No shortage of drama in London yesterday after eight badminton players were kicked out for losing on purpose, Great Britain finally won their first gold medal and Bradley Wiggins destroyed the competition in the time trials. While today the Danish rowers have raised the spirits of the team by qualifying for three finals and winning a bronze in the lightweight fours.
'Guld firen' featuring Eskild Ebbesen, Jacob Barsøe, Morten Jørgensen and Kasper Jørgensen failed to live up to their name in the final of the men's lightweight fours despite leading for most of the race. But although South Africa and Great Britain both had strong finishes, relegating the Danes back into third place, the rowers held on to win Denmark's second medal of the London Olympics. The bronze is 40-year-old Ebbesen's fifth Olympic medal, following three golds in 1996, 2004, and 2008.
But Denmark will have three more chances to win gold on the lake on Saturday.
Anne Thomsen and Juliane Rasmussen finished second in their women’s lightweight double sculls to qualify for the final on Saturday.
In the men’s lightweight double sculls, Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist dominated their semi-final and will be expected to take a medal in their final, also on Saturday.
And Fie Erichsen qualified for the final of the women’s single sculls, which again place on Saturday, by winning her semi-final.
Henrik Stephansen won his D semi-final in the men’s single sculls and will compete in the C final for a placing between 13 and 18.
It wasn’t the best of days for the Danish badminton team as one of the mixed doubles pairs, the women’s doubles pair and one of the men’s singles crashed out.
Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl lost to the Chinese world champions 13-21, 17-21, Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen fell to a Japanese pair 20-22, 10-21, and Jan Ø Jørgensen was beaten 17-21, 13-21 by a South Korean pair.
Christinna Pedersen had more luck in the mixed doubles with partner Joachim Fischer Nielsen as they made the semis following a 21-15, 21-13 win over a Thai pair.
Peter Gade turned back the years with a magnificent display to crush South Korea's Shon Wan Ho 21-9, 21-16 to reach the quarter-finals where he will face the Chinese third seed Long Chen.
Tina Baun booked her ticket to the quarter-finals without much effort after her Japanese opponent was forced to retire due to an injury. The 21-year-old Sayaka Sato was in tears after having to concede the match, and Tine Baun embraced her in a moment of true Olympic spirit. Fourth seed Saina Nehwal of India awaits Baun in the quarters.
And just a few moments ago, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen overcame a pair from Hong Kong to make the semi-finals of the men’s doubles by the score of 21-16, 21-18.
Jakob Fuglsang and Lars Bak weren’t expected to compete against the time trial trio of Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara, and they didn’t surprise with Bak finishing in 14th place, a second ahead of Fuglsang in 15th.
The seas off Weymouth were unkind to the Danish sailors yesterday with all five boats sinking out of medal contention.
Anne-Marie Rindom in the women’s Laser Radial finished in 12th place after the fifth and sixth rounds, while Allan Nørregaard and Peter Lang in the men’s 49er fell to eighth position overall after being in first place after day one.
Sebastian Fleischer continues to struggle in the men’s RS: X, treading water in 24th position overall, Thorbjørn Schierup is 21st in the men’s Laser, and Susanne Boidin, Lotte Meldgaard and Tina Gramkow, in the Elliots, lost their two races against France and Finland to end their medal hopes.
The women’s team was unable to emulate the men’s Spanish success, and a poor first half led to a 21-24 defeat, making it difficult for them to progress to the next round. They have to win their remaining games against Norway and France to advance – the two toughest teams in the group.
Jeanette Ottesen qualified for the semis in the women’s 100-metre freestyle with the third best time overall while Rikke Blume’s 19th placing was not enough to see her progress.
Rikke Møller Pedersen set a Danish record in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke in the qualifying heat and then improved that time to set a Nordic record in the semi-final that sees her hopeful of taking a medal in the final.
In the women’s archery, Louise Laursen won her first match against a Canadian opponent 7-3 but then lost her next match 4-6 to an American to miss out on the final eight.
And Carina Christensen lost 2-6 in her match today to her Mexican opponent to end Danish aspirations in the archery.
Caroline Wozniacki easily beat Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2 in the women’s tennis singles to advance to the quarter-finals where she will be pitted against the formidable Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams, who has been annihilating the competition thus far.
Tuning in today:
Three to watch today … for the home crowd
Peter Gade takes on Chen Long in the quarter-finals of the men’s badminton singles tonight at 18:00. Gade will be looking to stay alive in his final major tournament before retiring.
Denmark take on Serbia in the men’s handball at 20:30, in the hope they can continue their march towards the medal rounds.
It’s a huge night for the Danes in the pool: Jeanette Ottesen swims in the 100-metre freestyle final while Rikke Møller Pedersen is a medal favourite in the 200-metre breaststroke final. The action starts at 20:30.
Meanwhile, as expected, Lotte Friis this morning comfortably qualified for the final of the 800-metre freestyle on Friday.
Three to watch today … for the neutrals
Wiggins won’t be there but at 19:15 you can see the final of the men’s track cycling.
We’re nearing the end of the swimming and tonight features three semis and four finals, starting at 20:30.
USA and Brazil are the traditional powerhouses of volleyball, and the titans clash tonight in the men’s volleyball group stage at 21:00.