With just three days of Olympic competition to go, the pressure is on Germany to equal its 2008 gold medal count. Thomas Lurz had a chance in the men's 10 kilometer swim, but he had to settle for silver.
Lurz was beat by Tunisia's Oussama Mellouli in a close finish. Another German, Andreas Waschburger, was in the lead at the race's half-way point, but fell behind later. Lurz made a strong push at the end, but Mellouli was simply too far ahead, holding on to beat Lurz by 3.4 seconds. In 2008, Mellouli became the first African man to win an Olympic medal in swimming.
Also in the water - albeit in a boat - the women's sailing duo of Kathrin Kadelbach and Friederike Belcher finished third in the final race of 470 sailing, which is named after the type of boat used. It wasn't enough to move them up in the standings, however, and they finished out of the medals in eighth place overall.
Earlier in the day, Germany found greater success in canoeing, where four Germans qualified for four finals, setting themselves up for a thrilling Saturday in a sport that Germany usually excels in. Among the competitors Saturday will be Sebastian Brendel, who is one of the favorites in the men's canoe single (C1) 200 meters. His earlier gold was in the canoe single (C1) 1000m.
In the afternoon, rhythmic gymnastics took center stage. But for all the glitz and glamor of the event, Germany showed blemishes.
Jana Berezko-Marggrander performed two routines to music by Rodrigo y Gabriela and Adam Summerhayes in the all-around individual qualifiers. Unfortunately, she failed to advance to the final, finishing in 17th out of 24 total competitors.
There was a chance for redemption later, but the quintet of Mira Bimperling, Camilla Pfeffer, Judith Hauser, Cathrin Puhl, and Nicole Müller were eliminated in the group all-around. Combining gymnastics and dance, rhythmic gymnastics requires competitors to use one apparatus during their routine.
So far in London, Germany has won 10 golds. They won 16 in 2008.
Track and field takes center stage
Germany will have a few more chances to add to their medal haul later Friday.
Track and field will be the evening's top attraction once again. Raphael Holzdeppe, Malte Mohr and Björn Otto will get things started in the men's pole vault final, before Betty Heidler and Kathrin Klaas try to go the distance in the women's shot put final. In the evening's main event, the women's 4x100 relay team of Leena Günther, Anne Cibis, Tatjana Pinto and Verena Sailer will hope to win Germany's first gold since 1980. They'll need a bit of luck to upset favorites Jamaica and the United States.
bm/mz (AFP, dpa, Reuters)