Rio Olympics 2016: Australia lead early medals after swimming golds – live! – The Guardian
After what seemed like an eternal buildup to these Games, culminating in the pomp and pageantry of the opening ceremony, the time for sporting action to finally take centre stage in Rio arrived. That’s what the Olympics is about, after all.
Yet despite the first medals beings won – three of which (two gold and one bronze) made a resurgent Australia the tentative leader on the medal table – this is Rio 2016, and the day did not, could not, pass without its fair share of drama to vie with the beaming smiles and hunks of precious metal on display on the winners’ podium.
The big picture
While 271 Russian athletes have been cleared to compete, not so their Paralympic counterparts, with the International Paralympic Committee set to ban the entire Russian team from taking part.
In an exclusive, Owen Gibson reports that a provisional decision has already been made:
The International Paralympic Committee is set to do what its Olympic counterpart did not and ban Russia outright from its Games later this month, the Observer has learned.
In the wake of the publication of Professor Richard McLaren’s report that revealed jaw-dropping details of systemic doping in Russia, the IPC provisionally suspended Russia from the Paralympics.
Trouble elsewhere threatened to overshadow the first full day’s action with a stray bullet fired into a media tent at the equestrian venue and a controlled explosion conducted near the finish line of the road cycling. There was also anger at the long queues outside venues, some of which were eerily empty.
But even these blots on the Rio copybook failed to overshadow a general mood, which finally appeared to shift from scandal to celebration, as Jonathan Watts reported:
It has been a long time coming, but the Olympic feelgood factor has finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro despite a sore test by lengthy queues and security scares. After a year of doom and gloom – in which the build-up was plagued with financial calamity, political upheaval, collapsing infrastructure, rising crime, and the Zika epidemic – the mood in the host city appeared to have been transformed overnight by Friday’s successful opening ceremony and the start – finally – of the sport on Saturday morning.
But as if the Refugee Olympic Team hadn’t already won our collective hearts, another touching moment in the pool confirmed the overall sentiment. The flaws have been well detailed, but the heart of these Games is beyond questioning.
You should also know:
- Russia claims its first gold medal of the Games
- Horrific injuries overshadow the opening day’s gymnastics action
- France makes a less contentious return to the realm of rugby
Picture of the day
All times are local: add four hours for UK, add 13 hours for eastern Australia; subtract one hour for east-coast US and four for west coast. Or let this website help you.
- More medals are up for grabs in the pool today. Russian Yulia Efimova, having been cleared to compete despite doping offences, races in the women’s 100m breaststroke while Sun Yang of China – who has his own murky doping past – goes in the men’s 200m free. Team GB’s James Guy will look to upstage him and claim another “win for the good guys”. Australia will look to build on day one’s success with Emily Seebohm a medal contender in the women’s 100m backstroke, while Mitch Larkin goes in the men’s event.
- In cycling, the women’s road race gets under way at 12:15pm, with Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead likely to attract plenty of attention.
- If you like your sports well-suited to Bond films, look no further than the fencing competition and today’s men’s individual foil event, starting at 9am, while the women’s trap shooting concludes with the gold medal match at 3:45pm.
- We will get a first look at the incredible Simone Biles, America’s best athlete, in the artistic gymnastic competition.
- Three of the world’s top four-ranked teams in action in the men’s basketball competition – Spain (against Croatia), Lithuania (hosts Brazil) and Argentina (Nigeria), all at Carioca Arena 1 from 2:15pm.
- Brazil will look to make amends for their disappointing goalless draw with South Africa when they meet Iraq – kick-off 10pm – in the men’s football tournament. Portugal, Germany and Argentina are among the other teams in action.
- More hockey, with world numbers two and three, Netherlands (12:30pm v Spain) and Germany (1:30pm v China) both playing in the women’s competition. In the men’s later in the day, Great Britain take on New Zealand (5pm) and world No1 Australia play Spain at 8:30pm.
- And the rugby sevens competition is getting into the swing of things; by the end of day 2 we’ll know the identities of the women’s semi-finalists. Great Britain face a tough assignment against Canada (12:30pm) while favourites Australia play the US at 1:30pm to wrap up the group stage.
You can find the full event schedule for day one here.
Team GB roundup
No medals to show for thus far, but some definite high points.
Adam Peaty threw down an impressive opening gauntlet, breaking his own world record in the heats of the 100m breaststroke, meaning an 18-year wait for men’s gold in the pool could soon be over. But both Hannah Miley and Max Litchfield later missed out on bronze in their events.
William Fox-Pitt took pole position in the dressage, just 10 months after emerging from a coma, as Team GB chase a fifth consecutive eventing team gold at the equestrian.
Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson started with wins at the tennis, but there was no joy for Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas in the cycling road race, as Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet won a crash-marred finish.
There was better news – and no British injuries – in gymnastics as Max Whitlock and Louis Smith limbered up for a potential gold medal showdown on the men’s pommel, with the team performing strongly as well.
Team USA roundup
Teenager Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Games, holding her nerve to clinch the women’s 10‑metre air-rifle event, while the men’s archery team grabbed a first silver.
In the pool, Chase Kalisz did as the name suggests and hunted down (most of) his rivals, claiming silver in the 400m individual medley, while Madeline Dirado equalled her compatriot in the women’s equivalent. Team USA had a troika of silvers in the end as the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team also finished second.
The hotly-anticipated men’s basketball team took to the court for the first time and brushed past China in trademark, inimitable fashion, while Carli Lloyd’s goal saw the women’s football team notch two from two, edging key group rivals France 1-0 – at the same time more Zika chants were aimed at goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Australia team roundup
An unlikely first medal of the Games came in the men’s team archery as Taylor Worth, Ryan Tyack and Alec Potts upset China in the bronze medal playoff, but there were no surprises as it was gold, gold, gold (OK, just two) in the pool.
Mack Horton held off a fast-finishing Sun Yang to edge the 400m freestyle in “a win for the good guys”, before the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, anchored but the indomitable Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, flew home at world record pace.
But it was a horror day for cyclist Richie Porte who crashed out of the men’s road racing, and will withdraw from the time trial event having broken his scapula.
The Boomers (Australians love giving their national teams nicknames) made an impressive tournament debut, beating medal contenders France comfortably with Andrew Bogut in imposing form, with the Opals also recording an impressive first up win over Brazil.
A late goal ruined the Matildas’ (told you) hopes of upsetting world No2 Germany, with the teams settling for a share of the points after a 2-2 draw.
Underdog of the day
Confirming the maxim that big things come in small packages, Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan won just her country’s eighth Olympic gold medal, flexing her muscles and blowing away the field in the women’s 48kg weightlifting.
Tweet of the day
If today were a song
It would be Roots Manuva’s Witness the Fitness. A no-brainer really, but with the tracksuits coming off, the world has witnessed the incredible specimens that make up the Olympic Games. From the sinuous stamina of the cycling road race, the raw power of the rowers, to the incredible agility of the gymnasts and the brute strength of the weightlifters. Time to move on from the Tongan flag bearer.
And another thing
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