Rio Olympics Daily Preview: August 18

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Day 13, the United States could have its first gold medal-winning woman in freestyle wrestling.

Team USA’s Adeline Gray went to the London Olympics as an alternate and training partner, where her weight class was not part of the program. All of that changed when the three-time world champion’s -75kg division was added for Rio. Easily qualifying at U.S. Trials, Gray showed she is on a mission to win gold in Rio all while becoming the face of women’s wrestling.

Beach volleyball concludes on Day 13 with the men’s gold medal match, while the women’s indoor volleyball competition stretches into the semifinals. Women’s basketball also sees two semifinal matchups on Day 13. USA is involved in three of those competitions (Sorry, Phil and Nick).

The decathlon concludes with the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and the running of the 1500m. See if the U.S.’ Ashton Eaton has the stamina to finish at the top of his second Olympic decathlon podium.

What to Watch: Day 13, Aug 18

6:30 a.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Women’s Golf: Round 2

8:30 a.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Track and Field

Must see:

Decathlon – 110m hurdles

Decathlon – Discus

Women’s 4x100m relay Round 1

Men’s 4x100m relay Round 1

On Day 13, decathletes return to the stadium at the halfway point of their grueling event. Will Ashton Eaton of the United States hold onto his title of “World’s Greatest Athlete” or will someone new take gold in Rio?  Also, catch the round one races for the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay where it will be decided which nations will run in the finals for one of the most exciting contests in track and field.

The U.S. women set the world record for the event in London, and it’s looking like they may just do it again in Rio. Meanwhile, in the men’s round one 4x100m relays, watch for Jamaica, with star sprinter Usain Bolt, to cruise into the finals.

10 a.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Men’s Triathlon

London gold and bronze medalist brothers, Great Britain’s Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee return to the Olympics in the triathlon, but watch for Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya as he tries to capture his first Olympic medal, after sweeping the world championships from 2013 to 2015.

10 a.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Women’s Wrestling: -75kg qualifying

5:35 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Women’s Wrestling: -75kg finals

Women’s Freestyle – 53kg Bronze Medal Match 1

Women’s Freestyle – 53kg Bronze Medal Match 2

Women’s Freestyle – 53kg Gold Medal Match

Since its inclusion in 2004, a U.S. woman has not won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling. This summer the U.S. team brings three-time world champion Adeline Gray to Rio. Gray is ranked No. 1 in the world at -75kg and is a heavy favorite to be on top of the medal ceremony podium at the end of Day 13.

Women’s volleyball semifinals

Noon EDT – STREAM LIVE – USA vs. Serbia

9:15 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – China vs. Netherlands

Women’s basketball semifinals

2 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Spain vs. Serbia

6 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – France vs. USA

3 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Women’s Diving: 10m platform final

At the 2015 World Championships, the women’s 10m platform was the only Olympic diving discipline in which China’s divers did not claim gold. The top spot on the podium went to Kuk Hyang Kim of North Korea; China’s Ren Qian and Si Yajie were second and fourth, respectively. Reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin of China won’t be competing in this event, but look for Team USA’s Jessica Parratto and Katrina Young.

5:35 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Track and Field: Day 13 Evening Session

Must see:

Decathlon – Javelin

Decathlon – 1500m

Men’s 200m final

Men’s shot put final

The decathlon in Rio comes to a close with the running of the 1500m.  The men’s 200m final shapes up to be another battle on the track between Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and his U.S. counterpart Justin Gatlin. Also, in the men’s shot put final, see if Poland’s Tomasz Majewski can win his third-straight Olympic gold medal, or if the U.S.’ reigning world champion, Joe Kovacs, can be the spoiler.

Men’s Beach Volleyball

9 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Gold Medal Match – Semenov/Krasilnikov (RUS) vs. Dalhausser/Lucena (USA)

11 p.m. EDT – STREAM LIVE – Gold Medal Match – Alison/Bruno Schmidt (BRA) vs. Nicolai/Lupo (ITA)

Japanese pair edges Americans for historic Grand Prix Final figure skating title

Riku Miura, Ryuichi Kihara

Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won the biggest title ever for a Japanese figure skating pair, taking the Grand Prix Final and consolidating their status as the world’s top active team.

Miura and Kihara, last season’s world silver medalists, barely outscored world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in Turin, Italy, in both Thursday’s short program and Friday’s free skate to win the six-pair event that is a preview of March’s worlds.

The Japanese totaled 214.58 points, distancing the Americans by a mere 1.3 points after Frazier erred on both of their side-by-side jumping passes in the free skate. Italians Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii took bronze.

“We had a very late start to our season than initially planned, so as we have been performing at each event, I see us getting stronger, improving things,” said Frazier, who with Knierim had their best short program and free skate scores of the autumn.

Knierim and Frazier didn’t decide to continue competing together this season until July.

“I feel a little personally disappointed tonight just for myself for my jumps,” Frazier continued. “I was a little all over the place and, normally, I can execute better, so I feel a little bad, but I’m very proud of us overall. We’ve done a great job of improving each competition and looking forward to the second half of the season where we can start tapping into our best skating.”

GRAND PRIX FINAL: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Miura and Kihara, who partnered in June 2019 and train in Ontario, both waited with trepidation for their final score to be posted, worried that each’s separate mistake on jumps might cost them the title. When they learned they won, both burst into tears.

“This was the first time in eight years that I made a mistake with a Salchow, so I thought we might not get a good score, and it would be my fault,” Kihara said.

Miura and Kihara entered the competition ranked No. 1 in the world by best scores this season ahead of Knierim and Frazier, who in March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979.

Last season, Miura and Kihara became the second Japanese pair to make a Grand Prix podium and to earn a world championships medal. Their ascension helped Japan win its first Olympic figure skating team event medal in February (a bronze that could be upgraded to gold pending the Kamila Valiyeva case).

In Grand Prix Final history, Japan had won 11 gold medals and 40 total medals, all in singles, before this breakthrough.

Knierim and Frazier, already the first U.S. pair to compete in the Grand Prix Final since 2015, became the first U.S. pair to win a Grand Prix Final medal. The Final has been held annually since 1996, though it was canceled the last two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miura and Kihara and Knierim and Frazier ascended to the top of the sport while the top five teams from the Olympics from Russia and China have not competed internationally since the Winter Games.

All Russian skaters are ineligible for international competition due to the war in Ukraine. China’s pairs, including Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, didn’t enter last March’s worlds and did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Later Friday, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan led the women’s short program with 75.86 points, 1.28 ahead of countrywoman Mai Mihara. American Isabeau Levito, the 15-year-old world junior champion, was fifth of six skaters in her Grand Prix Final debut.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier topped the rhythm dance with 85.93 points, edging Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates by .44. Both couples are bidding for the biggest international title of their careers. None of the Olympic medalists competed internationally this fall.

The Grand Prix Final ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates and free dance, all live on Peacock.

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A Winter Olympic medal still being decided, 10 months later

Fanny Smith, Daniela Maier
It's still unknown whether Fanny Smith (green) or Daniela Maier (blue) is the Olympic ski cross bronze medalist. (Getty)

There is a second Winter Olympic medal result still in question, 10 months after the Games.

While the figure skating team event results are still unknown due to the Kamila Valiyeva case, the bronze medal in women’s ski cross is also in dispute.

Originally, Swiss Fanny Smith crossed the finish line in third place in the four-woman final at the Winter Games in February. Upon review by the International Ski Federation (FIS) jury, she was minutes later demoted to fourth place after making contact with German Daniela Maier near the end of the course. Maier, who originally was fourth, was upgraded to bronze.

“I tried to be OK with the fourth place. I was very disappointed, I have to say, [then] the jury was like this,” Maier said then. “I am really sorry for Fanny that it’s like this right now. … The jury decided like this, so accept it and be happy with the medal.”

Smith and the Swiss ski federation appealed. FIS reinstated Smith as the bronze medalist nine days after the race and six days after the Closing Ceremony. A FIS appeals commission met four times and reviewed video and written documentation for several hours before deciding that “the close proximity of the racers at that moment resulted in action that was neither intentional or avoidable.”

But that wasn’t the end. The case ended up reportedly going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), whose rulings are usually accepted as final. The CAS process is ongoing, European media reported this week.

CAS has not responded to a request for comment. A FIS contact said Friday, “There is currently no update to provide in regards to the bronze medal in ski cross. Should there be any update, we will inform you.”

Smith said there should be news soon regarding the case, according to Blick.

Maier still has the bronze medal at her home and enjoys looking at it, according to German media, which also reported that the German ski federation expects Maier to win the case and keep the medal. Smith and Maier spoke extensively about it in recent training sessions and cleared things up. Maier said the best outcome would be bronze medals for both of them, according to the report.

For now, FIS lists Smith as the bronze medalist. The IOC lists Maier as the bronze medalist.

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