RIO Olympics Day 5




In another superb day for athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, we were treated to two successful title defences, a Jamaican first in the high hurdles and incredible head-to-heads in the high jump and 1500m finals.

Here are the numbers of the day.

MEN’S HIGH JUMP



Derek Drouin in the high jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

Derek Drouin has been a bit under the radar for much of this summer, despite being the wold champion, but he cleared 2.38m at the Eberstadt high jump meeting in Germany last month to show all was well and replicated that height when winning in Rio.

Drouin proved, once again, that he is the man for the big occasion.

After a stellar collegiate career while a student in the USA, he took a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the age of 22 and has kept on getting on the podium ever since.

He also took bronze at the 2013 World Championships, then gold in 2015 as well as gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Pan Am Games.

In Rio, the crucial height came at 2.33m. 10 of the 15 field for the final were still in the contest at that height and six cleared it. Drouin, world leader Mutaz Essa Barshim, 2013 world champion Bogdan Bondarenko, world indoor silver medallist Robbie Grabarz and 2014 European silver medallist Andriy Protsenko all cleared on their first attempt while 2012 Olympic silver medallist and this year’s US champion Erik Kynard need three tries to go clear.

Bondarenko passed at 2.36m while Drouin and Barshim both produced soaring clearances at this height with their first attempts, and the other three all brought the bar down three times.

With the medallists now known but not the order – Bondarenko had been flawless up to and including 2.33m while Grabarz, Kynard and Protsenko all had failures to their name up to that point in the competition – the bar was raised to 2.38m.

BONDARENKO GOLDEN GAMBLE FAILS

Bondarenko had a narrow failure, just brining the bar down with his calf but then Drouin produced the jump of his life to go clear at 2.38m and take the initiative. With plenty of daylight between himself and the bar, it was intrinsically better than when he jumped his Canadian record of 2.40m at the Drake Relays in 2014.

It was to be the winning effort and the last successful jump of the contest.

Barshim had three competent attempts at 2.38m without quite looking like he was going to clear this height and moved up from bronze four years ago in London to silver on this occasion – the best ever result by a Qatari sportsman or women in the history of the Olympics after four bronze medals – while Bondarenko had one further, and poorer, attempt at 2.38m before having one final throw of the dice and taking his last attempt at 2.40m.

This too was a failure and he had to settle for the bronze medal.

With Olympic gold his, the first Canadian success in this event since Duncan McNaughton in 1932, Drouin had one valedictory attempt at 2.40m but, emotionally spent, it was a half-hearted effort and he then called it a night.

"It feels pretty sweet," said a contented Drouin. "There have been some sacrifices but I've always prided myself on my mental toughness. My family were in the front row. Mom was in tears and Pop was so proud."

6
The number of consecutive clearances by Drouin. The Canadian had a clean sheet at every height up to and including his winning heightof 2.38m.

20
The number of years since Canada last won gold at the Olympic Games. In fact, they won two golds in 1996: in the men’s 100m and 4x100m relay.

MEN’S 110M HURDLES


Omar McLeod wins the 110m hurdles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)


He is known as ‘Mr Silk’ and tonight Omar McLeod lived up to expectations with a silky-smooth display to power to Jamaica’s maiden Olympic 110m hurdles title in a time of 13.05.

For several decades Jamaica has been a formidable force in flat sprinting, but McLeod’s success proves their talent well is just as deep in the hurdles with the kind of performance which suggests the 22-year-old will be a major force for years to come.

Orlando Ortega secured silver in 13.17 to earn Spain’s first ever sprint or hurdles medal in Olympic history with bronze going to European champion Dimitri Bascou, who edged out his French teammate Pascal Martinot-Lagarde by 0.05, recording 13.24.

The lead US hope Devon Allen placed fifth in 13.31 which meant for the first time in Olympic history – bar the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games – USA failed to win a medal in this event.

As the eight finalists entered the arena to the sounds of Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, the athletes tried different approaches to help absorb the pressure with Martinot-Lagarde opting slightly bizarrely to chuckle to himself moments before the start.

After the gun fired there was little to separate the eight finalists over the first few hurdles, although if anything Bascou held a slight lead while Ortega had slipped a little off the early pace.

Coming off hurdle five, it was world indoor champion McLeod who emerged at the head of the pack and by hurdle seven held a significant lead. By now Ortega had loomed into medal contention with little to separate the all French duo of Bascou and Martinot-Lagarde.

McLeod, who finished sixth at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, crucially managed to keep his nerve in the latter stages to cleanly snap over the remaining hurdles and flash by the line in 13.05 – the slowest winning time at the Olympics since Mark McKoy secured the 1992 title some 24 years earlier.

This will not of course have concerned an elated McLeod, who emerged as a world-class performer in 2016 and here in Rio sealed the deal with the Olympic title. USA’s Ronnie Ash crashed to the track after belting the final hurdles.

Ortega recovered from his lethargic start to grab the silver medal, finishing four places higher than he did when representing Cuba at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Bascou took the first French medal in the event since Guy Drut memorably struck gold 40 years ago at the Montreal Olympics.

With Martinot-Lagarde in fourth and Allen the top US athlete in fifth, the remaining two finishers were Johnathan Cabral of Canada in 13.40 followed by Cypriot Milan Trajkovic, who finished one hundredth further back in seventh.

0.12
The margin between gold medallist Omar McLeod and silver medallist Orlando Ortega. At the 2012 Games, the margin of victory was exactly the same.

40
The number of years since France last won an Olympic medal in the event. Dimitri Bascou out-dipped teammate Pascal Martinot-Lagarde to take the bronze and the honour.

57
The number of Olympic medals won by the USA in the men's 110m hurdles. But for the first Games ever – not counting the 1980 boycott – the USA did not add to that tally tonight.

Omar McLeod winning the 110m hurdles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

 

WOMEN’S 1500M



Faith Kipyegon wins the 1500m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)


Faith Kipyegon remembers all too well what it’s like trying to chase down Genzebe Dibaba.

The Kenyan finished second to the world record-holder in the 1500m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 as Dibaba was at the peak of her powers.

In Rio, though, it was Dibaba’s turn to do the chasing.

The real racing wouldn’t start until there were just two laps remaining. The opening pace was slow with Britain’s Laura Weightman the reluctant leader of a closely bunched field, passing through 400m in 1:16.57.

Ethiopia’s Besu Sado and Britain’s Laura Muir moved to the front of the pack with little more than two laps remaining, but their lead didn’t last long as Dibaba darted to the head of the pack, passing the 800m mark in 2:27.11.

Kipyegon and world indoor champion Sifan Hassan were gradually making their way through the field as Dibaba continued to lead, attempting to increase and control the pace.

The bell sounded for the last lap and Dibaba was chased by Kipyegon and Muir as the trio opened up a gap on the rest of the field. Dibaba held pole position through 1200m, passed in 3:23.90, but Kipyegon was still close behind. Meanwhile, Hassan and USA’s Jenny Simpson set out in pursuit of the top three.

Kipyegon took the lead with 200 metres remaining, while Hassan, Simpson and Shannon Rowbury had caught Muir on the top of the final bend. There was no catching Kipyegon, though, who was away and clear, the Kenyan crossing the line in 4:08.92 after covering the last lap in 58.79.

“I knew it would be a fast race, I really had to kick on the last lap,” said the 22-year-old Kipyegon. “I was well prepared for the race. I’m proud to win for my country.”

Dibaba was more than a second in arrears, taking silver in 4:10.27. In the tight battle for bronze, Simpson had the better finish, taking third place in 4:10.53. Both Dibaba and Simpson earned their respective countries’ first ever Olympic medals in the women’s 1500m.

Rowbury was fourth in 4:11.05, finishing 0.18 ahead of Hassan. A tiring Muir was passed by Sweden’s Meraf Bahta in the closing stages, the pair recording times of 4:12.59 and 4:12.88. Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum rounded out the top eight in 4:13.14.

58.79

Seconds to cover the last lap. Faith Kipyegon was tucked right behind Genzebe Dibaba at the bell, but the Kenyan kicked with 200 metres to go and would never be caught.

0
The combined number of Olympic medals earned by the USA and Ethiopia in the women’s 1500m before today. Now, through Dibaba and bronze medallist Jenny Simpson, they have one apiece.

5
Years since Kipyegon won her first global title. The 22-year-old Kenyan won the world U18 title in 2011, a year later she took gold at the World U20 Championships.

8
Number of Olympic medals won by the Dibaba sisters. Tirunesh is the most decorated with three gold and three bronze; Genzebe has now joined Ejegayehu with one silver each.

Faith Kipyegon wins the 1500m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

 

MEN’S TRIPLE JUMP


Will Claye and Christian Taylor after the triple jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)




Christian Taylor and Will Claye of the USA repeated their 1-2 finish in the men’s triple jump from London 2012, winning gold and silver respectively just as they did four years ago. The pair had the five longest marks of the competition between them.

"I wanted it so much,” Taylor said of the repeat victory. “It came together, the stars aligned.”

Taylor’s gold-medal-winning 17.86m leap came in the first round, establishing him in the lead early after world indoor champion Dong Bin’s 17.58m opener was the first mark beyond 17 metres.

Claye followed with 17.76m on his own first attempt.

After that, the medals order didn’t change; in fact, the three medallists didn’t improve on their first-round marks. Taylor hit 17.77m twice, in the second and fourth rounds, reaching for the 18-metre territory he surpassed in winning the world title in 2015; he also recorded three fouls.

Any one of Taylor’s three recorded marks would have been enough to win the competition. Both Taylor and Claye improved on their marks from London.

Claye fouled twice before reaching 17.61m in the fourth round and then 17.55m in the sixth.

Dong also fouled twice and then passed on his remaining three attempts.

"It's very special for me because it's the Olympics,” said Dong. “I got my personal best which made me very happy. It's a new landscape for me. I've improved so much since coming 10th at London."

Outside the medals, the excitement was still largely in the early rounds. In the second round, Colombia’s John Murillo leapt 17.09m to set a national record which put him in fourth place; he wouldn’t improve on that. Nelson Evora joined him beyond 17 metres in the third round, jumping 17.03m.

In the fifth round, China’s Cao Shuo moved up to fourth with a 17.13m leap, displacing Murillo to fifth and Evora to sixth.

On his last attempt, the gold secured, Taylor got far into the pit, but had a toe over the board and therefore got a red flag rather than the kind of mark he might have hoped for. A second gold medal seemed like an acceptable consolation, however.

"I wanted the world record but it wasn't to be,” Taylor said. “I'll keep pushing for it. It's been there so long."

Claye celebrated his silver medal by proposing marriage to hurdler Queen Harrison.

1
The round in which the medals where decided. Christian Taylor, Will Claye and Dong Bin all hit their best mark of the day in the first round.

2
The number of Olympic gold medals Christian Taylor has won, and the number of Olympic silver medals Will Claye has won.

3
The number of jumps Dong Bin could take. He passed the last three rounds injured but still came out with the bronze medal.

Christian Taylor after winning the triple jump at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

 

WOMEN'S DISCUS


Sandra Perkovic in the discus at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)



just as she did in qualifying, defending Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic delivered in the women’s discus final only when two fouls put her under some pressure.

In her last chance to get a mark on the board and continue throwing, Perkovic produced a 69.21m throw which proved not only to be enough for gold but more than two metres beyond what anyone else could reach.

It turned out to be Perkovic’s only recorded mark of the competition, as she went on to foul her next three throws.

While Perkovic was looking for a mark, Melina Robert-Michon opened with two marks beyond 64 metres, leading early with 65.52m.

In the third round, Cuba’s world champion Denia Caballero moved up to second with a 65.34m throw, momentarily pushing Robert-Michon to third. But Robert-Michon responded with a 66.73m French record in the fifth round, returning to second and leaving Caballero third.

Robert-Michon was also second at the IAAF World Championships Moscow 2013. Rio is her fifth Olympics; her previous best finish was fifth in 2012.

After Robert-Michon’s big throw, the only changes to the order came below the medals; Australia’s Dani Samuels moved up to fourth with a final-round 64.90m throw.

Nadine Muller, fourth in London, finished sixth here with a 63.13m in the first round as her only mark. Germany’s highly-ranked trio underperformed in the final, finishing sixth, ninth (Julia Fischer, 62.67m) and 11th (Shanice Craft, 59.85m).

Yaime Perez, the 2010 world U20 champion and fourth at last year’s IAAF World Championships, recorded three fouls and ended with no mark.

Conditions for the final couldn’t have been more different from qualifying. Where Monday night’s qualifying was cool and sufficiently rainy to halt group A’s throwing for half an hour, Tuesday morning’s final was sunny and hot.

7
The number of fouls, out of a possible 9, recorded by Sandra Perkovic in the qualifying round and final of the discus. But it only takes one throw to win, and in the third round she sent her disc flying out to 69.21m.

66.73
National record for Melina Robert-Michon in silver. It was the first individual Olympic medal for a French woman since Marie Jose Perec’s double gold in 1996.

344
Days that Perkovic has gone undefeated. The Croatian has now a winning streak of 10 competitions (finals only) since 8 September 2015.

200M SEMI-FINALS

20
The age of Dina Asher-Smith, the youngest athlete to make it to this year’s final. Ivet Lalova-Collio will be the oldest at 32; the Bulgarian first reached an Olympic final 12 years ago.

400M HURDLES SEMI-FINALS

3
The number of Jamaican women who advanced to the final. Leah Nugent, the first to qualify on time, was initially disqualified from her first-round heat and was later reinstated by the jury of appeal.

7
Number of nationalities that will be represented in the men’s final: USA, Jamaica, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Estonia and Kenya.

84
Years since Ireland last had a finalist in the men’s 400m hurdles. Thomas Barr set a national record of 48.39 to qualify by right for Thursday’s final.

0.66
The difference between Dalilah Muhammad and the next-fastest qualifier, Zuzana Hejnova, for the women’s 400m hurdles final.

Thomas Barr in the 400m hurdles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

 

100M HURDLES HEATS

12.54
Brianna Rollins’ clocking in her heat, which is also the fastest ever recorded in the first round of the 100m hurdles at the Olympic Games. It would have been enough for a medal at every Olympics up to and including 2008.

15
Nationalities will be represented in the semi-finals. The USA, Jamaica and Germany will have three athletes each in the next round.

WOMEN’S POLE VAULT QUALIFYING

0
Number of Brazilians who advanced to the final. Home favourite Fabiana Murer bowed out after failing to clear her opening height while Joana Costa could only muster 4.15m. The host nation has had their pole vault gold in Rio but probably not the one they expected.

1
Number of times Ekaterini Stefanidi jumped. She passed every height up until the qualifying standard of 4.60m, which she cleared at the first time of asking.

MEN’S 200M HEATS

10
The number of heats in the men’s 200m. 100m champion Usain Bolt, who is on course to secure a treble treble here in Rio, eased to the line in 20.28 for the win in heat nine.

5
The number of national records set. The countries were: Spain, Bahrain, Liberia, Swaziland and Costa Rica.

88
Years since Canada won an Olympic medal in the men’s 200m. Andre De Grasse recorded the fastest time in the morning heats with a season’s best of 20.09.

WOMEN’S 5000M HEATS

17:10.02
The time it took Abbey D’Agostino to finish after she fell. The US runner was involved in a tangle with Nikki Hamblin. Both ended up on the ground but they helped each other up and limped their way through the rest of the race. In true Olympic spirit, the moment made for the most inspiring photos of the day. The pair, along with Austria’s Jennifer Wenth, were advanced to the final, but D’Agostino’s injury will prevent her from competing.


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