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Coverage of the Pac-12
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who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics

2016 Olympics Aug. 12 recap: Maya DiRado stuns Katinka Hosszu to win 200 backstroke

Aug 12, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Track is back. Swimming is still sizzling up the Olympic Aquatic Center. And there were a bunch of other sports in between.

Friday’s slate of Olympic action from Brazil proved to be a wild one. From dramatic races in the pool, to an early exit from the U.S. women’s national team in soccer, to more medals for the Conference of Champions, it was a action-packed day.

Take a look at the top Pac-12 headlines from Day 7 of the 2016 Olympics.


It seemed like Stanford alum Maya DiRado had been chasing ex-USC swim star Katinka Hosszu throughout the Olympics. Hosszu had been an unstoppable force entering Friday night with three golds in three events, but that changed with the women’s 200m backstroke event, which kicked off the penultimate night of action in the pool.

Hosszu held a sizeable lead coming out of the last turn, but about 20 meters into the final lap, DiRado found another gear and pulled even with the seemingly invincible Hosszu as the crowd erupted. It was a photo finish at the wall, but DiRado touched in 2:05.99, just fractions of a second ahead of Hosszu (2:06.05).

"I haven't seen it,” DiRado said. “I just tried to throw my body back to the wall. I actually found my nail popped out - I broke my nail on the finish, I hit the wall so hard. That's all you can do, I guess. … My legs totally seized up, but to look up and see the '1' next to my name was just so unreal and I can't believe I did it."

DiRado adds to her Rio collection of medals that includes a gold (4 x 100m relay), silver (400m individual medley) and bronze (200m IM). Hosszu missed out on a perfect 4-for-4 performance in the Olympics, but still takes home gold medals in the 100m backstroke, 200 IM and 400 IM.

"Oh my gosh, I just start crying every five minutes when I process this,” DiRado said. “I can't wait to go see my coaches and my teammates and celebrate with them because they believed in me so much. It's more than a dream come true and beyond what I ever hoped for. I just wanted to medal in three of my events, and then I got put on a relay and that was the biggest honour of my life. And now to get that, I just don't even know what's happening right now."

It was over by the first turn in In the 800m freestyle race. In her final event of a momentous Olympics, incoming Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky blew away the field with a world-record 8:04.79. She finished more than 25 meters ahead of the rest of the field, remarkably more than 11 seconds faster than silver medalist Jazz Carlin (8:16.17). Ledecky also won golds in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 4 x 200m freestyle relay and a silver in the 4 x 100m free relay. A night after winning gold in the 100m freestyle, Stanford star Simone Manuel qualified for Saturday’s final in the 50m freestyle with a time of 24.44.


Sixteen years between gold medals? Not stuff of fiction.

Cal swim alum Anthony Ervin is among the most interesting figures in swimming. He burst on to the scene for the 2000 summer games in Sydney as a 19-year-old and won gold in the 50m freestyle. Three years later he announced his retirement from swimming, before eventually auctioning off his gold medal to benefit victims of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

After battling addiction and other serious problems, Ervin, who has Tourette’s syndrome, rededicated himself to swimming in time to appear in the 2012 Olympics at London. Now at the age of 35, he’s the oldest member of Team USA’s swim squad. But he’s also the latest to win a gold, after recording a time of 21.40 seconds.

"Emotions,” Ervin said. “It's been an incredible journey to think that after 16 years I'm back on the podium at the Olympic Games. But all the credit is to the love and support of my people, my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, my country.”

Two more Golden Bears also took part in the action, including Nathan Adrian, who took bronze in the 50m freestyle to collect his third medal of the Olympics. Tom Shields placed seventh in the 100m butterfly -- another entertaining race that featured a three-way tie for silver, including Michael Phelps in his final Olympic race (for now, check back in 2020).


The United States women’s national team’s stunning loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals shook the soccer world on Friday. After the two teams played to a 1-1 tie through two extra time periods, it came down to penalties. But Sweden outclassed the Americans in the shootout, 4-3, to knock the gold-medal favorites out of the competition early.

Pac-12 alums influenced the contest throughout. After Sweden took a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute on a goal by Stina Blackstenius, ex-Cal star Alex Morgan leveled the score with a goal in 77th minute, setting the stage for an intense shootout.

Morgan went first for the USWNT, but her shot was denied by Hedvig Lindahl, who made a spectacular save stretched out toward the top left corner. USA goalie Hope Solo (Washington) later made a save on Linda Sambrant’s attempt to neutralize Morgan’s miss, but former Stanford star Christen Press mishit her shot way above the goal to put Solo in a do-or-die situation with Sweden’s fifth penalty. Alas, Solo went right while Lisa Dahlkvist shot it the other direction, hitting the back of the net and giving Sweden a massive upset victory.


Playing in their first match of the knockout rounds, former Stanford star Kerri Walsh Jennings and USC alum April Ross quickly dispatched Italian duo Laura Giombini and Marta Menegatti with a 2-0 victory. Walsh Jennings and Ross will play their quarterfinals match on Sunday at Copacabana Beach.


Steve Johnson was a busy man so far during the Olympics. Juggling doubles and singles responsibilities for Team USA, his journey in Rio came to a bittersweet end on Friday. While he lost to English star Andy Murray in the singles quarterfinals, 2-1, Johnson and teammate Jack Sock paired up to top Canada in the bronze-medal match.

"It's interesting. I've had quite the range of emotions today,” Johnson said. “I was in tears after the singles. My teammates kind of just picked me up and look: we have just one match to play. I don't care how tired I am, how disappointed I was with my result today in singles, because I would have liked to have won, but Jack was fired up to get the great start that we got and it makes a big difference.”


Two days after edging out Australia in group play, Team USA had another close game on Friday. This time around, the Americans started off strong and faded, but still ended up with a 94-91 victory over Serbia. While ex-USC baller DeMar DeRozan came off the bench to score 6 points, Klay Thompson (1-for-6) once against struggled to find his shot. The Washington State alum is now shooting 2-for-17 (11.7 percent) through three games in Rio.

Serbia nearly hit a game-tying 3-pointer as time expired, but the Americans ran their record to 3-0.

"We understand what's going on,” DeRozan said. “We understand we don't want to be in this position again. It was a close shot that could have gone in and sent it to overtime. We can look back now at how teams are attacking us and cleaning up on the defensive end."

The Australian squad, which features a trio of players from Pac-12 schools, rolled to a 93-68 victory against China on Friday. Center Andrew Bogut (Utah) was rested by the team, leading to big minutes and big production from ex-WSU big man Brock Motum, who posted 15 points off the bench for the Boomers. Fellow Cougar alum Aron Baynes also added 12 points in the victory.


The Team USA fencing program entered the Olympics with high expectations after touting some of the top talents in the world, including men’s No. 1-ranked foil fencer and Stanford student Alexander Massialas. After collecting silver in the individual event, Massialas and his men’s teammates also brought home the bronze on Friday, as the Americans topped Italy, 45-31.

"It's amazing. I can't wish for another three guys I'd rather have this medal with,” Massialas said. “This started all before (London 2012). (In) London, we came up a little bit short, but we feel vindicated. We got redemption this year with a medal around our neck. I couldn't be prouder as a teammate."


Team USA women’s volleyball rolled to its fourth straight win to begin the Olympics on Friday, throttling Italy, 3-1 to maintain a perfect record in group play. Former Stanford star Foluke Akinradewo led the Americans with 13 kills, while ex-UCLA Bruin Karsta Lowe also racked up 12 kills in extensive playing time. Team USA will finish up group play with a match against China on Sunday.


Track and field began competitions on Friday in a full day of athletic competitions.

Former Oregon Duck Brianne Theisen-Eaton finished four events (100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m) of the heptathlon while representing Canada, and ranks sixth with 3,871 points heading into Saturday’s competition.

A couple of former Pac-12ers in English Gardner (Oregon, USA) and Tynia Gaither (USC, Bermuda) raced in the 100m prelims. Gardner (11.09) checked in at fifth for the prelims and she has advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, while Gaither (11.56 seconds) ranked 39th.

Ex-Colorado runner Jenny Simpson (USA) and former Duck Zoe Buckman (Australia) both raced in the women’s 1,500m. Buckman (4:06.93) recorded the ninth-fastest time while Simpson (4:06.99) ranked 10th, as both women have advanced to Sunday’s semifinals.

Racing in the 10,000m final on Friday, former Oregon Duck Alexi Pappas finished 17th with a time of 31:36.16 while representing Greece.


The lone Pac-12 men’s athlete to compete on Friday night was former Arizona State runner Donald Sanford, who ran the 400m in 46.06 to place 33rd for Israel.


A pair of Pac-12 golf alums returned to the Olympic golf course on Friday during a gray, gloomy and wet day in Rio. Taiwan’s Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington) shot a 69 for the second straight day and is tied for 10th through the Round 2 action. Cal golf product Byeong Hun-An shot a 72 to bring his two-day stroke total to 140, which places him 18th on the leaderboard.


Day 2 of the badminton tournament continued on Friday, as three former UCLA Bruins took the court for Team USA. Despite dropping the first set to Portugal’s Telma Santos, Iris Wang (women’s singles) won back-to-back sets to end the match and take the victory. She is now 2-0 in group play. Howard Shu (men’s singles) made his Olympic debut but suffered a two-set sweep to Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto. Jamie Subandhi, playing with her partner Patrick Chew, suffered the second loss in two days in the mixed doubles competition.


Washington rowing alum Patricia Obee helped Canada claim silver in the women’s lightweight double sculls final with partner Lindsay Jennerich on Friday, clocking in at 7:05.88. Fellow ex-Huskies and Team Canada rowers Will Crothers and Conlin McCabe took part in the men’s coxless four final but finished sixth (6:15.93) and failed to medal. Stanford rowing product Grace Luczak also missed out on a chance to medal, finishing fourth with partner Felice Mueller (7:24.77) in the women’s coxless pair finals.


With a 13-man roster that features 10 Pac-12 players, Team USA’s chances at reaching the quarterfinal are all but dead following Friday’s 8-5 loss to Montenegro. Captained by Pac-12 Player of the Century and Stanford grad Tony Azevedo, the Americans are now 1-3 in group play with one more match to go before the knockout rounds. Ex-UCLA Bruin Josh Samuels notched a pair of goals to lead the American attack, which had trouble cracking Montenegro’s defense.


Following a third-round run in the women’s individual tournament, top USA table tennis player and Cal student Lily Zhang was back in action with her team on Friday. But the three-woman American team couldn’t keep pace with a quality German squad, suffering a 3-0 sweep to be knocked out in the first round.


After sitting out the 2012 Olympics with a shoulder injury, Stanford diving star Kassidy Cook made her Olympic debut on Friday in the 3-meter springboard event. Cook recorded a score of 327.75 to rank eighth in the preliminaries and advance to Saturday’s semifinal.


A couple of Stanford sailors were in action on Friday, including Marion Lepert in the windsurfing RS:X competition. Through 12 races of action in the event, Lepert ranks 16th with a score of 183.9. Fellow Cardinal Helena Scutt and partner Paris Henken also teamed up in the 49er FX event, and they rank 14th (29 points) through two races.