The Olympics: Day 3

Gymnastics:  Gutted.  Gutted.  Gutted.  They say 4th is the worst place to finish at the Olympics, and it’s true.  After two back to back bronzes for Team GB earlier on, it seemed certain that the gymnastics boys would add to the tally, but it would require a couple of monster scores on the final apparatus, the Pommel Horse, from Max Whitlock and Louis Smith.  Louis, who had waited all evening for his turn on his specialist apparatus, rightly went for it, with a crazily difficult routine, but came a cropper early on, losing his legs with his weight too far behind him, forcing him off.  And that was that.  Even with a perfect routine, it probably would not have been enough to nick it from China, but it was a heartbreakingly anti-climactic end to what should have been GB’s piece de resistance.  As a consolation, Max Whitlock nailed it with a 15.991 score (I thought it deserved a 16.000), and the individual competition is his to lose, though Louis will undoubtedly be doubly motivated now to take that gold away from him.

Diving:  While it would be agony for our gymnasts at the death, a little earlier, it was ecstasy for our synchro divers, Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow, in the 10m Platform.  In a nail biting finale (is there any other kind when GB are going for a medal?), the British pair had to get 84 points with their final dive to snatch bronze from the Germans.  Their dive was good – but was it good enough?  A long, tense wait for the scores…then Tom Daley’s face broke into a beaming smile to tell us all that yes, it was good enough!  By a whole six points.  GB had beaten the Germans to the bronze at the death – it’s always good to beat the Germans at anything really.

Trap Shooting:  The theme du jour for Team GB was definitely The Agony and the Ecstasy of winning and just missing out on bronze.  It had started with ecstasy for Ed Ling, who is apparently a farmer and, erm, can’t wait to get back to his farm.  The delights of lounging on sunny beaches in Brazil are obviously lost on some people.

Women’s Rugby Sevens:  It was agony for our Sevens, who were battered by Canada in the bronze medal play off 33-10, having lost earlier to eventual silver medallists NZ.  Losing is obviously contagious.

Swimming:  So is coming fourth!  Not again!  Yep, again.  This time it was James Guy in the agonising so near yet so far fourth place in the 200m Freestyle.  Enough already.  That made 3 fourth places in one day.  Too many fourths.

At times the swimming pool resembled a meeting place for Narcotics Anonymous, with a couple of former drug cheats in attendance and winning medals.  China’s Sun Yang went one better in the 200m Freestyle, winning gold to add to his silver in the 400m Freestyle.  Sun Yang’s presence has been causing quite a bit of cyber rage, with the 400m Freestyle winner, Aussie Mack Horton, publicly branding him a cheat, which apparently sent China’s equivalent of Twitter into collective apoplexy.

But the gold medal for pantomime villain of the day went to fellow pharmaceutical enthusiast, Russian Yulia Efimova, who was fervently booed by the fans when she entered the arena and had already been given dirty looks, cold shoulders and wagging fingers from her fellow competitors.  Facing the unpalatable prospect of two former drug cheats winning golds in one evening, everyone was very grateful to American Lilly King, who appeared determined not to relinquish first place in the 100m Breaststroke to Efimova no matter what.  Moral indignation can be a great motivator.

Judo:  If there was no romance in the swimming pool tonight, there was plenty of the mushy stuff at the judo.  There was ecstasy for Brazil as the hosts won their first Olympic Gold of the Games to get their party started.  In a story straight out of Hollywood, a misfit who grew up in abject poverty in a notorious favela, Cidade de Deus (City of God), became a national herione.  Rafaela Silva thrilled the nation with a win in the 57kg.  As a young child her parents enrolled her in free judo classes to keep her away from gang life.  A life changing decision.  Wonder when the Hollywood biopic comes out?

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