Blink and you’d have missed it. Week one of the Rio 2016 Olympics is done and dusted and what a week it’s been. Records have tumbled in the pool and have started to tumble on the track before the big guns have even come out to play properly.
High: South Africa’s cyclists put in a good challenge
Louis Meintjes and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio finished in the top ten in the men and women’s road races respectively as the Games got underway. An exceptional effort considering both were racing with just one
High: Cameron van der Burgh bags the first medal
It would have taken a tremendous effort from Cameron van der Burgh to beat Adam Peaty, who smashed his own world record twice at the Games. So a silver would have felt like gold for the big
Low: The men and women’s football teams disappoint
Between them across six games, the football teams managed just one goal. Both showed character, but both lacked that little razzle dazzle to close out their games. For the men, this should be taken as something to build on
High and low: The Blitzboks
By South Africa’s lofty ambitions, bagging a bronze in the Sevens can probably be considered a little bit under par, especially considering how they faded in their semi-final against England. But that kind of inconsistency is something which has been part and parcel of their World Series campaign over the last few months. There was one massive high, though. Francois Hougaard insisted Seabelo Senatla take his bronze medal.
Low: Chad le Clos misses out in the 200m fly
Expectation can be a dastardly thing and after winning silver in the 200m freestyle, Chad le Clos was basically expected to win at least something in the 200m fly. It was a rematch from 2012 as he squared off against Michael Phelps, having shadow-boxed him into life during the semis. Phelps won gold, Le Clos won nothing.
High: All rowers reach the finals
South Africa sent five boats to the Olympics and all five of them made it to their respective finals. All teams – barring the men’s fours – qualified directly for their semi-final event. It was quite a splendid effort which culminated with a silver medal for men’s pair Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling. For Brittain, this was an even more incredible effort having beaten cancer last year.
Low: But just one rowing team wins a medal
While all rowing teams reached the final, it was somewhat disappointing that just one of them won a medal. On finals day on Friday, the teams looked a bit knackered and under cloudy skies, they faded against strong competition. Still, in the context of things, this has been quite magical for South African rowing. Considering rowing often sucks on the hind teat of funding in South African sport, coach Roger Barrow has surely given the people who pull the purse strings food for thought: imagine what this man could achieve if he was given just a little bit of a cash injection?
High: Le Clos and a cigar to share
Chad le Clos won silver in the 100m fly final in what turned out to be quite a curious race. Joseph Schooling from Singapore won his country’s
Photo: Joint silver medalists Michael Phelps of USA (R-L), Chad Guy Bertrand Le Clos of South Africa, and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary during the medal ceremony for the men’s 100m Butterfly Final race of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Swimming events at Olympic Aquatics Stadium at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 12 August 2016. EPA/PATRICK B. KRAEMER
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