Your daily Olympic wrap-up.
Notable Canadian performance: Mike Brown – While the 4 x 200-metre relay team was “pulling a Canada” in the pool, Brown, who is from Perth, Ont., of all places, put up the second best qualifying time in the 200 breaststroke semi-finals. Perhaps the Ceeb is trying to pull back on the medal contenders hype, but Brown is getting far less attention than many lesser medal hopefuls have in the pool.
Bronze. Book it.
Notable international performance: Chinese syncro divers Wand Feng and Qin Kai – These really are China’s Games, both on and off the pitch. And, that’s especially the case in the artistic sports where the big red (backflipping) machine is unstoppable. Feng and Kai performed an exhibition for the crowd while the rest battled for silver and bronze. Like Phelps in the pool, the Chinese sweep of diving golds seems inevitable.
The Maple Leaf Gold: Rowers Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen – They blasted out to a huge lead in their pairs semi-final and were able to coast for the last 500m in winning. The Australians will be tough in Saturday’s final, but gold does not look out of the possibility here and a medal is theirs for the taking if they perform up to abilities.
Maple Leaf silver: Women’s eights – Lost in the swimming sadness wasa strong day on the water for the rowing team, which has now qualified three boats to the finals with a chance to put three more in tonight. The eights were impressive in that they won their last chance race to put themselves on track as the bronze favourites.
Maple Leaf bronze: Melanie Matthews – the big Canadian bat opened up the fastball game with the Netherlands. She had two hits and three RBI in Canada’s mercy rule 9-2 win.
Maple Leaf tin medal: There are so many choices today. So many. But, it’s got to be Brent Hayden. Or, more specifically, whoever in the Hayden camp that decided to pull him out of the 200 freestyle after he had qualified to the semis with the third best time. As Fredericton’s (I lived there for near four years, give me a break) most famous swimmer, Marianne Limpert, rightly pointed out at the time it might have been his best medal chance. The field wasn’t as deep as the 100m, and he’s been laying down fast times at the distance. Instead, he was saved for the 100m where he ended up missing the final.
Yesterday, Hayden swam his 4 x 200 relay leg in 1:44.42. That time would have given him bronze.
The WTF was the Ceeb thinking award: It bit pedantic (and probably not even its fault), but in the PVR world that we are living in it would be nice if the Ceeb would adjust the schedule it gives cable companies so someone, say, taping the diving finals doesn’t have it cut off midway through because the programming schedule says it ends at 3 a.m., not 3:45 a.m.
Always add an hour when taping sports. Always add an hour when taping sports. Always add an hour when taping sports. Stupid Duane. Stupid Duane. Stupid Duane.
Honorary Canadian award: Georgian volleyball players Cristine Santanna and Andrezza Martins – Politics and sport sholdn’t mix and all that, but you have to think that the two transplanted Brazilians made a lot of friends yesterday by eliminating the Russian team they were facing. You know, the folks that just invaded.
Canadian highlights for day 6: Brown. He’s gonna medal. As stated already, book it.
And, the a great ball double bill with the fastball heroes drawing the mighty Yanks and the baseball team playing Cuba.
International highlight for day 6: It doesn’t quite have the stature of the 100m running title, but the men’s 100m freestyle is always a treat. The final goes tonight (Phelps free, so it’s wide open) with Dutch swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband looking for the three-peat.