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Rio Olympics: Saturday’s best bets

Carmelo Anthony and the U.S. men’s basketball team will open against China. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
Carmelo Anthony and the U.S. men’s basketball team will open against China. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
By John Cherwa Los Angeles Times

A daily look at the top events at the Rio Olympics:


The marquee sport of the first week gets underway with a less than stellar lineup. The soon-to-be face of swimming – Katie Ledecky – doesn’t swim until Sunday. Michael Phelps isn’t around until a few days after that, depending on if he will be in a relay. One of the more interesting races, though, is the battle of Con(n)ors. Connor Jaeger, ranked third in the world, goes against teammate Conor Dwyer in the 400 free. A gold may be out of reach, but a podium placement is not.


The gymnastics lineup is also a warmup act in that it’s the men’s competition. The two Olympic sports in which women will always remain the headliners are gymnastics and figure skating. On Saturday, qualifying will advance eight teams and the top 24 gymnasts to the all-around final. Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, the six-time world champion, will look to cement his place as the greatest ever. China is expected to head the team competition.


The U.S. men’s team gets underway with a game against China. The early U.S. games have traditionally been walkovers, and this should be no different. The once-called Dream Team has expressed regret in their decision to stay on a cruise ship rather than stay in the city. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but Carmelo Anthony says the team is feeling too isolated.

Beach volleyball

This is a sport the Brazilians desperately want to win. And why not? They are among the best in the world. The Copacabana Beach setting is stunning, and no doubt the matches will become a very hot ticket. On the first day, Kerri Walsh Jennings, along with new partner April Ross, will be playing Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Nicole Laird of Australia.

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