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Pac-12 to Rio

Coverage of the Pac-12
student-athletes, coaches and alumni
who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics

2016 Olympics Aug. 11 recap: Stanford’s Simone Manuel delivers instant classic gold-medal moment

Aug 11, 2016
Clive Rose/Getty

RIO DE JANEIRO --The streak continues for the Conference of Champions.

In each of the six days of competition so far in Rio for the 2016 Olympics, a Pac-12 swimmer has taken home a gold medal. Thanks to sterling swims from a couple of Bay Area stars on Thursday night, the Pac-12’s golden stretch continues.

Another full slate of action also marked the opening of sports like men’s golf and badminton while saying goodbye to the inaugural Olympic rugby sevens tournament. Take a look at the top storylines from Day 6 in Rio.


Swimming fans were treated to an instant classic Olympic moment on Thursday night in the women’s 100m freestyle race. While it appeared that Australian sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell might go 1-2 atop the podium, Stanford’s Simone Manuel burst through the middle of both of them down the stretch to claim the gold medal. Funny thing, because Canada’s Penny Oleksiak also claimed a gold, as both of them touched in Olympic-record fashion with a time of 52.70.

It took Oleksiak a few moments to even realize she had won the gold. Eventually she swam over to Manuel, who was nearly in tears as they hugged and shared a magical moment together. At the medal ceremony to wrap up the night, Manuel and Oleksiak shared the top flight of the podium together before the speakers played both The Star-Spangled Banner and O Canada in succession. Incoming Cal freshman Abbey Weitzeil also took part in the 100m freestyle, finishing seventh with a mark of 53.30.

Friday night’s final in the 200m women’s backstroke will feature a couple of familiar Pac-12 faces: former USC star Katinka Hosszu and ex-Stanford speedster Maya DiRado. Hosszu looks poised to win her fourth gold in four events after finishing her semifinal in 2:06.03, the fastest of any woman. DiRado will also have a shot at a fourth medal after placing third in the semifinals with a time of 2:07.53.


Cal’s Ryan Murphy doubled up his gold medal count Thursday night, as he took over the final two laps of the 200m backstroke to finish in 1:53.62. It marked the sixth straight summer games that Team USA won the event, and Murphy’s second gold medal in Rio alongside his first-place finish in the 100m backstroke. His Golden Bear teammate Jacob Pebley also took part in the final, placing fifth with a time of 1:55.52.

Taking part in the fastest race in water -- the men’s 50m freestyle -- were a pair of Cal alums, Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin. Despite being Team USA’s oldest swimmer at 35, Ervin (21.46 seconds) tied with Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov (21.46) for the second-fastest time in the semifinals. Adrian’s was nearly identical to Ervins in the early semifinal, his 21.47 mark good for fourth-fastest qualifying time going into Friday’s finals.

To cap off the evening in the pool, Cal’s Tom Shields recorded a 51.61 to qualify for the finals in the 100m butterfly, while USC swim alum Santo Condorelli failed to advance after finishing in 51.83.


The Pac-12 athlete-laden Team USA women's water polo jumped back in the pool on Thursday, tangling with China in group stage action. Team captain and Stanford star Maggie Steffens, and incoming UCLA freshman Maddie Musselman scored four goals apiece to pace America’s attack in the 12-4 victory.

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Other Pac-12 water polo alums included Spain’s Anni Espar (USC) and Roser Tarrago (Cal), who each notched two goals in an 11-10 victory over Hungary. Brazil suffered a 14-7 loss to Russia, but Arizona State’s Izabella Chiappini scored four goals for the host country.


Cal alum Byeong Hun-An shot an impressive 68 for South Korea on the newly-constructed Olympic golf course Thursday, overcoming a windy day to sit at ninth on the leaderboard through the round one action. Taiwan’s Cheng-Tsung Pan, who played collegiately for Washington, wasn’t too far behind with a 69, good for 11th.


Despite some high expectations heading into the inaugural rugby sevens Olympic competition, Team USA found itself playing for ninth place on Thursday against Spain. Once again, Cal product Danny Barrett asserted himself on offense, scoring the first try of the game to pace Team USA to a 24-12 victory. Zack Test was his usual bruising self, but had to leave the game with under a minute left to undergo concussion protocol following a big hit. Later in the day, Fiji topped Great Britain, 43-7, to win the first rugby sevens Olympic gold medal.


Team USA’s men’s eight, which features five ex-Washington Huskies, finished Thursday’s repechage in 5:51.13 to claim a spot in the A.

Will Dean and Robert Gibson, formerly of Washington, represented Canada in the quad sculls finals. Canada finished in eighth after clocking in at 6:13.55.


Cal’s Caleigh Filmer and Washington State’s Lisa Roman participated in Canada’s eight repechage, helping the crew to a first-place finish (6:28.07) to qualify for Friday’s final.

Washington rowing alums Adrienne Martelli and Megan Kalmoe made up half of Team USA women’s quad sculls team on Thursday, but they failed to medal in the finals with a time of 6:57.67, placing fifth.


While former ASU star Ike Diogu had been his team’s leading scorer in each of Nigeria’s first two contests to begin the tournament, it was Oregon alum Chamberlain Oguchi who put a scare into the Spaniards on Thursday. Oguchi went 7-of-12 from the behind the arc en route to 24 points, as Nigeria led 66-65 though three quarters, but Spain ended up with the 96-87 victory. Diogu added 7 points and 7 assists but went just 1-of-4 from the floor.


Team USA’s burgeoning badminton squad opened up its Olympic action on Thursday, including UCLA Bruin Iris Wang (women’s singles) and UCLA alum Jamie Subandhi (mixed doubles).

Making her Olympic debut, four years after her sister represented USA badminton in London, Wang claimed a 2-1 victory over Belgium’s Lianne Tan in Group E action. Meanwhile Subandhi and her partner Patrick Chew suffered a 2-0 loss to South Korea. All three athletes will be back on the court Friday as group play continues, while fellow UCLA Bruin Howard Shu (men’s singles) will also make his Olympic debut.


Team USA men's volleyball, which features UCLA coach John Speraw and four Pac-12 athletes, finished strong in the fourth set to close out Brazil on Thursday with a 3-1 victory. The Americans will play France on Saturday before facing Mexico on Sunday to wrap up the group stages. . 


Needing a victory to salvage their Olympics run in the group stages, UCLA alum Lauren Fendrick and partner Brooke Sweat suffered a tough 2-1 loss to Evgeniya Ukolova and Ekaterina Birlova of Russia on Copacabana beach. With the loss, Fendrick and Sweat fall to 0-3 in Pool A and have no chance of making the quarterfinals.