EVEN IF YOU’VE been living under a rock for the past 12 hours, you will probably have heard today’s big news.
All those who weren’t lucky enough to be in the ExCel Arena or flooding the seaside streets of Bray were tuning in via whatever means possible at 2pm today as Ireland’s Olympic poster girl took her opponent Mavzuna Chorieva apart – winning all four rounds to book a place in tomorrow’s final.
With Cian O’Connor’s surprising bronze medal win in show jumping and Paddy Barnes going through to the semi-finals of the men’s light flyweight, Ireland are now guaranteed to have their most successful Olympic Games in terms of medals since 1956.
Headline of the day
Taylor-made for gold
It was another assured performance from the four-time world champion in front of noisy crowd. There is no doubt that Taylor will go down in history alongside names like Carruth, Treacy, O’Sullivan and Egan as a worthy Irish Olympic medallist. She is favourite for gold in tomorrow’s lightweight final you would be foolish to bet against her.
What we learned today?
- Sport can throw up the most the most extraordinary story lines
Eight years after winning gold at the Athens Olympics of 2004 before having it taken back, Cian O’Connor only managed to earn a place on the Irish equestrian team due to Denis Lynch’s omission.
This morning, his name wasn’t on the final list but, after a Swedish horse was forced to pull out, the Meath man stepped up as first reserve to ride spectacularly with Blue Lloyd 12 and, technically, win Team Ireland’s first medal of London 2012.
- Mistakes are made
Irish fans weren’t too happy to read the Daily Telegraph described Katie Taylor as “British” this morning. Elsewhere in the press, both the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror made blunders of their own by mistaking the Dutch dressage team for Team GB one.
- Pole vaulting can be dangerous
Cuba’s Lazaro Borges was lucky not to have sustained serious injury when his pole smashed to pieces during the qualifying round. Looked fairly painful. Sadly, the IOC were quick to remove the video clip from YouTube.
Highlights from Team Ireland
- Cian O’Connor secures a bronze medal in showjumping, after hitting the last fence in a silver medal jump off with Gerco Schroder of Holland.
- Katie Taylor beat Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan for a place in the women’s 60kg final at 2pm
- Alistair Cragg is out of the men’s 5,000m after he finished 17th in this morning’s heat.
- Belfast light-flyweight Paddy Barnes became Ireland’s fifth medallist after beating Devendro Singh Laishram in his 49kg quarter-final.
O’Connor with his bronze. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Best thing we’ve read today
With Taylor again praising God for her victory, read this BBC piece on religion and faith at the Olympics.
Hero of the Day
Latvia’s Edzus Terimainis, who walked away with a bloody nose after a pretty brutal face plant in the BMX.
YouTube credit: TeddyPSmith
You said what?
“It’s a dream come through. I just had to stay calm and composed. She was always going to be showboating and she’s a bit dirty as well.” - Katie Taylor
“The recession in Ireland is officially over.” – RTE’s Marty Morrissey to Taylor
“Sometimes when you’re hurting and you’re able to get your nose in front. Just because you have a little control you forget about the hurt and just go to the finish line.” Alistair Cragg
“Bronze is for losers, I’m going for gold” – Paddy Barnes
A new friend we made today
We salute you Hitomi Obara of Japan, who came out of retirement to win the women’s 48kg freestyle wrestling gold in her first Games today.
Obara defeated Azerbaijan’s Mariya Stadnyk 3-1 in a repeat of last year’s world championship final in Istanbul.
(Medal table as of 21.45 on Wednesday, 8 August)