Another Aussie gold goes begging in London
Australia's Emily Seebohm. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI
Emily Seebohm, yet another solid Aussie gold prospect in the pool and the Olympic Games record-holder set in the heats, had to be content with silver as the tall American, Missy Franklin, swum the race of her life to grab gold in the 100 backstroke overnight.
Franklyn touched in 58.33, Seebohm in 58.68.
Belinda Hocking, the second Australian in the final, finished seventh in 59.29.
“I feel bad that my parents are here (in London) and for all those people in Australia who got up so early to support me,” said a choked and very emotional Emily.
Leisel Jones’ final appearance in her record fourth Olympics was a fifth in the 100 breaststroke final won by the 15-year-old from Lithuania Ruta Meilutyte for her country’s first gold medal in the pool in her first Olympics.
Nobody could blame her for looking like a rabbit in the headlights. She had stunned herself.
The winning time was 1.05.47, Jones 1.06.95.
At the medal presentation, Ruta was a flood of tears. So much has happened so quickly for the long blond-haired teenager.
Frenchman Yannick Agnel had a shock taste of Olympic gold two nights ago in the 4×100 freestyle relay, and liked it so much he won 200 freestyle gold last night, ending China’s Sun Yang’s aspirations of gold in the 200, 400, and 1500.
Sun tied with Korea’s Park Taehwan for silver in 1.44.93.
Australia’s Thomas Fraser-Holmes finished seventh.
In semi-final action:
* Australian Bronte Barratt surprised even her staunchest supporters by being fastest qualifier for the 200 freestyle final, with 1.56.08. Compatriot Kylie Palmer also made the decider with 1.57.44 as seventh fastest.
* Defending champion, Stephanie Rice, and Alicia Coutts, both qualified for the 200 IM final. Alicia was second fastest behind China’s Ye Shiwen, who broke Stephanie’s Olympic record set in Beijing of 2.08.45 with 2.08.39.
* The balloon has finally burst for controversial selection Nick D’Arcy in the 200 fly, finishing 13th fastest of the two semis with 1.56.07, compatriot Chris Wright 16th with 1.58.56. Defending champion Michael Phelps was only fourth fastest with 1.54.53, behind Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda’s 1.54.25.
* Tonight, can James Magnusssen and James Roberts start recharging their Olympic hopes after that disastrous relay performance?
Out of the pool:
The Opals hit a speed bump in their bid for basketball gold, beaten in a nail-biting thriller 74-70 by France in overtime. It was the first time since 1996 the Aussie girls have lost a prelim game.
But the moment that will become folklore belonged to Opal, Belinda Snell.
With one second left on the clock in regulation time, she buried a monster three-pointer from her side of half-way that sent the almost capacity crowd into raptures and the 65-65 scoreline into five minutes of OT.
The Opals’ chances in extra time were not enhanced by two of their tall timbers and top-scorers, in captain Lauren Jackson and Elizabeth Cambage, both being fouled out late in regulation.
Having said that, this was one helluva game of basketball, and the French were magnificent.
The hotly-fancied Kookaburras opened their hockey gold campaign with a thumping 6-0 win over South Africa, with skipper and five times world’s best, Jamie Dwyer, netting a hat-trick.
London is Rick Charlesworth’s third Olympics as national coach, taking the Hockeyroos to successive gold medals in 1996 and 2000.
Charlesworth took over the Kookas in 2009, and they haven’t lost an international tournament since. The good doctor has the Midas touch.
The Australian equestrian individual and eventing team are also looking good after the dressage and cross-country sections, with the third and final day – the show-jumping tonight – to decide the medals.
Highlight of the day for the locals was Zara Phillips, the Queen’s grand-daughter, and Princess Anne’s daughter, cover the demanding cross-country event with a perfect score.
Phillips, along with Australians Chris Burton and veteran Andrew Hoy, in his seventh Games, are in contention for individual gold tonight.
The Australian team is sixth, making a bronze medal the best possible bet.
* A trim new-look and capless Lleyton Hewitt has stopped the Australian rot at Wimbledon with a gutsy 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky after both Sam Stosur and Bernard Tomic were first round casualties, Tomic for the sixth successive tournament. Top seed Roger Federer is into the third round and on track to realise the one major trophy he doesn’t own – an Olympic singles gold medal.
* Three Australian rowing crews have qualified for finals – the men’s eights, Drew Ginns’ four, the double sculls of Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley, and the women’s four of Dana Faletic, Kerry Hore, Pauline Frasca, and Amy Clay, via the repercharge.
* A nervous Australian water polo team lost 5-8 to world champions Italy, with the Australian scorers Richie Campbell, Tim Cleland, Rhys Howden, Aidan Roach, and Johnno Cotterill.
* The Stingers, the Australian women’s water polo team, reversed that decision with a 10-8 victory over Italy – captain Kate Gynther netting a hat-trick.
>> Listen to Emily Seebohm chatting with the ABC following her silver medal.
London 2012 Olympics – Day 4 Gallery