Jamaican sprint hurdler Omar McLeod swept to a brilliant gold medal at the Olympics on Tuesday as French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie was booed once again to heap more embarrassment on Rio 2016 organisers.
McLeod, 22, confirmed his arrival as the latest talent from Jamaica's sprint factory to win the 110m hurdles in 13.05sec. The win made McLeod the first man from the Caribbean sprinting powerhouse to win a gold medal in the event.
Cuba-born Orlando Ortega of Spain took silver in 13.17sec while France's Dimitri Bascou won bronze in 13.24 as the event's traditional powerhouses the United States were blanked from the podium.
Afterwards McLeod said he had been inspired by the example of Jamaican stars such as Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
"You see them, they go out and have fun and represent themselves and their country and they win, and you just want to go out and do the same thing," McLeod said.
"It's honestly contagious. You just want to feel how it feels. The feeling is honestly indescribable. I don't know what's going through my mind right now."
But McLeod's victory was witnessed by yet another mostly empty 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium, as fans once again stayed away in droves from the showpiece sport of the Games. The stadium was barely a third full at its peak.
Simone Biles bowed out of her fabulous Olympic debut in Rio with a record-equalling fourth gold, short of the record five she sought, but with her name in lights among the gymnastics greats.
"It's been a long journey, but I've enjoyed every moment," said the Texan whose early life struggles had not set her out as the future face of women's gymnastics.
The 19-year-old took gold on floor on Tuesday ahead of US teammate Amy Raisman, muscles flexed and with the steely determination she had shown on her way to the team, all-around and vault titles.
In another embarrassment for Rio organisers, French pole vaulter Lavillenie was subjected to loud booing as he was presented with his silver medal following Monday's dramatic final to the event.
Lavillenie had reacted angrily after being booed repeatedly as he prepared to jump in the final, criticising the conduct of Brazilian fans. The event was eventually won by Brazil's Thiago Braz da Silva in a massive upset.
Rio organisers condemned the crowd's behaviour, appealing for fans to show respect to athletes regardless of whether or not they were competing against Brazilian medal contenders.
"As citizens of Brazil and as sports fans we don't think booing is the right attitude, even when you are in a one-to-one competition and a young Brazilian has the chance to beat the world champion," Rio 2016 chief spokesman Mario Andrada said.
But the appeal plainly fell on deaf ears as Lavillenie was subjected to loud jeers and catcalls as he was presented with his medal.
"It's disgusting, there is a total lack of fair play and I want to stress that the Brazilian (Braz) is not involved at all," said Lavillenie following the ceremony, where tears could be seen rolling down his face.
Jason Kenny was "untouchable" at the Rio Olympics, according to the man whose record the sprint sensation equalled on Tuesday.
Kenny, 28, won his sixth Games gold medal in claiming keirin glory at the Rio velodrome, drawing level with fellow track cycling great Chris Hoy as Britain's most successful Olympian of all time.
He also matched Hoy's remarkable achievement from Beijing eight years ago of taking three gold medals at the one Games, in the sprint, team sprint and keirin.
It was a golden double on Tuesday for Kenny and fiancee Laura Trott, who won the women's omnium.
Trott also won the team pursuit here, doing the same double she managed as a 20-year-old in London four yeas ago. She is the most successful British female Olympian. It means the couple have 10 Olympic titles between them.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Kenya's Faith Kipyegon produced a startling last-lap sprint to outpace overwhelming favourite Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia to 1500m gold.
Kipyegon clocked 4min 08.92sec after her burst over the last 250 metres, world record-holder Dibaba taking silver in 4:10.27. American Jennifer Simpson took bronze in 4:10.53.
American triple jumper Christian Taylor and Croat discus thrower Sandra Perkovic both retained their Olympic crowns.
In the triple jump, Taylor set a season's best 17.86 metres with his first leap, good enough to beat compatriot Will Claye in a repeat of their one-two finish in London four years ago.
"The job is done," said Taylor. "Back to back, it's very special."
Claye celebrated his silver by proposing to long-time girlfriend, hurdler Queen Harrison.
The women's discus went the way of Perkovic, her best of 69.21m easily out-distancing France's Melina Robert Michon (66.73m) and world champion Denia Caballero of Cuba (65.34).
In the women's long jump, the only Russian track and field athlete in the Olympics, Darya Klishina, booked her place in Wednesday's final.
Klishina, who only won the right to participate after an 11th-hour court case, was largely unnoticed by the crowd in a low-key qualifying session.
Back on the track, 100m champion Bolt opened his bid for a third consecutive 200m title with a stroll through his heat.
Bolt coasted into the semi-finals in 20.28sec.
In the women's 200m, Dafne Schippers sailed into Wednesday's final as the fastest qualifier, ahead of 100m gold medallist Elaine Thompson.
In hockey, Argentina and Belgium reached the final for the first time as defending champions Germany and fellow favourites Netherlands came up short.
Argentina stunned Germany, the gold medallists in 2008 and 2012, by 5-2 while Belgium clinched a 3-1 semi-final win over neighbours Netherlands, the 1996 and 2000 champions.
The South Americans pounced on a German team who only squeezed into the semi-finals by scoring three times in the closing five minutes to beat New Zealand in the last-eight, 3-2.
With inputs from AFP
Published Date: Aug 17, 2016 12:19 pm | Updated Date: Aug 17, 2016 12:19 pm