Fun Fact of the Day: Yesterday, 2 unique gymnasts attempted the hardest vault called the Produnova or “vault of death.” One of them was India’s first female gymnast Dipa Karmakar and the other was the oldest gymnast to compete in the Olympics, 41-year-old Uzbekistani gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, who was competing in her 7th games. Neither of them medaled in the event because of big deductions but both were celebrated for attempting the feat.
Swimming. As expected, part-woman part-fish Katie Ledecky won gold in her signature event the 800m on Friday night. She beat her own world record by 2 seconds and finished so far ahead of the field that no other swimmers were around to congratulate her until 11 seconds later.
Michael Phelps finished his last 2 races of the Olympics in spectacular fashion, including a crazy 3-way tie for silver in the 100m butterfly and a gold in the 4x100m medley relay. That brings his final medal count up to 28 with 23 golds. Even though he says that this is his last Olympics, his swimming frenemy Ryan Lochte thinks he’ll be back in 2020. Meanwhile, Lochte didn’t have the best Saturday night out in Rio. He and 3 of his Olympian friends were robbed at gunpoint by thieves posing as police officers.
Poor Missy Franklin, who won 5 medals including 4 golds in the 2012 London Olympics, finished last in her semifinals heat and will be going home without making the finals in any of her 3 events.
Track and Field. 1 down, 2 to go. The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt came back from behind to win the 100m dash yesterday, beating out American once-doper Justin Gatlin. Bolt is hoping to triple three-peat and win 2 more golds in the 200m and 4x100m relay later this week. Ever wonder how fast he really is? Check out our Average Joe v. Usain Bolt simulation. Earlier in the evening, South African Wayde van Niekerk smashed Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record in the 400m to win gold in his Olympics debut.
Gymnastics. Simone Biles won vault to collect her 3rd gold medal of these games. This one was extra special for her because she’s actually never won gold in vault in the world championships before. Madison Kocian won silver in uneven bars, but former all-around champ Gabby Douglas failed to medal and has been riding an emotional rollercoaster all week.
Soccer. The U.S. was eliminated from the Olympics by Sweden in a game that came down to penalty kicks. It was a huge upset, because the U.S. team was the overwhelming favorite after winning 3 golds in a row and the World Cup last year. Afterwards U.S. Goalie Hope Solo wasn’t a graceful loser. She called the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” because they played physical and defensive ball. Extra harsh criticism coming from Solo because Sweden’s coach used to coach her and the US team from 2007-2013.
Tennis. Cheerio! England’s Andy Murray became the 1st man to ever win 2 consecutive singles gold medals.
Spotlight on Simone Manuel
Last week, Simone “Swimone” Manuel became the first female African-American swimmer to win an individual event, by setting a new Olympic record and tying for gold in the women’s 100m freestyle. But she wasn’t done yet, she also took home gold in the 4x100m medley relay and silvers in the 50m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay. Here’s what you need to know about Simone’s historic achievement.
The magnitude of her win. Simone understands that what she’s doing is special for the black community. After her historic win, she spoke out about today’s toxic racial climate and said that hopefully this win will bring some hope and change to those issues back home.
Breaking through. According to the CDC, black children between 5-14 are 3x more likely to die from unintentional drowning than white children and it is estimated that 70% of African-Americans do not know how to swim. The roots of this can be traced back to Jim Crow laws that segregated public pools. But even today fewer public pools are built in black communities. Fortunately, things are starting to change, albeit slowly. USA Swimming’s African-American membership grew 55% between 2004-2015, but it still amounts to only 1% of the total organization.
Everything IS bigger in Texas. Simone is from a suburb of Houston, Texas, just like that other famous Olympian Simone Biles. Currently, she attends and swims for Stanford University where, she was part of a historical NCAA championship race. She, Lia Neal and Natalie Hinds finished 1-2-3 in the women’s 100-yard free final, marking the first time 3 African-American women swept the podium.
Gymnastics. Watch Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez compete on the balance beam. Online streaming at 2:46pm today.