USA fails to add to gold-medal haul
Mon., Aug. 15, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Americans were denied a gold medal Monday for the first time in a single day since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and it took two big stumbles to keep the “Star Spangled Banner” on pause.
One of the slips cost U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles gold on the balance beam. The other secured Shaunae Miller’s win in the women’s 400 meters over Allyson Felix, the U.S. star who missed out on her fifth Olympic gold medal.
Miller, of the Bahamas, crossed .07 seconds ahead of Felix thanks to a head-first dive that came after a downpour forced a delay in the evening events and sent spectators scurrying for shelter at Olympic Stadium.
Biles lost her status as Rio de Janeiro’s juggernaut after a blunder on the balance beam prevented her from a record-tying fourth gold in gymnastics at these games.
The Americans’ shutout came on a day the Rio Games were dogged by rain, wind and fire.
In the morning, there was too little wind, then too much, at the sailing regatta on Guanabara Bay, where men’s and women’s medal races were postponed until Tuesday. In the afternoon, smoke and ash from a wind-whipped wildfire billowed over the field hockey stadium in Deodoro.
Boxing may have to weather another storm of its own after a surprising decision in the men’s heavyweight gold medal fight, where boos cascaded down from the crowd when Evgeny Tischenko, of Russia, was announced as the unanimous winner over Vassiliy Levit, of Kazakhstan, who looked like the winner.
Biles’ blunder allowed Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands to take the gold medal and Laurie Hernandez of the U.S. to slip past Biles for the silver. It also ended Biles’ bid to become the first female gymnast to win five golds in a single Olympics.
Spain advanced to the quarterfinals with a 92-73 win against Argentina and suddenly is playing as well as any team in the tournament.
Croatia won Group B with a 90-81 victory over Lithuania.
Croatia (3-2), which began the day not knowing if it would even advance to the quarterfinal round, will play Serbia (2-3) on Wednesday.
Lithuania falls to No. 3 and will play Australia (4-1) on Wednesday.
Croatia’s win pushes Argentina (3-2) into a matchup against the undefeated U.S. and Spain (3-2) will play France (3-2).
Lithuania’s Domantas Sabonis scored two points and had three rebounds.
Women’s water polo
The U.S. women’s water polo team pushed around Brazil for most of Monday afternoon. Led by Ashleigh Johnson’s six saves, the Americans carried a shutout into the fourth quarter and won 13-3 to advance to the semifinals.
Next up for the world champions is Hungary, which went to penalty shots against Australia before emerging with a 13-11 win. Russia, a surprise 12-10 winner against Spain, takes on Italy in the second semifinal match on Wednesday at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
The Americans reached the quarterfinals after a slow start to the tournament. Victors in their third straight match to conclude pool play, the U.S. dominated Mexico 25-23, 25-11, 25-19.
Anita Wlodarcyk broke her own world record in the hammer throw to win an Olympic gold medal and she did it using the old, gray and tattered left glove of former champion and close friend Kamila Skolimowska.
Skolimowska, gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games as a teenager and the brightest star of hammer at the time, died in 2009 at the age of 26 after suffering a pulmonary embolism at a Poland team training camp in Portugal.
Since then, Wlodarczyk has competed using her good friend’s glove. She’s had to repair it a few times but she said she’ll use it for the rest of her career.
Her world-record throw was 82.29 meters.
The American team of Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser saw their Olympic run come to an end against world champion Brazilian superstars Alison and Bruno. The Brazilians withstood a U.S. rally in the second set, and dominated the third to win the match 2-1 (21-14, 12-21, 15-9).
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