Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 11 RECAP: Gold Finally for Johnson, Bahrain

Milestones were met for multiple athletes while heartbreak and disappointment were felt by others on Day 11 of competition at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

Olympic Highlight of the Day
Three silver medals were a fine achievement for the young Shawn Johnson of the United States of America. But she has said before that she has trained to win gold. After three competitions, gold has eluded her by slim margins. But tonight in Beijing, Johnson was finally able to capture gold after a superb performance on the women's balance beam final, the last women's competition of artistic gymnastics for these Olympic Games.Nastia Liukin won silver in this competition while China's Cheng Fei won the bronze medal. Johnson won the competition with a 16.225 score on her routine. China won gold in the other event finals of the night, the men's parallel bars and the men's horizontal bar. At the end of the artistic gymnastics program of these games, China came out on top with 11 golds, 1 silver and 5 bronze medals. The United States, getting most of their medals from the women's competitions, won 2 gold medals, 6 silvers and 2 bronze medals.

Johnson's gold makes for happy Americans 12:41 pm EDT (AP)
Finally, gold 9:28 am EDT (Yahoo! Sports)

Feel Good Moment of the Day
Yes, Bahrain won their first gold medal ever with a victory in the men's 1500 meters, a classic event on the track and field program. But there was en even bigger feel-good moment that occurred at the wrestling venue on Day 11. Henry Cajudo, 21 years old, had never won a match on the world senior-level before these Olympic games. Today, he won Olympic gold in the men's 55kg weight class in freestyle wrestling. As the son of illegal immigrants from Mexico that met in Los Angeles, Cajudo was the youngest of six kids whose father was in and out of jail before dying of heart problems at the age of 34. Earlier today, he said (according to the AP report) that his gold medal was for every kid whose life seemed hopeless, who went to sleep hungry, whose parents couldn't always buy food, let alone Chrismas presents.

For more on this feel-good story, click here for the report done by the Associated Press.

Upsets of the Day
Lolo Jones and Sanya Richards were favorites in their respective events, the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter dash. Both expressed their high expectations to win gold for the United States and experts had little doubt of that happening. But tonight at Olympic Stadium, neither of those favorites won gold and only one of them was able to get onto the medal stand.

Sanya Richards was in the lead early in the 400m final, and perhaps she went out too early. She lost her lead to Great Britain's Christine Ohuruogu in the final straightaway, winning the country's first track gold medal of these games. Richards was able to hold on for the bronze medal.

Gold was in Lolo Jones's grasp in the women's 100 meter hurdles final, taking the lead from the start. But after she clipped the ninth hurdle of the ten-hurdle race, she was unable to recover and finished outside of the medals. Instead, American Dawn Harper won gold for the United States after barely making the U.S. Olympic team after she finished third at the Olympic trials, ahead of the fourth-place competitor by 0.007 second.

Dominating Performace of the Day...
Chris Hoy of Great Britain won his third track cycling gold medal today, winning the most medals that a track cycling sprinter can get. His performance is being hailed as "Phelpsian." While it is no where near the eight gold medals that the swimming legend has won, Hoy accomplished an incredible feat for the sport, and became the first British athlete to take three gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
In addition to Hoy's personal achievement, Hoy was a big part of the British accomplishment made during the track cycling program of these Olympics, finishing one-two in three events in track cycling and winning seven of the 10 total gold medals available in track cycling.

Team Performance of the Day...
It was slated to be a huge match in tonight's semifinal between Argentina and Brazil in men's soccer. But in the end, it was no contest. Argentina defeated Brazil, 3-0, thanks to two goals scored in the second half by Sergio Aguero and a penalty kick placed into the net by Juan Roman Riquelme in the 76th minute. The defending Olympic champions will play for their second consecutive gold medal on Saturday at noon (Friday night at midnight ET) in a rematch of the 1996 Atlanta gold medal final against Nigeria, who beat Belgium 4-1 in the other semifinal.

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