The first week of the 2014 Commonwealth Games came to a close in spectacular style on Wednesday, with Day 7 offering up medal drama of the highest order.
It’s been some show in Glasgow, Scotland, so far, and based on Wednesday’s evidence, where 19 medals were up for grabs, it’s only going to get better.
Here, we take a look at whose necks every medal rested around on Wednesday, and analyse the key stories of the day.
|Athletics||Men's 400m||Kirani James (GRN)||Wayne van Niekerk (RSA)||Lalonde Gordon (TRI)|
|Athletics||Men's Long Jump||Greg Rutherford (ENG)||Zarck Visser (RSA)||Rushwahl Samaai (RSA)|
|Athletics||Men's High Jump||Derek Drouin (CAN)||Kyriakos Ioannou (CYP)||Michael Mason (CAN)|
|Athletics||Women's 3000m Steeplechase||Purity Cherotich Kirui (KEN)||Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN)||Joan Kipkemoi (KEN)|
|Athletics||Women's Javelin||Kim Mickle (AUS)||Sunette Viljoen (RSA)||Kelsey-lee Roberts (AUS)|
|Athletics||Women's Heptathlon||Brianne Theisen-Eaton (CAN)||Jessica Zelinka (CAN)||Jessica Taylor (ENG)|
|Athletics||Women's Shot Put||Valerie Adams (NZL)||Cleopatra Borel (TRI)||Julie Labonte (CAN)|
|Diving||Men's 1m Springboard||Jack Laugher (ENG)||Matthew Mitcham (AUS)||Grant Nel (AUS)|
|Diving||Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard||Alicia Blagg, Rebecca Gallantree (ENG)||Jennifer Abel, Pamela Ware (CAN)||Maddison Keeney, Anabelle Smith (AUS)|
|Diving||Women's 10m Synchronised Platform||Meaghan Benfeito, Roseline Filion (CAN)||Sarah Barrow, Tonia Couch (ENG)||Pandelela Rinong Pamg, Nur Dhabitah Sabri (MAS)|
|Gymnastics||Artistic Men's Individual All-Around||Max Whitlock (ENG)||Daniel Keatings (SCO)||Nile Wilson (ENG)|
|Gymnastics||Artistic Women's Individual All-Around||Claudia Fragapane (ENG)||Ruby Harrold (ENG)||Hannah Whelan (ENG)|
|Weightlifting||Women's +75kg||Maryam Usman (NIG)||Ele Opeloge (SAM)||Tracey Lambrechs (NZL)|
|Weightlifting||Men's 105kg||David Katoatau (KIR)||Stanislav Chalaev (NZL)||Benjamin Watson (ENG)|
|Weightlifting||Men's Freestyle 61kg||Bajrang Bajrang (IND)||Amas Daniel (NIG)||Viorel Etko (SCO)|
|Weightlifting||Men's Freestyle 97kg||Satywart Kadian (IND)||Leon Rattigan (ENG)||Sam Belkin (NZL)|
|Weightlifting||Women's Freestyle 53kg||Lalita Lalita (IND)||Jill Gallays (CAN)||Mpho Madi (RSA)|
|Weightlifting||Women's Freestyle 58kg||Sakshi Malik (IND)||Braxton Rei Stone (CAN)||Tayla Ford (NZL)|
|Weightlifting||Women's Freestyle 69kg||Angele Tomo (CAM)||Navjot Navjot Kaur (IND)||Hannah Rueben (NIG)|
Rutherford Leaps to Gold
England’s Greg Rutherford won the gold medal in the long jump on Wednesday, adding a Commonwealth gold to his Olympic title from 2012.
The 27-year-old opened up with an 8.12-metre jump, but after he was matched by South Africa’s Zarck Visser, Rutherford stepped it up a gear.
Though he was always expected to take home the gold, he did so in expert fashion, making an 8.20-metre jump in his third attempt, with which his rivals simply couldn’t compete.
In doing so, he claimed England’s first athletics gold medal of the Commonwealth Games so far, and was clearly in a jubilant mood about breaking the nation’s duck.
His reaction upon winning was reminiscent of the London 2012 “Super Saturday” triumph, and he took to Twitter soon after to voice his happiness:
Speaking with BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce, Rutherford revealed that the capacity crowd in Glasgow is what drove him to glory, as did his personal ambition to prove his critics wrong:
I think they should have all championships in Britain. I love the big stadiums and the big crowds—I thrive on it. It's never an easy road, and after what happened last year with injury I wasn't sure I was going to be able to carry on jumping. But now I've managed to win another title and that's what it's all about for me. I think a lot of people had written me off thinking I was a one-hit wonder. But I wanted to prove I could do it again.
He certainly did prove as much, and former Olympic triple-jump champion Jonathan Edwards was among many that sung the Englishman’s praises:
Well done @GregJRutherford taking care of business when winning is expected is the mark of a champion— Jonathan Edwards (@JDE66) July 30, 2014
Next up for Rutherford is the European Championships in Zurich where, based on Wednesday’s form, he could be adding to his gold collection.
Grenada Win First-Ever Commonwealth Gold
Day 7 was a historic one for Grenada in Glasgow, as Kirani James’ 400-metre gold saw the nation land their first-ever Commonwealth title, as BBC Sport revealed:
A time of 44.24 gave James the Commonwealth record for 400 metres, smashing the time of 44.52 previously set by Welshman Iwan Thomas.
The spectacular run deserved to be a record-breaker, though, and James looked at ease gliding around the track.
It made for some fantastic viewing, and though BBC Wales Sport’s Gareth Rhys Owens was sad to see his countryman’s Commonwealth record go, it couldn’t have gone to a more worthy competitor:
Pleasure seeing Kirani James in action even if it means that Iwan Thomas' games record is now dust!— Gareth Rhys Owen (@g_r_owen) July 30, 2014
Again an overwhelming favourite heading into the race, James never looked like faltering his lead, and though South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk put him under a bit of pressure in the final 200 metres, it was a simple run for the Grenada star.
Van Niekerk claimed the silver medal, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon claimed a famous bronze.
Just behind him was England’s Martyn Rooney, who failed to capitalise on a fabulous chance to put another medal on the board for Team England.
However, elsewhere, it was a fruitful day for the English.
England Divers Find Gold
England claimed three gold medals from the diving boards on Day 7, with Jack Laugher easing to victory in the men’s 1-metre springboard before Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree produced last-gasp brilliance to win the women’s synchronised 3-metre springboard.
Laugher, just 19 years of age, produced six stunning dives on his way to gold, blowing his rivals out of the water with a points total of 449.90.
With his nearest competitor over 45 points back, Laugher was full credit for his gold medal, and took to Twitter after the presentation to reflect on a dream day:
The 3-metre event is next up for Laugher, who will hope to follow in the footsteps of Blagg and Gallantree by claiming gold.
The women’s pair left it late to earn their synchronised title, nailing a forward three-and-a-half somersault in their final dive to give them a points total of 300.24 and take them over the line.
Following the jubilation of victory, Blagg remained disillusioned as to whether or not her superb accomplishment was, in fact, reality—per BBC Sport:
"I just can't believe it," she said. "To do that dive and then see the scoreboard ranked first it was the best moment of my life. Just disbelief."
Galantree then added: "To do it in that situation, last dive, when it really mattered, and to do that to get the gold is just amazing."
The pair’s exploits helped put England top of the gold-medal charts in Glasgow, which is where they’ll hope to remain following Day 8’s action.
Thursday sees 25 gold medals go up for grabs once again, with nine on the athletics track, two in the road cycling and five in gymnastics.
Can England continue their phenomenal run?