Olympic Update – Huge Weekend for U.S.
How many medals did we win over the weekend, how long does it take to win a medal, why you should know the name Oscar Pistorius, another Olympian got sent home and another wonderful display of sportsmanship.
Team USA won 23 medals over the weekend and ten of them were gold. The pool was liquid gold for our swimmers on Friday as Michael Phelps won gold as expected in the 100 meter butterfly and that makes a three peat for Michael as he won gold in 2008 and 2004 in that same event. Missy Franklin won gold and Elizabeth Beisel won bronze in the 200 meter backstroke. Katie Ledecky won a gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle and set an American record in the process. Cullen Jones took home a silver in 50 meter freestyle and as track and field events began on Friday, American shot putter Reese Hoffa won a bronze medal.
Saturday was just as exciting in and out of the pool. The Team USA men’s relay team of Michael Phelps, Matt Grevers, Nathan Adrian and Brendan Hansen won gold in the 100 meter medley relay. That was Michael’s last race and he has a total haul to 22 medals and 18 of those are gold. The women’s swim team won a gold medal and set a world record winning the 100 meter medley relay. Serena Williams won gold in women’s singles tennis. Twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan won gold in men’s doubles. The U.S. also won gold in the 50 meter three position rifle event. The U.S. women’s cycling team took silver in team pursuit. We also won silver in the ten thousand meter race and 100 meter race. Team USA fencing took bronze, Will Claye won bronze in long jump and Team USA rowing took bronze in the men’s four event.
Sunday’s medal winners were Venus and Serena Williams winning gold in doubles tennis, while Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan took bronze in mixed doubles tennis. Sanya Richards-Ross won gold in the 400 meter track and field event. Dee Dee Trotter took bronze in the same event. McKayla Maroney was expected to win gold in the vault, but fell on her second attempt and took silver. The fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt reclaimed his crown Sunday night taking gold in the 100 meter race, but American runner Justin Gatlin took home bronze.
The United States is number two in the medal race just behind China, who has 61 medals. Host nation Great Britain is number three with 37 medals.
So, how long does it take to win one of those coveted prizes? The Wall Street Journal took a look at a number of different sports to find out how long it takes them to win a medal. A shot putter won gold in 13 seconds! A javelin thrower took gold in 32 seconds. Volleyball is one of the longest with 14 hours to get the gold. Basketball, floor hockey, soccer and team handball also take hours to win their medals.
The name Oscar Pistorius will be a household name come 2016. Oscar Pistorius is a sprinter from South Africa and he has no legs. He was born without the complete lower portion of his legs, so he uses prosthesis to walk and carbon fiber running blades to run. His goal was to compete in the Olympics against able bodied people and this weekend, he accomplished his goal. On Saturday Oscar qualified for the 400 meter race and with a time of 45.44 seconds, he came in second making him the first person in history to compete in both the Paralympics and Olympics. Sunday, his time was 46.44 seconds and he came in last, so he can’t win a medal in that event, but Oscar is running again Thursday in the four by 400 meter relay, so he still has a chance to medal. Even if he doesn’t win, he has already won the hearts of people across the globe, including the raining world champion in the 400 meter, Kirani James of Grenada who asked him to swap bibs at the end of the heat.
Another athlete was sent packing over the weekend, but it wasn’t for anything the said on a social networking site. It was for spending the night with his wife and coach. Kim Collins is in London representing a small two island nation in the Caribbean called St. Kitts and Nevis. He has been representing his country in track and field in every Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996. Officials with the team pulled him from his events because he left the village to go see his wife, who just happens to be his coach. He took to Facebook and slammed the decision by saying, “Hours before my 5th 100m Olympic race, I now find out I can’t run, all because I was in a hotel with my wife/coach…REALLY? Are you freakin’ kiddin me!” He also took to his Twitter account saying that this is the last time he represents his country because, “Even men in prison get their wives to visit.”
The Olympic spirit is alive and well in London. A swimmer from Norway named Alexander Dale Oen was favored to win the gold medal in the 100 and 200 meter breast stroke in the London games, but unfortunately Alexander had a rare heart condition that no one knew about it and he died in April after suffering cardiac arrest following a training run. On Wednesday, Daniel Gyurta of Hungary won a gold medal and set a world record in the 200 meter breast stroke and on Friday, Daniel announced that he was having a copy of his gold medal made so that Alexander’s family could have one, too. He said, “I’m sure he would have won here. This is the least I can do to pay respect to my friend.”