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No medal for Jones, but plenty of glory

Plus, news from Fan Appreciation Day at The Bill.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 8 Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Kansas State football is less than three weeks away, as evidenced by BracketCat’s countdown. Today, we get a doubleheader: #20 walk-on defensive back Javier Craft, and #19 walk-on wide receiver Colby Moore.

Akela Jones lost her bid for a medal in the heptathlon in Rio yesterday. Indeed, she crashed out of spectacularly, finishing (effectively) last in the 800m event and ending up in 20th place. It was eerily similar to her performance in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she fell to a third place finish after falling well behind in the 800m.

Still, only a complete cynic could be disappointed by her performance. This was only her sixth heptathlon ever. She was one of the youngest athletes in the field, and certainly the least experienced. But through six events (including, oddly enough, a personal best mark in javelin), she was right in the mix, “running with the big dogs.”

As Americans, we’re spoiled for success at the Olympics. We celebrate the winners but barely even notice the efforts of those who don’t end up on the podium. But for the thousands of non-American athletes who strive to win medals, even making the Olympics is a superlative achievement.

Jones’ athletic career so far is nearly as improbable as a medal finish would have been. She comes from a small country with almost no success at the Olympics. She grew up in Barbados’ foster system and struggled with issues of poverty and discrimination. Athletics became her way out, and now she’s a superstar (video).

On Twitter yesterday, Jones’ fellow Bajans followed her every move, and when she fell out of contention, they celebrated her with affection and enormous pride. Her 2020 campaign has already begun.

The #EMAW campaign in Rio is well underway. Beverly Ramos just finished the marathon (71st place; 2:43:52), while Erik Kynard will take the field tonight in the high jump qualifying round.

Yesterday was Fan Appreciation Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The athletic department has video HERE.

Winston Dimel was a bit controversial here at Bring on the Cats last year. This year, he’s the lone fullback in Kansas State’s backfield, and he’s also a preseason All-Big 12 player. He’s hoping to make life difficult for opposing defenses, whether with his blocking skills or his pass-catching skills (Ken Corbitt, Topeka Capital-Journal).

Meanwhile, Corbitt also reports on some possible lineup changes for the Wildcats this year. Dalton Risner may be moving from center to right tackle, if yesterday is any indication, although this may also just be a test phase for the offensive line. Also yesterday, junior college transfer D.J. Reed lined up with Duke Shelley at cornerback, suggesting he may have the inside edge over Cedric Dozier.

The never-ending saga of Big 12 expansion goes on and on. Adding to the noise and empty fury this weekend is Berry Tramel, who opines that the conference’s only chance at stability is merger with the Pac-12 or the SEC (The Oklahoman).

In other news, Tyler Lockett had a homecoming of sorts yesterday, when the Seattle Seahawks took on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He only had one catch for 11 yards, but it was a party all the same (Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star).

Happy weekend, all!