The Summer Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5-21. Latvia is represented by 34 athletes who are competing in 13 different disciplines. The first week was successful for female athletes from Latvia who demonstrated good results, but did not win any medals. 18-year-old Rebeka Koha, for instance, was amazingly in fourth place in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting competition, lifting 90 kg in the snatch and 107 kg in the clean and jerk, the total being 197 kg. This was Koha’s Olympic debut, and the first time a female weightlifter from Latvia ever participated in the Olympic Games.
The Latvian beach volleyball players Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Jānis Šmēdiņš lost to Evandro Oliveira and Pedro Solberg Salgado from Brazil in the decisive preliminary game. The Latvian duo finished the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the world’s top-ranked beach volleyball duo, and Šmēdiņš won a bronze medal at the London Olympics four years ago. These two athletes were expected to win medals at the 2016 Olympics, but didn’t.
Latvian swimmer Aļona Ribakova set a new Latvian record in the 200 metre backstroke, though that was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals. She broke her own record, which she set two years ago, by 0.7 seconds, finishing in 2:30.82.
Latvia was represented in the heptathlon by Laura Ikauniece-Admidiņa, who impressively moved from 14th to 4th place during the final two disciplines, reaching a new personal best of 6,617 points. Jeļena Prokopčuka, for her part, finished 12th in the women’s marathon. She is an Olympic veteran and is best known for having won the New York Marathon twice. This time she finished in 2:24.40.
This week we hope to see good results and maybe a medal in BMX racing, canoeing and the javelin. Māris Štrombergs remains the only person in the world to have won a gold medal in men’s BMX, having done so at the previous two Olympics, with BMX debuting at the games eight years ago in Beijing. Go, Latvia! #LatvijaRIO.