Jamaica unleashed a new sprint sensation as Omar McLeod took the Rio Olympics 110m hurdles while Chinese sports fans lamented the team’s perceived lack of gold medal success in Rio.
Frustration bubbled over in China where sports fans branded their athletes Olympic failures while Britain cemented its position in second place ahead of China in the medals table with more gold medals in cycling.
Meanwhile sports officials slammed the Rio Games crowd for abusing French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie, leaving him in tears following his medal ceremony.
As Usain Bolt prepares to take to the track again Wednesday in the 200m semi-finals compatriot McLeod, 22, led the hurdle race from start to finish and won in 13.05sec.
He said inspiration had come from Bolt 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.
— French pole vaulter jeered —
As well as Bolt’s reappearance, Wednesday action will also see the return of Darya Klishina, the sole Russian athlete represented in track and field following a ban imposed on their athletes over state-sponsored doping charges.
Klishina will compete in the long jump final, one of 16 gold medals on offer on the day.
Earlier Tuesday the Rio Olympics atmosphere soured 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.”
Elsewhere in track and field, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon beat world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia to 1500m gold, and American triple jumper Christian Taylor and Croat discus thrower Sandra Perkovic both retained their Olympic crowns.
— Upsets for China —
In China, the knives are out for the nation’s sports administrators following some upsets in Rio.
The Asian giant languished behind Britain — once dismissed as an “old declining Empire” — in third place on the Olympic medal table.
China topped the medals table in 2008 with 51 golds and came second with 38 in London four years ago. With only 15 so far in Rio, online posts displayed fury at China’s failure to keep up with Britain, which has a fraction of its population.
“Screw you (China), not only have you fallen behind in gold, but you’re actually soon about to lose the medal count to an EU-quitting kingdom,’ wrote one sports fan.
Meanwhile questions were raised about Britain’s dominance in cycling.
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.
Jason Kenny won the men’s keirin and Laura Trott the team pursuit Tuesday.
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.
Britain has won 20 of the 30 golds disputed going back to Beijing 2008.
However British coach Iain Dyer insisted it was a fallacy to suggest his team is not successful at the worlds.
They topped the medals table at the worlds in 2013 and 2016, finished fourth in 2014 and only 2015 was a real blip — a 10th place finish without a single gold medal.
Meanwhile in football, 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.