2016 Olympics: Day One Pac-12 Guide to Rio Olympics
With the conclusion of the opening ceremonies and the lighting of the Olympic torch, the Rio Games officially begin. With the news of Russian athlete Vladimir Moroz (USC) coming today that he can participate in the Olympics, the Pac-12’s total delegate count goes up to 274, with 243 athletes competing for 47 countries. Several sports begin competition with a full schedule of games on Saturday and the Pac-12 will not be short on action. Below is a guide to Day 1 of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Pac-12 Daily Guide to Rio Olympics - Day 1:
The men’s and women’s basketball tournaments tip off on Saturday with 12 Pac-12 athletes in action that day, half with Utah ties.
The Canada women have three former Utes helping them make a run for a medal, taking on China in the second women’s game of the day. Utes Andrew Bogut (Australia) and Kim Tillie (France) will go head-to-head in Group A, and Leiliani Mitchell takes on host Brazil in the first round as a member of Team Aussie.
Also that day, Team USA men’s squad looks to defend its Olympic gold, taking on the Chinese with former Washington State Cougar Klay Thompson and former USC Trojan DeMar Rozan leading the way.
Of the seven basketball games going on, six will feature at least one Pac-12 athlete.
Beach Volleyball (M):
Jake Gibb will represent the USA and Utah on the opening day of the back volleyball tournament as he makes his third Olympics appearance, this time with a new partner in Casey Patterson. The duo take on Qatar in Pool F.
Kerri Walsh-Jennings (Stanford) and April Ross (USC) hit the sand for the marquee match of the day. The Americans play together at the Olympics for the first time as a pair, Walsh-Jennings going for her fourth gold and Ross going for her first. The duo face Mariafa Artacho Del Solar and Nicole Laird of Australia.
A medal opportunity could come in the fencing competition when Hong Kong’s Vivian Kong (Stanford) competes in the épée individual competition. Medals will be awarded after a field of 64 narrows down to one.
Rugby makes its return to the Olympics and two Pac-12 athletes look to help the USA get the gold in the sevens. The USA, with Danny Barrett (California) and Zach Test (Oregon) on the squad, take on Fiji in Group A action.
Another full day of games for Group E, F and G are scheduled for Saturday. Because the soccer tournament started before the Opening Ceremonies, the teams head into their second game of pool play.
Team USA with five players on the roster, including former Golden Bear Alex Morgan, who netted one of the USA’s two tallies from the 2-0 decision vs. New Zealand earlier this week. UCLA’s Mallory Pugh also made history, becoming the youngest American to start in an Olympic match in that game. USA will play France.
Canada has the day’s first match vs. Zimbabwe, while New Zealand, along with Ali Riley (Stanford) and Rosie White (UCLA), will look for its first win of the Olympics vs. Colombia.
The first of 10 days of Pac-12 Olympic swimming action starts Saturday. Three current and former Cal athletes will swim in the women's 100-meter fly with Dana Vollmer leading the charge in her third Olympic appearance. Maya DiRado of Stanford will make her Olympic debut in the 400-meter IM. The final of the women's 4x100 meter freestyle relay will prove to be an opportunity for a medal with a few Pac-12 athletes in the running to be selected to compete in the relay squad.
Six events will take place on Saturday (men’s & women’s 400-meter IM, women’s 100m butterfly, men's 400m freestyle, men’s 100 meter breast and women’s 4x100 meter free relay) with the potential for four gold medals at the end of the day.
Table Tennis (W):
The Pac-12 lone representative in table tennis is Lili Zhang, a Golden Bear who will be competing in the singles competition on Saturday.
Steve Johnson (USC) starts his singles competition tomorrow as a member of Team USA, and Marcin Matkowski (UCLA) is back at the Games representing Poland in doubles competition.
Team USA lost in the gold-medal match in London but are now under the direction of a new head coach. Former UCLA Bruin Karch Kiraly is at the helm and has led the team to a No. 1 world ranking. His squad, with four former Pac-12 players including Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford), open the Olympic Games against Puerto Rico, the only other team to have a Pac-12 athlete on the squad in the women's tournament. Former Trojan Debora Seilhamer will be wearing the Puerto Rican jersey.
Water Polo (M):
Eight of the 13 USA men’s water polo players are from Pac-12 institutions, including four-time Olympian and team captain Tony Azevedo (Stanford). The Americans open their Olympic Games versus Olympic Champion Croatia in Group B.
Group A action features a pair of Trojans in Kostas Genidounias of Greece and Joel Dennerley of Australia.
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