Highlights and Results of Day 9 of The London Olympics 2012
Day 8, Super Saturday in the Athletics stadium was always going to be a hard one to follow, but in terms of excitement Day 9 at the London Olympics was pretty close. The Blue Ribbon event, the Men’s 100 Metres, was losing some of its shine, with Olympic champion and current world record holder Usain Bolt being off his best form. But all of that changed in the semi-final. Bolt qualified for the final with the third fastest time behind Justin Gatlin of the USA and Yohan Blake of Jamaica, but he cruised home once he knew he had it won and we all knew he had so much more for the final.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. When the final arrived the atmosphere in the stadium was reaching fever pitch. All the favourites were there, including Tyson Gay who had beaten Bolt earlier this year. The Jamaicans put on their little comedy routines before the cameras at the start, the Americans were much more serious. Then in under ten seconds it was all over. Bolt went flat out and blitzed the field, setting a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds. The first five all set personal best or seasons best times. Only Asafa Powell of Jamaica went over 10 seconds and he pulled up injured 20-30 metres short of the line.
Bolt’s compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake came in second for a Jamaican double, Justin Gatlin collected the Bronze. But there was no doubt that the crowd favourite had won and celebrations went on long after the finish with Bolt and Blake throwing poses, shaking hands and hugging people all around the stadium. Another great event for the London games, bring on the 200 metres where most of the same competitors will line up again.
Before the 100M final there were a few other events that helped the crowd reach that fever pitch. In the field Krisztian Pars of Hungary had won the Men’s Hammer Throw and Olga Rypakova had continued Kazakhstan’s remarkable record in this Olympics winning the Women’s Triple Jump. Kazakhstan now has 6 Gold medals and no Silver or Bronze. They seem to live by the rule “go hard or go home”.
On the track, apart from the 100 metre semi-finals there were semis of the 400 and 1500 metres which both produced drama in terms of falls and the results. Young Aussie Steven Solomon qualified for the 400 metre final amongst illustrious company.
The Women’s 400 metres was won by American Sanya Richards-Ross, who was almost run down at the end by British girl Christine Ohuruogu, the current Olympic champion (who I believe also served on the Starship Enterprise as one of Captain Kirk’s support staff). It was another remarkable comeback for Ohuruogu, in front of her home crowd, after suffering injury and poor form ever since the last Olympics. DeeDee Trotter of the USA picked up the Bronze with her very unusual running style.
The Men’s 3000m Steeplechase added more drama with stumbles and falls. Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad split the Kenyans Ezekiel Kemboi and Abel Kiprop Mutai in the medals. While Brimin Kiprop Kipruto staged an amazing recovery, to finish 5th after falling late in the race and finding himself in last position.
Outside of the stadium Great Britain picked up two more Golds. Sailor Ben Ainsle won in the Finn class, which I am afraid means nothing to me. And Andy Murray finally beat Rodger Federer, to win the Men’s Singles in Tennis.
I must say I have strong reservations about Tennis being an Olympic sport. It has its own non-stop world tour and I am sure that most Tennis players would much rather win a Wimbledon title than an Olympic medal. Well this year they get the best of both worlds, as they can win an Olympic medal at Wimbledon. But Tennis is a big draw card, the crowds flock to the matches so it is obviously there to stay.
Today in the main stadium we have the qualifiers of the Women’s 100 Metres Hurdles which will feature the first appearance of Australian favourite Sally Pearson and five medals will be decided in the evening session. Outside of the stadium a multitude of events continue at other venues, including Sailing, Cycling, Boxing and a couple of big Basketball fixtures featuring the Aussie Boomers and USA Dream Team.