Rio Olympics ’16: That’s why the Kiwis wear black

By Ewan McDonald

Sonny Bill Williams crashes out of the Olympics, and rest of the All Blacks season, with an injured Achilles tendon in today’s shock loss to Japan. Picture Reuters
Sonny Bill Williams crashes out of the Olympics, and rest of the All Blacks season, with an injured Achilles tendon in today’s shock loss to Japan. Picture Reuters
Olympics Day Four: New Zealand’s ‘Day of Disaster’ as team stumbles in Rio Games medal chase, a Father and Son's pregame ritual and a Mother and Son shooting team.

New Zealand’s biggest newspaper has headlined the country’s “Day of Disaster” after its Olympic athletes stumbled, tumbled and bumbled out of medal contention in several sports.

The men’s rugby sevens were embarrassed 14-12 by Japan and Sonny Bill Williams suffered a Games-ending injury. They recovered to thrash Kenya in their second match but must beat Great Britain overnight to make the playoffs.

The equestrian team finished fourth after veteran horseman Sir Mark Todd knocked over four rails when they were in a gold-medal position.

The women’s and men’s double scullers missed their rowing finals although the men’s pair and lightweight four will race for medals.

The Black Sticks men’s hockey team crumbled 2-3 to Spain, the Football Ferns’ Games are all but over after a 0-3 loss to France, and three swimmers failed to advance.

The family that shoots together

Georgian shooter Nino Salukvadze began her Olympic competition with the Soviet Union in 1988. At her eighth Games, she will compete alongside her 18-year-old son Tsote Machavariani – the first mother and son to appear at the same Olympics.

She’s competed for three decades. Her record consists of four European titles, a collection of silver and bronze medals, and six world champion titles. Her son will compete in pistol events.

Diving into the wild green yonder

The water quality in Rio’s Olympic pools took centre stage when the crystal-blue diving pool turned murky and green overnight. One diver said she couldn’t see her dive partner under water.

Experts say the water in diving pools is several degrees warmer than in swimming pools and more conducive to algae growth.

Making a point

Canadian swimmer Santo Condorelli gives his father “the finger” before his Olympic races. The 21-year-old has been performing the bizarre ritual for good luck since he was 8.

His father Joseph came up with the tradition. “You’ve got to build your confidence yourself and say ‘eff everybody else that you’re racing’,” Santo said. But he’s aware the gesture might cause upset at the Games and has modified it to make it slightly more discreet.

Dare to be different

Paunchy swimmer Robel Kiros Habte’s 100m freestyle time of 1m 4.95s saw him easily the slowest competitor in the field. One of two Ethopian swimmers in Rio, he took up swimming because …

“Everybody knows [Ethiopians] like running. I don’t like running. I want to be different in my country, that is why I choose it.”

 Wrong number

Frenchman Enzo Lefort was dueling with German Peter Joppich in the men’s fencing when his smartphone fell out of his back pocket. Lefort bent down, picked it up and handed it to an official.



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