Day 6 Olympic review: Fox silver and McCulloch bronze

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University of Sydney Olympic athletes Jessica Fox and Kaarle McCulloch have starred for Australia on day 6 of the London Olympic Games, with both athletes claiming their first medals.

Overnight, 18 year old kayaker Jessica Fox became Australia’s best-performing Olympic kayaker ever with a silver medal in the women’s K1.

The University of Sydney arts student and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder scraped through to the 10-woman final as the eighth-fastest qualifier, but then set the field a mighty task to better her with a blistering 106.51 seconds time on the tricky Lee Valley White Water Centre course.

Of the seven who followed, only France’s Emilie Fer was able to top her, and only by 0.61s.

“I’m still on a cloud,” Fox told Ninemsn, clutching her silver medal.

“I didn’t want to stay there waiting because it gets really stressful.

“You think ‘oh, at worst I’m fifth, at worst, I’m fourth … oh my God, I’ve got silver.

“It’s a dream come true.

“It’s the most beautiful piece of metal I’ve ever seen.”

Before Fox, Australia’s best result in the slalom was delivered by University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Robin Bell, who claimed bronze in the men’s C1 at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Fox’s silver also places her as the most successful kayaker in her family, no mean feat considering both of her parents are also Olympians.

Mum and coach Myriam won bronze for France at the 1996 Atlanta Games, while father Richard, a five-time world champion for Great Britain, came away with a fourth from Barcelona in 1992.

“I’m happy that I’ve got silver and mum’s got bronze – and that’s kinda cool that I beat her,” Fox said with a grin.

“For now I feel like I’m better than them.”

Canoeist Kynan Maley’s Olympic campaign has come to an end but not before the University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder and his partner Robin Jeffrey finished 10th in the men’s C2 semi-final overnight.

Earlier in the week Maley was a finalist in the C1 competition.

On the cycling track University of Sydney alumna and former EAP scholarship holder Kaarle McCulloch has teamed up with Australian Anna Meares to take bronze in a drama filled women’s team sprint event.

McCulloch and Meares clocked 32.727 to beat the 33.491 from Ukrainians Olena Tsyos and Lyubov Shulika in the bronze ride-off.

They were in front by 0.733 at the midway point and were never troubled by the Ukrainian duo as they cruised into the bronze medal spot in 37.727, a comfortable 0.764 seconds in front.

It was Australia’s second medal of day six (the first was Fox) and first at the Velodrome.

McCulloch was elated with taking the podium in her Olympic debut.

“It’s pretty damn good,” McCulloch told the ABC.

“We came here with gold in our eyes, and we got bronze.

“It’s my first Olympic Games and I couldn’t be happier.”

In a stunning turnaround, Germany (32.798) was ruled to have won gold minutes after the race on appeal, despite China initially being awarded the victory.

Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie had combined to claim what would have been an historic first Olympic cycling gold for China in the two-lap event, only to be relegated soon after for a slight infringement in the changeover zone.

It meant China – which had smashed the world record twice on their way to the final – was relegated to the silver medal position

Great Britain duo Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varish were earlier disqualified for an illegal change, a decision met by a chorus of boos from the parochial local crowd.

Australian women’s sailor Olivia Price celebrated her 20th birthday in style with another two wins as herself, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty guaranteed themselves top seeding for the quarterfinal with one race left in the round robin.

Price, a University of Sydney student and EAP scholarship holder, has now skippered Curtis and Whitty to 10 wins from 10 starts in the women’s match racing competition following victories against Spain and Denmark to be three wins clear of second place.

“We had another good day,” said Price.

“To be honest I hadn’t thought that it was my birthday, I’d been trying to block it out but now that it’s finished it was a good birthday.”

The Australian trio has one round robin race left, on Saturday, before the quarterfinals take place next Tuesday.

Another University of Sydney athlete is through to a rowing final after graduate Bronwen Watson and her partner Hannah Every-Hall finished third in the women’s lightweight double sculls semi-final event held overnight.

Watson and Every-Hall will start in lane 1 of the final on Saturday.

The women’s eight rowing crew, containing Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club (SUWRC) members Sarah Cook and Sally Kehoe, have finished sixth in their final.

It was a good result for the Australian crew, who were thrown together at the 11th hour in April after Rowing Australia had initially decided not to send a women’s eight team.

The Australian women’s hockey team, featuring University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Megan Rivers has managed a heart-in-mouth 1-0 victory over the United States on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Toni Cronk provided the Hockeyroos turning point of their campaign after saving a penalty stroke in the 30th minute from US skipper Lauren Crandall came with the scores deadlocked.

Two minutes later, Anna Flanagan netted what proved the match-winner, and Australia’s chances of a top-two finish in a difficult group remained on track.

The Hockeyroos now have two wins and a loss from their three matches in an evenly-matched Pool B.

The Australian men’s water polo team’s quarter-final aspirations are still alive despite a 13-9 defeat to Spain.

University of Sydney representatives Thomas Whalan and Sam McGregor helped the Sharks pile on nine goals, but the problem was at the other end of the pool where they conceded 13.

“Our defence was much better in the first two rounds,” Australian coach John Fox told Ninemsn.

“Today it was shocking.

The Sharks, needing to finish in the top four of their six-team group to keep alive their medal ambitions, face defining matches against Croatia on Saturday and Greece on Monday.

“We are still in the hunt,” Fox said.

Friday 3 August

Hockey – Men v Argentina
Matthew Butturini

Basketball – Women v Russia
Belinda Snell

Rowing – Men’s Pair Final
Brodie Buckland

Rowing – Women’s Double Sculls Final
Brooke Pratley

Sailing – Women’s Laser Radial Race 7 and 8
Krystal Weir

Saturday 4 August

Hockey – Women v South Africa
Megan Rivers

Rowing – Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Final
Bronwen Watson

Water Polo – Men v Croatia
Thomas Whalan & Sam McGregor

Sailing – Women’s Laser Radial Race 9 and 10
Krystal Weir

Sailing – Women’s Elliot 6m Round Robin Race 11
Olivia Price

Sunday 5 August

Basketball – Women v Canada
Belinda Snell

Monday 6 August (AM only)

Hockey – Women v Argentina
Megan Rivers