Long Live the Queens
It was an all-American final in women’s beach volleyball on Wednesday, as the two-time defending gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings looked to claim the gold for an unprecedented third time. They were challenged by their fellow countrymen Jen Kessy and April Ross, who set up the star-spangled showdown by upsetting the heavily favored Brazilian duo of Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca. The Kessy/Ross Cinderella story ultimately ended in silver, but they did not go down without a fight.
In the first set, Kessy/Ross kept it close for most of the first set before Misty and Kerri pulled away to take the opener 21-16. The underdogs came out strong again in the second set, and the two teams were tied at nine apiece before it became increasingly evident that May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings were simply by far the superior team. They claimed their third consecutive gold medal after winning the second set by an identical 21-16 scoreline. The iconic duo plans to go out on top: May-Treanor said that she will not be competing four years from now in Rio, meaning that Kerri will need to find a new partner.
Misty’s shoes are sure to be some tough ones to fill.
Strong day for Team USA on the Track
Fresh off a gold medal in the 566 billion-meter dash thanks to the rover Curiosity, America looked to expand on its recent success on the track on Wednesday.
In the first final of the night, the women’s 400m hurdles, American Lashinda Demus fell just short of a gold medal when she was gaining on Natalya Antyukh but ran out of room and finished in a respectable second. Next came the women’s 200m final, where Allyson Felix looked to rebound from her silver disappointments in Athens and Beijing to get that elusive first career individual gold. In order to do so, she would have to dethrone two-time defending Olympic champion Veronica Campbell Brown of Jamaica. Quicker off the blocks than any of her competitors, Felix ran the race of her life to take the gold, while fellow American Carmelita Jeter won bronze. Following Felix’s victory was the men’s 110m hurdles, where the Americans dominated, finishing with a one-two punch. Team USA’s Aries Merritt led the entire race and won the gold, while Jason Richardson exorcised his Beijing demons to finish second. In the lone field portion of the night, the women’s long jump, American teammates Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach took gold and bronze, respectively.
I’m going to complain about NBC (because I can)
The decathlon began today, and in my opinion it’s one of the coolest events in the Olympics. It’s a two-day competition that tests every facet of track and field. The winner is really the only man alive who can legitimately claim to be the greatest all-around athlete in the world, and Americans have historically dominated the event. On Wednesday, competitors ran the 100 and 400, threw shot, and did the high and long jumps, yet NBC gave it almost no attention. As melodious as the voice of Bob Costas may be, it simply can’t do the decathlon justice in a five-minute montage.
NBC had plenty of available primetime to show more of the competition but elected instead to show an extended preview of Matthew Berry’s new sitcom, snubbing the most grueling competition in the Games for shameless self-promotion. Maybe I’m weird for liking track and field as much as I do, but the only way to create more track fanatics is to give the sport national coverage. The Americans will look to hold onto the top two spots on Thursday, as the competition concludes with 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500m. Hopefully the best athlete in the world will get the attention he deserves.
U.S. Coasts Into Semis
Also, the men’s basketball team cruised to an easy win over Australia in the tournament quarterfinals on the back of a LeBron triple-double and 20 points from Kobe Bryant. This really isn’t surprising, of course, as America has historically owned Australia—along with pretty much everyone else—in international competition.