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The only story people were really paying attention to was whether Ryan Lochte and three other American swimmers lied about being robbed, which is a shame because the day featured some fantastic athletic accomplishments.
What happened yesterday: “Watergate”
As always the New York Post nailed it.
Brazilian officials now believe that Lochte’s story about being robbed was fabricated. They pulled two American swimmers involved off a plane to question them (Lochte had already returned to the United States). Slate has a good explanation for the scandal. Deadspin thinks this is the best explanation for what happened. And here’s the latest update on the case. And late Thursday, news broke that Lochte had hired a crisis manager to advise him. And Page Six reports of friction between hosts Matt Lauer and Billy Bush over who would interview Lochte.
Predictably, the whole thing generated memes and jokes on social media.
“Guys, we’re gonna be fine. It’s just a damaged gas station bathroom door, now calm down and let me do the talking…” Ryan Lochte
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) August 18, 2016
— Dan O’Donnell (@DanODradio) August 18, 2016
On the field, the competition was terrific
Lost amid the Lochte news was some great sporting drama. Helen Maroulis pulled off the greatest upset of the Olympics by defeating Saori Yoshida in the final of the women’s 53-kilogram class. Yoshida had won three straight gold medals, in fact Yoshida had never lost at an Olympics, world championships or Asian Games. Boom.
Meet the world’s greatest athlete
Ashton Eaton defended his decathlon title, becoming the first repeat winner since Great Britain’s Daley Thompson in 1980 and 1984. The decathlon used to be the premier event of the Games (How do you think Bruce Jenner got to be so famous?) but it has lost some of its luster. That’s a shame because the 10-event-two-day-marathon that is the decathlon is really amazing to watch.
Oh yeah, there was this guy
Usain Bolt defended his 200-meter title, winning gold in 19.78 to the 20.02 of silver medalist Andre De Grasse of Canada. He wasn’t close to his world record time of 19.19, but he was never in any danger of losing (the bird’s-eye view is amazing. Bolt has now won the 100/200 double in three straight Olympics. And if he wins gold in the 4×100 on Friday he’ll have pulled off the triple in three straight Olympics.
What to watch today
The highlights of the night are the men’s and women’s 4×100 relay. In the men’s, Bolt’s run for the triple will be challenged by a strong American team. In the women’s final, the Americans barely made it after a dropped baton seemed to cost them a spot in the finals. But an appeal and a re-run got them a spot. Catch the women at about 9:15 p.m. ET and the men at about 9:35 p.m.
The U.S. men play Spain in the semifinals. The men did not look good, barely beating France and Serbia before running away from Argentina (CNBC, 6 p.m. ET). The women’s soccer final (NBCSN, 4:30 p.m. ET) features surprise Sweden (remember the team knocked out the U.S.) facing off against Germany. Also on the daytime docket: women’s BMX, medals awarded in women’s water polo and women’s field hockey and a full slate of boxing.
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