What to Watch at the Rio Games on Saturday
RIO DE JANEIRO – Day 8 of the Rio Games features medal action in swimming, track and field, tennis, fencing, track cycling and more. Here are some things to watch (all times local):
The women’s gold medal singles match at 3 p.m. features Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig against Germany’s Angelique Kerber. Puig is looking for her territory’s first gold in any sport in Olympic history.
The bronze medal round sees American Madison Keys play two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Keys lost 6-3, 7-5 to Kerber on Friday.
Earlier, men’s singles semifinals will be held starting with a 12 p.m. match between Britain’s Andy Murray and Japan’s Kei Nishikori. The winner will play in the Sunday finals against the victor of Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, who knocked out No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round. The Nadal-del Potro match immediately follows Murray’s.
The final day of swimming at the games will likely give us our last look at all-time record medalist Michael Phelps in an Olympic competition. While the team is not yet set, plan to see him swim in the mens’ 4×100 meter medley relay final at 11:04 p.m. He took silver in the 100 fly Friday night.
We’ll also get another chance to see Simone Manuel , who on Thursday became the first African-American woman to win a gold when she set an American and Olympic record in the 100 free. She’ll likely compete in the 4×100 medley relay at 10:49 p.m. with the potential to grow her new fan base . And she’ll swim at 10:44 p.m. in the women’s 50 free finals, for which she qualified Friday.
Medals also will be awarded in the 1500 free, which won’t include defending champion Sun Yang of China, who failed to qualify Friday.
TRACK AND FIELD
We’ll finally get our chance to see the fastest man in the world. Usain Bolt, the two-time defending champion in the 100-meter sprint, takes to the track for his first heat of the games at 12 p.m. The Jamaican athlete (and self-described entertainer) set the world record in 2009 and the Olympic record in 2012 (London) breaking his previous record set in Beijing in 2008.
The finals are on Sunday night, and Bolt has told his parents he’s ready for them despite nursing a sore hamstring.
Justin Gatlin, the sprinter considered the best threat to stop Bolt, won gold at the 2004 Olympics. He’s been caught using banned substances twice (the first was later ruled as taken for attention deficit disorder) but the second brought a four-year ban for excessive testosterone. He told AP that he’s not paying attention to what people are saying about him, and is not concerned with those who think he doesn’t belong here.
Medals will go to the fastest women in the world after their 100 finals at 10:37 p.m. Semifinals start at 9 p.m.
There are six sprinters to watch : Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Americans English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie. Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the two-time defending Olympic champion, had the fastest time in qualifiers Friday night.
Also, at 9:27 p.m., the men’s 10,000 kicks off, with Britain’s Mo Farrah the dominant athlete in the sport. He has not lost a major race since taking silver in the 10,000 at the 2011 worlds, but Ethiopia’s Yigrem Demelash is hoping to renew his nation’s ownership of the race.
Farah, heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and long jumper Greg Rutherford won gold medals within an hour of each other at the 2012 London Games, creating one of the biggest roars in Olympic history. All three will be competing for gold during Saturday evening.
The men’s long jump finals will begin at 8:53 p.m. Rutherford, American Jarrion Lawson and Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre are the ones to watch. The Olympic record is still held by Bob Beaman, who set it in 1968, though Mike Powell eclipsed it in 1991.
The final event of the heptathlon, the 800, starts at 11:18 p.m.
Earlier, at 11 a.m., the women begin their heats in the 400.
Allyson Felix , who won’t get a chance to repeat for gold in the 200, takes to the track after winning the U.S. trials over Phyllis Frances. Felix has been to three Olympics and picked up six medals.
Medals will also be awarded in the men’s discus. Finals are at 10:50 a.m. and Piotr Malachowski, of Poland, Philip Milanov, Belgium, and Christoph Harting, Germany, are favorites to medal.
Men’s quarterfinals are underway a day after Sweden’s striking upset against the U.S. women in penalty kicks.
At the top of the bill is at 10 p.m., with Brazil vs. Colombia. It’s a potential grudge match following the 2014 World Cup quarters between the two in which Colombia’s Juan Camillo Zuniga kneed Neymar, fracturing his back.
Brazil’s fortunate to be in the field. The host nation needed a 4-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday to stave off elimination.
Other matches have Portugal take on Germany at 1 p.m.; Nigeria against Denmark at 4 p.m. and Korea vs. Honduras at 7 p.m.
The round of 16 continues for both men and women the day after defending champions Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross took on Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini of Italy in the late match.
Canada has a number of matches to watch.
At 12 p.m., Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley take on countrywomen Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas. And at 7 p.m., Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton play the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen.
Although Canada has won only one medal in the sport since it joined the Olympic program in 1996, this contingent is hoping it can change that.
In the late match, at 11:59 p.m., Americans Philip Delhausser and Nick Lecena vs Austria’s Robin Seidl and Alexander Huber.
The third round of the men’s tournament tees off at 7:30 a.m. Marcus Fraser of Australia shot a 2-under 69 Friday for the 36-hole lead in the first Olympic golf competition since 1904. He had a one-shot lead over Thomas Pieters of Belgium, a former NCAA champion who closed with three straight birdies.
Swede Henrik Stenson , the British Open champ, is in the mix thanks to the longest put in his career: a 108-footer for par.
The women’s team sabre finals is at 6:15 p.m. after quarterfinals that start at 9 a.m. It’s U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad’s last chance to medal. Earlier in the games, she became the first American to compete while wearing a hajib.
Defending men’s gold medal champions Russia take on 2014 world champions Poland at 3 p.m. And, at 10:35 p.m., Brazil faces Italy. Brazil won silver in London while Italy took bronze.
The men’s heavyweight semifinals start at 12:45 p.m. with Evegeny Tishchenko of Russia vs Rustam Tulaganov of Uzbekistan. They continue at 6:45 p.m. with Kazakstan’s Vassiliy Levit taking on Erislandy Savon of Cuba.
The women’s team pursuit finals are held at 5:14 p.m. Olympic champion Britain and world champion U.S. are likely to meet for gold in the velodrome, provided both win semifinals starting at 11:17 a.m. as expected. Austria took the men’s title on Friday night.
The event wraps up with men’s single sculls finals (10:32 a.m.); women’s singles (10:45 a.m.); the women’s eights (11:06 a.m.) and men’s eights at 11:27 a.m.
By The Associated Press