Rio 2016 Review of Day 4
Michael Phelps won the 20th and the 21st gold medals of his unique career in the 200m butterfly and the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. The butterfly was a particularly thrilling race where Masato Sakai of Japan was beaten to the touch by fractions and Tamas Kenderesi of Hungary was chasing hard and finished with bronze. Chad le Clos of South Africa was outside the medals and Laszlo Cseh was seventh. Cseh is still without an Olympic gold.
Katie Ledecky has far fewer medals than Michael Phelps but has an impressive range of distances. In the 200m freestyle, which is likely to be by far her closest race, she won her duel with Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. The 800m freestyle will look easy by comparison.
The only non-US winner of the night was Katinka Hosszu but she was not as dominant as in her previous races. Siobhan Marie O’Connor of Great Britain was not far behind.
Katie Ledecky could become the top female star of the Games but another candidate is surely Simone Biles. She was part of the US team which won the team competition in gymnastics by a massive margin of more than eight points. Many more golds are likely.
But one American superstar had an unhappy day. Serena Williams was knocked out of the women’s singles by Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, throwing the competition wide open.
Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors played their last match in Brazil, losing 6-1 to Australia, but maintaining their record of scoring in every one. With their excitement to be there and, in some cases, exuberant hair, they have been as much a part of it as the medallists.
In a hectic day for Team World, it won three medals. Michael Jung clinched gold in the three day event, with two clear rounds in the showjumping phase, while also riding for Germany, which won team silver. Matej Benus was also second in the C1 canoe slalom, but gold went to Denis Gargaud Chanut, as Slovakia and France’s tradition continues.
India beat Argentina 2-1 in men’s hockey and is just one point away from the knockout rounds. Fiji also beat Argentina, as well as Brazil, as the men’s rugby sevens event got underway. Elsewhere in sevens, Japan shocked one of Fiji’s main rivals, New Zealand.
In volleyball, Brazil’s men won a tightly fought match with Canada, conquerors of the United States earlier in the week. They could still finish their home Games on a high.