Splainer

Monday, August 2 2021


Dive In

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.

That’s a line from Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘The Waves’. A belated happy Friendship Day to our very own BFFs:)

Big Story

A big Olympics catch-up

The TLDR: Here’s everything big that happened while you were busy with really important weekend stuff… for example: long afternoon naps:)

 

First: Where India’s at

A bronze in badminton: PV Sindhu scored the bronze medal by defeating China's He Bingjiao 21-13 21-15. She is now the first Indian woman to win two individual medals at Olympics. Indian Express has an excellent piece on why Sindhu’s performance—soon after her dreams of gold were destroyed—is a testament to her grit. 

 

Loving Lovlina: Boxing champ Lovlina Borgohain entered the semi-finals, assuring India of another medal. She will now face off against reigning world champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey on August 4. The Hindu has an excellent profile of the 23-year-old from Assam. In not so good boxing news, both Mary Kom and Satish Kumar are out—despite valiant performances. Kumar fought despite injuries against reigning world champion Bakhodir Jalolov. Kom—who lost on points—was shocked by her defeat, and alleged cheating and manipulation when she landed in India. Scroll has a good assessment of the performance of Indian boxers.

 

Staying in the hockey game:  The men’s team thrashed Great Britain 3-1 to enter the semi-finals, where they will face world champions Belgium. The last time we played the semis was in 1972—when we lost to Pakistan. Happily, the women’s team is also still in the hunt for a medal, having made it to the quarter-finals—for the first time in Olympic history. Indian Express has a solid profile of hockey star Vandana Katariya. Times of India has more on the tough match with Australia coming up soon.

 

In the horse race: Fouaad Mirza—India's only equestrian at the Olympics in over two decades—and his horse Seigneur Medicott slipped out of the top 20—but remained in contention for the jumping final. The Telegraph has more on his performance. 

 

The big disappointment: With the last two contenders—Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat—crashing out of the 25 metre pistol qualifiers, the Indian shooting contingent will return empty-handed from the Olympics. (Economic Times)

 

Point to note: India has won 16 Olympic medals since 2000—and eight (adding Sindhu's weekend win) were won by women!

 

Making the big waves…

Lamont Marcell Jacobs: who is now the fastest man on earth. He finished the men’s 100-meter dash in 9.80 seconds. The Texas-born Italian captured the first ever 100m medal for his country. And it was a big surprise to everyone, including the winner and his rivals—one of whom said: “I mean, 9.8 from the Italian guy? I didn't expect that. I thought my main competition would be the Americans."

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah: won the women’s 100-metre race in 10.61 seconds, and is now the fastest woman alive. She bested the previous Olympic record of 10.62 seconds set by American Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. All three medals in the race went to Jamaicans—repeating a feat only the Caribbean island nation has accomplished in Olympic history. (ABC News)

 

Yulimar Rojas: shattered the women’s world triple jump record with her final jump—and became the first female Venezuelan Olympic gold medallist. She jumped 15.67m to beat the previous world record of 15.50m, set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets in 1995 in Sweden. She credited her win to her coach who she met via a Facebook Friends recommendation—so yes, it is good for something! (The Guardian)

 

Kevin Cordon: The Guatemalan badminton player stunned the world when he beat South Korea's Heo Kwang-hee 21-13 21-18 to make the semi-finals. FYI, his parents haven’t ever seen him play. If the 59th seed manages to beat Denmark's world number two Viktor Axelsen in the semis, he will bring home his country’s second ever Olympic medal. Scroll has more Cordon’s fairytale run.

 

Alexander Zverev: After beating top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, he defeated Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-1. Belinda Bencic became the first Swiss woman to win Olympic tennis gold on the women’s singles side.

 

Emma McKeon: The Australian became the first woman to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games on Sunday. She scored four golds and three bronze, tying the record for most medals won by a woman at a single games set by Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya in 1952 in Helsinki. Overall, the US dominated the swimming events with 11 gold medals. (The Telegraph)

 

Barshym & Tamberi: Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi shared a rare Olympic gold in high jump. Barshim gave Qatar its first Olympic track and field title. The outcome also gave us the sweetest moment of the games so far: when the two men asked the ref if they can share the gold. Also read: this 2018 tribute by Gianmarco to his friend Mutaz. 

 

In other Olympic-sized dramas

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • The space station did “cartwheels”
  • Ben Stokes takes a break
  • Scarlet Johansson sues Disney
  • Sharks in the backyard 

 

Smart & Curious

  • The latest research on narcissists says they’re not all flashy and attention seeking
  • 'Phantom ships’ are sowing chaos in international waters
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