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Day three of the Rio Olympics will feature the first American woman competitor in a hijab, an awesome swimming duel between two rivals who hate — really hate — each other and the men’s gymnastic team finals. Highlights of day two include a 19th gold for Michael Phelps, two shocking tennis upsets and a controversy about a husband/coach of a female swimmer.
What to Watch:
Live swimming and taped gymnastics dominate the evening. NBC will air the finals of the men’s 200 meter freestyle, men’s and women’s 100 meter backstroke and the women’s 100 meter breaststroke (plus a bunch of preliminary and semifinal heats). The highlight of the night will be the women’s 100 meter breaststroke final, which features the showdown between American Lilly King and Russian Yulia Efimova, who spent the preliminary rounds throwing major shade at each other. (King calls Efimova a “cheat”). The men’s gymnastics final will air on tape delay (stream it live at 3 p.m. ET). The Americans finished the preliminary rounds in second place and are well-positioned for a team medal.
The big story of the day will be when women’s sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who takes the piste at about 9 a.m. ET, becomes the first American woman to compete at the Olympics in a hijab. Her story is fascinating. Most of the attention has focused on her religion, but Muhammad, who is 30 and has made her first Olympic team, is an inspiration for her perseverance. She’s an outside shot for a medal. Two-time gold medalist (2004, 2008) Mariel Zagunis, currently ranked third in the world, is a more likely possibility.
The U.S. men’s basketball team faces Venezuela at 6 p.m. The even better American women (check the score from their opening game) plays Spain at 11 a.m.
Recap of Day Two
It was good day at the pool for the Americans
Michael Phelps and teammates Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian won the 4×100 meter freestyle relay, edging France. Phelps added to his record as the most-decorated Olympian of all time with his 19th gold medal and 23rd overall. (Just think how much room 19 gold medals takes up in your closet. How do you pick one to wear?). On the women’s side, Katie Ledecky broke her own world record in the 400 meter freestyle to win her first gold and second medal of these Games. Ledecky beat Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin and American Leah Smith, who finished second and third, by almost five seconds. In swimming, that’s practically lapping the competition.
But what’s going on in tennis?
Upsets — big upsets — abounded on the courts. The Williams sisters, who were chasing their fourth straight doubles gold medal, lost in the first round to the Czech team of Lucie Safarová and Barbora Strycova. It was a terrible day for Venus, who also lost her opening singles match (Serena won). This is probably it for Venus in Olympics tennis. If it is, she leaves behind a distinguished record: Three gold medals in doubles and one in singles (Sydney 2000). The men’s side had a shocker as well. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro (who spent 40 minutes trapped in an elevator before his match). Djokovic left the court in tears.
The Agony of Defeat
Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten was leading the women’s road race and was just miles from the finish of the 85-mile course when she crashed in spectacular fashion. She is in intensive care at the hospital with three small fractures to her spine (no paralysis) but is stable, awake and talking to doctors.
An offhand sexist comment opens a wider conversation about abusive coaches
After Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu won the gold medal in the 400 meter individual medley (setting a world record), NBC swimming commentator Dan Hicks called her husband and coach Shane Tusup “the guy responsible” for her success. That comment set off a social media backlash accusing him of being sexist. Hosszu and Tusup were the subject of a New York Times profile that touched on questions from other swimmers about whether Tusup is abusive as a coach. (Something Hicks also mentioned). As Deadspin notes, the whole story sets off red flags and it criticizes the Times for not digging deeper into whether Tusup is really abusive.
This is what the Games are all about
North and South Korea are still technically at war, but that didn’t stop these two gymnasts from taking a selfie together. Aww.
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