THE THIRD DAY at the Olympics certainly provided plenty of talking points.
In swimming, the extraordinary triumph of a Chinese 16-year-old by the name of Ye Shiwen prompted US coach John Leonard to mention her in the same sentence as Michelle Smith, while Ruta Meluityte, a 15-year-old from Lithuania, delivered a similarly stunning performance to win gold in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke.
Meanwhile, the big winner out of all the Irish athletes competing today was Annalise Murphy, who won her opening race in the sailing.
Headline of the day
The Young and the Brave! It was a day in which young athletes excelled with 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte, 16-year-old Ye Shiwen and 17-year-old Missy Franklin winning gold, while Ireland’s Sycerika McMahon, who is also only 17, delivered a highly respectable performance despite narrowly missing out on a place in the 200m semi-finals. It showed that experience is by no means essential in order to triumph, even in an event of this magnitude.
What we learned today?
- Irish sailing is in rude health
With Annalise Murphy winning her first race, and Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern performing impressively to finish fourth in the Olympic 49er class, it was a very good day for Irish sailing. If things continue as they’re currently developing, Murphy is in with a very decent shout of winning a medal.
- Evans eliminated with pride intact
While Scott Evans may not have been entirely happy with his own performance, in truth, he was always going to be up against it, given the quality of his opponent. Evans was beaten 21-8 21-14 at Wembley arena earlier today by world No 1 Lin Dan. And even if he had performed to the very best of his ability, it seems unlikely he would have overcome such a formidable opponent. Nonetheless, the Dundrum man can at least go home happy that he performed respectably.
- Michael Phelps is back… sort of
While Phelps didn’t win a medal in the 400m individual medley, he did win his semi-final this evening to get through to the 100m Butterfly Final, proving there’s life in the old dog yet. Meanwhile, Phelps’ American colleague Missy Franklin also performed with distinction, winning gold in the Women’s 100m Backstroke Final.
Highlights from Team Ireland
- Scott Evans was eliminated from the Badminton after losing in straight sets to the second seed, Lin Dan of China.
- Sycerika McMahon finished third in her heat in the 200m IM, but just missed out on a semi-final place.
- There was a good start in the sailing for Annalise Murphy as she won her first race out at Weymouth.
- Michael Ryan is out of the Cross Country eventing after a fall two jumps from home. Aoife Clarke remains in contention after a ‘fantastic’ outing. Joseph Murphy is slightly further back in 12th.
- Hannah Craig gave a decent performance in kayaking to finish third, with a time of 1:117.07, which was enough to finish in 14th place overall – a position that should be enough to get her into the semi-finals.
A new friend we made today
Ye Shiwen, whose world-record breaking Olympic swim was described as ‘disturbing’ by one US coach.
Lost in translation
“I can’t believe it. It’s too much for me.” – Teenager Ruta Meilutyte was seemingly as stunned as everyone else by her gold medal win.
The best thing we read today
Grantland’s open letter to Ariel Hsing, a 16-year-old American table tennis player, should give you a laugh.
Shuttlecock: Basically that thing that badminton players strike continually. It is cone-shaped and is normally formed from around 16 overlapping feathers, just in case you were wondering.
No one was actually caught today (as far as we know), though questions were asked about 16-year-old swimming sensation Ye Shiwen, with US coach John Leonard openly comparing her to Michelle Smith. IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist, on the other hand, refrained from pointing the finger when asked if suspicions should be raised.
You said what?
“I understand why people (expect gold medals), but they don’t know enough about swimming maybe and it has grown so much over the last few years, but no-one wins every race.
“People have said to me ‘are you going to get a gold?’ like it is easy as picking up a drink. Swimming is one of the hardest sports to medal at.” – Rebecca Adlington is unimpressed by people’s high expectations.
In addition, Switzerland defender Michel Morganella was sent home, unsurprisingly, after saying on Twitter that Koreans “can go burn” and that they are “a bunch of mongoloids”.
Hero of the day
British hockey captain, Kate Walsh, who despite suffering a broken jaw, has vowed to continue on playing, demonstrating considerable character in the process.
Video of the day
(Medal count correct as of 10.14pm on Monday, 30 July)