It’s raining medals for our Youth Olympic Games stars, as four of them ended up on the winners’ podium yesterday. In a record-breaking day, medals were won by Australia’s Jessica Fox, Russia’s Viktoria Komova, China’s Yi Tang and Mexico’s Mariana Avitia.
18 year-old kayaker Jess was crowned “Australia’s Silver Fox” as she narrowly missed out on a gold medal by 0.61 seconds to France’s Emilie Fer in the K1 canoe slalom. The journalism student, who came back fighting after capsizing in her first run in Monday’s qualification, set the time to beat of 106.51. She then faced a nervous wait to see if she could claim a medal.
“My aim here was to make the final, so when the buzzer went off I was ready for it and I was happy with that run no matter what the result.” But no matter how good the run there’s always the agonising wait for the results. “I just wanted to get out! It was really stressful; you watch and you’re like at worst I’m fifth, at worst I’m fourth, at worst I’m third...”
For Jess, Olympic finals run in the family, with both her parents being kayaking stars. “My mum won the bronze in Atlanta (1996 Olympic Games) and now here I am winning silver,” she said. What’s more, Jess settled a score for her mum Myriam by defeating Atlanta silver-medallist Stepanka Hilgertova in the final. "Stepanka (who finished fourth) congratulated me and said: 'Well done - it was a great race.' She is in her sixth Olympic Games, which is an amazing achievement."
For the Youth Olympic Games gold medallist, the experience of being at London 2012 has been “overwhelming”. “This is the real deal. At the Youth Olympic Games I was coming in as the favourite having won the junior worlds. But here, I had a different goal,” she told us. “This was an overwhelming experience. The crowd was so much bigger and the girls I was racing have been to one, two, three or more Olympics.”
Jessica’s wasn’t the only silver of the day, with Russia’s Viktoria Komova claiming the medal in the women’s artistic gymnastics all around competition. After losing out on the top spot to USA’s Gabby Douglas by 0.259, the reigning world champion was understandably disappointed, especially after her near-perfect score on the floor. “I really wanted to achieve gold, but unfortunately I didn’t manage it,” she said. “The mood is really that of disappointment.” Nonetheless, she did add: “I am proud of what I’ve done too.” And at only 17, we are sure London 2012 will be only the first of many Games for this star.
Swimmer Yi Tang (CHN) and archer Mariana Avitia (MEX) added to the Youth Olympic Games medal collection with each winning a bronze medal. "It is the first time I ever have a medal for myself,” Yi said. “I am really satisfied and very happy, and it's all because of the effort I have done."
Mariana created Mexican history as she became her country’s first archer to claim a medal in the sport."We have put in so much hard work and it has paid off. I am grateful to everybody who has given their support," she said. Having qualified for the Olympics only six weeks ago, the shooting star has already been congratulated by Mexican President Felipe Calderon. "He was in a meeting when he was told we were getting a medal. He said this was a good thing because kids will follow our example."
And there’s still so much more to come for our Youth Olympic Gamers, as boxers Zoltan Harcsa (Hungary) and Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania) thrashed their opponents to make it into the men’s middle (75kg) and men’s light (60kg) boxing quarter-finals respectively. While poolside, South Africa’s Chad le Clos is still dominating after winning his 100m butterfly semi-final with a time only second to swimming legend Michael Phelps. “It might be a little unrealistic to try and win,” he told us, “but I’ll try and give a good race and it’ll be another chance for me to swim next to Michael Phelps. I’m just happy about that and the fact that I made five Olympic finals.”
Watch this space for more YOG medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games coming soon!