Shattering Barriers

Rio 2016 Review of Day 7

Almaz Ayana, Beijing 2015 cropped

The women’s 10,000m will go down in history as one of the most memorable race of all time. Rather than adopting the cautious tactics which are typical of such championship races, Alice Aprot of Kenya led the pack round at a blistering pace, until Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia (above) took over at the halfway point. Overall, 7 national records were set and 11 runners registered personal bests. Ayana smashed the world record by 14 seconds.

Valerie Adams of New Zealand narrowly failed to win a third consecutive shot put title, being pipped to the gold medal by Michelle Carter of the United States. There was Kiwi disappointment in rowing as well, as the world champions in the women’s lightweight double sculls finished in fourth place, out of the medals, and the Netherlands won gold.

New Zealand’s pair succumbed to Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain, five years unbeaten. Their win was followed minutes later by GB’s fifth gold in a row in the men’s four. Ireland won a first rowing medal, silver in the lightweight men’s double.

Team World

Canada has a tradition in trampolining, which was preserved when Rosie MacLennan retained her Olympic title. Its women have now medalled at every Games since 2000.

Three Team World teams reached their respective quarter finals. India’s men’s hockey team drew 2-2 with Canada to finish fourth in its pool. Surprise package, Belgium, is its next opponent. Indonesia’s badminton pair won a second match  to guarantee progress in mixed doubles. In beach volleyball, Walsh Jennings and Ross overcame Italian rivals.

Bradley Wiggins - Beaumont Trophy 2009 AB1

Great Britain overcame Australia in the men’s team pursuit final and Bradley Wiggins (above) won his eighth medal, a record for a cyclist. It was a dramatic race where both teams went down to three riders and struggled to keep them together to cross the line.

Michael Phelps won the 27th medal of his career in the 100m butterfly, but it was silver this time as he finished in a three way tie for second place. Joseph Schooling claimed the victory to secure the first ever Olympic gold medal for Singapore, and the first medal of any colour for a Singaporean actually born in Singapore (the others were born in China).

Katinka Hosszu of Hungary suffered a surprise defeat to Madeline DiRado of the USA in the 200m backstroke, a result which confirmed Katie Ledecky as top woman of the meet. Ledecky’s fourth gold came in 800m freestyle, by a massive margin and a world record.

The irony is that, although Ledecky’s performances are more out of the ordinary than Ayana’s, they are now so common that they no longer produce the same level of shock.

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