Deserving Champions (and Undeserving Ones Too)

Rio 2016 Review of Day 3

Kōhei Uchimura Rio 2016

The gymnastics finals began with the men’s team competition which Japan won for the first time since 2004, having finished second in Beijing and London. It was a first team title for Kohei Uchimara (above), who put in strong performances, as did Kenzo Shirai.

The evening’s swimming was tainted by doping controversy. Sun Yang of China added 200m freestyle to his 400m and 1500m titles in 2012, having served a ban in between.

In the 100m breaststroke, Yulia Efimova’s participation had been in doubt until the last minute, due to the shifting rules of Russia’s punishment for covering up failed tests. But in a surprise result, she was pipped for the gold medal by Lilly King of the United States.

Team World

Alia Atkinson of Jamaica finished eighth in that final, but this would have disappointed the world bronze medallist, who also finished fourth in the same event at London 2012.

Michael Jung moved into second place in the three day event by jumping clear on a hard cross country course. His main challenger will be Christopher Burton of Australia, who also had a clear round. Germany looks to be out of contention for gold in the team event.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross comfortably defeated China’s beach volleyball pair, but India’s men lost 2-1 to Germany in hockey, by a goal scored 3 seconds from the end.

Rafaela Silva

The Brazilian hosts found their first Olympic champion of the Rio Games, Rafaela Silva (above) in judo. It is one of Brazil’s most successful sports but gold medals are rare for it.

In the first ever rugby sevens competition, Australia defeated New Zealand in the final to win the women’s title. The men’s teams play tomorrow, including Fiji of Team World.

In trap shooting, Giovanni Pellielo of Italy reached the last two, having won silver twice before. But it was heartbreak again, as he lost a shootoff, to Josip Glasnovic of Croatia.

Weightlifting has suffered numerous scandals, with the result that several countries are banned from competing in Rio, giving the chance for other to shine. Oscar Figueroa won the men’s 62kg category while Thailand took gold and silver in the women’s 58kg event.

But, unfortunately, the stench of doping could not quite be eliminated as the Thai victor, Sukanya Srisurat, has previously been given a ban, which she completed three years ago.

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2 thoughts on “Deserving Champions (and Undeserving Ones Too)

  1. GB have had a lot of 4th places in the last couple of days. Is it wrong that whenever there’s a Russian on the podium I think to myself – “oh well we might be upgraded to bronze in due course”?

    Italy seem to have been absolutely storming it. Every time I see an event they are on the podium. Well done them.

    Also Japan doing brilliantly – I think there is usually a trend of countries doing well the Olympics before they host – extra funding, focus and enthusiasm already kicking in.

    Many congratulations to Rafaela Silva – a triumph over nominative determinism!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On the whole, I don’t approve of speculating about athletes who have not served a ban, but I make an exception for Russia, whose system is crooked from top to bottom, especially sports like swimming. But an upgrade for Team GB gymnastics is less likely. There is less doping (that we know of) in that sport.

    And athletes who have served bans are fair game. They tend to be at very high risk of failing again so I wouldn’t completely rule out a medal for James Guy, who was in fourth place behind Sun Yung of China.

    Japan had a disappointing Games in London, except in wrestling, and does seem to be benefiting from future host advantage. The real test is how well it does in its favourite sports, such as judo, and I would not rule out another gold for Kosuke Higano in the pool. In Tokyo, it is going to pull out all the stops – there are even whispers of an ambitious plan to snatch the marathon racing honours away from Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

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