Sydney - Olympic Medals - fencing - rowing - hammer throw - gymnastics - (II)

Polish Golden & Silver Medallists

Read the first part of the article about Sydney Olympics Games HERE and also about a total medal count and the most recent performance in Athens 2004. Check also the articles about the medallists from Athens,2004.

The second weekend of Olympic Games in Sydney was very successful for Polish team. We gained 2 gold and 2 silver medals.

On Saturday, 23 September, Polish women team won a silver medal in fencing (foil) . It is a biggest success of our women team in the Olympics. Polish team won easily Germany in semi-finals and could probably do a better job in finals but our girls were just scared to fight against a team of olympic champion and vice-champion.

On Sunday, 24 September, we gained 2 gold and 1 silver medals. Polish team Sycz/Kucharskiwon gold medal in men's weightleight double skulls rowing. Poles took a lead since the start, only Italian team was able to compete with Poles in the beginning of the race but in the end Poles were much better winning at one boat length. The day of the competition was hard for our team. They had to get up at 3:30 in the morning in order to loose some weight (the limit for both was 140 kg) so that they would not exceed the weight limit in these competitions. Poles are already double world champions in this discipline and in the future they are going to try to compete in regular weight.

Szymon Kolecki won a silver medal in weightlifting in the 94 kg category. He had a big chance to win a gold since he totalled 405 kg just like a Greek, gold medal winner. Greek Kakiasvilis had a lower body mass therefore he won. Pole was injured during competition and could not surpass Greek's result.

Szymon Ziolkowski won a gold in hammer throw taking an advantage of the poor performance of the rivals in a bad rainy weather and. It was a nice surprise since he was not a favorite.

On Monday, September 25, a nice surprise was made by our gymnast, Leszek Blanik in vault jump. The last time a Pole won a last medal in gymnastics was in fifties. Blanik was on the last, 8th, qualified place for finals. After his first jump he barely stood on his feet but his second jump was the best from all the jumps in the competition and gave him a third position, a first bronze medal for a Polish team.

For the next two gold medals we had to wait until the Friday, September 29 when Korzeniowski obtained his second gold medal and Polish teenager, 17, Kamila Skolimowska won women's hammer gold. Skolimowska, a daughter of our famous weightlifter in seventies Robert Skolimowski, was already a European junior champion when she was 14. Skolimowska threw 71.16 metres setting new olympic and world junior record. World record holder Mihaela Melinte of Romania missed the competition after a confirmation that she had tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Expectations were high from our kayaking/canoeing sprint teams. We had 9 boats in the finals, some of them world champions, some of them finished their elimination as the first in their class. Unfortunately we ended up only with 3 medals. One bronze on Saturday, September 30, Polish quarter Dariusz Białkowski, Grzegorz Kotowicz, Adam Seroczyński i Marek Witkowski in 1000 m. One silver and one bronze on Sunday, October 1, the last day of competitions by Daniel Jędraszko i Paweł Baraszkiewicz in men pairs 500 m and Beata Sokołowska i Aneta Pastuszka in women pairs 500 m. A weaker condition of Polish teams on Sunday could be caused by a delay in competitions. Start of all final competitions was postponed twice, first due to the strong wind, second due to the problems with starting gates. It was a danger that these finals will not be finished before the official end of the Olympic Games!

In conclusions, our team did a good job in some track and field competitions as usual, our performance in box, judo and wrestling was very disappointing, in kayaking a bit better. It would be nice if Poles would achieve excellence in one or two sport disciplines - like Americans and Australians in swimming, Cubans in boxing or Hungarians in kayaking rather than having 1-2 medals from different sport disciplines were Poles are good but not the best achievers.

Check the article about Poles in Winter Olympic Games in Torino 2006 and Poles in Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake 2002. Check also more articles from sport Polish Culture section.

I recommend a following book written by Thomas M. Tarapacki Chasing the American Dream: Polish Americans in Sports

written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, October 2000 (article #8)

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