Saturday 10 December 2016

What you missed in Rio while you slept: Gold for Farah and Phelps, Silver for Ennis-Hill and heartbreak for Mark English

Published 14/08/2016 | 09:25

It was a busy night in Rio de Janeiro while the people in Ireland were in bed. Here are seven things you probably slept through.

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1. Mark English comes up short

The Donegal 800m runner had an outside chance of making the final in a hotly contested event but the 23-year-old could only manage a fifth place finish in the second semi-final.

English ran a time of 1:45.93 in a highly competitive race that was won by 2012 Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha.

2. Farah writes his name into the history

Mo Farah became the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals on Saturday night after he retained his 10,000 metres title in Rio.

The 33 year-old continued his unprecedented spell of long-distance domination by landing his eighth straight global crown, but he did it the hard way after falling to the track following a trip from training partner Galen Rupp.

He recovered from two early falls to respond to the challenge laid down by Kenya's Paul Tanui, bursting past him down the home straight and crossing the line in 27 minutes 5.17 seconds.

Victory saw him eclipse the Olympic achievements of the likes of athletics double champions Sebastian Coe, Daley Thompson and Kelly Holmes.

3. Jessica Ennis-Hill misses the gold by seconds

The Olympic champion fell agonisingly short in her bid to become the first British woman to retain an Olympic title in athletics as she settled for silver, finishing 35 points behind brilliant young Belgian Nafissatou Thiam.

After two days of see-saw competition, Thiam went into the final event with a lead of 142 points, which equated to around nine seconds.

Ennis's personal best before Rio was 9.47 seconds better than Thiam's and she ran hard from the front to finish well clear.

Thiam, however, dug deep to come in just over seven seconds behind, a second inside her personal best, and good enough to take gold.

4. Rutherford loses title in the long jump final

Defending Olympic Champion Greg Rutherford could only manage bronze in his final attempt in the long jump final, as gold medallist Jeff Henderson of the USA and silver medallist Luvo Manyonga beat him comfortably.

Henderson claimed gold in a drama-filled competition in which a trailing left hand from his compatriot Jarrion Lawson was all that spared Rutherford from walking away empty-handed.

Lawson finished fourth but his final jump went way beyond that of Henderson's, only for his left hand's contact in the sandpit to ruin his jump - and his medal hopes with it.

Henderson managed a best of 8.38 metres, finishing 1cm ahead of South African Luvo Manyonga, with Rutherford only managing 8.29 in his final jump.

With Rutherford only just qualifying in tenth place for the final, it was always going to be a huge challenge coming back to defend his title.

5. Michael Phelps wins 23rd and final gold medal

The United States won the men's 4x100 metres medley relay on Saturday after Ryan Murphy had given them a world record start that propelled Michael Phelps to a 23rd gold medal in his final Olympic race.

Britain took the silver medal and Australia bronze. Phelps, who swam the third butterfly leg, ends the most successful Olympic career of all time with 23 golds, three silver and two bronze.

Murphy broke the world record for the 100 backstroke in the leadoff, clocking 51.85 seconds to eclipse the 51.94 that compatriot Aaron Peirsol swam in 2009.

6. Elaine Thompson wins women's 100m final

Amid all the talk of Usain Bolt’s bid to become the first sprinter to win a hat-trick of Olympic 100 metres titles, it had almost been forgotten that Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce could beat her Jamaica team-mate to it.

But she failed to do so last night after being dethroned by the latest sprinting sensation from the island, Elaine Thompson, who produced the fastest gold medal-winning run since Flo-Jo to storm to the title.

Thompson’s 10.71 seconds was the joint 12th fastest time in history, with Fraser-Pryce not even able to finish second despite an injury-plagued season’s best of 10.86s.

The deposed champion had to settle for bronze, with Tori Bowie of the United States taking silver in 10.83s.

7. British cyclists continue to dominate the track

Team GB brushed aside USA in the women's team pursuit final on Saturday night in world record time as Britain's gold rush in the velodrome continued apace.

After trailing early on, the quartet of Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand cranked up the pace to devastating effect, winning in 4min 10.236sec - nearly two seconds quicker than the world record they set in the heats.

Britain won by 2.218 seconds - a country mile in the world of track pursuiting - to match the feat of the Sir Bradley Wiggins-inspired men's team who won a much tighter duel with Australia to win gold on Friday, also in a world record time.

Trott, 24, became the first female British Olympian to win three gold medals and is now only one behind the four of her fiancé Jason Kenny who could take his tally to five in Sunday's sprint.   Kenny will face team-mate Callum Skinner in the men's sprint final after the duo beat Denis Dmitriev and Matthew Glaetzer respectively in Saturday night's semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Rebecca James won an emotional silver medal in the women's keirin after the Welshwoman ended a miserable couple of years by standing on the second spot of the podium below Elis Ligtlee of Holland but above Australian track legend Anna Meares who had to settle for bronze.

Telegraph.co.uk

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