Every Summer Games produces at least a couple of nail-biting finishes, races so close that we scream at the television as if that would push the athletes just a little bit harder. Who can forget Michael Phelps winning the men's 100-meter butterfly in Beijing by 4.7 millimeters or maybe our very own PT Usha missing the bronze by 0.01 seconds?
The Games are like that. And maybe because of moments like these we watch the 'greatest show on Earth'. The athletes push themselves beyond anything and results are decided by hundredths of a second.
One of those wonderful happenstances took place this year at the Rio Games when the winner of the men's single sculls was decided by one thousandth (.001) of a second.
London gold medalist rower Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand finished in 6:41.34 which was exactly the same time what Damir Martin of Croatia clocked in the event. It was so close that judges had to use a photo from the finish to determine who actually won and only after that the pair could be separated. In the heart-pounding final 500 metres, Martin had a lead over the Kiwi but the latter increased his speed as they got closer to the finish line.
Drysdale was given gold ahead of Martin who also gold at the London Games in the men's quadruple sculls. Czech two-time silver medallist Ondrej Synek finished 3.24 seconds after them and fetched bronze. Mahe Drysdale is the country's oldest Olympian to fetch a medal at 37 years, 8 months, and 25 days. In addition, he is a five-time world champion. Dattu Bhokanal, the lone rower in fray from India clocked 6:54.96 in the same event and finished 15th in overall rankings.
However, this result reduces the previous closest Olympic margin of 0.01s in rowing, set by Kiwi double scullers Caroline Meyer and Georgina Earl over Germany at Beijing.
'A game of inches,' indeed.Published 16 Aug 2016, 07:34 IST