One New Zealander, Lisa Carrington, won a gold medal today and another, Nikki Hamblin, was an integral part of a story that swept the sports world.
Carrington joined the select group of New Zealanders who have successfully defended their Olympic titles when she won the K1 200 in brilliant fashion.
Despite having to handle the burden of heavy favouritism, Carrington competed superbly. The race was even until about the 130-metre point, when Carrington applied the pressure and eased away. She finished in 39.864s, the only paddler to go under the magic 40-second barrier.
There were joyous celebrations among kayak supporters and New Zealand sports fans in general, but it was heartening to see Carrington already turning her mind to her other event, the K2 500, which she will surely enter with more confidence now the first part of her Rio mission has been successfully completed.
Hamblin was involved in an extraordinary incident in the athletics arena.
Running in a heat of the 5000m, she tripped and fell and appeared to bring down American Abbey d’Agnostino with her. Both runners seemed stunned because it was a heavy fall.
The American touched Hamblin on the shoulder and urged her to continue running – it was the Olympics after all. Then there was the heart-warming sight of them helping each other to their feet and setting off again.
Hamblin was able to run to the finish relatively well, though far behind the leaders. D’Agnostino was in severe discomfort but still made it. At the finish she was put into a wheelchair and hugged by Hamblin.
Later Hamblin paid tribute to d’Agnostino for urging her to continue, for identifying the true Olympic spirit.
There was good news for both of them shortly afterwards when athletics officials advanced them both to the final, saying the fall was not their fault.
The story of sportsmanship has gone around the world, with TV stations such as the BBC and CNN running stories and social media positively buzzing.
Meanwhile there were other good news stories for New Zealand.
The sailing camp was full of smiles at the end of the day.
Laser sailor Sam Meech completed a smart medal race in fourth place, good enough to earn him the bronze medal in a tight contest.
Blair Tuke and Peter Burling have already sewn up the 49er gold medal with their medal race still to come. They have certainly been among the most impressive sailors at the Olympics.
The 49er women are involved in a torrid battle going into their medal race. Four teams are within one point of each other, so Molly Meech and Alex Maloney find themselves in a virtual match-racing situation.
Defending women’s 470 champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, still trying to recover from two earlier disqualifications, had two wins and a fourth placing today, so they are second going into their points race. They are a fair distance behind first, but several teams are nipping at their heels.
Josh Junior completed his finn campaign in style by placing fourth today to confirm a seventh placing overall.
The nacre mixed team of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders won the double points medal race today and lifted themselves into fourth position, just out of the medals.
The 470 men, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox, were slightly off the pace, with finishes of 13, 10, 14 and are 11th going into their medal race.
Kane Radford finished 18th in the gruelling 10km ocean race. Radford’s time of 1h 53min 35.4s was just 35 seconds behind the winner, which shows how tightly bunched the field remained for nearly two hours.
Nick Willis advanced satisfactorily into the semi-finals of the 1500m but his two countrymen could not manage to join him. Willis drew the fastest heat, but saved as much energy as he could, being timed at 3min 38.55s for sixth place (with the first six to qualify). Julian Matthews was ninth in his heat in 3min 40.40s and Hamish Carson was ninth in his heat in 3min 48.18s.
Promising 19-year-old pole vaulter Eliza McCartney eventually qualified for the final, when she cleared the qualifying height of 4.60m. But she had problems along the way, missing twice at 4.45m (and so being one failure away from elimination) and once at 4.55m.
In the women’s 5000m heats, Lucy Oliver could manage just 15min 53.77s for 14th in her race and so missed the final by a considerable margin. Hamblin, of course, went through, even though her heat time was a meaningless 16min 43.61s.
At the velodrome, Lauren Ellis rode a superb points race, the sixth event of the omnium, and all but lifted herself on to the podium. Ellis did not begin the day so auspiciously with an 11th placing in the 500m and a 14th in the flying 250m. But her points race, in which she was 2nd equal, certainly made her day.
The two men’s keirin riders, Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster, couldn’t make an impression. Dawkins was eliminated in the first round and the repechage. Webster won his first round convincingly, but ran into problems on the last lap of his second round race and trailed the field home. In the ride-off for minor placings, Webster won impressively, so finishing seventh overall.Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Lisa Carrington Nikki Hamblin Sam Meech Blair Tuke Peter Burling Molly Meech Polly Powrie Joanna Aleh Josh Junior Gemma Jones Jason Saunders Paul Snow-Hansen Dan Willcox Kane Radford Eliza McCartney Lucy Oliver Nicholas Willis Julian Matthews Hamish Carson Lauren Ellis Eddie Dawkins Sam Webster Sailing Athletics Canoe/Kayak - Sprint Cycling - Track