Nail-biting golf, world’s fastest 400 metres and  bolt of lightning

Somewhat distracted last evening when I usually  set up the newsletter but the golf went on  until close to 9:00pm and there was no way I was going to miss the exciting duel that it turned out to be between Rose and Stenson.

And then what a way to wake up at 4:00 this morning, turn on the TV and watch Wayde van Niekerk obliterate not only the 400 metre field but also smash the world record. And this was no ordinary world record for he broke the 17-year old record set by the great Michael Johnson that many thought would stand for at least another decade.  If you haven’t seen it make a point of watching the Olympic highlights, it was incredible and the spectators responded appropriately.

With van Niekerk’s achievement it rather overshadowed the mighty Usian Bolt winning the 100 metres Gold for the third time, something no other athlete in history has achieved. What an Athlete the Bolt of Lightning is.

Despair was starting to set in that South Africa was going to go home from the 2016 Rio Olympics without a GOLD medal. With Justin Rose snatching the Gold medal on the final hole of the men’s golf maybe we could have claimed a tiny piece of gold for Rose was born in Johannesburg although in all fairness  he did move with his parents to the UK as a little lad. But hey, desperation calls for desperate measures and had van Niekerk not won Gold, more than a few press reports would have claimed a small piece of Rose’s Gold.

Not a great Olympics for South African athletes but they can now at least return with one gold after the  high expectations we had for our swimmers, rugby 7’s and rowers. But sport is filled with disappointments and possibly SASCOC has to look at the support our athletes get by way of psychological support. The Blitzbokke looked like a bunch of deer in the headlights in the semi-final against England who they should have easily beaten.

Not sure how many got to see the Olympic golf last night but WOW, who said golf wasn’t exciting. The tussle between Justin Rose and Hendrik Stenson was a nail biting and emotional few hours as they swapped the lead as they closed in on the final hole. Having watched a fair amount of the Olympic events during the first week, particularly the swimming, none, not even the amazing Michael Phelps’ exploits can claim the drawn out intensity of the closing holes of the golf. When Stenson left his chip into the 18th green well short, one waited with bated breath as to what Rose would do. And he nailed it. Stenson missed a long putt that simply had to go in but missed by a long way and it was over.  Almost an anti-climax after what for two hours was spellbinding viewing.

And so what to watch out for other than the track events this week?

Undoubtedly the Synchronised Swimming. Of all the athletes competing in the Olympics surely none have to train to the extent that the Synchro girls do with most putting in 10 hours a day. If you have never watched Synchro do yourself a favour, it is incredible to watch.

And yes we do still have another chance for gold with Caster Semenya