Highlight of the day
Rugby sevens – Men’s finals
The local audience seems to have been allergic to the event, but Rugby Sevens may well turn out to have been a sleeper hit with the global audience. If so it will have served as both a fantastic introduction to full-form rugby for the broader sporting world, and even an object lesson to other sports like cricket on the benefits of an Olympic audience for international profile and expansion. We eagerly await that viewership data .
The men’s semi finals and final are today. The semis feature pre-tournament favourites Fiji against bolters Japan playing for the right to be your favourite in the gold medal match against either Great Britain or South Africa.
Note that if Fiji win a medal, it will be their first ever, and rocket them past Kosovo and Slovenia to the top of the per capita medal tally for this Olympiad.
Favourites: Fiji, South Africa
Probably should watch
Rowing – Men’s quad sculls, Women’s quad sculls, Men’s coxless pair, Women’s double sculls, Men’s double sculls, Men’s coxless lightweight four
Two days lost to inclement weather has accordioned a bunch of finals together. Let’s be super clear here: there are WAAAAAAAAAY too many rowing events. There’s approximately a trillion, all over the same distance, with gender splits as well. There should be four, maaaaaybe six if you are being generous.
They are: single sculls, eights, and lightweight fours. Everything else is unnecessary fat clogging up the program and diluting the general talent levels of the competition.
Given rowing is a morning medal event we’d suggest there’s a decent chance you’ll spend this evening letting the succession of different boat/number/gender/oar configurations wash over you before much else significant starts. Here’s a table of the favourites:
|Event||Team members||Oars per person||Favourites|
|Men’s quad sculls||4||2||Australia, Estonia, Germany|
|Women’s quad sculls||4||2||Germany, Ukraine, Poland|
|Men’s coxless pair||2||1||New Zealand|
|Women’s double sculls||4||2||Poland, Greece, Lithuania|
|Men’s double sculls||4||2||Croatia|
|Men’s coxless lightweight four||4||1||New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy|
Canoe slalom – Men’s canoe double (C2), Women’s kayak single (K1)
If the flat water boat-and-oar competitions aren’t your jam, here’s some more slalom. The slalom is better than the flat water events because there’s an element of chaos and unpredictability from the ebbs and flows of the water. Two great runs are required in each final – each gate touch costs 2 seconds to your final time, a missed gate is practically a mortal blow to your chances.
This is the last time a doubles canoe event will be run at the Olympics, being replaced in 2020 by a women’s single canoe event.
Favourites: France, Slovakia, Czechia (Men’s C2), Jessica Fox, Maialen Chourrant, Fiona Pennie
Cycling – Men’s team sprint
This is the first gold medal event of the velodrome, which might be the best name for the venue of an Olympic event. Say it with us: VELODROME. The team sprint sees three riders from each nation complete three laps of the track, with each rider leading for a lap and then peeling off. NZ comes in as the extremely strong favourites here, and no other country should touch them on current form.
Favourite: New Zealand
Gymnastics – Women’s individual all-around
Simone Biles will be extremely hard to stop here. Strike that: the US should comfortably go one-two at the top of the leaderboard, and probably would snag the bronze as well if the rules allowed.
Favourite: Simone Biles
Table tennis – Men’s singles
Table tennis really brings it for the finals, as was evidenced with last night’s tense marathon of a gold medal match. We repeat: you cannot do the shit that these athletes do on the table, nor should you really try. You’d probably end up breaking your wrist or ankle or collarbone or heart.
Favourites: Long Ma, Jike Zhang
Swimming – Men’s 200m individual medley, Women’s 100m freestyle, Men’s 200m backstroke
In the medley, Lochte and Phelps should fight it out in the middle two lanes, and are the current World Record and Olympic Record holders respectively. Kosuke Hagino is the other swimmer in with a shot but both Americans were a second faster than Hagino in the semis.
Phelps will be looking win his 22nd gold. If he does, he will move the Nation of
Joe Michael Phelps past Ethiopia into about 36th place in the all-time country medal tally at the Summer Olympics.
The Campbell sisters should do well in the 100m free tonight. Cate is the favourite over her younger sister Bronte, with Simone Manuel also firmly in the mix.
You could throw a blanket over Ryan Murphy, Mitchell Larkin, and Evgeny Rylov’s qualifying times for the 200 backstroke with 0.47 of a second separating them in an almost 2-minute race. Larkin has the best PB of the bunch, by about 0.8 of a second. He’s also the reigning FINA Swimmer of the Year. However, he was relatively disappointing in the 100m final. The finish should be a thriller.
Favourites: Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte (Men’s IM), Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell, Simone Manuel (women;’s 100m freestyle), Mitchell Larkin, Ryan Murphy, Evgeny Rylov (Men’s 200m backstroke
Watch if it’s on
Archery – Women’s individual
We’re almost at the end of the program of bows and arrows at this Olympics. Tonight the question is which Korean will win.
We’ll let you in on a little secret: archery is about 9000% more bearable to watch in double speed. There’s a lot of dead time here, and if they somehow could shoot simultaneously or have multiple matches at once it would punch it up. Horseback archery would also be a superb addition and bring some much needed Mongolian flavour into the non-combat portion og the Olympics.
Favourites: Choi Misun, Ki Bo Bae, Chang Hye Jin
Judo – Women’s 78 kg, Men’s 100 kg
Each day of judo has a higher weight class than the day before, so if we assume technique is at rough parity between weight classes then theoretically most judoka today could have beaten everyone yesterday. It literally continues to build up to tomorrow’s final day, top weight class climax.
Favourites: Kayla Harrison, Mayra Aguiar, Audrey Tcheumeo, Marhinde Verkerk (women’s 78kg) Elmar Gasimov, Cyrille Maret, Lukas Krpalek, Ryunosuke Haga (Men’s 100kg)
Swimming – Women’s 200m breaststroke
Taylor McKeown was the only one to break 2:22 in the semi-finals, and had half a second on the rest of this race. Every other finalist finished within 0.75 seconds of each other.
Favourites: Taylor McKeown, Rie Kaneto, Rikke Pedersen, the rest of the field really
Shooting – Women’s 50m rifle 3 positions
I think we’ve made our statements on shooting’s role in the Olympics clear by now. No further questions.
Favourites: Women who are good at firing a rifle from three different body positions
Fencing – Women’s team épée
Did you see that the French athlete lost his phone in the round of 32 match the other day? That was nuts! Who fences with a phone in their back pocket? PRO TIP: having a 6 inch smartphone down your dacks hurts your mobility.
Favourites: Romania, Russia, China, very much not France.