|Nijel Amos finished behind a world-record pace to get silver, the first for Botswana -- ever. (US Presswire)|
Kenya's David Rudisha received a lot of rightful pub for what he did Thursday. The Kenyan runner set a world record in the 800 meters, running it in a blazing 1:40.91 seconds, the first time ever recorded under 1:41.
He beat out Botswana's Nijel Amos, who finished in 1:41.73 and earned a silver. And therein lies the other significant event in the 800. Amos earned his country's first medal -- ever. Botswana has competed in nine Summer Games, every one since 1980, but never had a rep stand on the spotlighted dais until Thursday.
That's when Amos stood on the second-highest podium stoop and made his country proud. It had to have been a huge day in Botswana, which is one of five countries that will leave London as first-time medal winners. Below, the list, and if you want the overall medal total, including all golds, silvers and bronzes, you know where to look.
Montenegro, three Olympiads. (Women's handball, medal TBD). This is some sort of fantastic story, absolutely. While every other country here is represented by an outstanding athlete, an individual competitor -- an aberration, perhaps -- Montenegro has established a team worthy of breaking through. It will play Saturday in the women's handball final against Norway, a heavy favorite. Think of Montenegro's brief Olympic history and then consider the odds. It had 33 representatives in seven sports. Good on the new kids to make themselves loud and proud so quickly.
"To win a medal will mean everything to the people back home, it is an amazing success, we only have 600,000 people in our country," coach Dragan Adzic has said. "To be the first medal winners in the Olympics is historic, it's amazing."
Grenada, eight Olympiads (Kirani James, gold, men's 400 meters). And when you see what Amos did, consider James' accomplishment. Not only did he haul in his nation's initial medal in its history -- it was also gold. Grenada is the only country on this list to take in its first gold medal at this year's Games (so far; we'll see if Montenegro can join it). Not only that, no other country that was gold-less prior to London has been able to find the top of the podium. James won the 400 meters Monday, crossing in 43.94 seconds.
Botswana, nine Olympiads (Nijel Amos, silver, men's 800 meters). The next bit of good news for Botswana is that Amos is only 18 years old. Could he run in Rio? And after that, in 2020? If so, are more medals on the way? Perhaps Amos can be the trailblazer for his country. Africans pride themselves on running. Botswana's never going to be a powerhouse at the Olympics, but in order to find respect in certain disciplines, it always has to take one athlete to break through. Amos has done that.
Guatemala, 14 Olympiads (Erick Barrondo, silver, men's 20-kilometer racewalk). Barrondo finished just 11 seconds behind Olympic record-setting racewalker Ding Chen, of China, who paced himself to a 1:18.46 gold. But give it up for Barrondo, who takes a silver in an event most probably wouldn't guess Guatemala to be registered in, let alone competing for a medal. He'll also be competing in the 50 -- yes, freaking 50 -- kilometer racewalk, held Saturday on that track at Olympic Stadium.
Cyprus, 18 Olympiads (Pavlos Kontides, silver, men's laser sailing). No country has waited as long as Cyprus, which has also surprisingly been part of every Winter Games since 1980. Unfortunately, the coolest-sounding event at the Olympics isn't all that great, really. You know makes laser sailing great? THIS. Kudos to Kontides for getting his nation on the Olympic medal map.
And if you're curious about which countries are still o-fer, all-time, here you go. Alas, it's a bulky list. Via Wikipedia (totally verified!), with Summer Games in gold, winter in blue, total in white.
|American Samoa (ASA)||6||1||7|
|Antigua and Barbuda (ANT)||8||0||8|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH)||5||5||10|
|British Virgin Islands (IVB)||7||0||7|
|Burkina Faso (BUR)||7||0||7|
|Cape Verde (CPV)||4||0||4|
|Cayman Islands (CAY)||8||1||9|
|Central African Republic (CAF)||8||0||8|
|DR Congo (COD)||8||0||8|
|Cook Islands (COK)||6||0||6|
|El Salvador (ESA)||9||0||9|
|Equatorial Guinea (GEQ)||7||0||7|
|Marshall Islands (MHL)||1||0||1|
|Papua New Guinea (PNG)||8||0||8|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN)||4||0||4|
|Saint Lucia (LCA)||4||0||4|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN)||6||0||6|
|San Marino (SMR)||12||8||20|
|São Tomé and Príncipe (STP)||4||0||4|
|Sierra Leone (SLE)||9||0||9|
|Solomon Islands (SOL)||7||0||7|