Olympics Guide: Usain Bolt Seeks Another 200 Gold
Mark Purdy’s Rio-Rama Recommendations A daily guide of helpful tips to better enjoy the 2016 Summer Olympics
Each morning here at the Rio Games, I will preview the day’s events to help readers formulate viewing and reading priorities. I also may rant a bit, so please forgive me in advance ...
THURSDAY’s Three Must-Watch Events
In the 200-meter dash, Usain Bolt will be attempting to win his eighth Olympic gold medal in eight consecutive sprint or relay finals. Yet he said the other day that he is “more nervous” about this race than any other on his schedule. Bolt didn’t appear that way Wednesday in his 200 semifinal, as he joked and laughed with Canada’s Andre De Grasse even before they crossed the finish line. Bolt might not be the greatest sprinter of all time but he is definitely the most entertaining. And if he sweeps his three races here, that “greatest” label might apply, too. The starting fun... excuse me, starting gun fires at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Ashton Eaton of the USA is the defending Olympic decathlon champion. It’s the 10-event gold medal that made Bruce Jenner (now Caitlin Jenner) a household name. But that has definitely not happened with Eaton, who lives in Oregon and competes largely under the radar. He surely would raise his profile with a repeat victory here. Eaton was leading the points standings after Wednesday’s first five events. The next five begin at 5:30 a.m. Pacific with the 110-meter hurdles and conclude with the 1,500-meter run at 5:56 p.m. Pacific. That’s a long day. Another gold would be a remarkable achievement. My goodness. What does a decathlon champion have to do to earn major media attention in this country? Don’t answer.
The men’s triathlon kicks off at 8 a.m., with more Olympians swimming through more superbacteria polluted water. How many times have I written a sentence like that? I can’t get enough of sentences like that. I am not a nice person. The Samba Special (In other words, today’s best entertainment.)
At noon West Coast time, the women’s 10-meter platform diving commences at the no-green-water-anymore pool. This is my favorite diving event. Because as the name implies, the divers are 33 feet above the pool surface when they start their descent into the water. Have you ever stood on a diving platform 33 feet in the air and stared at the bottom of the pool? I have. Once. I did it just to see what it looked like. It looked like I should immediately climb back down the steps of the platform to safe ground. So I did. The Local Bodega At 9 a.m. Pacific, the USA women’s indoor volleyball team -- with Stanford’s Foluke Akinradewo and Cal’s Carli Lloyd -- plays Serbia in a semifinal match, with the winner guaranteed no less than a silver medal. Earlier in the day on the bounding main, sailors Helena Scutt of Stanford and partner Paris Henken will compete for a medal in the final round of the 49er FX class competition. Today’s random Rio factoid We still have no idea how the bizarre Ryan Lochte story will turn out. But assuming the American swimmer’s story about being robbed at gunpoint is true, he is not the only Olympian who has met foul play in Rio. A member of the British Olympic team reported being held up the early hours of Tuesday morning, reported The Guardian newspaper. This prompted UK Olympic officials to warn athletes they should avoid leaving the Athletes’ Village in taxis and use only official Olympic transport. The language of the directive was blunt: “If you are planning on going out after dark and have no way of returning other than via taxi, do not go out. Do not go out of the village wearing TeamGB clothing or carry anything of value unless absolutely unavoidable.” Yes, it’s all a big carnival here. Whew. Just hope we all make it to the finish line on Sunday.