The 1,500 metres showdown between Mack Horton and drug cheat Sun Yang is not to be.
The self-proclaimed King, Sun Yang bombed out in the heats of his pet event. Couldn’t even break 15 minutes, which is 1,500 metres for dummies these days.
Afterwards, he was full of excuses. He was sick, he said. Had been all week. Hadn’t swum the 1,500 metres much in the last few years, he said.
But you’re the king, Sun. Remember, you told us, in that imperious tone befitting your regal position.
Mack Horton, who qualified fourth for the final, was care factor zero about Sun’s abdication. “It really doesn’t matter if he is there or not.”
There’s been plenty more bling for the Aussies in the past 24 hours. Silver for Mitch Larkin in the 200 metres backstroke. Silver at the velodrome for our team pursuit lads. Silver for our men’s four rowing team. And bronze for Dane Bird-Smith in the 20-kilometre butt wobble.
In the women’s football, the Matildas took Brazil to a penalty shoot-out in their quarter final match and were within an inch of winning it after Brazilian superstar Marta did a Messi and flubbed her kick.
But the home team regrouped, taking the shoot-out 7-6.
And we’re unexpectedly leading the golf. Yep, at the halfway mark, Marcus Fraser, ranked 90th in the world, is at the top of the leaderboard.
Admittedly, a lot of the 89 blokes ranked above him are absent from this tournament. This could be why. Yes, that’s an extremely large rat.
In other breaking animal news, a live fish has been spotted at the rowing venue in waters where it was widely believed nothing survived.
Has there been a more joyous image in these Olympics than Fiji’s big boofy rugby sevens blokes singing like choir boys after their gold medal win?
It was the feel good moment of the Games, Fiji claiming its first ever Olympic medal, gold for good measure after thrashing the Poms, the players on their knees to receive their medals from Princess Anne, the prime minister declaring a public holiday.
Not that anyone was working.
Also stealing the show was superstar American gymnast Simone Biles, who was never threatened in the all-around competition.
Perhaps the best gymnast the world has seen, she has absolutely no regard for gravity. Just watch her signature move, the Biles.
She also sustains an innocent flirtfest with Zac Efron, who regularly tweets her his support.
But despite admitting to a crush on the actor and keeping a life-size cutout of him in her bedroom, she’s playing hard to get.
Blub of the day
Simone Manuel made history as the first black female swimmer to win Olympic gold, dead-heating in the women’s 100 metres freestyle with Canadian teenager Penny Oleksiak, incidentally the first Olympic medallist born this century.
Manuel went for the extended blub across multiple disciplines, a blub requiring energy, commitment and a lack of inhibition. She cried in the pool, when she got out of the pool and on the podium. She may still be crying. And why not?
“It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” she said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color comes with the territory.”Embed from Getty Images
Quote of the day
Remember how Rio Olympics spokesthingy Mario Andrada promised that the diving pool would be blue ‘from now on’? Still green. And now it’s been closed.
German diver Stephan Feck says it’s not just the colour that’s off. “The whole venue smells like somebody has fart.”
Canadian TV presenter Elliotte Friedman got Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte mixed up in his call on the 200 metres individual medley final.
“Finally, he’s going to do it! Ryan Lochte is going to beat Michael Phelps in this event!” he screamed throughout the final lap, as Phelps stormed to victory.
Lochte finished fifth.
Finnish weightlifter Milko Tokola was stoked to lift 175 kilograms. He raised his arms, he celebrated, he passed out.
Rope a dope
As if Russia’s systemic swapping of athlete urine samples wasn’t brazen enough, a Kenyan coach has tried to pass himself off as an athlete to give a fake urine sample for one of his charges.
John Anzrah pretended he was 800-metre runner Ferguson Rotich, gave a urine sample and signed off on the necessary documents.
Anzrah is 61. Rotich is 26. It’s incredible officials were able to see through such an elaborate ruse.
Anzrah is on his way back to Kenya. Rotich, who has made it into the 800 metres semis, has expressed complete surprise.
He says he lent Anzrah his athlete’s pass so the coach could get a free breakfast in the Olympic Village.
I’m thinking there was baloney on the menu.
And finally, some champion advice
China’s Ma Long, who took away a gold medal in table tennis, has a secret weapon to cope with the pressure of competition.
“For Ma Long, two things are most important,” says his coach. “One is that when the pressure gets very high, to make him go to a bar and drink some alcohol.”
There’s something in that for all of us…