With such an eventful second (and final) week of Olympic action, where does one even begin? I suppose a nice place to start would be noting what appears to be a very secure first-place lead on the part of the United States as far as medals are concerned — with 100 medals overall (and counting), Team USA has a hopefully comfortable margin over second-place China. Michael Phelps concluded his Olympic career with 23 gold medals under his belt; Simone Biles became the first woman to win four golds in gymnastics in one year; several sports saw their first medal finish in years (or ever), if not at least their best finish in years.
American Abbey D’Agostino helped a fellow track athlete finish the race after the latter tripped over her and sent them tumbling to the ground while their chances of a medal literally ran away from them. The American suffered a torn ACL in the fall, though, and will not be competing in the 5000m final. Simone Biles got to meet her ultimate celeb crush, Zac Efron. Allyson Felix and the rest of her 4x100m relay team got a second chance at the finals after dropping the baton in the qualifier race.
North Korea and South Korea demonstrated the uniting power of sports as two gymnasts took a selfie together. The Olympic Games are not at all about the money — indeed, the IOC does not pay athletes to participate — but the top athletes are paid pretty well. Unfortunately, Team USA will see their winnings heavily taxed. This probably explains why Michael Phelps will enjoy a comfortable retirement; after all, he is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history and, not coincidentally, has a net worth of about $55 million.
Alas, into each life some rain must fall. Three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new partner, April Ross, were upset by Brazilians Ágatha Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas in the semifinal round of women’s beach volleyball — Walsh-Jennings’ first loss on the Olympic court in 27 games. Fortunately, they still managed to take home the bronze medal after coming back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Brazil’s Larissa França and Talita Antunes in 3 sets. Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst swept Bednarczuk and Seixas to take home the gold, while the Brazilian legends claimed the silver.
Now that swimming is over for this Olympiad, one can follow several things:
Diving. Two American divers have advanced to the women’s semifinal for the 10m diving event; also, the men’s synchronized 10m divers aim to please and I promise you they will. Sam Dorman scored the highest-ever 3m dive in the semifinal round of the diving trials for this year’s Olympics. The Men’s 10m platform semifinal and final events will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20.
Water Polo. Team USA will compete against Italy for the Gold on Friday, Aug. 19 at 2:30pm.
Soccer. On Friday the women’s gold- and bronze-medal matches will take place between Germany & Sweden and Brazil & Canada, respectively.
Synchronized swimming. Trust me when I say it’s much more athletic than it sounds; Friday is the final event for this sport as the women’s free routine finals see Russia defend their five-time gold-medal domination.
Ryan Lochte. Although I have not taken a physics course since 9th grade, I am fairly certain that water refraction only concerns the distortion of objects’ appearances when immersed — not the distortion of chronological events. That would be alcohol’s job. Four of Team USA’s greatest swimmers, including Ryan Lochte, can attest to this by experience after some post-swimming fun got them into trouble with the law. You’ll find that it is quite the saga.
Sunday. The men’s marathon will race in the final on Sunday morning; if you don’t have 2+ hours to commit, you can watch the rhythmic gymnastics finals at 10am, or see the gold-medal match in men’s volleyball at 12:15pm.
Kevin Durant. The men’s basketball final is on Sunday at 2:45 p.m.
Closing Ceremony. Apparently Kygo is going to perform, so tune in at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday to watch the formal conclusion of the XXXI Olympiad. (P.S. Back in April, Team USA revealed what Ralph Lauren has designed for them.)
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