London Olympics: Aussie hoighloights Day 3

It was a night of mixed emotions, where backstroker Emily Seebohm was devastated with silver and Diesel Leisel ecstatic with fifth. And added in was the measure of relief we perhaps all felt when bad boy Nick D’Arcy faltered in his Olympic campaign.

It was a night that proved again there’s no such thing as a sure fire certain gold in these Games. We returned to the pool deck after yesterday’s relay disappointment, which rendered James Magnussen almost catatonic with disbelief, full of expectation. Emily Seebohm went into the final of the 100 metres backstroke a full second ahead of her nearest competitor and looked the goods, albeit narrowly, for most of the final.

If it was a 90-metre event, Ze Bomb would have a gold necklace right now. But American teenager Missy Franklin, rated as a chicks version of Michael Phelps, had other ideas, mowing her down in the final few metres. Ze Bomb was gutted and worried about all the people she let down but I’m sure her Twitter account will be inundated with assurances to the contrary today.

It was a changing of the guard in the 100 metres breaststroke, with a 15-year-old Lithuanian no one’s ever heard of relegating reigning Olympic champion Diesel Leisel to fifth place. You couldn’t wipe the smile of Diesel’s face. She’s now priming herself for the medley relay and hopefully a golden Olympic swansong.

The men’s 200-metre butterfly is probably the one event in our Games history where we haven’t willed our man to gold. Having beaten Michael Phelps last year, Nick D’Arcy fancied himself a good chance of making the final. But he swam close to two seconds outside his best time and I can’t say I was disappointed. D’Arcy will be on the next plane to Australia, sent home early for posing in a picture bearing firearms, always a good idea when you’ve got an assault conviction against your name.

Elsewhere on the water, our rowing crews are all in fine fettle, the new Oarsome Foursome with original Drew Ginn on board breaking the Olympic record. Some ripper showdowns with the Brits loom at Eton Downey.

Not such good news for our horsey eventing team, with a couple of stacks on a tough cross country course. Andrew Hoy is competing in his seventh Olympics in this event and it will take something special in the showjumping to send him home with a medal.

At the end of Day Three, the Chinese have extended their medal tally to 9 gold, way out in front of the Americans on 5. In what must be a nightmare for the Poms, the French lie in third place with 3 gold, largely courtesy of swimming sensation Yannick Agnel, who added another gold necklace to his tally today. The Aussies have slipped to 10th place, while Team GB languishes in 20th. The Brits picked up a bronze in the men’s team gymnastics final, their first gymnastics medal in 100 years.


 Almost overshadowing the sport is the growing Seatgate scandal, with row upon row of empty seats at key events like swimming and gymnastics. London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe has tried to claim venues “are stuffed to the gunnels” despite clear photographic evidence to the contrary.

Now soldiers are being called in as seat fillers. You know, because they’re so inconspicuous. So if you’re looking for a hot ticket, join the Army. You’ll score one of the best seats in the house or a Games security gig. And yes, possibly a tour of Afghanistan.

That’s the spirit!

At 71, Japanese horsey ballet specialist Hiroshi Hoketsu is the oldest competitor in London. At a time when he should be home with a blanky and hot water bottle, Hiroshi has spent a year away from his wife training in Germany. He claims to be a better rider now than he was at 40 and it is this continued improvement that motivates him. He advises “have a good life, enjoy yourself and do the things that make you happy.” Sounds good to me.

Another Wa-Wa Knee contender

I am reminded that in our search for a new Wa-Wa Knee, so-called after Jana Pittman’s drawn out knee antics of the 2004 Games, I have overlooked the tandem efforts of husband and wife shooters Russell and Lauryn Mark. The pair is up in arms (get it?) because they can’t share a room together. Frankly, they should have other things on their mind.

Russ had a colossal dummy spit before heading off to London, saying there were “tons of gay couples” rooming together and claiming he was being punished for his pro-sleeping pill stance and his wife’s gun-toting bikini shoot forZoo magazine. Lauryn lamented: “I guess we need to come to terms with it and try to figure out how to deal with it.” Like it was a Really Big Deal.

Lauryn missed a finals berth, while Russ gets to take out his frustrations on some clay pigeons on Thursday.

Did you see that?

Take a look at Belinda Snell’s massive three-pointer from three-quarters of the way down the court to send our basketball encounter with the French into overtime. It wasn’t enough to win us the game but it could well be the shot of the tournament.

They said it 

“I feel like I’ve disappointed my parents.” A tearful Emily Seebohm after taking silver in the 100-metre backstroke.

“We didn’t have that problem in Sydney.” AOC President John Coates rejects Sebastian Coe’s claim that empty seats are normal in the opening days. Coatesy’s a veteran of sticking it to the Poms, having famously quipped when Britain won swimming gold four years ago that it wasn’t a bad effort “for a nation with few swimming pools and not much soap”.

“I haven’t gone off the deep end and started eating McDonalds and stuff like that.” Aussie swimmer Matt Targett assures us the wheels haven’t completely fallen off after yesterday’s shock relay loss.

“Sometimes a kick up the backside is a good thing.” Aussie Chef de Missions Nick Green reckons James Magnussen will bounce back.

“If it turns out to be the kick in the butt that we needed, this result might end up being a positive.” Warming to the bottom-kicking theme, Aussie basketballer Suzy Batkovic tries to see the positives after the Opals’ shock loss to the French.

“Two silly mistakes from veterans that you don’t expect cost us.” Women’s gymnastics coach Penny Liddick doesn’t sugar coat our failure to make the team final.

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