Tokyo 2020: Daily Pac-12 guide to the Olympic Games (August 6)
The U.S. beach volleyball pair of April Ross (USC) and Alix Klineman (STANFORD), also known as “The A-Team,” came into this year’s Olympics with a chip on their shoulder. And it showed.
“It was such a shot in the dark,” Ross told CBS. “For us to get here and do this, with this kind of competition, just blows my mind. To get a gold medal finally feels so amazing."
The pair dominated in the championship match, sweeping Australia in the finals 21-15, 21-16 and giving Team USA its fourth gold in the event. The U.S. now has more gold medals in women’s beach volleyball than every other country combined.
The pair went undefeated in the Games, only dropping one set in the seven matches they won.
Although this was Ross’s third Olympics, she had never won a gold medal before. She won bronze with Kerri Walsh Jennings (STANFORD) in Rio and silver with Jennifer Kessy (USC) in London, and had her eyes on the prize this year with partner Klineman, who switched from playing indoor to the sand after not making the indoor Olympics team in 2016.
"I still don't know if I really ever expected this to come true," Klineman told CBS. "It feels like such a fairy tale."
Ross is now the oldest player to win gold in the event at age 39.
» The U.S. men’s water polo team took fifth after beating Italy. Ten of the 13 members on the team are current or former athletes from Pac-12 schools, including CALIFORNIA, STANFORD, UCLA and USC.
» The U.S. women’s volleyball team swept Serbia on Thursday night to advance to the gold medal match on Saturday night. Foluke Akinradewo (STANFORD) could be a member of the first U.S. women’s team to win a gold medal in Olympics history.
» Jenna Prandini (OREGON) helped the U.S. women’s 4x100 relay team take silver. Fellow Duck English Gardner also claimed a medal after running in the prelims for Team USA.
Looking Ahead: The USA men’s basketball team will play in the gold medal game Friday at 7 p.m. PT. The team features Zach LaVine (UCLA) and Jrue Holiday (UCLA).
Quote of the Day: “This is what we worked for every single day. But just ‘cause you work for it and just ‘cause you do everything you can doesn't mean that it happens. So the fact that everything is falling into place, it feels so magical.” –– Alix Klineman (STANFORD), from USA TODAY
Erin Slinde is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the Pac-12 Conference and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
UPCOMING MEDAL OPPORTUNITIES
Friday, August 6
Track & Field: Women's Marathon Final - 2 p.m. PT
- Canada: Malindi Elmore (STAN)
Golf: Women's Stroke Play Round 4 - 2:30 p.m. PT
- Colombia: Mariajo Uribe (UCLA)
- Germany: Sophia Popov (USC)
- Hong Kong: Tiffany Chan (USC)
- Italy: Giulia Molinaro (ASU)
- Philippines: Bianca Pagdanganan (ARIZ)
- Spain: Carlota Ciganda (ASU), Azahara Munoz (ASU)
- Sweden: Anna Nordqvist (ASU)
- Switzerland: Albane Valenzuela (STAN)
- Thailand: Patty Tavatanakit (UCLA)
Basketball (M): United States vs. France - 7:30 p.m. PT (**Gold Medal**)
- USA: Jrue Holiday (UCLA), Zach LaVine (UCLA)
Water Polo (W): Hungary vs. ROC - 9:40 p.m. PT (**Bronze Medal**)
- Hungary: Anna Illes (CAL)
Diving: Men's 10m Platform Final - 11 p.m. PT
- Puerto Rico: Rafael Quintero (ARIZ)
- Semifinal at 6 p.m. PT
Saturday, August 7
Basketball (W): Serbia vs. France - 12 a.m. PT (**Bronze Medal**)
- Serbia: Angela Dugalic (UCLA)
Water Polo (W): United States vs. Spain - 12:30 a.m. PT (**Gold Medal**)
- USA: Rachel Fattal (UCLA), Makenzie Fischer (STAN), Aria Fischer (STAN), Kaleigh Gilchrist (USC), Stephania Haralabidis (USC), Paige Hauschild (USC), Amanda Longan (USC), Maddie Musselman (UCLA), Jamie Neushul (STAN), Melissa Seidemann (STAN), Maggie Steffens (STAN), Alys Williams (UCLA)
- Spain: Anni Espar (USC), Roser Tarrago (CAL)
Cycling: Men's Madison Final - 12:55 a.m. PT
- USA: Adrian Hegyvary (WASH)
Equestrian: Jumping Team Final - 3 a.m. PT
- Egypt: Nayel Nassar (STAN)
Baseball: United States vs. Japan - 3 a.m. PT (**Gold Medal**)
- USA: Eric Filia (UCLA), Scott McGough (ORE)
Basketball (M): Australia vs. Slovenia - 4 a.m. PT (**Bronze Medal**)
- Australia: Aron Baynes (WSU), Josh Green (ARIZ), Matisse Thybulle (WASH)
Track & Field: Men's 1,500m Final - 4:40 a.m. PT
- USA: Cole Hocker (ORE)
Track & Field: Women's 4x400m Relay Final - 5:30 a.m. PT