Rio Olympics Day 2

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Mohamed Farah of Great Britain joined the ranks of men who have defended their 10,000m title, running 27:05.17 for the win on Saturday night.

Farah, who has won every global title on offer at this distance and is unbeaten over 25 laps of the track since 2011, took a tumble at halfway when an accidental clip from his sometime training partner Galen Rupp saw him sprawled out in lane two.

He bounced to his feet immediately and gave Rupp a thumbs-up when Rupp came back to check on him.

“I thought about all my hard work, and that it could all be gone in a minute. I wasn’t going to let it go. I got up quickly,” Farah told reporters later.

The mishap immediately drew comparisons to Lasse Viren’s near-disastrous fall in the 1972 final in Munich, but Farah’s position was never so precarious as that of the Finn. Farah spent the early going loping at the very back of the pack as a rotating cast of faces took turns at the front.

He only moved up when, in the third kilometre, Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola and Yigrem Demelash took the pace up a notch.

Within a few laps it became clear that Tola and Demelash were working together to force the pace. Each would take a turn at the front, pushing, then letting the other take over as their own effort flagged.

The Kenyan duo of Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui shadowed the Ethiopians, apparently understanding the plan but not ready to take their turn at the front right away.

It wasn’t until the second half of the race – not long after Farah’s tumble, which happened out of view of the five at the front – that the Kenyans took a shift in the lead.

From 1000m to 5000m, each kilometre got faster, but the sixth slowed slightly as the Ethiopian duo began to run more cautiously.

Tanui then took the lead and, as Kamworor tailed him, their teammate Bedan Karoki also came up to the front and the pace began to ratchet down again as the Kenyan trio controlled the tempo.

Demelash, who looks uncannily like two-time Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie, and Tola both took turns at the front as Kamworor, the reigning world half marathon champion and 10,000m silver medallist at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, surprisingly started to slip back.

Finally, Farah asserted himself in the last kilometre. If the plan had been to run the speed out of his legs, it had not been successfully carried out by any of his East African rivals.

Farah moved to the front with a sharp burst of acceleration and, once in front, it became clear he had no plans to take relinquish pole position.

Tanui tried once to retake the lead and was met with an abrupt surge from Farah, forcing Tanui to stay outside him.

At the bell, five men lwere in contention for the medals, with Farah leading and accompanied by Tanui, Tola, Demelash, and Rupp. Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, who had almost tripped over Farah when the latter fell, was trying but failing to stay in contact.

On the backstretch of the final lap, Tanui tried again for the lead and suddenly, as both men became fully committed to the sprint, the pack scattered like a pile of leaves on a breezy day.

Farah couldn’t overhaul Tanui again until the home straight, where he finally hit his top gear and pulled to the front.

Eyes wide, he sprinted madly for the line and finally shook the persistent Kenyan off in the last 50 metres.

Tanui settled for silver in 27:05.64 while Tola held on for bronze in 27:06.26. London silver medallist Rupp had to settle for fifth this time in 27:27:08.92.

overcame a fall in the first half of the race to repeat as 10,000-meter Olympic champion on Saturday night at the 2016 Rio Olympics, meeting every challenge by his competitors and sprinting ahead to win down the stretch.

Farah's Nike Oregon Project teammate, Galen Rupp, ran with Farah for most of the race but fell back from the leaders on the final lap to finish fifth.

Farah crossed in 27 minutes, 5.17 seconds for the victory. Rupp finished nearly four seconds back, at 27:08.92.

Kenya's Paul Kipngetich Tanui won the silver, followed by bronze medalist Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia. Yigrem Demalash of Ethiopia finished fourth.

After getting tangled up with Rupp and falling to the track about eight laps into the race, Farah quickly hopped up and rebounded. He didn't lose much ground and quickly returned toward the lead pack. Late in the race, Farah responded every time a challenger sprinted to the front, always staying within comfortable distance of the lead.

Four years after Farah and Rupp went 1-2 in the men's 10,000 at the 2012 London Olympics, Rupp couldn't quite match the feat in Rio in an extremely competitive 25-lap race.

Farah runs for Great Britain and Rupp for the United States, but they are training partners under the direction of Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar.

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It’s never over until it’s over. Or at least that’s what all combined events athletes have to believe when they run all the different possible outcomes through their heads as they line up for the final event.

Jessica Ennis-Hill knew she faced an uphill task of finishing about 10 seconds ahead of Nafissatou Thiam in the 800m in her bid to retain her Olympic heptathlon title. But she wasn’t going to give up without trying.

Thiam, meanwhile, lined up for the 800m knowing that she needed to produce the race of her life to stay within sight of Ennis-Hill if she were to maintain her lead in the overall standings.

And world indoor champion Brianne Theisen-Eaton wasn’t going to surrender the bronze medal without a fight.

Not long after the gun went for the final heptathlon 800m heat, Ennis-Hill darted to the front but was closely pursued by her fellow double-barrelled competitors: Theisen-Eaton, Laura Ikauniece-Admidina and Johnson-Thompson.

Ennis-Hill went through the first lap in 1:02.84, putting her on course for a potential lifetime best. The others in the lead pack were still close to Ennis-Hill as the covered the second lap, but the pace slightly faded, along with Ennis-Hill’s chance of an 800m PB.

The Briton stopped the clock at a season’s best of 2:09.07 with Ikauniece-Admidina running a huge PB of 2:09.43 close behind her. Theisen-Eaton crossed the line in 2:09.50, roughly one second ahead of Johnson-Thompson.

The big question – indeed, what the whole two-day contest boiled down to – was: how far behind was Thiam?

The Belgian was still half way up the home straight, but soon it became more and more clear that she wasn’t as much as 10 seconds behind Ennis-Hill. Instead the difference was little more than seven seconds as the 21-year-old clocked 2:16.54, her fifth personal best of the competition.

It meant that Thiam took the gold medal with a national record of 6810, moving to 16th on the world all-time list to sit in between 2000 Olympic champion Denise Lewis and Theisen-Eaton.

“It's crazy,” said Thiam. “I wasn't expecting that – maybe top eight, but not the gold.

“It was very hard coming back from being injured,” she added. “I wasn't sure if I would even make these Games, but we did a lot of work with the physio and it worked.”

Ennis-Hill settled for silver with a score of 6775, her best mark since winning Olympic gold four years ago. Theisen-Eaton took bronze with 6653, her best ever mark at a major championships.

Despite her huge PB in the final event, world bronze medallist Ikauniece-Admidina wasn’t quite able to make it on to another global championships podium, but finished with a highly respectable score of 6617. Only once before, in Barcelona 1992, has a score that high not been enough for an Olympic medal.

Germany’s Carolin Schafer clocked a season’s best of 2:16.52 in the 800m to stay ahead of Johnson-Thompson on the leaderboard. Schafer scored 6540, while Johnson-Thompson – who clocked 2:10.47 in the 800m – scored 6523, the second-best mark of her life.

In a competition of unprecedented depth, six women surpassed 6500 for the first time in history. Best marks-for-place were set for sixth, seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, and every other position from 13th downwards.

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Elaine Thompson ended the eight-year Olympic reign of her training partner and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a thrilling final as the Jamaican secured gold in a stunning 10.71, the second-fastest winning time in the history of the women’s Olympic 100m final.  

In a demonstration of her recently discovered world-class ability, the 24-year-old, who like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is coached by sprint guru Stephen Francis, stalked the two-time former Olympic 100m champion before unleashing her decisive strike for gold over the second half of the race,

The fast-finishing US sprinter Tori Bowie accelerated past the fading Fraser-Pryce in the latter stages of the race to take silver in 10.83, with Fraser-Pryce having to settle for bronze in 10.86.

Yet on this day Thompson, who earlier this year moved into joint fourth place – coincidentally alongside Fraser-Pryce - on the 100m all-time list after recording 10.70 in Kingston, was just too good.

"When I crossed the line and glanced across to see I was clear I didn't quite know how to celebrate,” reflected Thompson.

"There is a big screen back home in my community in Jamaica. I can't imagine what is happening there right now."

A magnanimous Fraser-Pryce said: "What I'm most happy about is that the 100m title is staying in Jamaica. I'm on the podium with my training partner. I'm proud of Jamaica - just look at my hair (which was coloured the green and gold of the Jamaican flag).”

The eight finalists were introduced to the crowd one by one via the tunnel leading into the stadium to the accompaniment of loud rock music.

The move added a gladiatorial feel to the race to discover the world’s fastest woman and while Fraser-Pryce, who has been cursed by a nagging toe injury this year, looked a little anxious, by comparison, Thompson appeared relaxed and smiled freely to the crowd.

With Fraser-Pryce in lane six and Thompson in lane four, the training partners were separated by Bowie.

As the gun went, although Fraser-Pryce got away to a reasonable start but crucially she never opened a gap of any significance on Thompson or the quick starting Ivorian, Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

By halfway, it was Thompson, who was raised in the Jamaican town of Manchester by her grandmother from the age of seven, who emerged to the fore and started to dictate terms.

In the blink of an eye the gap had grown and for the remainder of the race she extended her advantage to gallop home in a winning time only ever previously surpassed in an Olympic women’s 100m final by Florence Griffith-Joyner 28 years ago.

Bowie finished with a late charge to take silver with Fraser-Pryce earning bronze from Ta Lou in a photo-finish by 0.007, 9.852 to 9.859.

Ta Lou had to settle for fourth but successive lifetime bests in both her semi-final (10.94) and then the final should fill the 27-year-old with huge confidence.

European champion Dafne Schippers was drawn on the outside lane eight and never in the medal picture.

The 2015 world championships 100m silver medallist ran solidly to record 10.90, but will now have to turn her attention to her speciality event, the 200m.

Michelle-Lee Ahye followed up her fifth place in last year’s world final with a sixth place spot in Rio, the Trinidadian recording a solid 10.92, while 0.02 further back was a disappointing US champion English Gardner.

The quality of the race was also emphasised by the fact the race produced more women under 11 seconds than in any previous Olympic 100m final with seven, the previous best high water mark having been six in London four years ago.

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US champion Jeff Henderson moved up to being a global champion when his last round effort of 8.38m sufficed for the gold medal after an enthralling competition which saw the lead change hand four times after the opening round.

The first round saw London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist Greg Rutherford, jumping third in the order, after all his problems in qualifying hit the board perfectly and fly out to 8.18m.

South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga almost matched him with the next jump, reaching 8.16m, while later in the opening round, Henderson took an early lead with 8.20m and his compatriot Jarrion Lawson slotted into second place with 8.19m.

In the second round, IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 bronze medallist Wang Jianan jumped into the fray with 8.17m and as the other protagonists at this stage couldn’t improve, which meant that after two jumps just five centimetres covered the top five jumpers, separated in one centimetre graduations.

In the third round, Rutherford went back into pole position with 8.22m and the hugely-talented Lawson, who jumped a PB of 8.58m at the US Olympic Trials, responded with 8.25m to take the lead.

Manyonga moved up from fifth to first in the fourth round with 8.28m and, with nobody else improving, then went on to add seven centimetres to his best with a leap of 8.37m in the following round.

The South African leapt out of the pit and extended his arms towards a group of delirious South African supporters seated by the long jump pit, perhaps anticipating the gold medal was his.

However, Manyonga fouled his final effort and then had to wait to see what the remaining four jumpers could produce.

Wang could not improve but then Henderson uncorked a season’s best of 8.38m to snatch the gold medal away from Manyonga by one centimetre, the US jumper grinning with exhilaration as he left the pit.

The competition was far from over though.

Rutherford gave everything with his last jump but possession of the Olympic title ended when he could only jump 8.29m with his final effort, although it did move him from fourth to third; which left Lawson, who had gradually slipped down the order to fourth, as the last man to jump.

The US jumper unleashed what initially seemed to be a gold medal jump only to see the result of 7.78m flash up on the scoreboards.

The situation left the stadium and the jumper perplexed and boos erupted around the stadium with Lawson’s coach gesticulating wildly that there must have been an error but a slow motion reply broadcast on the stadium’s big screens showed the judges had been absolutely correct, Lawson’s trailing left arm had touched down in the sand close to the edge of the sandpit, which almost certainly cost him a medal, and possibly the Olympic title.

After a brief hiatus while the situation was clarified and Lawson finally signalled his understanding of the decision and mark, it was Henderson who got to wrap himself in the stars and stripes and take a lap of honour.