Natural Talent

Review of Rio 2016 Day 15

Caster Semenya London 2012

Caster Semenya of South Africa (above) won gold in the 800m, one of several dominant performances over the past two weeks. In effect, she retained her Olympic title because the Russian who finished ahead of her in London is in the process of being disqualified.

Mo Farah was victorious in the 5000m, to add to his 10,000m and to complete a double double only previously achieved by Lasse Viren of Finland. But one distance race which had a surprising outcome was the 1500m, won by Matt Centrowitz of the United States.

Team World

Julius Yego of Kenya took an early lead in the javelin competition with a throw of 88.24 but injured himself during his fourth round throw. While he was out of action, Thomas Rohler of Germany threw 90.30 to take gold from him, but he held on for a silver medal.

Flora Duffy of Bermuda stayed with the lead pack for the cycling stage of the triathlon but could not keep up as Gwen Jorgensen of the United States and Nicola Spirig pressed on during the run. Spirig threatened to hold on until the end and win in a sprint finish, as she had in 2012, but Jorgensen finally shook her off on the final lap to beat her for gold.

Michael Conlan’s conqueror, Vladimir Nikitin, was too injured to fight in the following round, raising further questions about the points decision in his favour. The beneficiary, Shakur Stevenson of the United States, lost in the final to Robeisy Ramirez, giving Cuba its third boxing gold medal of the Games. The US men have failed to win any since 2004.

Kozák Danuta

Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky, Jason Kenny: To this roll of honour of 2016 we should add the name of Danuta Kozak of Hungary (above). She became the first woman to win three canoeing gold medals at a single Games, adding victory in the K4 500m to her titles in K1 and K2. But Germany finished ahead of Hungary overall with four golds.

Two dominant nations won golds in team events but with very different histories. The US women’s basketball team took its sixth title in a row and its final against Spain was its 49th consecutive game unbeaten. Serbia has dominated men’s water polo at world and European level but its victory in the final against Croatia was its first Olympic gold.

The Maracana Stadium saw a dramatic conclusion to the men’s football competition, as Brazil drew 1-1 with Germany causing a penalty shootout. When Nils Petersen missed Germany’s fifth penalty, Neymar had a chance to make himself a hero, and duly obliged.


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