Don’t be sad because we’ve passed the halfway point of athletics at Rio 2016. Be happy because all this glorious stuff got us here. It’s the Rio Wrap!

A different rhythm

Kemoy Campbell ()

As a general rule, Jamaicans don’t run, they sprint. Kemoy Campbell is the exception.

The 25-year-old Arkansas graduate made Olympic history today by becoming the first man from his nation to compete in the 5000m (they’ve never had a 10,000m runner either). He finished tenth in 13:30.32 and failed to advance to the final, but he could take heart from improving on his 15th place in the heats at the Beijing World Championships.

“I represented Jamaica well ... I have to be happy with that,” he told the press after his race.

There was one small thing that annoyed him though.

“My first meet I ran 13:30 so looking back, I think I should have done some more speed work,” he said. He won’t struggle to find candidates to help when he’s back home.

Hammer horror

The hammer is about precision as well as power. Anyone who’s ever whacked their index finger putting up a shelf knows that. World champion Pawel Fajdeck suffered similar pain finding out the same fact in the morning’s qualifying.

Fajdek came into Rio with an unbeaten streak of 29 competitions that stretched back to last March. But in the morning sun the big Pole had a qualifying catastrophe. After finding the net with his first two efforts the third had to be good. It was only so-so.

He reacted to his 72.00m – which would later be confirmed as not good enough for the final – by flopping face down on the floor, head in hands. Heartbreak for Fajdek, who didn’t record a legal mark at London 2012 either. For his rivals, a door to gold left open in Friday’s final.

Baton passed

Ezekiel Kemboi Conseslus Kipruto Rio 2016 ()

In the steeplechase, it looked like Ezekiel Kemboi (hurdling in the main image) had added another medal to his glistening championship cabinet, only for the bronze he thought was his to be denied after it was noticed he took a step inside the track.

It was a sad end for the two-time Olympic, four-time world champion, whose kick wasn’t there in the final lap leaving him helpless as Conseslus Kipruto and Evan Jager pulled away to take first and second.

A dejected Kemboi had slowed to walking pace by the time he crossed the line; the news of his disqualification only compounding his disappointment. Though we didn’t get to see the great champion’s snake-like hips in celebratory action for a final time, he can take heart in the crown passing to a worthily eccentric teammate.

Victorious Kipruto’s sideways hurdle technique and penchant for a victory wave were on full display in his win today. Better, he is only 21 and is already running as fast as anyone has in history. It will take some to stop Kenya’s continued run of returning a men’s steeplechase winner at every Olympic since 1980.

Happy days

De Grasse and Bolt 2016 ()

The days of the macho sprint showdown looke like a thing of the past. Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse have kept caption contest aficionados busy this week with their blossoming on track bromance, and it was on full display again in the semis.

They both had good reason to smile. De Grasse set a Canadian national record 19.80 to reach the final. Bolt? He’s only on his way to an eighth Olympic gold medal

Not this time

Dafne Schippers Elaine Thompson 2016 ()

After Bolt had warmed the crowd up, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson blew them away by adding the 200m crown to the 100m gold she has already won. Her deadly bend put the willies up Dutch powerhouse Dafne Schippers. From there Thompson refused to let the woman who had beaten her at last year’s world championships past, holding her half yard adtange to win in 21.78.

Her double means 10 of the last 11 Olympic golds in the 100m and 200m have been won by a Jamaican athlete. Schippers was clearly devastated with silver, but the new fashion for sprint solidarity was in full display in her hearty congratulations to the Caribbean island’s new sprint legend.

When it counts

Tianna Bartoletta 2016 ()

The women’s long jump was equally tense till the end.

Tianna Bartolletta, who had competed in the 100m earlier this week (making it to the semis), saw her early lead pinched in round six by her American teammate Brittney Reese’s 7.09m. European champion Spanovic then threatened further with a Serbian national record 7.08m.

Bartoletta looked annoyed and all the funny business, and rifled down the run way with menace as she looked to reclaim her lead. It didn’t matter that she took off around half a foot before the board: such was her speed and power off the board that she rocketed out into the sand. She set a personal best 7.17m to deliver the killer blow and take gold late on, exactly as she had to win the world title 12 months ago.

Sweep taste of victory

Brianna Rollins USA 2016 ()

Until tonight, no nation had ever had three athletes on the Olympic podium of the women’s 100m hurdles. In Brianna Rollins the US had the perfect woman to spearhead an attempt. The number-four all-time rifled into an early lead and dipped through the tape to win gold. Returning mother Nia Ali was just behind her for silver.

That much was clear, working out who won bronze in a blanket finish was not. After the photo was processed third place was given to Kristi Castlin to complete an historic American sweep.

At last year’s Beijing World Championships, the US had two athletes in the final but none on the podium. This time round they had three on the podium. That’s the caliber the US produces, and it’s the reason why their home-grown world record holder Keni Harrison had to watch from back home as another piece of hurdling history was made.