Rio Roundup: Day One, Part Two

Agatha and Barbara impressive in three set come-from-behind victory over Czech Republic in beach volleyball

That and plenty of other really cool stories in my first true edition of this Rio Roundup for Saturday, August 6.

Starting off with the debut of rugby sevens:

Seven minute halves call for very quick games, and Team USA sadly got off on the wrong foot losing 12-7 to powerful Fiji.  The Americans ended up putting the ball on the ground way too often and the Fiji team took advantages at key junctures of the game.

However, nearly five hours later–they regrouped and trounced poor Columbia 48-0.  This sets up an early showdown against heavily favored Australia on Sunday.

At beautiful Copacabana Beach:

Beach volleyball served up plenty of surprises after one of the Brazilian men’s pairs coasted to a pool play win.

Agatha and Barbara, ranked #2 in the world almost were upset by the #23 group from the Czech Republic.  They were at times too aggressive in not finishing plays they would normally make.  The pair of Hermannova and Slukova shocking the world favorites by a 21-19 count.

By the end of the second set, they were back to their form as a well-oiled, fine tuned machine winning 21-17.  The host nation is looking to end a 20 year drought for Olympic gold since  claiming the very first medal from Atlanta in 1996.  The crowd was getting antsy at times before Agatha held up the “1” finger signifying “We got this, we need your help now more than ever.”  The third set went back and forth before the host nation finally prevailed by a close shave 15-11 margin.

Shortly thereafter, the American duo of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson held off a very pesky duo for Qatar in two quick sets by identical 21-16 scores.  The Qatars (pronounced similar to the insect repellent Cutters) threw everything but the kitchen sink at one of the top pairs on the AVP tour.  But there was way too much experience and thanks to Gibb’s 21 kills on 25 attempts, that usually spells doom for their opponents.  Their two set win was not pretty, but it was effective and hopefully, this will lead to bigger and better things before the quarterfinals.  The match took only 37 minutes to complete.

Indoor wise, Karch Kiraly’s bunch on the women’s side won in two sets over a determined group of ladies from Puerto Rico.

As I typed this, the men’s basketball team began pool play against China.  Hope to provide an update late tonight after the top American beach volleyball duo of Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross take to the sand shortly after 11 p.m. once the initial heats in swimming and gymnastics dominate primetime, anchored once again by Bob Costas.

Thought of the Day:

It is going to be very hard pressed for any place with sand in the world that will top the aerial background of the Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf Mountain, the main Rio buildings dotting the skyline, and the pair of three lane highways leading to those pristine beaches that I have been gushing virtually for close to four years.

And the venue is sooooooooooo cute!  It looks almost exactly like what you see on the AVP Tour.

If Chicago had expanded their beaches further south of Soldier Field and especially the further away from McCormick Place during the key fishing era of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the United States would have that honor for themselves.

See you later on tonight, as we congratulate a West Virginia University student, 19 year old Virginia Thrasher on winning America’s first gold medal of Rio2016 in shooting.

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