Mixed bag of nuts for Danes as Olympics begin

A rough day in the pool was washed away by solid performances in the rowing, handball and badminton

The 2012 Olympic Games in London kicked off on Friday night in a spectacular opening ceremony displaying breathtaking pyrotechnics and quality entertainment. Queen Elizabeth, James Bond, David Beckham and Mr Bean all helped make it a special and uniquely British demonstration of the Olympic spirit.

But after the festivities of Friday night had subsided, it was down to business for the athletes and there were plenty of Danes in action over the weekend.


After garnering 14 medals at the European Championships in December, hopes were high that Denmark would be sniffing around the podium. Sadly, the optimism sank into the watery depths of the Olyimpic pool, and so far, Lotte Friis’s fourth place in the women's 400-metre freestyle, is the closest the country has got to a medal.

They made a few finals, though. The women’s 4×100 metre medley team finished sixth in their final, as did Jeanette Ottesen in the final of the 100-metre butterfly, while Friis came agonisingly close to a medal after finishing fourth in the 400-metre freestyle, despite setting a Danish record.

Elsewhere, Mie Ø Nielsen fell short of making the semis of the women's 100-metre backstroke, and Mathias Gydesen, who failed to make the 100-metre backstroke semis, was so disappointed with his performance that he said he was thinking of giving up professional swimming.

There is still plenty of action left in the pool, including Rikke Møller Pedersen who qualified for Monday’s final of the 100-metre breaststroke.


Denmark have traditionally been strong in rowing and no aspirations were scuppered over the weekend as all the rowers in action progressed to the next round. Mads Reinholdt Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist Hansen, especially, impressed by winning their heat. 

The only bump along the way was the heavily-favoured men’s lightweight four, 'Guld Firen' , who finished third in their opening heat, scraping their way through to the semis.


The Danish sailors were in action on Sunday and Jonas Høgh-Christensen was in outstanding form in the men’s Finn, winning the first two heats ahead of British favourite Ben Ainslie.

But Susanne Boidin, Lotte Meldgaard and Tina Gramkow in the women’s Elliot had a poor outing on Sunday, losing both of their opening races, while Michael Hestbæk and Claus Olesen sit in eleventh place in the men’s Star after two unfortunate opening rounds.


Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen lost their women’s doubles opener to a Japanese pair but followed that up by beating a pair from Hong Kong in their second match to stay in contention. Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl easily beat their Indian opponents in the mixed doubles, while Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe overcame a rough start to scrape by their Russian opponents in the men’s doubles.


The men’s European champions in handball are among the favourites to win the gold, but came under severe pressure from Hungary in their opening match before coming from behind to win 27-25.

The women’s team beat Sweden 21-18 despite playing poorly, but are still outsiders to progress from their difficult group, which includes Norway, Spain and France.

There was more drama in the women’s team after Louise Svalastog Spellerberg announced that she could have played as her injury was not as back as first thought, after coach Jan Pytlick had replaced her at the advice of the medical staff.


Dennis Ceylan became the first Danish boxer to fight in the games for 16 years, but his Olympic experience was a short one. The young bantamweight from Aarhus was soundly defeated 21-6 by Irishman John Joe Nevin, who recently finished third in the World Championship.


Caroline Wozniacki looked nervous and struggled early on, but she finally woke up and overcame her British opponent Anne Keothavong in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Tuning in today:

Three to watch today … for the home crowd

Caroline Wozniacki takes on Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in the second round of the women’s singles tennis. The match is scheduled to take place this evening at around 18:00.

Danish badminton legend Peter Gade faces Pedro Martins of Portugal in the first round of the men’s singles in badminton at around 20:44.

Rikke Møller Pedersen swims in the final of the 100-metre breaststroke at around 21:13.

Three to watch today … for the neutrals

The finals of the men’s artistic gymnastics finals are on this evening at 17:30.

The semis and finals of the women’s fencing start tonight at 19:00.

It’s a massive night in the swimming pool this evening as three semis and four finals take place, starting from 20:30.