Highlights and results from The London Olympics Day 7
On day 7 Athletics began in the main stadium of the London 2012 Olympics. Many people see Track and Field as the true beginning of the Olympics, but that denies a whole wealth of sports for which an Olympic medal is the pinnacle. But there is no denying it gets the big headlines and heaps of coverage.
The track and field events began with Men’s Shot Put and Women’s Heptathlon, where Jessica Ennis is one of Great Britains biggest hopes for a Gold Medal and quite the glamour girl. She did not disappoint her adoring fans, coming up with the fastest ever time for a heptathlete in the 100m hurdles. Her time of 12.54 seconds matched the winning time of American Dawn Harper in the individual hurdles at the Beijing Games in 2008. That really is the way to start a competition. But Jessica did not have it all her own way, four other girls in her heat clocked personal best times of sub 13 seconds.
The second event of the heptathlon, the High Jump saw Ennis come in 5th equal with a leap of 1.86 metres. Austra Skujyte of Lithuania won that one, clearing 1.92 metres, with 19 year old British competitor Katrina Johnson-Thompson coming in second.
In the afternoon session the Heptathletes moved on to the Shot Put, where Austra Skujyte once again finished in front with a Put of 17.31 metres, another world best. This not being one of Ennis’s best events she finished a little down the field in 8th, the only time she scored less than 1000 points on day one.
The final event of the Heptathlon for the day was the 200M. Ennis finished first equal with Dafne Schipers of the Netherlands in a time of 22.83 another personal best for Ennis. At the end of the day she led the field on 4158 points, 184 clear of Austra Skujyte in second and her best first day score by 34 points.
Medals were decided in two events on day one of the Athletics. The Men’s Shot Put was won by reigning Olympic Champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland, the first non-American to go back to back in the event. Silver went to David Storl of Germany and Bronze to Reese Hoffa of the USA. The Women’s 10,000 Metres was won by Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia with Kenyans Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego and Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot collecting Silver and Bronze.
Swimming’s penultimate night saw four finals resolved and Michael Phelps amazing Olympic legend grow even more. The first final of the evening saw the USA pick up Gold and Bronze with Missy Franklin setting a new world record of 2:04.06in the Women’s 200M Backstroke. Compatriot Elizabeth Beisel picked up the Bronze and Anastasia Zueva of Russia separated them.
The legend continued in the Men’s 100M Butterfly. Michael Phelps was lagging a little behind on the first 50 but ran down the competition on the home stretch to collect his 21st Olympic medal 17 of them Gold. This was his last individual race before he is due to retire, but he kept up the record breaking by winning the event for the 3rd time in succession. Chad le Clos of South Africa claimed the Silver and Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia the Bronze.
The Women’s 800M Freestyle featured British hope Rebecca Adlington, who won Gold in the same event and the 400M Freestyle four years ago in Beijing. But this race was dominated by 15 year old American Katy Ledecky who led from start to finish. Adlington challenged a few times but never really looked like passing Ledecky and Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain caught and passed Rebecca to finish with the Silver. Lauren Boyle of New Zealand finished fourth with a new Oceania record.
The Men’s 50M Freestyle featured Eamon Sullivan of Australia who was the slowest qualifier and sadly the slowest in the final. But there was only 0.64 of a second between first and eighth. The Gold went to Florent Manadou of France, he is the younger brother of Laure Manadou who won the Gold medal in the Women’s 400M Freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Silver went to Cullen Jones of the USA and Bronze to Cesar Cielo Filho of Brazil.
British and American success continued on day 7 while Australia floundered a little, picking up only a Silver in the Women’s Double Sculls for Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley. The event was won by Britons Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger. While Women’s Cycling Sprint pair Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch only managed Bronze. The British pair were disqualified for an illegal changeover in that event.
But Victoria Pendleton was not to be denied on the second day at the Velodrome, picking up Gold in the Women’s Keirin. In the Men’s Team Pursuit Great Britain won Gold again with Australia and New Zealand winning Silver and Bronze.
Rowing continued to be a great source of hardware for those Commonwealth countries too, with New Zealand winning the Men’s Single Sculls and GB the Bronze. The Men’s Quadruple Sculls went to Germany and Team GB picked up another Bronze. The Men’s Pair was won by New Zealanders Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, the British winning Bronze again and somehow finishing in the same lane as the Kiwis.
Wow a mega busy day at London 2012 and another one on the way.