Jamaica unleashed a new sprint sensation as Omar McLeod took the Rio Olympics 110m hurdles on Tuesday while sports leaders slammed the Rio Games crowd for abusing French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie, leaving him in tears.
Brazil suffered a football disaster when their women’s team were beaten in a semi-final penalty shoot-out by Sweden. Britain won another two cycling titles through golden couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, taking their total to six out of the 10 disputed. Rivals want to know what is behind this domination.
McLeod, 22, led the hurdle race from start to finish and won in 13.05sec. Cuba-born Orlando Ortega of Spain took silver and France’s Dimitri Bascou bronze.
McLeod said inspiration had come from fellow Jamaicans Usain Bolt, the new 100m champion who runs in the 200m semi-finals on Wednesday, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who took bronze in the 100m.
“You see them, they go out and have fun and represent themselves and their country and they win, and you just want to go out and do the same thing,” McLeod said.
“It’s honestly contagious. You just want to feel how it feels.”
The Rio Olympics atmosphere soured however when the crowd in the sparsely populated stadium jeered France’s Lavillenie for the second day.
Boos rang out as Lavillenie was presented with his silver medal. The gold was won by Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva in a major upset. The crowd had also jeered Lavillenie when he jumped in Monday’s competition.
Tears streamed down Lavillenie’s face as he stood for the Brazilian anthem.
Afterwards, athletics legends Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach consoled the 27-year-old Frenchman.
Bach said on Twitter that it was “shocking behaviour for the crowd to boo Renaud Lavillenie on the medal podium. Unacceptable behaviour at the Olympic Games”.
“It’s disgusting, there is a total lack of fair play and I want to stress that the Brazilian (Braz) is not involved at all,” Lavillenie commented after the ceremony.
Elsewhere, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon produced a startling last-lap sprint to outpace overwhelming world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia to 1500m gold.
American triple jumper Christian Taylor and Croat discus thrower Sandra Perkovic both retained their Olympic crowns.
American Will Claye celebrated his silver in the triple jump by proposing to his girlfriend, hurdler Queen Harrison.
In the women’s long jump, the only Russian track and field athlete in Rio, Darya Klishina, booked her place in Wednesday’s final.
Klishina, who only won the right to participate after an 11th-hour court case, was largely unnoticed by the crowd in a low-key qualifying session.
Brazilian women’s soccer heroine Marta, five-time world player of the year, exited in tears when Brazil were edged 4-3 on penalties by Sweden at Rio’s Maracana Stadium.
Sweden, who also beat defending champions the United States in the quarter-finals, now play Germany, victors over Canada, in Friday’s final.
Brazil’s men, led by Neymar, take on Honduras in their semi-final Wednesday. Germany are again involved, playing Nigeria.
In gymnastics, Simone Biles finished with four golds and a bronze. The American took the floor event in Tuesday’s finale.
“I’m walking away from my first Olympics with five medals and four in gold, how can I be disappointed?” she said.
Britain remain in second place in the medals table with 19 golds, behind the United States on 28, and their cyclists have accounted for six of the Rio titles.
Kenny won the men’s keirin and Trott the team pursuit. Trott has four golds, a record for a female British athlete, while Kenny equalled the six golds and one silver of celebrated compatriot Chris Hoy.
Rivals such as Germany’s Kristini Vogel, who beat Briton Becky James into second place in the women’s sprint, wondered why British riders do relatively badly at annual world championships and then clean up at the Olympics every four years.
“Of course I’m not saying that they took drugs or had an engine in the bikes,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s just that it seems that they don’t train for three years, and then they start and at every Olympic Games they kill every nation!” – Agence France-Presse