Usain Bolt achieved his ninth gold medal from nine events across three Olympics. Meanwhile the German women won their first soccer gold, but away from the sport, controversy continued to abound.
Usain Bolt is now surely the greatest Olympian ever. Sorry Micheal Phelps, your achievements are epic, but Bolt’s exploits have effectively saved athletics from dropping into near obscurity given the lack of other real global stars and the Russian doping controversy which threatened to overshadow these Games.
Winning a historic triple triple, that is, nine sprint gold medals in three Olympic Games, is quite extraordinary, and the only sadness inside an electric Rio stadium came from the knowledge that this is the Jamaican’s last Games.
“I am proud of myself and I have to say thanks to the guys,” Bolt said. “I am the greatest.”
Silvia Neid was the other big winner on Day 14. The Germany coach inspired the women’s soccer team to their first ever Olympic gold in her final outing before stepping down. She adds the Olympic title to the World Cup triumph and two European Championships she also won during her 11-year tenure.
The 2-1 win over Sweden, who had shocked holders the United States and hosts Brazil in the two previous rounds, was richly deserved, even if they were clinging on slightly at the end.
There was also a first Games gold for the British women’s hockey team as they defeated defending champions the Netherlands on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
Great Britain hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and team mate Helen Richardson-Walsh are the first married couple to win gold for Britain since sailors Cyril and Dorothy Wright in 1920.
It continued Great Britain’s stunning showing across Rio, where they had been expected to perform significantly worse than their home games in London four years ago, but are on track to match or even beat their 2012 medal tally.
They sit second in the medals table between the US and China, with another gold coming from Nick Skelton, 56, in the showjumping. He temporarily retired 16 years ago after breaking his neck.
There was another first in taekwando with Ivory Coast picking up their first ever Olympics gold through Cheikh Sallah Cisse, while Spain’s Carolina Marin became the first non-Asian woman to win Olympic gold in badminton singles, beating India’s PV Sindhu.
A surprise also came on the track when Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot upset favorite Ayana Almaz of Ethiopia to land gold in the women’s 5,000 meters final. Almaz, who had taken the 10,000m gold earlier in the Games, ended up with bronze as Kenyan Hellen Onsando Obiri took silver.
Otherwise the athletics went to form, not just with Bolt’s greatness, but by the US women scooping gold in their 4x 100 contest. The United States basketball team also made it to the men’s final where they will face Serbia having disposed of Spain 82-76 in the semi.
Despite the sporting exploits, the Rio Games continued to be dogged by controversy.
US swimmer Ryan Lochte apologized for apparently making up part of a story about being robbed at gun point, and the IOC launched a disciplinary commission to look into the case.
Meanwhile IOC executive board member Pat Hickey of Ireland was taken to a high security Rio prison after being denied bail as police investigate an alleged ticket scam.
Tickets are a big problem for the Paralympics starting on September 7 with only 12 percent sold. Organizers announced that major cuts would be made to the budget to allow the event to go ahead.
There was also news of three Russians failing retrospective doping tests from Beijing 2008. New analysis has led to the most high profile, Anastasia Kapachinskaya, having her silver medal from the 4x 400 relay stripped, as did her teammates.
Author Mark Meadows