Ever since the mammoth opening ceremony at the beginning of the week – every nation has seen considerable thrills and spills whilst all athletes attempt to win their very own prized Gold medal.
The Olympics always captures the public mind, and although most of us ‘sit round and do nothing’ for a considerable proportion of our lives, these Olympics allow us to ‘sit round and do nothing’ whilst watching a random game of handball which you can’t really understand! Exciting stuff was that Sweden – Argentina game.
But what else has been happening in Rio? With so many different sports it’s hard to follow each and every one. So thankfully I’ve found you perhaps the greatest moments from the first week of competition.
Firstly, the Spanish Men’s Hockey Team thoroughly deserve a mention. The men Olympics field hockey tournament has 12 teams competing split over two pools. Spain is in pool A, along with Britain, Belgium, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. The Spaniard’s are currently ranked 11th in the world, and they’re the 2nd lowest ranked team in their pool behind Brazil. They started their campaign against the hosts Brazil, and predictably smashed them 7 – 0.
But when they came up against the #1 ranked team Australia in their second pool match, they weren’t expected to do much – as they were the underdog. Spain scored within 4 minutes of the match starting to take a 1 goal lead. With true spirit, fight and some bloody good defenders – Spain held the lead to the finish and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in world hockey.
But their story wasn’t over, they faced our very own Black Sticks next and both teams were keen to impress. The Spanish again played their hearts out and nothing could separate the two teams. With a minute to go they were still locked at 2 – 2 and New Zealand had an amazing opportunity to score in the form of a penalty corner. But again Spain’s defence stood strong and with quick thinking, they got the ball right up to their own circle and took their prime counter-attacking opportunity to pop in a goal with 20 seconds to go. With a 3 – 2 win over us Kiwi’s it means Spain is likely to qualify for the quarter-finals. In turn this does mean one of the favourites, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia or Britain will (most likely) not make the quarter-finals!
The second incredible event that requires a mention is one which I’m sure you’ve heard about, Michael Phelps. The famed American swimmer has won 5 gold medals this week, taking his lifetime total to 23. Of the 5 events, three were in a relay, and two were won individually. The first of these individual medals came in the 200m Butterfly. Ironically, when the Olympian made his debut at the Sydney Olympics at the turn of the century, this was the only event of which he reached the finals in. Let’s not forget to mention, he was 15 at the time – likely similar to your age now! Phelps also won the 200m Individual Medley and it was his 4th consecutive Olympics in which he has stood on the top step for said event. He is the first swimmer ever, man or woman, to win any swimming event consecutively over 4 games. Personally, these wins put on display his extreme consistency over the 16 years of his Olympics competition – and for me is prime evidence against anyone who says he’s a doping cheat.
Last but not least, we’ve sadly seen some dreams crushed in Rio. We’ve had two separate brutal accidents which happened as the athletes were on the edge of their physical competition. Firstly and more publicly seen, Samir Aït Saïd, a French Gymnast, broke his left leg whilst attempting to land a vault in the Gymnastics. He shattered his tibia and fibula and was left sitting in pain on the gym floor with a clearly bent and broken left leg. You can find graphic footage of the incident on the internet.
Secondly, Armenian weightlifter, Andranik Karapetyan, suffered a brutal and gruesome hyper-extended left elbow injury as he tried to lift 195kg. As he attempted to lift the immense weight above his head, his left elbow just simply gave way and hyper-extended completely ‘in the wrong flippin’ direction’. Although the injury isn’t as bad as Samir Aït Saïd’s (above) it is undeniably more gruesome and painful to watch. You can also find graphic footage of the incident on the internet.
To conclude, I hope the next week of Olympic competition will spit out some equally exciting and incredible moments, though I do hope we are done on the injury side of things. Despite being a Kiwi, I wish Spain the best of luck on their attempt at a medal in the Hockey, I bid fair well to the swimming legend that is Michael Phelps, and wish Samir and Andranik a speedy recovery!
Author: Steven Walton
Steven Walton is a 16 year old student currently attending St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was brought up with two older brothers and his big passions are sports (especially motorsport), people and writing. He runs his own motorsport blog, Green Flag F1 (www.greenflagf1.com) and is aspiring to be a journalist when he is older.