DAY FOUR WAS all about Annalise Murphy from an Irish perspective.
Murphy remains on course for a medal, having won four from four in the sailing so far.
There was an impressive performance too from Aoife Clarke, who finished in seventh place in the Equestrian Individual Jumping, having led for long spells.
Michael Phelps can also now be regarded as the greatest Olympian ever, having won a gold and silver medal this evening, taking his total tally to 19.
Meanwhile, the medal race is as closely fought as expected, with USA and China currently on 23 medals apiece, and the Chinese winning 13 golds in comparison with the US’s nine.
Headline of the day
Annalise That! The sailor took the world by surprise with her fantastic performance today, exceeding expectations and improving upon her excellent start yesterday (headline h/t Sean Farrell).
What we learned today?
- Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever
The US swimmer won a record 19 medals (including 15 golds) to break the record for most medal wins at the Olympics. However, his evening was somewhat tarnished, as he was narrowly beaten by Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly treble.
- Annalise Murphy is fast becoming a star
The Irish sailor made it four wins from four in Weymouth earlier today. She finished 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Alison Young and third-placed Lijia Xu of China. Her colleagues Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are also doing well, and are currently in sixth position overall in the in the 49er.
- Novak Djokovic means business
The player recovered from his Wimbledon disappointment to absolutely crush Andy Roddick earlier today, beating him 6-2, 6-1. Many people considered Roger Federer the favourite following his Wimbledon triumph, and especially given that the singles title at the Olympics is the only major accolade he has never won. However, on this form, it would be foolish to write off Djokovic.
- Zara Phillips is pretty good at what she does
Philips is better known for being the Queen’s granddaughter and Mrs Mike Tindall, rather than for her actual sporting talent. But this unfair assessment will hopefully be rectified, after Philips excelled to help her team win a silver medal in Olympic equestrian eventing, with William, Harry and Kate all watching on in the stands. It was a much-needed lift for Britain, who have yet to win a gold, with many of their highly touted athletes producing disappointing performances.
- NBC aren’t doing their reputation any favours
After apparently persuading Twitter that a journalist who was critical of their coverage should have his account suspended, the channel have now decided to create their own version of the medal table. Unlike the official London 2012 table, their version is based on number of medals won outright, rather than just gold medals. Therefore, in the NBC table, the likes of Russia and North Korea slip considerably down the pecking order, while the gap between China and the US doesn’t appear as considerable.
- Team GB are a massive success (in women’s football at least)
They secured a shock 1-0 win over one of the favourites to lift the trophy, Brazil, at Wembley, finshing top of their group to advance to play Canada in the quarter-finals.
Highlights from Team Ireland
- Annalise Murphy now has four wins from four in the laser radial class.
- Double clear rounds from Joseph Murphy and Aoife Clark mean Ireland finish fifth in the team eventing.
- In the individual eventing, Clark finished seventh with Murphy 14th and Mark Kyle 21st.
- Wexford’s Gráinne Murphy was forced to pull out of her main event, the 800m freestyle, due to illness.
- Sanita Puspure failed to qualify for the A/B semi-final in the women’s single scull after she finished fourth in this morning’s quarter-final.
- Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are now sixth overall in the 49er after coming 15th and 2nd in their two races today.
- Chloe Magee was knocked out of the Olympics by Pi Hongyan of France in her badminton women’s singles last 32 match in three games.
(Sanita Puspure shows her disappointment – William Cherry/Presseye)
A new friend we made today
Canada’s Milos Raonic, who played an incredible 48 games in the third set before finally being beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier today.
You said what?
A 17-year-old was arrested for telling Tom Daley that he had let his late father down with his performance in the Olymics. Daley was considered one of Britain’s main medal hopes, but could only finish fourth in yesterday’s diving event.
“This is going be a piece of piss now compared to that (the Tour de France). It’s just an hour and not three weeks. It’s been the best preparation.” – Britain’s Bradley Wiggins is feeling pretty confident ahead of the time trial tomorrow.
“I think we are showing great natural restraint and politeness as host nation in not hoarding the medals more so far.” – London Mayor Boris Johnson makes light of Team GB’s small medal collection to date.
In addition, having just become the greatest Olympian ever, Michael Phelps told the BBC that he “can’t be too disappointed,” referring to his earlier failure to win gold in the butterfly.
The best thing we read today
This piece on Ye Shewin is one of the most reasoned and balanced articles we’ve read on the swimmer, following the furore surrounding her gold medal win yesterday.
Laser radial: a small sailing dinghy used by Annalise Murphy among others. It is a singlehanded boat, which means it can only be sailed by one person.
Hero of the day
We couldn’t look any further than Annalise Murphy, who is taking the pressure off the Irish boxers with her unexpected heroics – that is until Michael Phelps had to go and steal her thunder by becoming the greatest Olympian ever.
Video of the day
There don’t appear to be any available videos of her in action today, but here’s a video highlighting Maiya Maneza’s display of breathtaking strength at the World Championships in 2009.
YouTube credit: StrongestWorld
(Medal count correct as of 10.19pm on Tuesday, 31 July)