Day 6 Olympic review: Fox silver and McCulloch bronze
3 August 2012
Andrew Tilley from Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) reports on the progress of University of Sydney Olympians as the London 2012 games approach the second weekend of competition. Jessica Fox and Kaarle McCulloch starred for Australia on day six, with both athletes claiming their first medals.
Eighteen-year-old kayaker Jessica Fox became Australia's best-performing Olympic kayaker ever with a silver medal in the women's K1 on Thursday.
The University of Sydney arts student and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder scraped through to the 10-woman final as the eighth-fastest qualifier, but then laid down a mighty challenge to the field with a blistering 106.51 seconds time on the tricky Lee Valley White Water Centre course.
Of the seven who followed, only France's Emilie Fer was able to top her, and only by 0.61s.
"I'm still on a cloud," Fox told Ninemsn, clutching her silver medal. "I didn't want to stay there waiting because it gets really stressful.
"You think 'oh, at worst I'm fifth, at worst, I'm fourth ... oh my God, I've got silver.
"It's a dream come true ... It's the most beautiful piece of metal I've ever seen."
Before Fox, Australia's best result in the slalom had been delivered by University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Robin Bell, who claimed bronze in the men's C1 at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Fox's silver also places her as the most successful kayaker in her family, no mean feat considering both of her parents are also Olympians.
Mum and coach Myriam won bronze for France at the 1996 Atlanta Games, while father Richard, a five-time world champion for Great Britain, came away with a fourth from Barcelona in 1992.
"I'm happy that I've got silver and mum's got bronze - and that's kinda cool that I beat her," Fox said with a grin.
"For now I feel like I'm better than them."
Canoeist Kynan Maley's Olympic campaign has come to an end but not before the University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder and his partner Robin Jeffrey finished 10th in the men's C2 semi-final overnight. Earlier in the week Maley was a finalist in the C1 competition.
On the cycling track University of Sydney alumna and former EAP scholarship holder Kaarle McCulloch teamed up with Australian Anna Meares to take bronze in a drama-filled women's team sprint event.
McCulloch and Meares clocked 32.727 to beat the 33.491 from Ukrainians Olena Tsyos and Lyubov Shulika in the bronze ride-off.
They were in front by 0.733 at the midway point and were never troubled by the Ukrainian duo as they cruised into the bronze medal spot in 37.727, a comfortable 0.764 seconds in front.
McCulloch was elated with taking the podium in her Olympic debut.
"It's pretty damn good," McCulloch told the ABC. "We came here with gold in our eyes, and we got bronze.
"It's my first Olympic Games and I couldn't be happier."
In a stunning turnaround minutes after the race, Germany (32.798) was ruled to have won gold on appeal, despite China initially being awarded the victory.
Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie had combined to claim what would have been an historic first Olympic cycling gold for China in the two-lap event, only to be relegated soon after for a slight infringement in the changeover zone.
It meant China - which had smashed the world record twice on their way to the final - was relegated to the silver medal position.
Great Britain duo Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varish were earlier disqualified for an illegal change, a decision met by a chorus of boos from the parochial local crowd.
Australian women's sailor Olivia Price celebrated her 20th birthday in style with another two wins as her crew guaranteed top seeding for Tuesday's quarter-final with one race still to go in the round robin.
Price, a University of Sydney student and EAP scholarship holder, has now skippered team mates Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty to 10 wins from 10 starts in the women's match-racing competition following victories against Spain and Denmark. They are now three wins clear of second place.
"We had another good day," said Price. "To be honest I hadn't thought that it was my birthday, I'd been trying to block it out but now that it's finished it was a good birthday."
Another University of Sydney athlete is through to a rowing final after graduate Bronwen Watson and her partner Hannah Every-Hall finished third in the semi-finals of the women's lightweight double sculls. Watson and Every-Hall will start in lane one of the final on Saturday.
The Australian women's eight, containing Sydney University Women's Rowing Club (SUWRC) members Sarah Cook and Sally Kehoe, finished sixth in their final. That was a good result for the crew, who were thrown together at the 11th hour in April after Rowing Australia had initially decided not to send a women's eight to London.
Australia's women's hockey team, featuring University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Megan Rivers, managed a heart-in-mouth 1-0 victory over the United States on Thursday.
Goalkeeper Toni Cronk provided a turning point of the Hockeyroos campaign after saving a penalty stroke in the 30th minute from US skipper Lauren Crandall when the scores were deadlocked. Two minutes later, Anna Flanagan netted what proved the match-winner, and Australia's chances of a top-two finish in a difficult group remained on track.
The Hockeyroos now have two wins and a loss from their three matches in an evenly-matched Pool B.
The quarter-final hopes of the Australian men's water polo team are still alive despite a 13-9 defeat to Spain.
University of Sydney Olympians Thomas Whalan and Sam McGregor helped the Sharks pile on nine goals, but the problem was at the other end of the pool where the Australians conceded 13.
"Our defence was much better in the first two rounds," Australian coach John Fox told Ninemsn. "Today it was shocking."
The Sharks, needing to finish in the top four of their six-team group to keep alive their medal ambitions, face defining matches against Croatia on Saturday and Greece on Monday.
"We are still in the hunt," Fox said.
See our schedule of events to find out which University of Sydney Olympians are competing over the weekend.
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Enquiries: Andrew Tilley, Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, 9351 8116, email@example.com