Archive for the ‘Athletics’ Category

The London Olympics Day 16 – The Final Day

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012


Highlights and Results of Day 16 The London Olympics 2012

All good things come to an end they say and the London Olympics 2012 was nothing but a good thing. Sadly the final day came yesterday, but the 30th Games went out with a bang and lots of medals being decided.

The day started with the traditional final Olympic Athletics event, the Men’s Marathon. But in a break with tradition it did not start and end in the stadium, but took in the famous sites of the City of London and finished in the Queen’s driveway, The Mall and the whole route was lined with thousands of supporters cheering on the athletes.

Olympic Men's Marathon

The Olympic Men’s Marathon route took in London’s Mall

As expected the marathon was dominated by the Africans. The Kenyans led through Wilson Kiprotich from about the halfway mark. Countryman Abel Kirui and Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda caught him and made it a three way fight for the medals. Despite appearing to have a leg injury Stephen Kiprotich surged to the front and claimed Uganda’s first medal of the games 26 seconds ahead of Kirui.

usa vs spain 2012  Olympic final

USA beat Spain in the 2012 Olympic Basketball final

The Men’s Basketball finished with the most expected result of the games, the USA winning the Gold with their team of NBA superstars, including Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant. But Silver medallists Spain did not let them have it all their own way. Spain went behind by ten points in the first quarter but caught up and were only a point behind at half time. The third quarter remained very close, but a few minutes into the final period the USA started to pull away and put some daylight between them, finishing with a 107-100 score line. Earlier in the day Russia had won the Bronze medal play off 81-77

Anthony Joshua won Gold Super Heavyweight

Anthony Joshua won Gold in Boxing’s Super Heavyweight division

In Boxing five medals were decided, with four of them going to the old communist bloc countries, well if you count Cuba as one of those. Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all won Gold. Great Britain’s Fred Evans claimed Silver in the Welterweight 69Kg division and countryman Anthony Joshua won Gold in the Super Heavyweight +91Kg division beating Italian Roberto Cammrelle.

Samantha Murray won Great Britain’s 65th medal of the games finishing second behind Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania in the Women’s Modern Pentathlon. The men’s event had been won by David Svoboda of the Czech Republic the day before.

Russia beat Brazil to win the Men’s Volleyball Gold. Italy had claimed the Bronze beating Bulgaria earlier in the day.

Italy went one better in the Men’s Water Polo claiming Silver after losing the final 8-6 to Gold medalists Croatia, their first medal as an independent state. The Bronze was won by Serbia beating Montenegro 12-11 just short of a clean medal sweep for the old Yugoslavian states.

We have written 15 articles and have not even covered all of the events in this fantastic games. The Olympics is always special, but I believe the London Olympics is even more special, the best since Sydney of 2000. Of course I have my own bias having grown up in London and lived in Australia for many years. But I believe that many athletes and commentators who have been to more than one games will tell you that this one was exceptional.

The opening and closing ceremonies were the best, including the Great British history and huge depth of music and the arts.

We will cover the closing ceremony on our sister site Oz Music Reviews and you can access it by clicking here The London Olympics Closing Ceremony .

In the mean time we will start counting down the days until Rio de Janeiro 2016. Don’t you just love the Olympics?

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The London Olympics Day 15 – Another Super Saturday

Sunday, August 12th, 2012


Highlights and Results from Day 15 of the The London Olympics 2012

Who would believe that the second Saturday in the Athletics stadium could come close to the first? But close it came. It didn’t yield three Gold medals for the host country, like the first Saturday, but there was a remarkable second Gold for long distance man Mo Farah, a new world record for the 4 x 100M Relay and more entertaining antics from Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.

Things really kicked off with the first track event of the night, the Men’s 500 Metres. Mo Farah was a warm favourite and the hope for most of the 80,000 in the stands. But could he back up after the 10,000 metres and a heat for the 5,000? The man was on 20,000 metres of competitive running. The race started at a really slow pace and after a couple of laps Farah decided he needed to take the pace on himself. So he led from the front for a while. There were lots of lead changes with the Kenyans, Ethiopians and Bernard Lagat of the USA all trying to find the best position for the finish. With about 750 metres remaining Farah kicked very early for home. There was a lot of competition for the front spot over the last two laps, but coming into the home straight Farah opened his stride and no one was going to catch him. Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia was right behind Farah and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya beat Bernard Lagat to the Bronze.

Mo Farah and Usain Bolt

Mo Farah and Usain Bolt share the celebrations

The Women’s 800 Metres was next on the track. There was much talk of Caster Semenya, the South African who has mainly been in exile since her World Championship win 3 years ago and the allegations and questions of her gender that followed. Semenya spent most of the race at the back of the pack and the Russians led. She kicked with about 130 metres to go but had let the lead runners get too far away it seemed. But she did manage to catch and pass all but Mariya Savinova of Russia, who won Gold. Semenya could certainly have won the Olympic title had she ran a smarter race.

USA WOMENS 4 x 400m Relay Team

Fifth successive Gold for USA Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Team

The US team for the Women’s 4 x 400 metres Relay were firm favourites and led the race from beginning to end. They finished more than 3 seconds ahead of the Russians, who claimed silver. Jamaica beat off a strong challenge from Ukraine to win the Bronze. This was the fifth successive Gold for the American women in this Olympic event, the third Gold medal at these games for Allyson Felix and the second for Sanya Richards-Ross. Is that domination or what?

The Men’s 4 x 100 metres Relay set up another showdown between the big guns of Olympic sprinting, Jamaica and the USA. Nesta Carter and Michael Frater gave Jamaica a good start, but they were marginally behind the USA when Yohan Blake took the baton. The Jamaican changeover was better than the Americans and Blake ran a great bend to catch them and takeover. When Bolt took the baton Ryan Bailey was pretty much level with him, but only at the start. Bolt exploded down the home straight, he showed no signs of slowing at the finish and even dipped for the line. It was all worthwhile; the Jamaicans had set a new world record by two-tenths of a second. Bolt and Blake led the celebrations, throwing their regular poses and shaking hands and hugging everyone around the track. There was a minor dispute with an official as Bolt wanted to keep the baton, but the official insisted it was returned. But this is not a games of bureaucracy and it was presented back to him before the night was over. Bolt mimicked Mo Farah’s hands on head celebration, as Farah had imitated Bolt’s celebrations with some sit ups after the 5,000 metres. They later posed together as the two stars of the night at this London Olympics.

Jamaican Mens 4 x 100 metres Relay Team

New World record for the Jamaican Mens 4 x 100 metres Relay Team

That finished the events in the stadium. Many people are sad to see the London games come to an end and I am one of them. It has been nothing short of magnificent.

Events were finishing all around London. The Football (Soccer) had a surprising end at Wembley with the favourites Brazil being beaten 2-1 by Mexico. The defending of the Brazilians was atrocious, giving away the ball carelessly in dangerous areas. The first time was only 30 seconds after the kick off and Mexico capitalised through Oribe Peralta, who put away his chance for the fastest ever goal in an Olympic final. Other Brazilian mistakes saw Mexico hit the bar and no one was really marking Peralta when he scored his second, heading in from a corner. The Brazilians scored on 90 minutes through Hulk and they had a few minutes of injury time left to equalise and take the game into extra time. But they hardly deserved to and justifiably Mexico took the Gold.

The USA convincingly beat France 86-50 in North Greenwich to take the Women’s Basketball Gold. US forward Candace Parker top scored with 21 points. Earlier Australia had beaten Russia 83-74 to take the Bronze.

Germany retained the Olympic Men’s Hockey title with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. It was a close finish but with two minutes remaining, Rabente scored the winner from close range. Australia again claimed Bronze beating Great Britain 3-1 in the play off.

Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk

Ukrainian Olympic Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk has a long way to go to match his dancing with his Boxing skills

In Boxing 5 titles were decided at the Excel arena. Great Britain’s Luke Campbell beat Irishman Joe Nevin in front of a rapturous home crowd to claim the Bantamweight (56Kg) Gold. But the most impressive celebrations of the night came from Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk after beating Clemente Russo of Italy for the Heavyweight (91Kg) Gold medal. Usyk wound up events with some Cossack dancing, which could have been mixed with some break dancing, it was hard to tell. But it was the only celebration in this Olympics I have seen that has come close to Usain Bolt’s.

There are several events that wind up on this final day of the London Olympics The Men’s Marathon should finish around 1:40PM. Men’s Basketball has the play off for Bronze between Argentina and Russia, Spain face the might of the USA Dream Team for the Gold. There are five medal deciding Boxing bouts. Mountain Bike Racing, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Handball, Modern Pentathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo and Wrestling all come to a conclusion today. So the London games will go out with a bang not whimper.

This will of course all be followed by the closing ceremony, surprises have been promised. If they dragged out Paul McCartney for the opening, I am expecting a full Beatles reunion for the closing.

We will be back tomorrow to wrap up this magnificent London Olympics.

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The London Olympics Day 14 – Another Day Another World Record

Saturday, August 11th, 2012


Highlights and Results from Day 14 of The London Olympics 2012

Day 14 at the London Olympics saw another world record broken on the track. The US Women’s 4 x 100M Relay team knocked almost half a second off of the record for the event that had stood since 1985.

The US team of Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter got off to a fast start and Allyson Felix ran a great second leg, by the time Carmelita Jeter got the baton in her hand she had a healthy lead on their biggest rivals, Jamaica. Jeter finished beautifully and was even seen checking out the clock on her way to the finish line. It was the first time the USA had won this event since 1996. The Jamaican team, which included the Women’s 100M Gold and Bronze medallists, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown, broke their national record, as did third placed European champions Ukraine.

US Womens 4 x 100M Relay Team

US Womens 4 x 100M Relay Team Gold Medallists and World Record Holders

The heats for the Men’s 4 x 100M Relay also provided lots of drama, with home team Great Britain finishing second behind the USA only to be disqualified for the final handover between Daniel Talbot and Adam Gemili. To be blunt the handover was a complete mess. It was not completed until they were outside the designated area, then Gemili ran into the next lane. That apart, Gemili ran a good leg. The USA had the fastest qualifying time for the final, but only one hundredth of a second ahead of Jamaica, who are yet to add the dual 100 and 200 metre champion Usain Bolt to their team.

The Men’s Pole Vault was won by Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie in a new Olympic record of 5.97 Metres. Australian hope and Beijing Gold medallist for the event, Steve Hooker, failed to register a jump and went out very early.

There was also a new Olympic record set in the Women’s Hammer Throw by Tatyana Lysenko of Russia, the Silver went to Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland and the Bronze to Betty Heidler of Germany. The event is still dominated by eastern Europeans, but Wenxiu Zhang of China came in fourth.

The Women’s 5000 Metres was a close run finish, with Meseret Defar of Ethiopia claming the Gold, ahead of Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot of Kenya, fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba scored Bronze. British girls Joanne Pavey and Julia Bleasdale came in 7th and 8th, the first non-Africans.

Turkish Women Lead 1500 Metres

Turkish Women Lead 1500 Metres to the finish line

The Women’s 1500 Metres saw an amazing one two from Turkey with Asli Cakir Alptekin and Gamze Bulut sprinting through the field in the home stretch to claim Gold and Silver. Maryam Yusuf Jamal scored Bahrain’s first medal of these games in third place.

The final event of the evening was the Men’s 4 x 400M relay where the favourites, USA were surprisingly beaten by the Bahamas, who set a new national record. Trinidad and Tobago came in third only just ahead of Great Britain.

Boxing was semi finals night for the men and saw British boys Anthony Joshua, Fred Evans and Luke Campbell all qualify for finals to fight for Gold. On Saturday, bantamweight Luke Campbell fights Ireland‘s John Joe Nevin. On Sunday, welterweight Fred Evans faces Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan, before super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua meets reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy. However, middleweight Anthony Ogogo lost his semi-final to Brazil‘s Esquiva Falcao and had to settle for Bronze.

British DiverTom Daley

British DiverTom Daley just qualified for the final

In Diving British hopeful and teen idol Tom Daley qualified for the final, but only in 15th place, 78 points behind Chinese leader Bo Qiu. Australia will be represented by Mathew Mitchum who finished 9th in the qualifier.

In Men’s Football (Soccer) the Bronze medal play off was won by South Korea who beat Japan 2-0 with goals from Arsenal striker Chuyoung Park and Jacheol Koo.

Great Britain claimed the Bronze medal in Women’s Hockey with a 3-1 win over New Zealand.

Sailors Mal Page and Mat Belcher scored another Sailing Gold for Australia in the 470 class. British crew Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell won the Silver.

Saturday night sees nothing but finals in the Olympic stadium, six of them, leaving only the Marathon to close out this fantastic Olympics on Sunday. Stay tuned, I’m even going to watch the closing ceremony this time.

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The London Olympic Games Day 13 – The Stadium of Dreams

Friday, August 10th, 2012


Results and Highlights from Day 13 at The London Olympic Games 2012

Another sensational night in the London Olympic stadium. This games just keeps on delivering. What more could we ask for? A World Record in the Men’s 800 Metres and Usain Bolt completing the double double by winning the 200 Metres.

David Rudisha of Kenya was the out and out favourite for the 800 Metres Gold medal. There was good reason for that. He led the final from start to finish and while the battle was going on for the minor placings Rudisha crossed the line well ahead of the chasing field in a new World Record. But the following field were not slouching either, every one of them ran a new personal best or created a new national record. The 800 metres at the London Olympics will be long remembered.

David Rudisha of Kenya

David Rudisha of Kenya’s new 800 metre world record

The semi-finals of the Women’s 4 x 100 relay followed. The Americans blitzed the first heat, even though they rested their star sprinters. The Jamaicans came in second in the second semi, marginally behind Ukraine. They had a dodgy changeover on the third leg and also have some speedsters to bring in for the final. The Gold will probably be fought out between the USA and Jamaica, but do not discount Ukraine or Trinidad and Tobago.

There was more success for Jamaica in the 200 Metres final. Usain Bolt got away fast and ran a great bend to go into the straight in front of the field. He of course increased his lead, only to do his traditional slow down at the line. Yohan Blake was once again right behind him and Warren Weir came in third for a Jamaican clean sweep of the medals. The strength of Jamaica in sprinting is astounding for a tiny island nation with a population of less than 3 million people.

Usain Bolt Photographs Paps

Usain Bolt turns the tables on the Paps after winning the 200 metres

Usain Bolt and his compatriots celebrated hard again. This time Bolt even turned the tables on the press photographers, borrowing a camera from one of them and taking their photograph, as well as more of the crowd and fellow medal winners. Apart from being the world’s greatest sprinter, he is also one its biggest showman, which is why the crowds flock to the stadium whenever he runs.

Three other athletics medals were decided on day 13. Christian Taylor of the USA won the Men’s Triple Jump and Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic won the Women’s Javelin. Ashton Eaton of the USA won the Decathlon, ahead of countryman Trey Hardee, but it is those track events that are worth bottling.

The Women’s Football (Soccer) competition was finalized with USA winning the Gold by beating Japan 2-1 Canada claimed the Bronze with a 1-0 win over France. By now we were getting a little tired of hearing the US anthem.

Nicola Adams wins First Ever Womens Olympic Boxing Gold

Nicola Adams of GB won the First Ever Womens Olympic Boxing Gold

Great Britain claimed three more Gold medals on day 13. Jade Jones won the Women’s 57Kg category in Taekwondo and Charlotte Dujardin won the Individual Dressage. Nicola Adams made history by winning the first ever Olympic Boxing medal for women, in the Flyweight division.

In Kayaking Australia‘s Men’s K4 1000m crew of Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jake Clear won Gold, Australia’s 6th of these games which brought them into the top ten on the medal table.

But Aussie fortunes were not so good elsewhere with the Opals losing the Women’s Basketball semi-final to the USA 86-73. They will now play Russia for the Bronze medal. The Men’s Hockey team the Kookaburras, bowed out their semi-final losing 4-2 to Germany. In Women’s Water Polo Australia won the Bronze medal beating Hungary in the play off. The USA won the Gold medal beating Spain 8-5 in the final.

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The London Olympics Day 12 – Second Gold for Aussie Sailors

Thursday, August 9th, 2012


Highlights and Results from Day 12 of the The London Olympics 2012

Australian Sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen won the Men’s 49er Gold on day 12 at the London Olympics. As we reported on Monday they only needed to finish their final race to pick up the Gold medal. New Zealand pair Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had the Silver sewn up in the same way. So at the end of the day Australia collected it’s 5th Gold of the London games and New Zealand its 100th ever Olympic medal.

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen 49er gold

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen win Australia’s 5th Gold

The Australian Boomers Basketball team bowed out of the Olympics on day 12 after coming up against the USA Dream Team. The final score was 119-86 but the Boomers were within 3 points after half time. A scoring frenzy led by NBA superstar Kobe Bryant ensured that Team USA finished with a healthy margin. There was a nasty scuffle in the France v Spain match, but Spain finished 66-59 in front on the scoreboard, to progress to the semi-final.

Kobe Bryant v Boomers

Kobe Bryant blitzed the Aussie Boomers

In the Athletics stadium the biggest superstar of these games was ensuring a place in the 200 metres final and Usain Bolt remains on target for the Olympic double that he achieved in Beijing. Bolt won the second heat of the 200 metres with only the fourth fastest time of the semis. But like the semi final of the 100 metres, he was cruising at the end, leaving plenty to spare for the final. His great friend and Jamaican compatriot Yohan Blake once again had the fastest qualifying time, so another Jamaican one two looks to be on the cards.

Four medals were decided in the Athletics stadium on day 12. The Women’s Long Jump was won by Brittney Reece of the USA with a leap of 7.12 metres. Fellow American Janay Deloach picked up the Bronze. They were separated by Elena Sokolova of Russia.

The Women’s 400 metres Hurdles saw another Russian medal. Veteran Natalya Antyukh, at 31, clocked a personal best time to beat out Lashinda Demus of the USA and Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic.

Allyson Felix Womens 200 metres

Allyson Felix claims Gold in the Womens 200 metres

The Women’s 200 metres was a battle of the sprinters, not only the traditional 100/200 metre competitors, but Sanya Richards-Ross the 400 metre Gold medallist was also well in the mix. But she could not match the starts of the 100 metre girls and finished fifth behind USA compatriot Allyson Felix, 100 metre champion Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter who collected the medals. Veronica Campbel-Brown of Jamaica came in 4th

The final medal race of the 12th evening was the Men’s 110 metres Hurdles where the USA achieved a Gold and Silver finish through Aries Merrit and Jason Richardson. Hansle Parchment of Jamaica won Bronze. British hope Lawrence Clarke achieved a creditable fourth and maybe can improve on that in Rio 2016.

The first five events of the Decathlon were completed with American Ashton Eaton leading the field on 5693 points. The 10 event battle of attrition took its toll, with British hopeful Daniel Awde and former Olympic champion Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic both pulling out with injuries.

In Boxing British Light-Welter Weight Tom Stalker was beaten in his quarter final by Mongolian Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg. It was a contentious decision and Stalker’s camp lodged a failed appeal.

Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes and Flyweight Michael Conlan both secured Boxing medals for Ireland.

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The London Olympics Day 11 – Sally Pearson Wins Gold for Australia

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012


Highlights and Results from Day 11 at The London Olympics 2012

The track medal that Australia has been waiting for became a reality on the 11th day of the London Olympics. Sally Pearson fulfilled her dream of Olympic Gold in the 100M Hurdles on Tuesday evening in London. Sally went out fast from the start in the final and led in the early stages. But Dawn Harper of the USA came after her hard and the final result was a photo finish with Sally finishing only two hundredths of a second in front of Harper. Americans filled the finishing positions from two to four, with Kellie Wells claiming the Bronze.

Sally Pearson

Sally Pearson celebrates after winning Olympic Gold in the 100M Hurdles

Celebrations were lively, as expected and the feeling for Australian fans seems to be as excited as Pearson’s own. Combined with the Gold that Anna Meares collected in the Velodrome this meant the Australia was elevated to 11th on the medal table and above New Zealand, which seemed to be the most important thing in the Australian press.

In the field at the Athletics stadium two medals were decided. The Men’s High Jump was won by Ivan Ukhov of Russia and the Men’s Discus by Germany’s Robert Harting.

Following Sally Pearson’s win the Men’s 1500M was decided in a lively race with lots of bumping and pushing. Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria ran an amazing last 400 metres. So fast it was hard to believe that he had already run 1100 metres before it. He ran down all of his competition and narrowly beat Leonel Manzano of the USA who also cleared the field at the finish. The Kenyans and Ethiopians were relegated to 6th 7th and the last two positions.

There will of course be controversy over this event, as Makhloufi was disqualified from the games earlier in the week, for not trying in the 800M heats. But he came up with a doctor’s sick note and was reinstated. Personally I believe that common sense prevailed, as he did not want to compete in the 800 and was forced to only because the Algerian team never withdrew his nomination in time. But maybe they could have come up with a note from his mum before the race started.

Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares

Victoria Pendleton and Anna Meares with their Silver and Gold medals for the women’s sprint

As mentioned earlier Anna Meares scored another Gold for Australia in the Women’s Cycling Sprint. finally beating Great Britain’s Victoria Pendleton after she was disqualified in the first race for riding out of the sprint lane. Pendleton won Silver in the three race event. But the British run of Cycling success continued with Sir Chris Hoy winning the Keirin and Laura Trott the Women’s Omnium on the last day at the Velodrome. Great Brittain finished with a remarkable 7 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze. Australia, their closest rivals, managed only the 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze.

British brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee won Gold and Bronze in the Men’s Triathlon. The event took place mainly in Hyde Park and the route was lined with cheering fans 12 deep most of the way. Javier Gomez of Spain separated the brothers to claim the Silver in the event, which involves a 1,500 m (1,600 yd) swim followed by a 40 km (24.9 miles) bike ride and a 10 km (6.2 miles) run.

Great Britain added another Gold to their tally on horseback in the Dressage, beating out Germany and the Netherlands who claimed Silver and Bronze.

In Women’s Basketball the Australian Opals beat China and now face the USA in the semi final. Basketball fans will be looking forward to the same fixture in the men’s quarter final today.

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The London Olympics Day 10 – Australia Wins Second Gold

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012


Highlights and results from Day 10 of The London Olympics 2012

There have been some unkind jokes going around on the web, mostly from British and Kiwi fans. They go something along the lines of – Call any Aussie friends you may have and say: ‘You’ve just won Gold!’ When they ask which sport, say: ‘Sorry I meant you’ve just ONE Gold.’. Well day 10 at the London Olympics changed all that, well at least until they can come up with a joke for two. Tom Slingsby, of Gosford, raised the nation’s morale by winning a long awaited second Gold medal in the Laser class of single-hander dinghies at the Olympic Sailing. Now that may mean something to all of the sailor types out there, but to the rest of us it means Australia rocketed to 19th on the medal table.

Tom Slingsby Sailing

Tom Slingsby wins Australia’s second Gold of London 2012

To keep the jokesters at bay, Australia’s pairing of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have secured an unassailable lead in the 49er skiff class, they only have to finish Wednesday’s final event to pick up another Sailing Gold.

In the Athletics stadium five more medals were decided. The Women’s Pole Vault was the first event to start and the last to finish, in the evening session. Swirling winds in the stadium played havoc with all competitors, not to mention having to stop for track races and medal ceremonies. Australia’s Alana Boyd came in 11th with a vault of 4.30 metres. British hope Holly Bleasdale was equal 6th on 4.45. Jennifer Suhr of the USA and Yarisley Silva of Cuba both finished on 4.75 metres, Suhr was awarded the Gold on a count back. Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia won Bronze.

The Women’s Shot Put was a much shorter event; they even managed to get their medals awarded on day 10. But it takes more than a slight wind to affect a 4 kilogram (8.8 lb) ball. Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus won Gold with a 21.36 metre put. Valerie Adams of New Zealand won Silver, Evgeniia Kolodko won another Bronze for Russia.

 Felix Sanchez Mens 400M Hurdles

Felix Sanchez wins the Mens 400M Hurdles

There were qualifiers and semi-finals of the Women’s 200 metres and 400 metres hurdles, but the first track final of the night was the Men’s 400M Hurdles. British hope and Athletics team captain David (Dai) Green finished fourth behind Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, Michael Tinsley of the USA and Javier Culson of Puerto Rico. Sanchez went into some serious celebrations after winning the event, then burst into tears during the medal ceremony, before he even mounted the dais. He continued to sob uncontrollably after his medal was placed around his neck and his national anthem was played. Now this was a great comeback for Sanchez, having won the Gold in Athens in 2004 and failed to medal in Beijing and it’s nice to see commitment, but I am informed that Sanchez’s only connection to the Dominican Republic is that his parents are from there, he was born raised and trains in the USA.

Yuliya Zaripova of Russia

Yuliya Zaripova of Russia ruled the water Jump in the Women’s 3000 Metres Steeplechase

The Women’s 3000 Metres Steeplechase is an event that has been dominated by the Kenyans and Ethiopians. But the tables were turned at the London Olympics. Yuliya Zaripova of Russia led from start to finish, the Kenyans and Ethiopians challenged but were not able to pass her for any significant amount of time and she seemed to gain 5 metres on the field at every water jump. In the final straight she streaked away from the field and Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia beat off the other challengers for Silver. Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia claimed Bronze, Kenya’s first finisher was fourth.

The Men’s 400M final featured 19 year old Australian Steven Solomon, but he was not the youngest in the race. In fact the Gold and Silver were both won by teenagers. Kirani James of Grenada was pulling away at the end and finished over half a second in front of World junior champion, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic. Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago claimed the Bronze.

So a good night in the stadium for Russia and the Dominican Republic, Day 11 will see the Women’s 100M Hurdles semi-finals and final, where all Australians will be hoping that Sally Pearson can break their duck on the track and bring home the Gold.

In Basketball, Australia narrowly beat Russia 82-80. Great Britain finished their campaign with a convincing 90-58 win over China and the US Dream Team did the same in the angry and high scoring 126-97 point win over Argentina. Basketball now moves into the quarter final knockout rounds, where Australia face the mighty USA on Wednesday. The Australian Women’s team, the Opals, face China in their quarter final today.

The Boxing has also reached the gnarly quarter final rounds. All semi finalists are guaranteed a medal, as there is no fight off for the Bronze in Boxing. British Middleweight (75Kg) Anthony Ogogo won his bout against German Stefan Hartel and countryman Anthony Joshua beat China’s Zhilei Zhang in the Super Heavyweight (91Kg) class.

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The London Olympics Day 9 – The Bolt is Back

Monday, August 6th, 2012


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.

Usain Bolt London 2012

Usain Bolt streaks clear of the field to win the London 2012 Olympic Gold

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.

Olga Rypakova Kazakhstan

Olga Rypakova wins Kazakhstan’s 6th Gold medal in the Triple Jump

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.

Womens 400 metres Medallists

Womens 400 metres Medallists London 2012

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.

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The London Olympics Day 8 – The Great British Gold Rush

Sunday, August 5th, 2012


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.

Jessica Ennis Heptatlon Champion

Jessica Ennis the face of the games

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.

Great Britain's Mo Farah

Great Britain’s Mo Farah wins the 10,000m final

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.

Greg Rutherford Long Jump Gold Medallist

Greg Rutherford Long Jump Gold Medallist in action

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.

Rowing Gold Medalists Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking

More British Gold for Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking

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.

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The London Olympics Day 7 – Athletics Begins

Saturday, August 4th, 2012


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.

Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis New Record for the Heptathlon 100M Hurdles

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.

Tomasz Majewski of Poland

Tomasz Majewski of Poland back to back Gold medallist

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.

Mens 100M Butterfly Michael Phelps

Men’s 100M Butterfly Michael Phelps 21st Olympic Medal

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.

Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger

Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger Gold in the Women’s Double Sculls

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.

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