By Keith Miller
Unfortunately, due to a few technical difficulties (in other words a cocktail party that turned into a surprise wedding with an open bar on Saturday night), the Olympic viewing did not get off to a great start.
I can also confirm that juggling 16 channels of sport over the weekend is no easy task. However, last night was a different story, and the focus was well and truly on the ladies.
Congratulations Natalie Rooney. Seen as an outside chance for a medal before the tournament began, she became NZ’s first medallist in 2016, missing out on the Gold by just the one point in the Women’s trap. A very pleasant surprise, and a great way to kick off the campaign.
The Women’s Black Sticks looked excellent against the Koreans at some horrendous time this morning, and knocked in some beautifully executed goals. You’ll go a long way to find one better than the reverse from Charlotte Harrison, who threw her body well and truly in the fray. A comfortable win, but a win over the #8 ranked Koreans was always extremely important.
Then it was off to the Women’s Cycling Road Race, which was unfortunately overshadowed by one of the most horrific incidents I have seen watching live sport. Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten was leading with 11kms to go in the race before falling during a steep descent – she suffered severe concussion and has cracked her spine in three places. It was sickening vision, and as a result we have chosen not to show it here.
In a somewhat satisfying consolation, her team mate Anna van der Breggen fought off Sweden’s Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini for Gold. Linda Villumsen finished 23rd, but the course was as brutal as predicted, and with nobody alongside her, it was always going to be a tough ask. Fingers crossed she has left enough in reserve for the time trial.
The last piece of viewing was again watching the Korean Women’s Archery team score their 8th consecutive Gold medal, having first won in 1988. An outstanding achievement, beating a Russian team that should really have lost to the Italians in the semi-final, only for a vital arrow from Guendalina Sartori hitting the black and scoring a three, handing the match to the Russians on a silver platter.
In the “miss” department, the rowing is very quickly turning farcical, and they’ve only completed Day One. Day Two was a write off, and it is becoming obvious that the venue is far from ideal. Two crews hit the drink on Day One (not in a good way), and it was simply too rough to get into it yesterday. There could be a few problems further down the track.
The Men’s Black Sticks took on Great Britain at 8.00am this morning, and after a fairly frenetic first half it was all locked up at 2-2, including a Kane Russell screamer. But there was no additional score, compliments of some fine keeping at either end. After an unlucky first up loss to Australia yesterday, they now need to start taking some points away from Belgium, Spain and Brazil to progress.
And let’s just hope that Nick Wilson’s injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
Sure, the timing is largely crap from our point of view, but I guess that’s why the likes of Olympic tragics like me take two weeks leave. So if you don’t have an opportunity to see something live throughout the schedule, I’ll be tweeting up a storm – most likely at some ungodly hour of the night. Keep an eye out on Twitter