Rio Roundup: Day Seven, Part Two
More history for Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, plus men’s basketball barely survives Serbia as a last second three point attempt rims out
Between the swimming, track and field, and Alex Rodriguez saying farewell to baseball on FOX with his 3,115th and final RBI coming on a double in the first inning of the New York Yankees 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays–it was a sports fan’s dream.
Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, repeat
Four golds in four tries wasn’t enough, so Michael Phelps grabbed a fifth medal (this time a silver) on Friday. Even Katie Ledecky joined some elite company as well, shattering her own world record winning gold in the 800 meter freestyle in 8:04.39. Ledecky joins Debbie Myers who accomplished winning gold in the 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyle events amidst the turmoil and troubled times during the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.
Small Addendum from 8/20 at the NBC Olympics website:
In 2013, Ledecky along with her coach, Bruce Gemmell, decided on three goals on her quest to conquer Rio – to go 3:56 in the 400m freestyle, 8:05 in the 800m freestyle and to touch the wall first in the 200m freestyle. They kept them a secret until this week.
Ledecky met all of them, completing a dominant quad session which included 18 major international meet gold medals to go along with 13 long-course meters world records.
One face for the future, Maya DiRado won in stunning fashion over Katinka Hosszu of Hungary by .006 of a second. DiRado’s final time clocked in at 2:05.99, denying Hosszu a fourth gold medal. Hilary Caldwell of Canada took the bronze with a time of 2:07.54.
Michael Phelps’ swan song on the Olympic stage is Saturday night. Hope nobody misses it, unless any major storms affect your area of residence–then, you have every right to whip out those smartphones and watch the Olympics there.
Basketball continues unbeaten run
The women won easily, 81-51 over Canada but the men again acted like it was 2004 all over again. Sloppy play, tons of turnovers, and inadequate defense made the Americans really sweat and nearly blew it in the process.
Leading 24-7 halfway through the first quarter, the Serbians chipped away and were within single digits entering the fourth. Unlike a typical NCAA Tournament game where free throws would usually decide which team would be victorious, Team USA to me felt like they were playing not to lose–instead of having that killer instinct like they had during the earlier part of the week.
As the Americans then scrambled for a loose ball coming off an inbounds pass, they left open the best Serbian three-point shooter wide open. Bogdan Bogdanovic’s shot in the final seconds was online, but rimmed out and Team USA escaped with more than their boots on with a 94-91 victory.
Kyrie Irving paced the United States with 15 points, with Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George each chipping in with 12. The Serbs were led by Nikola Jokic who finished with a game high 25, his first breakout game in this Olympic tournament. Jokic had six rebounds and three assists. Also playing a major impact was forward Miroslav Raduljica who had 18 points on the night. helmed a front line that took it to the Americans.
Kerri-Walsh Jennings remains perfect
25-0 in Olympic matches, 49-2 in terms of overall sets played.
It took only 41 minutes but this round of volleyball’s Midnight Madness featured players wearing longer pants during practice. Yes, you read it right–Rio’s weather is starting to resemble what typically happens in San Francisco. Nice enough days, but sometimes the nights could get chilly.
The American duo appeared to be at the top of their game, as the Italian pair of Menegatti/Giombini were dazed and confused. The final scores were 21-10, 21-16 as Kerri Walsh-Jennings is only three wins away from tying former basketball star Lisa Leslie for four Olympic women’s gold medals.
Even the Americans won a bronze in fencing, the first such medal since Los Angeles way back in 1932. How cool is that!
Thought of the Day:
If you waited until shortly after the beach volleyball, there was Bob Costas interviewing the “social media darlings” of NBC Sports–former Olympic gold medal figure skating winners in Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. The whole country got to see a small glimpse of what the pair did in the week leading up to Carnaval, but it was part of them doing a special show way back in March for LX TV: 1st Look.
Their full segment explaining the crazy times in Rio can be found below.
See you on Saturday with yet another update–which hopefully will include the first medals awarded in track and field: