new world record of 57.13 sec! It was a spectacular performance as he pulled ahead & left behind the competition & outsprinted his previous world record pace.

Adam Peaty of Great Britain leads the field in the Men's 100m Breaststroke Final on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Adam Pretty/Getty Images South America)

Adam Peaty delivers Great Britain's first medal of the Rio Olympics, a gold! It is the first men's swim title for Britain since Adrian Moorhouse won gold at Seoul 1988, twenty eight years ago!

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, defending London 2012 champion, wins silver, & American Cody Miller takes the bronze.

Women's 400m Freestyle

More spectacular record breaking continued in the women's 400m freestyle. American Katie Ledecky broke her own world record to set a new world record of 3:56.46! She left the competition behind to fight over second & third place as she raced towards gold.

Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Adam Pretty/Getty Images South America

Jazmin Carlin delivers Great Britain the silver, the second Rio Olympics medal for the nation. And Leah Smith of the US takes the bronze.

Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay

In the final event of the night, four teams were looking to win top honors in Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay. The Americans, the French, the Australians, & the Russians have a long history of medaling in the event. At London 2012, France took gold, leaving a stunned US the silver, & Russia took the bronze.

And when the race started, Brazil led at the first split, only to have France lead the second leg. But Michael Phelps of the US put in a fantastic performance that handed the Americans the lead in the third leg--a lead they would carry all the way to the end.

Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the Final of the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images South America)
Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps, Ryan Held, & Nathan Adrian win the US the gold.

Mehdy Metella, Fabien Gilot, Florent Manaudou, & Jérémy Stravius deliver France the silver. And Australia's James Roberts, Kyle Chalmers, James Magnussen, & Cameron McEvoy win the bronze. Australia returns as a swimming powerhouse once more, much stronger compared to their disappointing London 2012 performance.

Finally, I'd like to spotlight two athletes that I've come to admire for their tenacity & skills:

First up is 41-year-old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, competing in her seventh Olympics - a record for a gymnast! Chusovitina put herself in position to make the vault final after averaging 14.999 during her two vaults at women's preliminaries on Sunday. The top eight qualifiers will advance to the event finals later in the games.

Chusovitina's first appearance in the games came 24 years ago in Barcelona 1992, when she competed for the Russian Federated team. She now competes for her native Uzbekistan against girls the same age as her 17-year-old son Alisher. She thought about retiring after Barcelona, but kept competing because she enjoyed it. She even joked & said not to rule out Tokyo 2020.

I'm impressed that she has lasted this long & adapted well to the many changes the sport has undergone, keeping up with the ever younger competition. She has won a gold in Barcelona 1992 & a silver at Beijing 2008. I wish this icon so much luck & wish her the best. Seeing her still able to compete is a marvel & wonder. She is a legend!

Catalina Ponor is the other athlete that I admire. She was the flag bearer for Romania at the parade of nations. Since Montreal 1976, Romania has had a women's gymnastics team qualify & medal at the Olympics. Until now. The Romanian team did not qualify! Mostly die to injuries that have sidelined & hampered the team's most talented members. So Christina Ponor is the lone Romanian trying to keep her country's medaling history intact.

This is the second time that she has come out of retirement. She won the Atlanta 1996 team, balance beam, & floor golds. Sixteen years later, she came out of retirement to help win a team bronze & earn a floor exercise silver at London 2012. Now, she's back again as the lone representative for Romania, hunting for a medal. She admits that she still loves gymnastics, & she'll keep doing it for as long as she can. So best of luck & cheers to her. I wish her well.

And so ends day 2 of the Rio Olympics--a day full of surprises, amazing action, & spectacular performances. And it'll only get better from here!


  1. Pedantic Corner: Shotguns are used in trap shooting.

    Yikes! Another dangerous day on the Bike Road Race! Hospitalized riders both days.

    Fencing is my personal favorite Summer Olympic sport. I've been lucky to catch foil, epee, and sabre bouts on TV. The fencers at that level are so fast!

    Exciting races in the pool. The crowd and announcers really getting into the excitement. What an electric atmosphere.

    1. LX, Thanks for spotting that. It's now corrected. I always feel like the shooting sports, in addition to handing out medals, should also hand out prizes like stuffed animals or other carnival booth toys to the competitors for hitting their targets.

      I felt bad for those downed riders, because it looked really painful when they crashed! And I really felt bad for Abbott--to come so tantalizingly close to the podium, only to run out of steam & be passed up & off the podium just a few yards from the finish.

      The fencing has been exciting! The Olympics is the only time that I can see fencing & other sports that don't get a lot of regular coverage--like the rowing & shooting events.

      It is fun when the audience & commentators get into an event like swimming or any sport. Genuine enthusiasm makes for a great interactive experience.