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Follow the Pac-12 to Tokyo

Coverage of Pac-12 student-athletes,
coaches & alumni competing
at the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo 2020: Daily Pac-12 guide to the Olympic Games (July 26)

Jul 26, 2021
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images


A beach volleyball match in the Tokyo Olympics featured three competitors from Pac-12 schools.

Team USA’s Kelly Claes (USC) and Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) took on a Lativa duo that included Tina Graudina (USC).

Beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996. But it wasn’t until 2016 that USC took on Florida State in the first NCAA Division I Beach Volleyball Championship. In the five years since, USC and UCLA have dominated, combining to win all of the national championships played – USC (2016, 2017 and 2021) and UCLA (2018, 2019) – so it would make sense that those schools are well represented on the sand in Tokyo.

In the past, U.S. teams were made up mostly of players who competed indoors in college.

“It’s been really cool to see the pendulum of beach volleyball around the world and how it’s shifted. I think the U.S. has been at the forefront for so long with Misty (May-Treanor) and Kerri (Walsh-Jennings),” Claes said about the duo who both played indoors in college, May-Treanor at Long Beach State and Walsh-Jennings at STANFORD, before transitioning to the sand and winning three consecutive beach volleyball gold medals. “I think the rest of the world has caught up and passed us, and I think with the NCAA, there’s going to be this huge, new generation of amazing athletes and we’re going to make that push back.”

That college beach volleyball experience boosted her and Sponcil in their Olympic debut, a tough match they won 21-13, 16-21, 15-11.

» Katie Ledecky (STANFORD) won her first medal of the 2020 Games, securing the silver in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:57.36, closely behind gold medal winner Ariarne Titmus of Australia. Ledecky will have her chance to add to her gold medal collection in her other three events – 200 freestyle, 800 freestyle and the new 1,500 freestyle – and remains the favorite to win gold in the three. She has already won her 200 freestyle heat and dominated the 1,500 freestyle heat, setting the Olympic record with a 15:35:35.

» The U.S. softball team stayed undefeated after beating the team it will play on Tuesday for the gold medal, Japan. Team USA features eight Pac-12 athletes: Ali Aguilar (WASHINGTON), Valerie Arioto (CALIFORNIA), Ally Carda (CALIFORNIA), Rachel Garcia (CALIFORNIA), Dejah Mulipola (ARIZONA), Bubba Nickles (CALIFORNIA), Janie Reed (OREGON) and Delaney Spaulding (CALIFORNIA).

» Torri Huske (STANFORD) fell just short of getting her first medal in the Games with a fourth place finish in the women’s 100 butterfly final. She finished with a 55.73, which was one hundredth of a second away from bronze.

» The U.S. women’s 3x3 basketball team secured its spot in the semifinals after defeating Italy 17-13 and China 21-19. A key performer against China was Kelsey Plum (WASHINGTON), who led Team USA with 10 points, going 5 of 8 in one-pointers and 2 for 2 in two-pointers. 

Looking Ahead: The U.S. softball team will have its chance at gold at 4 a.m. PT on Tuesday when it plays for the second time against Japan, whose only loss at the Olympics was to the U.S.

Quote of the Day: "It's definitely one of the warmest places. The humidity also makes it feel even hotter than it is a lot of days, it says it's 90 degrees but feels like 100. We actually got a little taste of it in 2019 at the test event here and for me it really kind of knocked me (out). (It) just really affected my game and it made me realize 'OK, I need to do some preparation for this,' and so that's where the sauna training came in.” - Alix Klineman (STANFORD) about the Tokyo heat after she and her partner April Ross (USC) defeated Xue Chen and Wang Xinxin of China 2-0 in beach volleyball. 

Edwin Perez is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


A schedule of NBC’s Olympic coverage can be found on

Monday, July 26

Women's Beach Volleyball: United States vs. Spain - 5 p.m. PT

  • USA: Alix Klineman (STAN), April Ross (USC)

Shooting: 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team Qualification - 5 p.m. PT

  • USA: Alexis Lagan (UTAH)

Men's Water Polo: United States vs. South Africa - 6 p.m. PT

  • USA: Alex Bowen (STAN), Luca Cupido (CAL), Hannes Daube (USC), Ben Hallock (STAN), Drew Holland (STAN), Johnny Hooper (CAL), Max Irving (UCLA), Marko Vavic (USC), Alex Wolf (UCLA), Dylan Woodhead (STAN)

Rugby: Republic of Korea vs. Argentina - 6 p.m. PT

  • Republic of Korea: Andre Jin Coquillard (CAL)

Swimming: Women's 200 Free Semifinals - 6:30 p.m. PT

  • USA: Katie Ledecky (STAN), Allison Schmitt (ASU)

Swimming: Women's 100 Back Final - 6:51 p.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)

  • USA: Regan Smith (STAN)

Swimming: Men's 100 Back Final - 6:59 p.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)

  • Romania: Robert Glinta (USC)
  • Spain: Hugo Gonzalez (CAL)
  • USA: Ryan Murphy (CAL)

Men's Tennis Singles: United State vs. Japan - 7 p.m. PT

  • USA: Marcos Giron (UCLA)

Men's Volleyball: United States vs. China - 7:05 p.m. PT

  • USA: Micah Christenson (USC), Garrett Muagututia (UCLA), Kawika Shoji (STAN), Erik Shoji (STAN), Mitch Stahl (UCLA)

Fencing: Hong Kong vs. China - 7:25 p.m. PT (Women's Epee Team Quarterfinal)

  • Hong Kong: Vivian Kong (STAN)

Rugby: United States vs. South Africa - 7:30 p.m. PT

  • USA: Danny Barrett (CAL), Brett Thompson (ARIZ)

Swimming: Men's 200 Fly Semifinal - 7:41 p.m. PT

  • France: Leon Marchand (ASU)

Swimming: Women's 200 IM Semifinal - 7:58 p.m. PT

  • Great Britain: Alicia Wilson (CAL)
  • Hungary: Katinka Hosszu (USC)

Table Tennis: Women's Singles Round 3 - 8 p.m. PT

  • USA: Lily Zhang (CAL)

Softball: Mexico vs. Canada - 9 p.m. PT (**Bronze Medal**)

  • Mexico: Dallas Escobedo (ASU), Chelsea Gonzales (ASU), Taylor McQuillin (ARIZ), Danielle O'Toole (ARIZ), Sashel Palacios (ASU), Anissa Urtez (UTAH)
  • Canada: Victoria Hayward (WASH), Danielle Lawrie (WASH), Jenn Salling (WASH)

3x3 Basketball: United States vs. Japan - 9:30 p.m. PT

  • USA: Kelsey Plum (WASH)

Women's Basketball: Nigeria vs. United States - 9:40 p.m. PT

  • Nigeria: Promise Amukmara (ASU), Ify Ibekwe (ARIZ), Atonye Nyingifa (UCLA)

Cycling: Mountain Bike - 11 p.m. PT

  • USA: Kate Courtney (STAN), Erin Huck (COLO)

Diving: Women's 10m Synchro Platform Final - 11 p.m. PT

  • USA: Delaney Schnell (ARIZ)

Men's Water Polo: Greece vs. Italy

  • Greece: Kostas Genidounias (USC)

Tuesday, July 27

Equestrian: Dressage Team Grand Prix Special - 1 a.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)

  • USA: Adrienne Lyle (WSU)

Women's Soccer: United States vs. Australia - 1 a.m. PT

  • USA: Abby Dahlkemper (UCLA), Tierna Davidson (STAN), Sam Mewis (UCLA), Alex Morgan (CAL), Kelley O'Hara (STAN), Christen Press (STAN)
  • Australia: Teagan Micah (UCLA)

Women's Soccer: New Zealand vs. Sweden - 1 a.m. PT

  • New Zealand: Daisy Cleverley (CAL), Betsy Hassett (CAL), Ali Riley (STAN)

Women's Basketball: Australia vs. Belgium - 1:20 a.m. PT

  • Australia: Leilani Mitchell (UTAH), Alanna Smith (STAN)

Swimming: Men's 100 Free Heats - 3 a.m. PT

  • Venezuela: Alberto Mestre (STAN)
  • Trinidad & Tobago: Dylan Carter (USC)
  • Sweden: Robin Hanson (CAL)
  • Russian Olympic Committee: Andrei Minakov (STAN)

Swimming: Women's 200 Fly Heats - 3:25 a.m. PT

  • USA: Hali Flickinger (ASU), Regan Smith (STAN)
  • Hungary: Katinka Hosszu (USC)

Swimming: Men's 200 Breast - 3:38 p.m. PT

  • Israel: Ron Polonsky (STAN)

Gymnastics: Women's Team Final - 3:45 p.m. PT

  • USA: Jade Carey (OSU), Jordan Chiles (UCLA), Grace McCallum (UTAH), MyKayla Skinner (UTAH)

Men's Water Polo: Australia vs. Croatia - 3:50 a.m. PT

  • Australia: Joel Dennerley (USC), Lachlan Edwards (USC), Blake Edwards (USC)

Swimming: Men's 4x200 Free Relay - 3:58 a.m. PT

Softball: United States vs. Japan - 4 a.m. PT (**Gold Medal**)

  • USA: Ali Aguilar (WASH), Valerie Arioto (CAL), Ally Carda, (UCLA), Rachel Garcia (UCLA), Dejah Mulipola (ARIZ), Bubba Nickles (UCLA), Janie Reed (OREGON), Delaney Spaulding (UCLA)

Women's Soccer: Canada vs. Great Britain - 4 a.m. PT

  • Canada: Jessie Flemming (UCLA)

Swimming: Men's 800 Free Heats - 4:17 a.m. PT

  • Sweden: Victor Johansson (USC)

Women's Basketball: Puerto Rico vs. China - 5 a.m. PT

  • Puerto Rico: Ali Gibson (OSU)