(Jon is having trouble now, because his hands are shaking. Advisors suggest it's a psychological reaction to the realization that his supply of Olympicodone is about to run out.)
Bolt vs Phelps: I am reposting here, as my lede, the first part (and a quick postscript) of a debate with the inestimable Poseur at LSU's wonderful SBNation site And the Valley Shook. Poseur, who's been doing an absolutely fantastic series on watching lesser-known sports which you should all check out, takes the position that Usain Bolt will surpass Michael Phelps as the greatest athlete ever if he wins the 200m tonight. Well, we already know whether he's done so, but I'm playing along with spoiler rules until after the jump. Because I'm just that nice a guy.
Bolt will have won the 100/200 double back-to-back. Phelps has already done that, winning the 100/200 butterfly in 2004 and 2008, and if we’re going to claim a guy’s a better athlete because sprinting is "more popular" than swimming, well I just don’t know, man. Add to that the fact that Phelps went out and won the 200 fly again this year, and at the very least we’ve got to claim Bolt has to show up in Rio and add another 100 or 200 to his trophy chest to be equal, don’t we?
We can also add in the relays, in which Bolt could go back-to-back in the 4×100... but, then, Phelps went back-to-back-to-back in the 4×100 medley so it’s still basically a wash, except again… he added a third gold this year. Or we could use the 4×200 freestyle instead, whichever you prefer to use for the comparison, with precisely the same results including the threepeat; to be fair to your position, we only get to use one of the two because Bolt doesn’t have the opportunity to run the 4×200 relay since it doesn’t exist.
But then we have to look at the 200/400 IM medals (in which he won double gold back-to-back, and double-medaled THREE straight Olympics), and I think everyone would agree that the IM events are "different" than any of the straight races insofar as they require mastery of four different "things" (I’ll accept the argument that it’s really only three "things" because there’s not much physical difference between the freestyle and backstroke). The argument there is that this is an unfair advantage because it’s "more opportunities to medal". I counter with "Where are Usain Bolt’s 110m Hurdles medals, then?" If you somehow think that’s not fair because nobody’s ever doubled in the 100m sprint and 110m hurdles (which do not conflict on the schedule, by the way), then I can always come back with "Okay, Carl Lewis" and ask where Usain Bolt’s long-jump medals are.
That right there is the real kicker, for me. Carl Lewis basically murdered the "Phelps had too many chances to medal" argument 28 years before it was even born. The fact that Phelps has more gold than anyone isn't the argument; it's the fact that when you line Bolt's wins up with Phelps, Phelps matches him punch-for-punch and then adds value.
Here's your recap of Day 13 and guide to day 14:
Athletics: In qualifications, Brigetta Barrett and Chaunte Lowe advanced to the final of the women's high jump, while Amy Acuff bowed out of her fifth appearance in the Olympic Games, having failed to make the cut. On the track, the USA squad of Manteo Mitchell, Tony McQuay, Joshua Mance, and Bryshon Nellum easily qualified for the men's 4x400 final, but the crazy story is that Mitchell broke his leg halfway through his 400 and still finished the race. Alysia Johnson-Montano qualified for the final of the women's 800m, but Alice Schmidt and Geena Gall did not. Team USA posted the best time in the women's 4x100 relay, with Tianna Madison, Jeneba Tarmoh, Bianca Knight, and Lauryn Williams carrying the baton in the qualification round.
On to finals: USA GOLD and silver in the men's triple jump as Christian Taylor topped teammate Will Claye and bronze medalist Italian Fabrizio Donato. Duane Solomon and Nick Symonds finished fourth and fifth in the men's 800m, in which Kenya took gold and bronze with David Rudisha and Timothy Kitum; silver went to Nijel Amos of Botswana. Czech Barbora Spotakova won gold in the women's javelin, beating silver medalist Christina Obergfoll of Germany by over four meters. Obergfoll's teammate Linda Stahl took the bronze. Finally, in the men's 200, Usain Bolt did in fact complete the back-to-back double, making the debate in the lede relevant; the Jamaicans swept the medals with Yohan Blake taking silver and Warren Weir bronze. Wallace Spearmon came in fourth.
We got USA GOLD and silver in the decathlon, as Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee completely wrecked the event. Eaton finished so far ahead of Cuban bronze medalist Leonel Suarez that Suarez was closer to eighth place than winning. The scary part: it was only that close because Eaton sort of went on cruise control in the 1500m closing, already secure with the gold as long as he didn't completely flop. Sadly, K-State alum Darius Draudvila finished 25th out of the 26 competitors who actually completed the decathlon (five others dropped out along the way).
Basketball: Team USA handled Australia 86-73 in the first women's semifinal. At 3pm, Russia meets France in the other.
Beach Volleyball: Latvians Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins took the bronze, beating Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil of the Netherlands in three sets. The gold medal match will be at 3pm with Brazlians Alison Cerutta and Emanuel Rego facing Germany's Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann.
Boxing: Great Britain's Nicola Adams took the gold in women's fly, beating China's Ren Cancan 17-6. Katie Taylor of Ireland beat 10-8 Russian Sofiya Ochigava for the lightweight gold, and in the middleweight final American Claressa Shields won USA GOLD, beating Russia's Nadezda Torlopova 19-12.
Canoe/Kayak: It was a day free of American interference in any races. Germans Peter Kretschmer and Kurt Kuschela won the gold in the men's 1k K2, beating Andrei and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich of Belarus and Russians Alexey Korovashkov and Ilya Pervukhin. Australia took gold in the men's 1K K4, with Hungary claiming the silver and the bronze going to the Czechs. In the women's 500m K1, Hungary's Danuta Kozak won gold; Ukrainian Inna Osypenko-Radomska took silver, and Bridgitte Hartley of South Africa earned bronze. Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze of Germany won the gold in the women's 500m K2, followed by Katalin Kovacs and Natasa Douchev-Janics of Hungary and Poland's Karolina Naja and Beata Mikolajczyk.
Cycling: David Herman and Connor Fields qualified for the next round, but Nic Long was eliminated in the men's BMX quarterfinals.
Diving: Brittany Viola and Katie Bell were eliminated in the semifinals of the women's 10m platform event. The gold went to China's Chen Ruolin, which I'm sure stuns you all. Brittany Broben of Australia won the silver, and the bronze went to Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia.
Equestrian: Great Britain went gold-bronze in the individual dressage final, won by Charlotte Dujardin aboard Valegro with Laura Bechtolsheimer on Mistral Hojris in third. The silver went to Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands, riding Parzival. Steffen Peters and Ravel, riding for the USA, finished 17th.
Football: Carli Lloyd but Team USA in front only eight minutes into the gold medal match against Japan, then added an insurance goal in the 54th minute; despite a Japanese goal nine minutes later, the girls held on to win USA GOLD with a 2-1 victory. Canada defeated the French 1-0 for the bronze.
Gymnastics: Julie Zetlin of the US is in 22nd place out of 24 contestants in after day one of the individual all-around qualifications. Team USA isn't in the group all-around competition, which Russia leads after day one of qualifications.
Handball: Norway defeated South Korea 31-25 in the morning women's semifinal, while Spain clashes with Montenegro at 2:30pm in the other.
Hockey, Field: In men's action, New Zealand claimed ninth place with a 3-1 win over Argentina, and Pakistan claimed 7th with a 3-2 win over South Korea. Germany beat Australia 4-2 in the first semifinal, and the Netherlands smoked Great Britain 9-2 in the other.
Sailing: Everything got cancelled today due to weather. The men's 470 is rescheduled for tomorrow; the placement races in women's Elliott have been scratched.
Swimming: Hungary's Eva Risztov took the gold in the women's 10k Marathon; Haley Anderson scored USA silver while the bronze went to Italian Martina Grimaldi.
Synchronized Swimming: The technical routine for the team competition was today, with Russia claiming the lead going into the free routine final; Team USA did not qualify for the Olympics.
Taekwondo: In the men's -68kg, Terrence Jennings lost to Turkey's Servet Tazegul in a preliminary; Tazegul ended up winning the gold over Mohammed Bagheri Motamed of Iran, and Jennings qualified for the repechage as a result of Tazegul reaching the final. Jennings defeated Ukrainian Hryhorli Husarov in the repechage, then claimed USA bronze with a win over Brazilian Diogo Silva. The other bronze went to Rohulla Nikpah of Afghanistan. Diana Lopez lost to China's Hou Yuzhou in the preliminary round of the women's -57kg, then qualified for the repechage when Yuzhou reached the final (which Yuzhou lost to Great Britain's Jade Jones). Lopez lost to Finland's Suvi Mikkonen in the repechage; Mikkonen then lost to Tseng Li-Cheng of Taipei, who shared bronze with Marlene Harnois of France.
Volleyball: Team USA swept South Korea in the first women's semifinal, followed by Brazil sweeping Japan.
Water Polo: The Italian men claimed 7th place with an 11-7 win over Great Britain, followed China taking fifth by beating Russia 16-15 in extra time. Australia claimed the bronze with a 13-11 extra time victory over Hungary, and then we got another USA GOLD when Team USA defeated Spain 8-5.
Wrestling: In the women's 55kg event, Kelsey Campbell lost in the 1/8 stage to Japan's Saori Yoshida, who advanced to the final thus putting Campbell in the repechage against Yuliya Ratkevich of Azerbaijan; Ratkevich won, then went on to claim a bronze alongside Jackeline Renteria Castillo of Colombia. Yoshida won the gold over Canadian Tonya Lynn Verbeek. In the women's 72kg, Ali Sue Bernard lost to Swede Jenny Fransson, and packed her bags when Fransson was defeated in the 1/8 final. Natalia Vorobieva of Russia won the gold, defeating Bulgarian Stanka Hristova; Guzel Manyurova of Kazakhstan shared bronze with Spaniard Maider Unda.
MEDAL COUNT: Team USA has a clear lead now, with 90 medals overall to China's 80. Russia's third with 56, followed by the Brits at 52, and Germany fifth with 37. In the gold count, Team USA has overtaken the Chinese 39-37; the British are third with 25, and way back at 12 we find the Russians and South Koreans.
Tomorrow (all times Central):
Remember, all events available live streaming if you can get it to stop buffering. The broadcast details I give here are TV-specific. They also don't necessarily imply coverage of any particular competitor or team matchup unless specified.
Athletics: Tomorrow's slate:
- 1:00pm: Men's Pole Vault Final (Brad Walker)
- 1:10pm: Women's 4x400m Relay Round 1 (Team USA TBD)
- 1:35pm: Women's Hammer Throw Final (No Americans qualified)
- 1:45pm: Men's 4x100m Relay Round 1 (Team USA TBD)
- 2:05pm: Women's 5000m Final (Molly Huddle, Julie Culley)
- 2:40pm: Women's 4x100m Final (Team USA TBD)
- 2:55pm: Women's 1500m Final (Shannon Rowbury, Morgan Uceny)
- 3:20pm: Men's 4x400m Relay Final (Team USA TBD)
(tape delay: NBC Primetime and Late Night)
Basketball: Spain faces Russia in the first men's semifinal at 11am. At 3pm, Team USA takes on Argentina in the other. (Both games LIVE on NBC Specialty AND NBCSN, 11am and 3pm; ESP-RUS will be re-aired on NBC Specialty at 1pm and 7pm; USA-ARG at 5pm and 9pm)
Beach Volleyball: All gone. No more squirrels in the sand pits.
Boxing: Since everyone left standing as of tonight gets a medal (losers of all these matches get bronze, you see), we'll start talking about them, and I'll lay it out in bullet form:
- 7:30am: Men's Light Fly: Shiming Zou (CHI) vs Paddy Barnes (IRE)
- 7:45am: Men's Light Fly: David Ayrapetyan (RUS) vs Kaeo Pongprayoon (THA)
- 8:00am: Men's Bantam: Lazaro Alvarez Estrada (CUB) vs John Joe Nevin (IRE)
- 8:15am: Men's Bantam: Luke Campbell (GBR) vs Satoshi Shimizi (JAP)
- 8:30am: Men's Light Welter: Roniel Iglesias Sotolingo (CUB) vs Vincenzo Mangiacapre (ITA)
- 8:45am: Men's Light Welter: Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg (MON) vs Denys Berinchyk (UKR)
- 9:00am: Men's Middle: Anthony Agogo (GBR) vs Esquiva Falcao Florentino (BRA)
- 9:15am: Men's Middle: Abbos Atoev (UZB) vs Ryota Murata (JAP)
- 9:30am: Men's Heavy: Oleksandr Usyk (UKR) vs Tervel Pulev (BUL)
- 9:45am: Men's Heavy: Teymur Mammadov (AZE) vs Clemente Russo (ITA)
- 2:30pm: Men's Fly: Misha Aloian (RUS) vs Tugstsogt Nyambayar (MON)
- 2:45pm: Men's Fly: Michael Conlan (IRE) vs Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana (CUB)
- 3:00pm: Men's Light: Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR) vs Yasnier Toledo Lopez (CUB)
- 3:15pm: Men's Light: Evaldas Petrauska (LIT) vs Soonchul Han (KOR)
- 3:30pm: Men's Welter: Taras Shelestyuk (UKR) vs Freddie Evans (GBR)
- 3:45pm: Men's Welter: Andrey Zamkovoy (RUS) vs Serik Sapiyev (KAZ)
- 4:00pm: Men's Light Heavy: Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino (BRA) vs Egor Mekhontcev (RUS)
- 4:15pm: Men's Light Heavy: Adilbek Niyazymbetov (KAZ) vs Olyksandr Gvozdyk (UKR)
- 4:30pm: Men's Super Heavy: Magomedrasul Medzhidov (AZE) vs Roberto Cammarelle (ITA)
- 4:45pm: Men's Super Heavy: Ivan Dychko (KAZ) vs Anthony Joshua (GBR)
(LIVE: NBCSN 7:30-10am; tape delay: CNBC 4-7pm)
Canoe/Kayak: Qualifying heats for the men's 200m K1 are at 3:30am, with Tim Hornsby sprinting in the second heat. The semifinals will be at 5:16. The men's 200m C1 starts at 3:51 with 5am semifinals; no American qualified. At 4:19 it's the women's 200m K1, with Carrie Johnson racing in the first heat; the semifinals are at 5:51. Finally, the men's 200m K2 kicks off at 4:47, semis at 6:12; no American in this one either. (tape delay: NBC 9-9:45am, 10:45-11:15am)
Cycling: Alise Post and Brooke Crain ride in the women's BMX semifinals at 9am, Connor Fields and David Herman in the men's at 9:08. Women's final at 10:30, men's at 10:40. (tape delay: NBC Primetime)
Diving: Nicholas McCrory and David Boudia dive in the preliminary round of the men's 10m platform starting at 1pm. (tape delay: NBC Primetime)
Equestrian: The remainder of the Olympics will consist only of human beings and, when required, their mechanical implements.
Football: Tomorrow, only one game, that being the bronze medal match between Japan and Korea at 1:45pm. (LIVE: NBC Specialty and NBCSN at 1:30pm, replayed on NBC Specialty at 3:30 and 9:00. The women's gold medal game will also be replayed on NBC Specialty at 5:15pm and 11pm.)
Gymnastics (Rhythmic): The individual all-around qualifications continue at 6am with Julie Zetlin repping the US. The group all-around competition continues at 8:50; Team USA is not a participant. (tape delay: NBC 12:45-1:45pm)
Handball: In the men's semifinals, Hungary meets Sweden at 11am, followed by France-Croatia at 2:30. (LIVE: MSNBC 11am-12:30pm; tape delay: MSNBC 3:30-5pm)
Hockey, Field: The women's competition concludes with the 11-12 placement game between Team USA and Belgium at 2:30am, followed by the 5-6 game pitting China against Australia. At 9:30, New Zealand meets Great Britain for the bronze medal, and at 2pm the Netherlands faces Argentina for the gold. (tape delay: bronze NBCSN 1-2:30pm)
Sailing: At 6am is the rescheduled men's 470 medal race, which I've now talked about twice already and won't waste your time further. At 7am it's the medal race in the women's 470, where Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan will sail but cannot medal. New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie and Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are assured of gold and silver in some form, and whichever crew has the better finish Friday gets the gold since they finish the 10-race preliminaries dead even at 33 points each. France, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Australia remain mathematically alive for bronze, though it's the Europeans with the reasonable shot to medal. The semifinals of the women's Elliott take place as well, with Australia facing Finland and Spain racing Russia. (Not televised today.)
Swimming: At 6am, the men's 10k Marathon begins with Alex Mayer swimming for the USA. (tape delay: NBC 11:15-11:30am, 12:30-12:45pm)
Synchronized Swimming: The team final starts at 9am; Team USA isn't there. (LIVE: NBCSN 11:30am-12:30pm)
Taekwondo: Women's -67kg and men's -80kg weight classes tomorrow. As always, the women's preliminaries kick off at 3am, with quarterfinals at 9, semifinals at 11, repechage and bronze medal matches at 2pm, and the gold medal match at 4:15; the men's bouts take place 15 minutes after each of those listed times (i.e., they alternate). In the men's bracket, Steven Lopez faces Ramin Azizov of Azerbaijan in a preliminary at 3:15am; Paige McPherson will meet Sarah Stevenson of Great Britain at 4:30am in the preliminary round of the women's event. (tape delay: NBCSN 7-7:30am)
Volleyball: At 9am, Bulgaria meets Russia in the first men's semifinal, followed at 1:30pm by Brazil and Italy in the second. (LIVE: BUL-RUS NBC 9am; tape delay: presumably BRA-ITA NBC Primetime)
Water Polo: In the morning, the men's 5-6 placement match between Team USA and Spain is at 8:20am, followed by the first semifinal between Croatia and Montenegro at 9:40. At 12:30pm, the 7-8 game between Hungary and Australia will start, and then Italy faces Serbia in the other semifinal at 3:50. (LIVE: NBC 9:45-10:45am; tape delay: NBC Late Night)
Wrestling: Two men's Freestyle events tomorrow, both beginning with qualifications at 7am, 1/8 finals at 7:25, quarterfinals at 8:25, semifinals at 9, and repechage/bronze matches at 11:45. The 55kg event, in which Samuel Hazewinkel faces Daulet Niyazbekov in the 1/8 stage, concludes at 1:03pm; Jordan Burroughs meets Cuban Francisco Daniel Soler Tanco in the 1/8 round of the 74kg, with the final at 1:48. (tape delay: NBCSN qualifying 10-11am, repechages 12:30-1:30pm, finals 1:45-3pm)