13 August 2016
It took a world record ride from Britain to pip the Aussie track cycling men’s team pursuit outfit for gold as Australia added three more medals to its tally on day seven of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Silver to the Australian men’s rowing coxless four and bronze to 20km walker Dane Bird-Smith lifted Australia’s medal tally to 18, including five gold, six silver and seven bronze medals. Significantly, the medals have been shared across 10 sports.
At the velodrome, the Brits defeated the Australian quartet of Alexander Edmondson, Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Sam Welsford in an epic final.
Australia pushed themselves to their limits and held the lead for the bulk of the race, but it took a world record of 3:50.205 from the Brits to defend their Olympic title.
"We went back to the old way, the Aussie spirit of going out full gas and try and hold on," Edmondson said. "We gave everything we could we left everything out there."
The Aussies had also been locked in a gripping battle with Britain in the men’s coxless four. It was only down the stretch that Britain was able to pull away and again defend their Olympic title. The Australian crew of William Lockwood, Joshua Booth, Alexander Hill and Joshua Dunkley-Smith was second, ahead of 2015 world champions Italy.
Australia’s first track and field medal at the Games came when walker Dane Bird-Smith produced a personal best of 1 hour 19 minutes 37 seconds, 23 seconds to win the bronze behind the Chinese pair of Wang Zhen (gold) and Cai Zelin (silver).
Bird-Smith’s father and coach, David, was a two-time Olympian and the 24-year-old could not contain his emotion after taking a bronze medal.
"I mean, I think I dropped my hamstrings about three K to go, they had just fallen off the back,” Bird-Smith said. “So I was walking on nothing. I just had nothing left but I hung on and a PB too. It is unbelievable."
The run of the Australian women’s football team came to an end when Brazil won a quarter-final penalty shootout 7-6 after the teams had been deadlocked at 0-0 after extra time.
Day eight action will include rower Kim Brennan going for gold in the single sculls, the women’s team pursuit team taking to the cycling track, and Mack Horton looking for his second swimming gold of the Games when he contests the 1500m.