12 August 2012 Friday. Day 7 of the Rio Olympics.
Day 7 of the Rio Olympics was full of heart stopping moments as the athletes battled each other & the elements in their quest for gold.
But first up, some serious news. A Rio security forces officer who was ambushed by gunfire in the slums on Wednesday has died. Helio Vieira & two fellow officers had their vehicle sprayed by gunfire while turning into a slum next to a highway leading to the airport. The other two officers were injured but have been treated & released from the hospital. Brazil's Interim President Michel Temer's has made a decree honoring Helio Vieira. Today is a national day of mourning.
Condolences & prayers & thoughts to the family & friends of Helio Vieira. It is a terrible tragedy that highlights the dangers of the city & the bravery & service of those hardworking officers doing their best to keep visitors & athletes safe in a city facing significant challenges.
Two members of the German delegation on their way back to the athletes village in a taxi experienced a major accident. One was seriously injured & required hospitalization. An investigation is ongoing as information is coming in. Here's to wishing the injured parties a speedy recovery & good health.
In other news, a Dutch judge rejected gymnast Yuri van Gelder's legal bid for reinstatement in the Netherlands' Olympic team in time to compete in Monday's rings final. The controversial athlete, who has a history of drug use & being dropped before for cocaine use, argued that he was unfairly dismissed Monday for late-night drinking and missing an early morning training session. The judge upheld the Netherlands' team decision to dismiss van Gelder. The decision could be appealed, but van Gelder's legal team admits there was not enough time get anything done in time for the rings final on Monday.
Sweden women's soccer team has eliminated the US from the Rio Olympics! The three time defending Olympic champions were defeated by a Swedish squad led by the former US national team coach. For the first time in six Olympics, the US will not play for medals! The World Cup champions with a super talented squad has been dismantled & defeated by a cool, dauntless Swedish squad.
The US soccer goalie, Hope Solo, went on a rant calling the Swedes cowards & that the US team was the best. Swedish coach & former U.S. national team coach Pia Sundhage calmly replied that the best team is the team that won. Amen! If you lose a game, you're not the winner! The winner is the one who wins the game! You lost. Don't be a sore loser! Show some class & sportsmanship!
The diving pool is still green! Practice Friday morning was cancelled with the approval of the sport governing body, FINA, but some divers complained that they were not given notice. Though earlier reports indicate that the pool closure was to ensure the chemicals would have the necessary time to clear up the mucky green color, a spokesperson for the venue reports practice has resumed & the women's 3m springboard preliminaries will go on later Friday afternoon as scheduled.
A Chinese swimmer, a Polish weightlifter, & a Bulgarian steeplechaser run into trouble at the Olympics. Sounds like the beginning of a good joke, doesn't it? Except it's not a joke. These are the first athletes banned/suspended from Rio for doping offences!
In an effort to be more fair & independent, the International Olympics Committee has handed over authority to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is handling doping cases at the Olympics for the first time.
Today, the Polish weightlifter Tomasz Zielinksi, European champion, & Bulgarian steeplechaser Silvia Danekova were kicked out of the Games after testing positive for banned substances. Zielinski, who was scheduled to compete in the 94-kilogram division, tested positive for steroids; Danekova tested positive for EPO, a blood-boosting hormone that aids stamina and endurance. Both have been sent home from the games & face further sanctions from their respective federations, with the possibility of a two year ban. Zielinski's brother Adrian, London 2012 champion, was suspended & sent home, too, for testing positive for steroids, just three days after Tomasz tested positive.
Swimmer Chen Xinyi accepted a “provisional suspension” after testing positive for a diuretic. Her case will continue, with a final decision to be issued before the end of the Games. She was fourth in the 100-meter butterfly & pulled out before Friday's 50-meter freestyle, her last event scheduled for the games.
These three are the first cases decided by CAS. Expect more as the games continue. Keep up the good work & keep those cheaters out!
In related news, the IAAF has suspended the Kenyan Olympic track team's manager, Michael Rotich, who was caught seeking bribes, promising to protect cheating athletes from doping tests. He was caught in an undercover journalist sting, asking for about $13000. He is the fourth Kenyan delegate to be caught & investigated for covering up doping.
Add to their further shame, there is a second doping cover up! Ferguson Rotich--no relation to the above Michael Rotich--who ran on the opening day of track & field in Rio, is being investigated after a coach was found with his accreditation & pretended to be Ferguson Rotich at a doping test! An investigation is ongoing. I hope they ban all these cheating bastards! You're all losers! Damn cheaters! Shame on you!
In the most disappointing news of all, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was loudly booed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after his first-round loss to Israel's fifth-ranked Or Sasson. Why? Because he refused to bow or shake hands with the Israeli, a violation of judo etiquette & just poor sportsmanship. So boooooo! You're worse than a loser! You're a sore loser! So lets all join the Brazilian & Olympics crowd & boo this loser! Booooo!
And now, on to the games.
Men's Lightweight Double Sculls
World champions Pierre Houin & Jeremie Azou won France's first rowing gold medal at the Rio Olympics. They led from the start, but in the last 50 meters, the Irish & Norwegian crews came incredibly close. Just 69th of a second separated the gold medals from the bronze medalists, Kristoffer Brun & Are Strandli of Norway. Ireland's Paul O'Donovan & Gary O'Donovan claim the silver in the thrilling close race.
Women's Lightweight Double Sculls
It was an exciting race as there were no pre-race favorites in the lead up & the field was wide open. China took the lead early on, but they started to lose steam & the Dutch catch them, then surpassed them! Soon the Canadians pick up the pace & overtake the Chinese, too!
Ilse Paulis & Maalke Head of the Netherlands take the gold. This the second Dutch rowing medal at Rio 2016. The amazing thing is that Head & Ilse Paulis had qualified at the last chance qualification regatta in May! And to celebrate their win, those rowdy Dutch fans jumped in the water, swam out to the pair, & made an unsuccessful attempt to capsize the boat!
Lindsay Jennerich & Patricia Obee of Canada power through to silver, making the incredible jump from fifth to second. And Huang Wenyi & Pan Feihong of China hold on to beat South Africa for the bronze.
Helen Glover & Heather Stanning of Great Britain successfully defend their London 2012 title, winning gold in women's pair. They were able to hold off a charging New Zealand, Rebecca Scown & Genevieve Behrent, who finished strongly just half a length behind the undefeated world champion pair, who've been on a successful five year undefeated run! Denmark's Hedvig Rasmussen & Anne Andersen claim the bronze.
Men's Coxless Four
Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!
Since Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell, & Tim Foster triumphed at Sydney in 2000; to Steve Williams, James Cracknell, Ed Coode, & Matthew Pinsent at Athens 2004; to Tom James, Steve Williams, Peter Reed, & Andrew Triggs-Hodge at Beijing 2008; to Alex Gregory, Tom James, Pete Reed, & Andrew Triggs-Hodge at London 2012; the dynasty continues gloriously with Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash, & Constantine Louloudis.
This team consisted of an incredible mix representing the wide spectrum of the British identity: Constantine "Stan" Louloudis, the Etonian & Oxford classic scholar, whose mother is lady-in-waiting to Princess Anne; Moe Sbihi, the son of a Moroccan-born barber; Geroge Nash, the Cambridge engineer; & Alex Gregory, father of three, who continues the tradition of one member of the winning squad be a part of the next squad, passing on the legendary legacy of the British flagship.
And another legacy is coach Jurgen Grobler, who has fielded a gold win at every Olympics since 1976, for Britain since Barcelona 1992!
With this historic win, Great Britain establishes itself as the greatest rowing nation in the world. And George Nash plans to celebrate the win by going on a weeklong booze bender--in keeping with British tradition.
Australia's Will Lockwood, Josh Dunkley-Smith, Josh Booth, & Alexander Hill valiantly chased the Brits but end up claiming the silver. It will be a consecutive Olympics silver for Lockwood & Dunkley-Smith in this event.
Italy's Domenico Montrone, Matteo Castaldo, Matteo Lodo, & Giuseppe Vicino take the bronze.
History was made today in the sport where beautiful women are judge on how high they bounce & what fun, dazzling tricks they can do while bouncing up & down in the air.
Rosie MacLennan successfully defends her London 2012 title, winning gold in women's trampoline! Battling injuries & a challenging road back to the Olympics, Rosie MacLennan outperformed a tough field & demonstrated why is the best!
First time Olympian Bryony Page of Great Britain won the silver medal. And another first timer, China's Li Dan, world champion 2015, won the bronze medal.
Men's 50m Prone Rifle
It's another shooting gold for Germany! This is the third medal for Germany in Olympic shooting -- Barbara Engleder won the women's 50m rifle 3 position event, & Monika Karsch earned silver in 25m pistol.
Germany's Henri Junghaenel has won gold in men's 50-meter prone rifle after an impressive shooting display, where he lost the lead briefly to silver medalist Jonghyun Kim of South Korea. Henri Junghaenel, 28, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky, where he was All American four times. He set a new Olympic record score of 209.5 to take gold.
Junghaenel credits his time at the university for helping him with his shooting. He recovered from a mistake to barely make qualifying to shoot his way to the top in the final. He graduated in 2013 & returned to Germany where he just earned his masters degree.
Jonghyun Kim, 32, wins another silver, adding to his London 2012 50m three position silver. Russia's Kirill Grigoryan, 24, took the bronze, his first medal in this event on an international level. Kim tied Grigoryan in the bronze medal round & hit a perfect 10.9 to win a shoot-off to take silver. Grigoryan hit 9.7 on his final shot to earn bronze
Women's Skeet Final
It was another historical moment today in women's skeet shooting. Diana Bacosi of Italy outshot fellow teammate Chiara Cainero for gold. Chiara Cainero tales silver. But it was bronze winner Kim Rhode of the US who made history & earned her colleagues respect.
With her Rio 2016 bronze, Kim Rhode joins Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler as the only athletes to earn medals in six straight Olympics! She won gold in Atlanta 1996, bronze in Sydney 2000, gold in Athens 2004, silver in Beijing 2008, & gold again in London 2012. She holds the most medals for a female shooter, & she is one of five athletes to earn a medal in six different Olympics.
Kim Rhode struggled to recover after a difficult pregnancy & surgery & multiple family tragedies. When she competed at London 2012, she didn't even know she was pregnant. It was a very difficult pregnancy, requiring bed rest the last four months. Six weeks after she gave birth, she needed emergency gall bladder surgery. Afterwards, she couldn't even lift her new baby or her gun because they both exceeded five pounds weight limit placed on her during her recovery.
After years of working hard to get back her stamina, she makes it to Rio, & she has a shootout with Wei Mang of China in the last desperate bid for bronze. She missed. Then Wang missed. Then Wang missed again, & Rhode knew then that she had achieved her goal of making it on the podium & into Olympics history.
What makes this medal mean the most, she says, is seeing her son waving out to her & calling out to his Mommy, watching her make history.
Korean archer Ku Bonchan defeated 2016 European champion Jean-Charles Valladont of France for the men's individual gold, making it a clean sweep of all the archery golds for South Korea.
It was a very exciting match against 2016 European champion Jean-Charles Valladont of France. Ku thought he had won after the third set, but an upgrade led to a point for Valladont, forcing a close fourth set. But in the final set, Ku was able to minimize the mistakes caused by the gusts blowing arrows off target, & Ku finally overcomes Valladont, who takes the silver.
To thank the supportive, enthusiastic crowd, Ku & his coaches all knelt down & bowed to the appreciative audience to thank them for their support. Brady Ellison of the United States fought hard to make it onto the podium to earn the bronze.
Track & Field
Almaz Ayana, 24, of Ethiopia has dethroned fellow countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba, taking the first track & field gold & setting a world record of 29:17.45. Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya took silver.
Tirunesh Dibaba, Beijing 2008 & London 2012 champion, took bronze, missing out on the chance to become the first woman to win three individual gold medals in a row in the event.
Ayana's time of 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds destroyed the old record of 29: 31.78 that China's Wang Junxia set back in 1993.
Michelle Carter has done the unexpected & won the US's first ever shot put gold! Her father Michael set a high school record in 1979 that still stands, & he won silver at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics. Not to mention he was a lineman who won three Superbowl championships with the 49ers.
Michelle threw 20.63 meters (68 feet, 8 1/4 inches), earning the gold & making more history as she & her father become the first father-daughter team to win individual medals at a track & field event.
Defending London 2012 & Beijing 2008 champion, Valerie Adams of New Zealand, settles for silver. It is a remarkable achievement for Adams, who struggled through surgeries & rehab to get back to the Olympics. Hungary's Anita Marton claimed the bronze.
Men's 20-kilometer Race Walking
Yes, walking is a sport! And China’s Zhen Wang, London 2012 bronze medalist, won the 20km race walk gold, the first men's track & field event to be contested. His comrade Cai Zelin takes silver. And Australian Dane Bird-Smith marches to bronze. The London 2012 champion, Ding Chen of China finished 39th.
Men's team pursuit
History was made in cycling men's team pursuit as Great Britain's Bradley Higgins, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke,& Owain Doull beat Australia in record-setting time, 3 minutes 50.265 seconds. This is Great Britain's third consecutive gold in the event! It also gives Wiggins, a Tour de France champion, eight Olympic medals, making him the most decorated British athlete of all time! This is the last time he will compete, having announced his retirement. And thanks to his team, he ends his career on a golden high.
Australia's Jack Bobridge, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Hepburn, Sam Welsford, & Callum Scotson settle for silver.
And Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen, Niklas Larsen, Frederik Madsen, Casper von Folsach, & Rasmus Christian Quaade claim the bronze, defeating New Zealand.
Women's team sprint
The Chinese pair of Gong Jinjie & Zhong Tianshi won gold in the women's team sprint, beating the Russian team of Daria Shmeleva & Anastasia Voinova, who settle for silver. Earlier, Gong Jinjie & Zhong Tianshi set the world record with a time of 31.928 seconds in the semifinal against Spain. The gold medal win over Russia is sweet revenge for the world championships, where China was faster than the Russians, but due to an illegal change, they were disqualified & Russia took gold. China's coach got mad at the news & punched a wall, breaking his hand. No wall punches today. China goes home golden.
Miriam Welte & Kristina Vogel, defending London 2012 champions, beat the Australian pair of Anna Meares & Stephanie Morton to claim bronze.
Rim Jong-sim, 23, claimed North Korea's first Olympic gold in the women's -75kg weightlifting, four years after winning the -69kg category in London 2012. She had a combined tally of 274kg!
And Darya Naumava, 20, takes silver with a combined lift of 258kg, giving Belarus their first medal of the games. Spain's Lidia Valentin, 31, in her third Olympics, finally makes the podium, taking the bronze medal, lifting 257kg. Valentin the default London 2012 champion, but she wasn't on the podium as she placed fourth. But the three in front of her have all been stripped of their London medals for doping! So congratulations, Valentin!
Kianoush Rostami, 25, broke his own world record to win gold in the men's 85kg weightlifting. The London 2012 bronze medalist lifted 396kg, which was one kg more than the record he had set. He wins Iran's first medal of the games, a gold! He is his own coach because he likes making his own decisions.
22 year old Tian Tao of China took silver with 395kgs. Romania's Gabriel Sincraian, 27, who lifted a total of 390kg, secured bronze after edging out Kazakhstan's Denis Ulanov.
Mixed Dressage Team
World champions Germany--Kristina Broring-Sprehe, Sonke Rothenberger, Dorothee Schneider, & Isabell Werth--defeat defending London 2012 champions, Great Britain, for gold.
Great Britain--Fiona Bigwood, Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, & Spencer Wilton--settle for silver.
And the United States--Allison M. Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, Steffen Peters--get the bronze.
Men's Team Foil
What an exciting men's team foil contest! First up, Russia rallies to end the US's hope for a gold medal. The Russian team of Artur Akhmatkhuzin; Dmitry Zherebchenko; Alexey Cheremisinov; & Timur Safin defeat France's Erwan le Pechoux; Enzo Lefort; Jeremy Cadot; & Jean-Paul Tony Helissey, who take the silver. Russia wins the gold.
But the most thrilling match was over the bronze medal, a rematch between the US vs top ranked Italy. Four years ago, the Americans found themselves on the losing end of a semifinal to the Italians. This time, the same American team seized the opportunity to flip the script & get their revenge on the Italians! They rattled the Italians, moved aggressively & made smart attacks that soon gave them a huge lead over the flustered opposition. They proved too much for the Italians, who were outsprinted & outwitted by the energetic, driven American team. They might not have a gold medal, but they played like champions!
Teddy Riner of France successfully defends his London 2012 title, making it two golds & a Beijing 2008 bronze. In a careful match, the gold was decided not by aggressive action but by who had the less shidos, minor penalties, & Riner won. Hisayoshi Harasawa of Japan takes the silver. It was kind of a boring match actually. The action packed matches were in the two bronze matches.
Brazilian Rafael Silva claimed one of the two bronze medals after defeating Uzbekistan's Abdullo Tangriev, London 2012 silver medalist. It was clear that the matches had taken their toll on Tangriev, who started the day strong.
Israeli Or Sasson defeats Alex Maxell Garcia Mendoza of Cuba to get the other bronze, earning Israel it's second medal of the games, adding to another judo bronze won in the women's 69kg division.
A spectacular battle for gold occurred in women's +78kg division. Emilie Andeol of France, ranked fifth, dispatched world champion Yu Song of China. Then she defeated defending London 2012 champion, Idalys Ortiz of Cuba, using ippon to claim the gold! Idalys Ortiz now has siver to add to her Beijing 2008 bronze & London 2012 gold.
Kanae Yamabe of Japan defeated Turkey's Kayra Sayit to claim the first bronze, adding an eighth judo bronze for Japan, eleventh total at Rio.
Song Yu of China recovers from her stunning loss to throw South Korea's Kim Min-Jeong for an ippon to win the other bronze.
Steve Johnson & Jack Sock beat the Canadian pair of Daniel Nestor & Vasek Pospisil to win bronze.
Rafa Nadal & Marc Lopez of Spain beat Romania's Florin Mergea & Horia Tecau for gold, the third gold for Spain, fifth medal overall. The Romanian doubles specialists settle for silver.
The last events of the night were swimming, & Friday night's races were unbelievably exciting.
Men's 100-meter Butterfly
What an incredible men's 100m butterfly! American Michael Phelps was seeking his 23rd Olympic gold medal & his fourth straight in the 100-meter butterfly. But a surprise, unexpected surge from Singapore's Joseph Schooling, who got off to a blistering start & built a lead that even Phelps couldn't overcome, left Phelps in a three way tie for silver with Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos of South Africa & Laszlo Cseh of Hungary! Joseph Schooling gets gold. And strangely enough, no bronze, even though there was someone who finished third, behind the three way tie! Not giving out the bronze is just stupid!
This is Singapore's first swim medal, a gold! Joseph Schooling has a picture with his idol Michael Phelps from when he was a bespectacled teen & Phelps was in Singapore for a swim meet in 2008. It is the changing of the guard for swimming, as the young swimmers who idolized Phelps while growing up now have reached Phelps's level & promise to surpass him.
Women's 800-meter Freestyle
Katy Ledecky out swam the competition & shattered the world record she had set, finishing the 800m freestyle in a new world record time of 8 minutes 4.79 seconds. She led the field by almost half a lap! Ledecky joins American Debbie Meyer, Mexico 1968, as the only women to sweep the three longer freestyle events at the same Olympics--the 200, 400, & 800 meters.
Jazz Carlin of Britain takes silver, eleven seconds after Ledecky was done! And Boglarka Kapas of Hungary claims bronze.
Men's 50-meter Freestyle
Defending London champion, Florent Manaudou of France, takes silver. And American Nathan Adrian gets the bronze.
Women's 200-meter backstroke
In another surprise twist, Maya DiRado gave the Americans another gold, pulling off a furious rally on the final lap to upset "Iron Lady" Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, denying Hosszu a fourth Rio gold! Hosszu takes silver. Canada's Hilary Caldwell takes the bronze.
The world-record holder & defending London 2012 champion, Missy Franklin of the US, & the reigning world champion, Emily Seebohm of Australia both didn't advance to the final.
Hosszu has been dominant & unbeatable in all her previous three races, even setting new records! Dirado was an unlikely challenger to the Iron Lady, having finished second to Hosszu in the 400 IM & third to Hosszu in the 200 IM. But Dirado saved her best for last, catching up to Hosszu in the last lap of the race, then surging forward in the last 25m to beat Hosszu to the wall. Dirado won the gold, but the Iron Lady is happy with her silver. It has been an amazing Olympics for the two, who've put on the best performances of their life. Congratulations, ladies on an amazing job!
And so ends another frantic & wild day of competition. So many surprises & so many twists as the athletes continue their quest for glory. And we get to see them go after their dreams & cheer them on.