Trojans At Tokyo Olympics Day 11: Allyson Felix Debuts; Six Women of Troy Duel in USA-Canada Water Polo
USC's Rai Benjamin took home a silver medal while setting an American record in an epic 400m hurdles race on Day 11 (Tuesday, Aug. 3, in Tokyo) of the 2020 Olympics. Other key performances by Trojans on Tuesday included track's Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown advancing to the final of the 200m, April Ross and Tina Graudina helping their teams advance to the semifinals in women's beach volleyball, track's Allyson Felix and Kyra Constantine moving on to the semis in the 400m and knockout wins for women's water polo players Stephania Haralabidis, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Paige Hauschild, Amanda Longan and Anni Espar that got their squads into semifinal play.
- USC's Rai Benjamin won a silver medal in the fastest men's 400m hurdles race in history. Benjamin clocked an American record of 46.17, only to be edged by Norway's Karsten Warholm, who set a new world record of 45.94. Both times were well below Warholm's previous world record of 46.70 and Benjamin's time was 0.66 lower than his previous best.
- Two of the three Trojans in the women's 400m heats advanced to the semifinals. Allyson Felix of the U.S. ran a 40.84 for fourth (first in her heat) and Canada's Kyra Constantine went 51.69 for 21st (fifth in her heat) to both advance to the semis on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 3:46 a.m. PT (7:46 p.m. JT). Great Britain's Nicole Yeargin ran a 52.04 to finish third in her heat, good enough to advance to the semis, however afterwards she was disqualified for running out of her lane.
- Two Trojans, who both represent Canada, advanced from the men's 200 m morning heats to the evening semifinals and then into the final. In the heats, Aaron Brown was 11th overall (first in his heat) in 20.38 (-0.7) and Andre De Grasse as 21st (third in his heat) in 20.56 (-0.6). Then in the semis, De Grasse had the fastest time with a Canadian record 19.73 (+0.2) and Brown had the third fastest while winning his heat in 19.99 (-0.4). The 200m final is set for Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 5:55 a.m. PT (9:55 p.m. JT).
- USC's Nick Ponzio of Italy was 20th in the shot put qualifying with a 66-6.50 (20.28m) mark, but did not advance.
- Both remaining women's beach volleyball teams with Trojans won their quarterfinal matches to advance to the semifinals and are now guaranteed to play for a medal. USC's April Ross of the U.S. and partner Alix Klineman scored a 21-19, 21-19 victory over Germany's Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch on a wet blustery morning. Ross had 22 kills, 8 dig and 3 aces, all match highs. The Americans move on to the semifinals against Switzerland's Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 5 p.m. PT (9 a.m. JT on Aug. 5).
- Later that evening, Trojan Tina Graudina of Latvia and partner Anastasija Kravcenoka defeated Canada's Heather Bansely and Brandie Wilkerson, 21-13, 18-21, 15-11. Graudina had 6 kills along with match bests of 3 blocks and 2 aces. The Latvians advance to the semis to face Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy on Wednesday (Aug 4) at 6 p.m. PT (10 a.m. JT on Aug. 5).
- There were Trojans competing in all of the women's water polo quarterfinal matches and two teams advanced to the semifinals, meaning they are guaranteed to play for a medal. In the opening quarterfinal, the U.S. defeated Canada, 16-5. Trojans Stephania Haralabidis and Kaleigh Gilchrist each scored a goal for the U.S., while Paige Hauschild was held scoreless and goalie Amanda Longan had 3 saves. For the Trojan Canadians, Hayley McKelvey had a goal and Joelle Bekhazi was scoreless. The U.S. now moves on to the semifinals against ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 11:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. JT on Aug. 5). Canada falls into a 5th-8th place classification game versus Australia on Thursday (Aug. 5) at 2:20 a.m. PT (6:20 p.m. JT).
- Next, Spain beat China, 11-7, with USC's Anni Espar getting a goal for the Spaniards. Spain now goes on to the semis against Hungary on Thursday (Aug. 5) at 3:50 p.m. PT (7:50 p.m. JT).
- In the following match, Netherlands fell to Hungary, 14-11. USC's Maud Megens of the Netherlands had 2 goals. Netherlands now plays in a 5th-8th place classification game against China on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at 10 p.m. PT (2 p.m. JT on Aug. 5).
- In the final quarterfinal match of the day, ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) beat Australia, 9-8. Trojan Tilly Kearns scored once for the Aussies, while teammate Hannah Buckling was scoreless. Australia now goes to a 5th-8th place classification game against Canada on Thurs. (Aug. 5) at 2:20 a.m PT (6:20 p.m. JT).
- Israel was eliminated from the Olympic baseball competition when it lost to Dominican Republic, 7-6, in a Round 1 repechage. The Israeli's lost on a 2-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Ben Wanger, who played at USC in 2020 before transferring, did not see action in the game. Israel finished with a 1-4 record and fifth place in the Olympic tourney.