We've come a long way since Rick DeMont lost his swimming gold medal because of his asthma spray in 1972. Are there really more drug cheats in the Olympics these days or is the IOC just doing a better job of catching them? Two words: (i) East. (ii) Germany. Two more words: (iii) Stella. (iv) Walsh.
Since the start of these Games, the following medal-winners have been disqualified because of drug breaches:
- Leonidas Samparis (Greece), bronze in 62kg weightlifting (Israel Jose Rubio of Venezuela the beneficiary)
- Irina Korzhanenko (Russia), gold in the women's shot put at Olympia (Yumileidi Cumba of Cuba receiving gold)
- Robert Fazekas (Hungary), gold in the men's discus (the gold going to Virgilijius Alekna of Lithuania)
- Olena Olefirenko (Ukraine), bronze in the women's quad sculls (the Australian team taking bronze)
Thursday was a good day for countries entering the Gold Medal roll of honour for the first time. Taiwan (Wikipedia explains some of this "Chinese Taipei" nonsense) broke their duck when Chen Hsih Hsin won the women's 49kg taekwondo final. The very next event on the mat saw them go one better, Chu Mu Yen winning the men's 58kg event. Here is how Xinhua reported the double victory for the island China likes to think of as "Taiwan Province".
The Dominican Republic scored their first gold medal on Thursday night, albeit with an athlete born and raised in the USA. Felix Sanchez won the 400 hurdles with a time of 47.63 seconds. He was born in New York, but his parents are from the Dominican Republic and he has represented them internationally since 1999. Sanchez is a product of the University of Southern California, who proudly boast that they have had at least one gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Hoy in the Dominican Republic reports Sanchez's victory (in Spanish).
USC has been rather more successful in Olympic competition than Egypt. Karam Mohammed Gager Ibragim, as Karam Ibrahim is known on the FILA database, won the 96kg greco-roman wrestling to be Egypt's first gold medallist since 1948.
New Zealand, who took home more gold medals from Los Angeles 1984 than Australia, picked up their third at Athens when Hamish Carter won the men's triathlon.
The women's hockey, water polo and soccer all wrapped up on Thursday. Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 to take the hockey gold. Here's the Reuters report of the game, and the Frankfurter Rundschau report in German. Argentina beat China (apparently known as the "Snow Lotuses") 1-0 for bronze. Xinhua tipped me off about the nickname. South Africa consigned Spain to the wooden spoon with a 4-3 extra time win. The Hockeyroos finished fifth. They've never been less successful than that. Meanwhile, Mihir Bose of the Telegraph paints a gloomy picture of the future of British hockey.
Soccer: The USA did it. 2-1 in extra time against Brazil. George Vecsey of the New York Times reports on what might be the end of the road for the 91ers. Notre Dame have claimed gold for the third time in their history, with Shannon Boxx and Kate Sobrero Markgraf being members of Team USA. Germany beat Sweden 1-0 for bronze.
Next: Preview of the last three days of team sports, and an extremely multilingual wrap of the beach volleyball.