LONDON: After winning just one gold medal in the first week of the London Games, Australia are starting to show some of the form expected of the team from Down Under.
Except that most of their Olympic gold are coming from competition on the water, not in it.
Yesterday, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia held off their British rivals to win the men's 470 class, the country's third on the English Channel at Weymouth, ensuring that the Australians will finish with more sailing gold than Britain.
Sailing is just about the only place where Australia is excelling, particularly over the host country. After surprisingly winning just one gold medal in the swimming pool - in a women's relay - the games were an early disappointment for a team hoping to finish in the top five in the gold medal race.
They won't achieve that, but gold medals to 100-metre hurdler Sally Pearson and cyclist Anna Meares, along with the triple gold performance from its sailors in the past five days have taken some of the sting out of what has been an under-par games for Australia.
Most depressingly for Australia, their seven gold medals overall have been dwarfed by the 25 - and counting - won by their traditional and often bitter sporting rivals from Britain.
In a later race at Weymouth, Australia's trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand won gold in the women's 470 class.
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie clinched the Kiwis' second sailing medal and fourth overall.
At a murky Serpentine Lake in London's Hyde Park, Ous Mellouli showed his versatility in the water, winning the 10-kilometre open water race less than a week after taking bronze in the 1,500 in the Aquatic Centre pool, the first swimmer to achieve that feat at the same Olympics.
Mellouli had a time of 1 hour, 49 minutes, 55.1 seconds. It was the second gold of Mellouli's Olympic career, having won the 1,500 at the 2008 Beijing Games.
In doping news, the IOC says French runner Hassan Hirt has been sent home by his team.
French daily L'Equipe reported that Hirt tested positive for the blood-booster EPO in a urine sample taken during training in France on Aug. 3. Hirt was eliminated from the men's 5,000 metres on Wednesday when he finished 11th in a first-round heat.