Friday August 19, 2016
Week two of Rio 2016 is drawing to a close and it’s been a phenomenal seven days of sport. Athletes discovered it’s not all sun and games in Rio as wind and rain created challenging conditions across outdoor arenas but despite the drizzle, viewers witnessed incredible records being broken and Britain even nudged China down the league table. Here’s what happened…
On Saturday Mo Farah stormed to victory in the 10,000m despite taking a tumble over training partner Galen Rupp early in the race. Unshaken, he got straight back up and completed the remaining 16 laps, crossing the line first and defending his 2012 title. He dedicated the gold medal to his stepdaughter Rhianna since his double golds from London went to his twins.
Argentina’s Juan Martín del Potro played a strong defence against reigning tennis champion Andy Murray. In the end, he just didn’t have the stamina to beat the man at the top if his game. Murray fought back tears of celebration and embraced his opponent who looked close to collapse by the end.
In the men’s long jump, team GB’s defending champion, Greg Rutherford, had a tense wait to see if he would win bronze or silver when the US’s Jarrion Lawson’s jump was disputed. Lawson’s distance could have won gold, but slow-motion footage revealed that his hand skimmed the ground and jumps are measured from first touch. Despite protests from Lawson’s coach, he was knocked into fourth and Rutherford claimed bronze for Britain.
Greg Rutherford, Team GB
Also on the athletics field Jamaica’s pride and joy, Usain Bolt, schooled his opponents once again, crossing the line 0.08 seconds before the US’s Justin Gatlin and even managing to grin at the cameras as he did it. His victory sparked scenes of celebration back home in Kingston and the usual routine of spectator selfies. Bolt has been enjoying the spirit of Rio since the games kicked off, even inviting a troupe of samba dancers on stage during a press conference!
The women’s synchronised swimming duets provided spectacular viewing with Russia’s Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina setting the bar high above the rest dressed as mermaids. Spain gave them tough competition with a powerful flamenco-themed performance but the finesse of the Spaniards couldn’t match the balletic grace of the Russians who triumphed, adding to an unbroken stream of gold medals in this category since the 2000 Sydney Games.
Things got romantic in the velodrome as GB’s Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, who are engaged, cycled to gold. Trott defended her title in the women's omnium and added to the gold medal she took in the team pursuit, becoming Team GB's most decorated female Olympian with four golds. Kenny took gold in the men’s sprint which is the sixth medal achieved by the track cycling team who have won every event since the omnium where they got silver.
Laura Trott, Team GB
Brazil tasted glory in the boxing ring when lightweight boxer Robson Conceição won his country's first ever Olympic gold in the men's under 60kg category. Robson hails from the tough Boa Vista de São Caetano neighbourhood in the north-eastern city of Salvador and whipped the crowd into a frenzy as they danced and chanted him to victory in the packed 9,000 seat Riocentro Pavilion 6. When the whistle sounded, he fell to his knees, overwhelmed with happiness. Brazilian supporters were thrilled down at the beach too as they cheered their country to victory in beach volleyball, beating the Netherlands in a tie-breaking third set in front of a huge crowd.
In the city, viewers enjoyed panoramic views of Rio as female marathon runners pounded the pavements in searing temperatures. The course snaked past the spectacular £40 million pound Museum of Tomorrow and the front three runners battled it out for glory, with defending champion, Ethiopian Mare Dibaba, eventually falling behind and claiming bronze. Gold went to Jemima Sumgong of Kenya and silver to Bahrain’s Eunice Kirwa. German twins Anna and Lisa Hahner crossed the line holding hands in 81st and 82nd place.
The US’s ‘pocket rocket’ Simone Biles continued her winning streak in gymnastics, triumphing on the vault and floor but proving she was human when she slipped on the beam. Although her error cost her gold, she has sealed her status as a world class gymnast during these games and has used her statement move, ‘the Biles’ (a double layout with half turn) in most routines – people simply can’t compete! Team GB celebrated bronze in the women’s floor event as Britain’s youngest athlete, Amy Tinkler, delivered an outstanding final routine.
Simone Biles, Team USA
The Olympic Games present a fantastic opportunity to emulate Rio’s carnival atmosphere and celebrate with others. However, the city’s tropical climate and areas of swamp land are the perfect breeding ground for insect-borne diseases. Don’t let bites dampen your Olympic spirit and go prepared with reliable mosquito repellent and a good quality mosquito net, so you can cheer on your team bite-free.