Olympic fever is alive and well in England’s capital. Day 4 of London 2012 culminated with Michael Phelps winning his 19th Olympic medal making him the most successful Olympic athlete ever. At the start of the evening, the ‘Baltimore Bullet’ was one medal behind Larisa Latynina, who’s Olympic medal record had stood for almost half a century.
Phelps lined up in two events on Tuesday evening and two golds were widely expected. However, South African Chad Le Clos ignored the script. With Phelps seemingly leading to victory in the 200m butterfly, the 20 year-old youngster amazingly powered through to claim gold. Although the silver medal meant that Phelps equalled Latynina’s record medal haul, it was a somewhat bittersweet achievement. An hour later and it was time to go back into the water – the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. With Ryan Lochte leading the way, the Americans opened up a healthy advantage. By the time Phelps dove into the pool for the anchor leg, his industrious team mates had opened up a two second lead. Sensing history was close, Phelps masterfully stroked his team to victory. His 19th Olympic medal, and astoundingly, his 15th Olympic gold – the medal which made him the most decorated Olympian of all-time.
Highlights of the last two days at London 2012:
China’s Ye Shiwen won her second Olympic gold medal in the 200m individual medley. Alicia Coutts (Aus) took silver and Caitlin Leverenz (USA) won the bronze. 16 year-old Ye Shiwen won with a new Olympic record, adding to her sensational 400m medley world record where her last 50m was swum faster than Ryan Lochte’s gold medal performance in the men’s event. The achievement however was tarnished with the Americans’ claims of doping but Ye Shiwen returned a negative drug test following the win.
Australia’s heavyweight double scullers were eliminated in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Along with the rest of the field, the defending Olympic champions were taken by surprise by an Argentinean team who rowed with a combination of elegance and power from start to finish, cruising their way into the final. Notorious slow starters and world champions, New Zealand, thundered home in the last 500m to qualify for the final. The Germans, who were averaging four strokes per minute more than the Argentineans, finished fourth after their butchering technique took its toll.
Team GB also qualified for the final with a third place finish in the second semi-final. In a very strong showing on the water, Team GB have now qualified for seven finals with six boats still to race their semi-finals.
The Germans took the gold medal ahead of Team GB and New Zealand in the team event. The British Royal Family were represented through the Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, who contributed towards the silver medal. Phillips could get no higher than 8th in the individual event, where Germany won both the gold and bronze medal.
Last night, weightlifting fans witnessed an absolute treat at the men’s 62kg weightlifting competition. The night belonged to Kim Un-Guk of North Korea who won with a combined, snatch and clean and jerk, world record of 327kg. Un-Gok’s 153kg snatch (an Olympic record and equalled the world record) was enough to give him a comfortable lead going into the clean and jerk round. Columbia’s Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera clean and jerked 177kg (an Olympic record) resulting in an unlikely silver medal. Indonesia’s Irawan Eko Yuli finished with the bronze. Surprisingly, the pre-favourite for the gold – China’s Zhang Jie – finished outside the medals after he failed in all of his three attempts to convert a single clean and jerk.
After Day 4 – China and USA are neck and neck in the medals table with 23 medals each. The Chinese lead the gold count with 13 compared to USA’s 9.
Categories: Olympics 2012