The quadrennial sporting extravaganza that is the Olympic Games is upon us and what an opening few days we’ve seen. Welcome to our Wednesday Wrap as we take a look at Days 3 & 4 of action from Rio.
Best Pre-Event Meal
It has emerged that Woman’s Trap Gold Medallist Catherine Skinner’s go to meal before her event is a tub of ice-cream. If being an Australian Olympic Gold Medallist wasn’t reason enough to like the 26 year old from Mansfield, this revelation has to be.
Rugby made its Olympic return after a 92 year absence, and it was perfect timing for our women’s team. The Pearls were World Series Champs for the first time and carried their form to Rio, going undefeated through the tournament and securing gold with a 24-17 win over New Zealand in the final.
Our Equestrian Eventing team claimed a bronze medal in the 3 day event. It took faultless rides by the German and French team to displace the Australians from the Gold Medal position they held going into the last day.
Emma McKeon took her place in an extremely strong 200m Final. Showing great strength she bounced back from the disappointment of the 100m Butterfly Final to claim bronze behind Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjostrom, to go with her 4 x 100m Relay Gold from Day 1.
Our medal fancies have produced mixed results:
Dolphin golden couple and 100m Backstroke World Champions Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin both led their respective finals at the half way point before fading out of medal contention. They have their preferred 200m distance to look forward to in coming days.
Our hockey campaigns are in disarray. The Hockeyroos, joint pre-tournament favourites, sunk to their second loss from as many starts after falling 2-1 to the USA. The Kookaburras also have work to do after a 1-2 start to the games.
The Boomers, on the back of starring roles from Matthew Dellavadova and Patty Mills, moved to the top of their pool beating Serbia 95-80. Next up the USA on Thursday morning. The Opals also lead their pool after a strong 89-71 victory over France. Our men’s Water Polo team bounced back from their shock first round loss with a strong second match draw with powerhouse Hungary. The women’s team staked their claim as a medal threat with a 14-4 win over Russia in their opening game.
The Matildas kept their medal hopes alive with a 6-1 win over Zimbabwe, they meet hosts Brazil in the Quarter Finals with the USA potentially waiting for them in the Semi Final if they win.
Kelmendi won Kosovo’s first gold
Kosovo have been recognised as a nation by the IOC for less than two years after declaring their independence from Serbia in 2008. In their debut on the Olympic stage they have their maiden gold medal, delivered by Majinda Kelmendi in the Women’s 52kg Judo Final.
Upon claiming gold she sank to her knees to savour the moment. A small group chanting ‘Kosovo, Kosovo’ was her next point of celebration. Speaking afterwards she expressed “I have always wanted to show the world that Kosovo is not just a country that has gone through war.” She also hoped that her victory would inspire her compatriots to chase their dreams. “Even after we survived a war, if they want something they can have it” she said, “If they want to be Olympic champion, they can be. Even if we come from a small country, a poor country.”
As the crowds began to disperse from the Deodoro Stadium after the Pearls gold medal triumph, those still in their seats were treated to a special moment. Stadium manager Marjorie Enya took control of the microphone with a special question for Brazillian player Isadora Cerullo. With an expectant crowd, Enya’s relief was evident when Cerullo agreed to her proposal for marriage.
On the sands of Copacabana Beach we were given an example of how the Olympics brings the different cultures of the world together. Those who have watched women’s Beach Volleyball would now be aware of the normal uniform worn by its competitors. A preliminary match between German and Egyptian teams produced something a little different. In keeping with their cultural sensitivities and in contrast to their opponent’s traditional two piece outfit, Nada Meawad and Doaa Elghobashy instead wore an outfit consisting of long sleeves and leggings.
Alright, Alright, Alright
An interesting spectator at the Women’s Rugby was Academy Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey. What was even more surprising, when interviewed by Channel 7, was his knowledge of Rugby and another Australian sporting staple Cricket. After giving a more insightful than expected synopsis on the first half of the Pearls match with the US, he waxed lyrical about his time living in Australia and watching Test Cricket when on “smoko” and how Seven’s rugby was to the 15 man game what T20 was to Test Cricket. In fact, apart from mistaking State of Origin for “State of Union”, if his acting career fell on hard times he could do a better job than most of our current commentators on our sports.
A picture says a 1000 words and that is the case with these two images.
British Judo Champ Ashley McKenzie was eliminated after a devastating 1 point defeat, it was more than McKenzie could bear.
The Pearls and New Zealand fought out a tight Gold Medal match, the Kiwis staged a fight back but was beaten by the clock. This image captures the agony and the ecstasy of the final siren.
Best Dummy Spit Award
Our friends from across the ditch didn’t take to well to be bested in the Final of the Women’s Rugby competition. Newspapers and Social Media users cried foul over Australia’s first try scored by Emma Tonegato and the refereeing of the breakdowns. Players too joined in the fray demanding the use of TMO for future finals.
Our day 1&2 nomination of our boy Mack Horton and Japan’s Sun Yang has continued to simmer as the pair prepare to face off in the 1500m later in the week. As it has simmered, a general beef between clean and suspended athletes has grown around the pool deck. US breaststroke queen Lilly King, following Horton’s stance, took aim at her rival in the 100m Breaststroke Yulia Efimova. Efimova had served a 16 month suspension for failing two drug tests and was only competing at the games after a successful 11th hour appeal. She went further when pressed, agreeing that her Olympic teammate, sprinter Justin Gatlin, should not be competing in Rio. The crowd has also spoken with boos, something that is hardly ever heard at the Olympics, heard during introductions or Efimova and Yang on day 3.
Just like last year’s World Cup, the men’s Rugby tournament in Rio has started with a monumental upset. On paper what appeared like a straight forward victory for one of the pre-tournament favourites against a team it had never lost to, became anything but.
In front of a crowd urging on the underdog, the Japanese followed a simple mantra, as winger Kameli Soejima shared “Give it your all, give it your best shot, most of all play our Japan way. It’s sevens, it’s anyone’s games!”. After taking an early lead, Japan saw it disappear as the Football Ferns struck back with two tries. Japan still believed that if they kept at their plan a chance would come and so it did, with Soejima crossing for a levelling try.
With Katsyuki Sakai’s conversion the Cherry Blossoms had a 14-12 lead they would cling to until a famous win was confirmed with the final whistle.
What was that about??
In the Gymnastics Team Final, the Ukrainian team sent Maksym Semiankiv to contest the high bar. However, instead of completing a routine Semiankiv took hold of the bars, dropped, nodded to the judges and left the mat with a score of zero. Speculation has been that it was all in order for their athletes to prepare for the individual events. Whatever the reason, it is odd.
What was that about 2??
Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli has an interesting pre-race ritual. As he prepares to race he extends his middle finger in an old “one finger salute”. The ritual apparently began when an 8 year old Condorelli became frustrated at losing races. Condorelli’s father told his son to put everything out of his mind and swim as if no one else was around. So Santo would step on the blocks look for his father in the crowd and the pair would flip each other the bird and he began to win. A tradition was born.
Titus O’Reilly out did himself with his take on the Mack Horton v Sun Yang spat.
Michael Phelps giving an opponent the stink eye has set the meme makers into a spin, you can check out a few here.
To the Australian Swimming Team whose members have made themselves available for interview after each race win, lose or draw. It has provided some fantastic insights into elite athletes in what could be either the greatest or not so great moments of their careers.
Ric Charlesworth. On Tuesday, the 1976 Olympic Silver Medallist with the Kookaburras and coach of two Hockeyroos Olympic Gold’s, was less than complimentary of the Women’s 7’s competition. In what seemed to be a little bit of ‘my medals are better than your medals’ he suggested our Pearls had won a ‘soft’ competition. Right, wrong or indifferent, the day they won the competition probably isn’t the day to try and rain on their parade.
Events to Watch Days 5 & 6
Thursday 11 August
12:30am Men’s Rugby Preliminary Match – Our Thunderbolts meet one of the tournament fancies South Africa in their last group game, needing to win to qualify to progress to the knockout stages.
8am Men’s Basketball Group A Match – Our Boomers take on the USA in this Group A match up. How will our team packed with NBA talent go against Kevin Durrant and Co?
11.54am Women’s 200m Butterfly final – Brianna Throssell and Madeline Groves, who qualified fastest, will both be chasing the first women’s individual gold medal of the Olympics.
12:03pm Men’s 100m freestyle final – Cameron McEvoy and Kyle Chalmers qualified 2nd and 3rd for the final, can either become the first Aussie man since Michael Wendon in 1968 to claim the blue riband event?
Friday 12 August
1.30am Womens Kayak K1 Slalom Final – After being christened the ‘Silver Fox’ after unlikely London placing, Jessica Fox is the strong favourite to go one better in Rio. ‘Golden Fox’ doesn’t have the same ring though.
6.45am Womens Basketball Preliminary Round – The Opals continue their quest for a medal against Japan.
7.00am Women’s Hockey Preliminary Round – The Hockeyroos desperately need a win to get their campaign back on track. Argentina will not make it easy.
7.30am Men’s Rugby Bronze Medal and Gold Medal Matches – With luck our Thunderbolts will be in action in either of these matches. If not there is a fairytale for Australian’s to follow, with Fiji favoured to win the nation’s first ever Olympic Gold. Fair to say Kava sales may be in line for a spike.
11:26am Men’s 200m backstroke final – Mitch Larkin could be chasing his second medal of the meet as the World Number 1 in the event should be a strong chance to win gold here.
12:18pm Women’s 100m freestyle final – Cate Campbell is the World Record Holder in this event her sister Bronte Campbell is the World Champion. It will take quite a swim to stop one of these siblings claiming gold.
12.01pm Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final – American Michael Phelps has gone about his gold medal winning ways this Olympics, now with 21 in possession, he is aiming to become the first swimmer to win this event 4 times. The way his career has gone so far, you’d expect him to do so.
MEDAL TALLY AFTER DAY 4
|Mack Horton – Men’s 400m Freestyle||Men’s Team Archery|
|Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay||Keeney/Smith – Sync. 3m Springboard|
|Catherine Skinner – Women’s Trap||Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay|
|Women’s Rugby||Equestrian Eventing Team|
|Emma McKeon – 200m Freestyle|
Women’s Individual Round of 32 – Alice Ingley (Aus) def Lucilla Boaria (Ita)
Women’s Individual Round of 16 – Alice Ingley (Aus) def by Ane Gomes Dos Santos (Bra)
Men’s Individual Round of 32 – Alec Potts (Aus) def by Bernardo Oliveira (Bra)
Men’s Individual Round of 32 – Taylor Worth (Aus) def Ahmed El-Nemr (Egy)
Men’s Individual Round of 16 – Taylor Worth (Aus) def Elias Malave (Ven)
Men’s Preliminaries – Boomers 95 def Serbia 80
Women’s Preliminaries – Opals 89 def France 71
Women’s Preliminaries – Del Solar/Laird (Aus) def by Forer/Verge Depre (Sui) 21-19, 16-21, 19-21
Women’s Preliminaries – Clancy/Bawden (Aus) def Pazo/Agudo (Ven) 21-9, 21-14
Men’s 75kg Preliminaries – Daniel Lewis (Aus) def Tomasz Jablonski (Pol)
Women’s K1 Heat – Jessica Fox 2nd
Men’s C1 Semi Final – Ian Burrows 11th
Individual Eventing – Sam Griffiths 4th, Chris Burton 5th, Stuart Tinney 22nd, Shane Rose DNF
Team Eventing – Australia Bronze Medal
Women’s Prelimaries – Matildas 6 def Zimbabwe 1
Women’s Preliminaries – Hockeyroos 1 def by USA 2
Men’s Preliminaries – Kookaburras 0 def by Belgium 1
Men’s 73kg Rd of 32 – Jake Benstead (Aus) def Andrew Mlugu (Tan)
Men’s 73kg Rd of 16 – Jake Benstead (Aus) def by Rustam Orujov (Aze)
Men’s 81kg Rd of 32 – Eoin Coughlan (Aus) def by Sengsu Less (Kor)
Women’s 63kg Rd of 32 – Katharina Haeker (Aus) def Laura Lopez Salles (And)
Women’s 63kg Rd of 16 – Katharina Haeker (Aus) def by Miku Tashiro (Jpn)
Men’s Double Sculls Semi Final A/B 1 – Watts/Morgan 5th
Men’s Four Heat 1 – Australia 1st
Men’s Pair Semi Final A/B 1 – Turrin/Lloyd 2nd
Men’s Single Sculls Quarter Final 1 – Rhys Grant 2nd
Women’s Double Sculls Semi Final A/B 2 – Kehoe/Horton 4th
Women’s Eight Heat 1 – Australia 4th
Women’s Quad Sculls Repechage 1 – Australia 5th
Women’s Single Sculls Quarter Final 4 – Kim Brennan 1st
Men’s Preliminaries – Thunderbolts 14 def by France 31
Men’s Preliminaries – Thunderbolts 24 def Spain 12
Women’s Semi Final – Pearls 17 def Canada 5
Women’s Gold Medal Match – Pearls 24 def New Zealand 17
Laser Class Progress – Tom Burton 4th
Laser Class Progress – Ashley Stoddart 14th
Finn Class Progress – Jake Lilley 19th
10m Air Rifle – Dane Simpson 37th
Men’s Trap Qualification – Adam Vella 12th, Mitchell Iles-Crevatin 26th
Women’s 25m Pistol Precision Qualification – Lalita Yauleuskaya 13th, Elena Galiabovitch 32nd
Women’s 25m Pistol Rapid Qualification – Lalita Yauleuskaya 14th, Elena Galiabovitch 31st
Men’s 100m Backstroke Final – Mitch Larkin 4th
Men’s 100m Freestyle Heat 7 – Kyle Chalmers 1st
Men’s 100m Freestyle Heat 8 – Cameron McEvoy 1st
Men’s 100m Freestyle – Semi Final 1 – Cameron McEvoy 2nd
Men’s 100m Freestyle – Semi Final 2 – Kyle Chalmers 1st
Men’s 200m Butterfly – Heat 3 – Grant Irvine 2nd
Men’s 200m Butterfly – Heat 4 – David Morgan 7th
Men’s 200m Butterfly – Semi Final 1 – Grant Irvine 5th
Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – Australia 4th
Women’s 100m Backstroke Final – Emily Seebohm 7th, Maddi Wilson 8th
Women’s 200m Butterfly – Heat 3 – Brianna Throssell 3rd
Women’s 200m Butterfly – Heat 4 – Madeline Groves 4th
Women’s 200m Butterfly – Semi Final 1 – Brianna Throssell 3rd
Women’s 200m Butterfly – Semi Final 2 – Maddeline Groves 1st
Women’s 200m Freestyle – Final – Emma McKeon Bronze, Bronte Barrat 5th
Women’s 200m Individual Medley – Final – Alicia Coutts 5th
Men’s Singles 2nd Round – John Millman (Aus) def by Kai Nishikori 6-7, 4-6
Women’s Singles 2nd Round – Sam Stosur (Aus) def Misaki Doi (Jpn) 6-3, 6-4
Women’s Singles 3rd Round – Sam Stosur (Aus) def by Angelique Kerber (Ger) 0-6, 5-7
Men’s Preliminaries – Sharks 9 v Hungary 9
Women’s Preliminaries – Stingers 14 def Russia 4