If ever there was an athlete to put a smile on a nation’s face, it surely was Nicola Adams. But the most effervescent member of the Great Britain Olympic squad had to bite down hard on her gumshield here on Tuesday to secure at least a bronze with a one-fight passage through to the semi-finals.
Charlotte Dujardin retained her individual grand prix dressage medal at Rio’s Olympic equestrian centre with a stunning round on Valegro. Her winning score of 93.857 was the third highest of all time, beaten only by herself. Still, though, a high‑quality competition boiled down a thrilling last ditch finish in the baking Rio sun.
The divers had to plunge into a green pool; the windsurfers were advised to keep their mouths shut in dirty Guanabara Bay. Everyone was at least a tiddly bit worried about Zika. To the list of indignities facing Olympic athletes we can now add: falling ash.
It was third time lucky, then, for the endlessly compelling contradiction that is Mark Cavendish. Following two epic days of competition in only his third ever international class omnium, the Isle of Man cyclist finally had the Olympic medal he craved around his neck after bitter disappointment in Beijing and London.
By midnight, the Olympic Stadium can’t have been a quarter-full.
If Rudyard Kipling’s adage about treating triumph and disaster the same is a standard trope for Olympians, then for the three-time champion Mo Farah it now might be rewritten to include elation and suspicion.
Did you ever doubt it? He didn’t. Before the race began Usain Bolt said that the only question in his head was whether he should take it easy in the 100m final so he could spare himself for the longer sprints next week. He has his heart set, you see, on trying to break the 19 second barrier in the 200m.
Europeans have often come to grief looking for gold in South America but, although Andy Murray flirted too often with disaster, he conquered his nerves and, after four sets of agonising fluctuations, Juan Martín del Potro to strike the mother lode again in Rio on Sunday night.
Max Whitlock has always been a shy kind of sportsman. It does not matter now. The history books – and an army of fans – will shout loud enough for him, after he ended Britain’s 116-year drought with not one but two gold medals in the Olympic Arena and established himself as -simply the greatest gymnast the country has produced.
The running shorts were long, the swimming pool went green, and some of the winning athletes were helped along both by friends and alcohol, yet London's first Olympics, held in 1908, set the template for the modern international event.
The greatest Olympian in the history of the modern Games, Michael Phelps, swam his last ever individual race on Friday, and won his 17th gold medal and 21st overall, claiming victory in the 100m butterfly at the Aquatics Centre.
Manny Pacquiao has said he is up for it, and Amir Khan has sensationally suggested he would compete for Pakistan, but voices in British boxing from the grassroots to the top-flight have ridiculed plans to allow professionals to compete against amateurs in the Rio Olympics this summer.
Jo Pavey has admitted that time is running out on her dream of becoming the first British track athlete to compete in five Olympic Games, and fears that a prolonged chest infection could wreck her ambitions to retain her European 10,000m title in Amsterdam next month.
Jamaica’s Olympic gold-winning sprinter Kemar Bailey-Cole has revealed that he is suffering from the Zika virus.
Adam Gemili described it as the “best feeling in the world” after straining to a narrow victory in the men’s 200m at the UK trials. There were smiles, too, for Danny Talbot, a hair’s breadth behind in second, who also secured his Olympic place. But at least one top British sprinter will shortly find his Rio ambitions shattered after a day of intrigue and drama in Birmingham.
Yuliya Stepanova, the whistleblower pivotal to the discovery of deep-rooted state-sponsored doping in Russia, has hit out angrily at the International Olympic Committee in the wake of its decision to ban her from competing in Rio.
Inside a little house on Omaha Street, not far from the border of Washington DC, a father still clutches his Olympic dream. Gary Russell is a boxing man who wanted a family of boxing men who would win a pile of Olympic medals.
A tearful Lynsey Sharp said the decision to overturn rules on testosterone suppression made competing against the women’s Olympic 800m champion, Caster Semenya, and other hyperandrogenic athletes difficult.
In what may yet prove to be her final Olympic appearance Allyson Felix led the US 4x400m relay team home in style to become the most decorated athlete in US track and field history, overcoming their Jamaican rivals with ease in the process.
A tearful Ryan Lochte has said sorry to his US swimming team-mates, his family and the people of Brazil for a “stupid mistake” at a Rio gas station that overshadowed the final week of the Olympic Games.