On an action-packed day in the 2016 Rio olympics, athletics and swimming took center-stage with some expected and a number of unexpected results. In men’s 10000m, Great Britain’s Mo Farah won the gold medal to add to his two previous golds in 5000 and 10000m that he won at London 4 years ago. But Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce missed the chance of winning three successive golds in women’s 100m. Instead, it was Fraser-Pryce’s compatriot Elaine Thompson, who finished first, ahead of USA’s Tori Bowie with Fraser-Pryce collecting the consolation bronze. USA’s swimming powerhouse Michael Phelps finished his glittering career with another gold to make it no.23 and Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong pulled off to a brilliant victory in women’s marathon. Among others, who missed out were two British athletes. London Olympic’s golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill finished second in women’s heptathlon and celebrated long-jumper Greg Rutherford had to rest content with a bronze.
After winning gold medals in 5000 and 10,000m in 2012 London Olympics, Great Britain´s Mo Farah showed his class by also winning these events in the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. But Farah’s 10000m gold at Rio was the hardest. The Briton was accidentally tripped by his training partner Galen Rupp, when 16 laps still remained in the race. But after that, he got up and near the finish line; he engaged himself in a fierce battle with Kenya’s Paul Tanui. The precious seconds lost in recovering himself after the fall, put additional pressure on the World Champion but on the home stretch, Farah drew every drop from his stamina and edged out Tanui in clocking 27:05.17. Tanui was second in 27:05.64 while Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola took the bronze by clocking 27:06.26. Then Farah broke into his familiar grin and did the Mobot to the delight of the viewers. But the British legend is not through yet. In a week’s time, he will also run the 5000m race and if he wins that event too, he will become the first man in 40 years since Finland’s Lasse Viren won 5000 and 10000m golds in 1972 Munich Games and followed that double victory in 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson dashed the triple’s dream of compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in women’s 100m. The race had been billed as one of the most supercharged events at Rio but it didn’t live to the expectations. Thompson was in the middle of the pack until halfway before she pulled away from Tori Bowie for the gold medal in 10.71 seconds. Early in the race, Fraser-Pryce briefly led the field but faded away. Fraser-Pryce has been fighting a toe injury for 12 months and couldn’t produce her best form. Bowie took the silver but Fraser-Price wasn’t too unhappy either with the bronze. She couldn’t do her best because lack of full fitness came in her way. Graceful in defeat, Fraser-Pryce helped Elaine Thompson drape the Jamaican flag over the winner’s shoulders, after Thompson snatched it from someone in the crowd. Ivory Coast’s Marie JoseeTa Lou was fourth ahead of Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers.
America’s champion swimmer Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold medal to finish a great career in Olympic swimming pools beginning with 2000 Sydney Games. The last gold to Phelps came in 4×400 relay after which, his colleagues gave him an emotional farewell. By the time he walked onto the pool deck on Saturday night for the third leg of medley relay, Phelps was choked up. His relay partners couldn’t help because it was indeed a sentimental moment. Phelps did his part to perfection and dropped another gold in the American kitty. His career couldn’t have ended on a more satisfactory note.
In another sentimental ending, Great Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill missed out on the heptathlon gold in her last hurrah at the Olympics. The Briton, who won the event in 2012 London Olympics, lost narrowly to Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam in a thrilling finish. 800m was the last event and Jessica needed to beat Thiam by at least 10 seconds but the Belgian managed to pace herself fairly well and eventually prevailed by a total of 35 points. The reigning champion had to settle for the silver. Another Briton Greg Rutherford was expected to win the long jump gold but he was outdone by two competitors in the end. The reigning world, European, Commonwealth and Olympic champion competed in his event even as his compatriot Mo Farah was still going around the track in 10000m. Rutherford’s last attempt of 8.29m took him to the third place but he fell short of South African’s Luvo Manyonga of 8.37m. USA’s Jeff Henderson soared to season’s best distance of 8.38m and won the gold medal.
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