Rio 2016: the supersonic swimmer and speedy sailor bidding to deliver Denmark’s first gold
The slightest twitch can cost you in the swimming and athletics sprints – of which the women’s (25 and 100 metres respectively) reach their climax tonight with Danish interest in the pool.
Just ask Bunturabie Jalloh, Sierra Leone’s flag-bearer. Her time of 39.93 saw her miss out on the 25-metre freestyle semis by 15.11 seconds. Still, now she’s out, it will give her more time to harass Usain Bolt for selfies in the ‘Village’ along with the rest of the Olympic tourists.
Second favourite for gold
Pernille Blume will start tonight’s final at 03:03 am as the 5/2 second favourite after qualifying quickest from the semis in 24:28 – 0.04 clear of the presumed gold medal winner, Australia’s Cate Campbell.
According to the bookies, it is a four-horse race, so Blume is strongly tipped to win Denmark’s first Olympic medal in the pool since Lotte Friis in 2008, who last night confirmed her retirement after finishing seventh in the final of the 800-metre freestyle.
Realistic hope in relay
And then barely half an hour later, Blume will be back in the pool for the final of the Women’s 4x100m medley relay for which Denmark impressively qualified last night with the third quickest time.
Given the qualifying times, the quartet of Blume, Jeanette Ottesen (butterfly), Mie Nielsen (back) and Rikke Møller Pedersen (breast) will fight it out for the silver with Canada and Australia, but are rated fourth best by the bookies.
Should the girls win some medals, they will boost a Danish medal tally that currently stands at four following a bronze in yesterday’s men’s team pursuit, making them the second best ranked country to not yet win a gold.
But all that could change on Monday, as with three races remaining, Anne-Marie Rindom is ten points clear in the gold medal position in the laser radial.
Threat from behind
There’s one problem, however. Only your best ten results count to your final score, and Rindom was disqualified in Race 3, which meant she scored 38. This means that one of her opponents could legitimately impede her to ensure she finishes near the back of the race (like Ben Ainslie famously did in 2000 to win gold).
For example, Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands is her nearest rival, and she has a net score of 54 –14 points better than Rindom. She could therefore afford to come last in one of her remaining races (two today, one on Monday) because it would be discounted from her net total.
Elsewhere in the sailing, Jonas Høgh-Christensen lies fifth in the men’s finn with five races remaining. A vast improvement is needed if he is to challenge for a medal.