Highlights and Results from Day 8 of The London Olympics 2012
Day 8 the second Saturday of the London Olympics proved to be the best Olympic day for Great Britain ever. Jessica Ennis fulfilled her promise, winning the 800M final event of the Heptathlon in front of a packed stadium of 80,000 people and who knows how many millions on TV. The pressure on Ennis had been immense, being the face of the games, appearing on billboards and screens all over the country and abroad. But she never let it affect her and delivered in all 7 events.
Sometimes the final leg of the multi discipline events can be an anti climax, with the winner of the whole event finishing down the field in the last race. But Jessica’s sense of the occasion never let anyone down. She led the 800 metres from the start, but was over taken at about 500 metres by three or four hopefuls, Ennis fought back on the final bend and overtook them all to a cheering crowd and delivered all the drama that her triumph deserved.
Jessica Ennis was rumoured to be the most heavily sponsored athlete going into these games, well I am betting she will be plagued with endorsement requests from here in. You are going to see a lot more of this young lady’s face and highly toned frame in the future.
One place I am hoping that we do not see it is in the 100 metres hurdles on Monday. There is talk of her backing up in the individual event that she started the Heptathlon with so well. But I would hate to see anything wreck the fairytale ending, should she not win and I would also like to see Sally Pearson of Australia get her moment in the sun, winning the event she has dominated and trained so hard for in recent years.
Following Ennis’s win on the track, next up was Britain‘s other great medal hope Mo Farah he was also an almost unbackable favourite to win the 10,000 metres. But it was never going to be easy, being up against the Kenyans and other Africans who have ruled this event for so long. But they seemed to run the wrong race, not going out fast enough to negate Farah’s renowned fast finish. And Mo ran his own tactics perfectly, streaking into the lead on the last lap. His American training partner Galen Rupp of the USA was right behind him and the Kenyans Tariku and Kenenisa Bekele came in third and fourth.
Meanwhile in the same stadium Greg Rutherford was earning Great Britain’s third Gold medal of the evening in the long jump. He leapt to victory with a jump of 8.31 metres ahead of Mitchell Watt of Australia and Will Claye of the USA.
All this British Gold overshadowed the final event of the night and one that normally takes the headlines, the women’s 100 Metres. Jamaican Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price successfully defended her Beijing title, beating out Carmelita Jeter of the USA, who led in the first 50. Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica came in third. It was a great race, but way too many hyphens for my liking.
Prior to the Brits lighting up the stadium with Gold, their countryman had already picked up 3 Gold medals in the Velodrome and in their boats. Great Britain won Gold in the Women’s team Pursuit and set a new world record on the way. The USA and Canada claimed Silver and Bronze. Australia and New Zealand came in fourth and fifth.
In Rowing Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls and Great Britain picked up their fourth straight Olympic Gold in the Men’s Coxless Four just beating Australia in a thrilling race.
In the last night at the pool Michael Phelps ended his Olympic career in style, with Gold in the 4 x 100M Medley. The USA finished almost 2 seconds in front of Japan and Australia who collected the Silver and Bronze. James Magnusson swam a great anchor leg for Australia, which will hopefully silence his critics.
The US Women were also clear winners in the Women’s 4 x 100M Medley. Again almost 2 seconds clear of the place getters, but the position were reversed from the Men’s event with Australia collecting Silver and Japan the Bronze. So Liesel Jones finishes her Olympic career with medal too.
The Brits did not have it all their way on super Saturday. Their Men’s Football team crashed out of the tournament losing in a penalty shoot out to South Korea, after finishing 1-1 after extra time. This followed the Women’s 2-0 loss to Canada on Friday. In Basketball Australia beat Great Britain convincingly 106-75. This game followed the American Dream Team’s narrow win over Lithuania 99-94.
But all that Gold saw Great Britain finish the day third on the medal table, with only China and the USA in front of them. Australia are sitting 19th after their most disappointing week in the pool in recent memory.
Whatever day 9 holds, it will be hard to pass the glory and drama of day 8, especially if you are British. But the Olympics will always have something to surprise and delight.
By Max Power