Rio 2016 Review of Day 2
The swimming finals were the story of three utterly dominant champions, all of whom broke their own world records and obliterated their opponents. One of them was 100m breaststroker, Adam Peaty of Great Britain (above). The other two were Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden in the 100m butterfly, and Katie Ledecky of Team USA in the 400m freestyle.
There is likely to be a battle between Sjostrom and Ledecky to be the star woman of the meet, which could be decided if they race, as planned, in the final of the 200m freestyle.
Almost as a footnote, Michael Phelps won a 19th Olympic gold with an impressive leg for the US 4 x 100m relay team. This absurd level of dominance may never be equalled.
In the same swimming session, Alia Atkinson reached the final of the 100m breaststroke in a busy day for Team World. In slalom canoeing, Matej Benus (who was selected ahead of Michal Martikan for Slovakia) negotiated the rapids of the preliminary stages as well.
But most dramatic were two gold medals for Team World, from Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo, appearing in its first Olympics, and from Wu Minxia who, with her partner Shi Tingmao, took victory in synchronised platform diving, a record fifth gold for any diver.
The dressage phase of the three day event was completed, leaving Michael Jung in fifth place, behind the leader William Fox-Pitt, ahead of the cross country section tomorrow.
The treacherous cycling course turned from drama to horror as Annemiek Van Vleuten was rushed to hospital after a nasty crash, when leading the race. Her teammate Anna van der Breggen (above) passed her before the ambulance arrived and was inspired to win the gold. Tradition was maintained as it was a fourth road race for a Dutchwoman.
There were shocks galore in the tennis. Venus and Serena Williams lost in an Olympic women’s doubles tournament for the first time ever, to the Czechs Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova. Novak Djokovic lost to Juan Martin del Porto in the men’s singles.
China won three gold medals. As well as its divers, it took a victory in shooting and, in the 56kg weightlifting event, the 2008 Olympic champion Long Qingquan recaptured his title and knocked the 2012 winner, North Korea’s Om Yun Chol, into second place.
It was also a great day for Italy which claimed two golds, from Daniele Garozzo in foil fencing, and from Fabio Basile in judo. It took silver in diving, a first medal since 1980.