HPN #Rio2016 Day 9 Preview

Highlight of the Day

Diving – Women’s 3m springboard

At HPN we rate backflips and twists pretty highly. It doesn’t get much more backflippy and twisty than the 3m springboard. There’s sports that we could reasonably compete in, and there’s things like the springboard in which we’d be lucky to survive in a “living” sense.

There should be a tight competition between at least two athletes, Shi Tingmao and He Ze, at the top, with Abel and Keeney a chance of spoiling the party.
BTW, have we all seen what has happened to the diving pool (courtesy of Deadspin):
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Yikes.

Probably should watch

Cycling – Men’s Sprint

Jason Kenny faces off against Callum Skinner in the great match race of the track. The sprint is 70% tactics and 30% raw speed, and Kenny probably has the edge here.

That is, if he doesn’t hit a piece of gaffer tape on the track.

Athletics – Men’s 400m,  Men’s 100m, Women’s Marathon

Three pretty big events populate the track program tonight as well, with it being already packed with highlights.

The women’s marathon sees 160 athletes line up, but no clear cut favourite emerging. Mare Dibaba is the reigning world champion, and winner of a couple of World Marathon Majors, but tied with Helah Kiprop in the final WMM standings for 2015-16. For the current WMM season, Jemima Jelagat Sumgong is leading the way, and has a very quick PB time. Eunice Kirwa, bronze medalist at the most recent World Champs, also stands a strong shot.
In the men’s 400m, three athletes sit as the ones to watch. Grenada’s Kirani James is just 23 years old, but is lining up for his second consecutive gold in this event (and Grenada’s second medal ever). Wayde Van Niekerk is the only man ever to break 10 seconds in the 100m, 20 seconds in the 200m and 44 seconds in the 400m, but no matter how much he achieves he will only ever be the second most famous South African 400m runner. LaShawn Merritt is also going for the 200/400m double at Rio, and is the 2008 400m champion. This one should be a ripper.
Every other media outlet will do the men’s 100m to death, so we’ll give it a light touch. You know how this looks already. Bolt, Bromell, Blake, Gatlin and Vicault.

Tennis – Men’s Singles

Since the start we’ve penciled this in as a don’t bother. But, the run of Juan Martin Del Potro has made this absolutely compelling viewing. Del Potro looms as one of tennis’s great couldabeen stories, a player of immeasurable talents cruelled by injury. He hasn’t been inside the top 100 since 2014, and probably hasn’t been fully fit since 2009. To get to the final, Del Potro has beaten the world number 1 (Djokovic), one of the best few players of all time (Nadal) and the world number 14 (Bautista Agut).

However, Del Potro faces one more challenge in the final, that of defending champion Andy Murray. We don’t care who is the favourite here, all we know is that we’re firmly in the Del Potro camp tonight.

Sailing – Men’s and Women’s RS:X (windsurfing)

Of all the sailing events, the RS:X is the dopest. It is windsurfing, which is the coolest thing they’ve got to offer. Sailing is pretty straightlaced – windsurfing is plausibly exciting and non-boat shoe wearing.

Unfortunately, the Dutch athlete Dorian van Rijsselberghe has done enough during the preliminary races to win the gold without even finishing the final. Let that sink in for a second. This guy has beaten everyone else so comprehensively during qualifying rounds that a double points final race has no impact on the final result.

What’s more stunning is that this is the second time that van Rijsselberghe has done this exact thing before, in London 2012. As far as HPN research can show, no other boat has achieved this in the current sailing format. Turn in to watch van Rijsselberghe soak in his phenomenal achievement. Or maybe showboat. Or just not bother. Who knows?

In the women’s event, Flavia Tartaglini and Stefania Elfutina are tied for the lead before the final race, with seven other athletes a mathematical chance of winning gold. This one will be tight.

You can go back to ignoring sailing after today. And we can re-classify this as surfing for Tokyo.

Watch if it’s on

Athletics – Women’s triple jump

The triple jump, or hop-step-jump, is less good than the other jumping events, whether long, high or pole. We don’t need to explain this: it’s just a fact.

Only one leaper, Yulimar Rojas, has lept over 15m this year. In the qualifying round, Caterine Ibargüen, topped the field, just ahead of Paraskevi Papachristou and Olga Rypakova.

Weightlifting – Women’s 75+kg

The final class of women’s weightlifting of the games, the 75+kg class. World record holder Tatiana Kashirina isn’t here, ruled out as part of the ban on Russian athletes. Meng Suping was an extremely late replacement for another Chinese athlete, and is a very short priced favourite.

Golf – Men’s

There is so much more that they could have done to make golf a compelling watch at this Olympics. Why didn’t they decide to make it a team’s competition (or have an extra one)? Or maybe a matchplay contest, giving it a place as the most important tournament of its type in the world? Instead, it’s a standard strokeplay contest, and much of the air was taken out by a reduced field.

To give them credit, those who have shown up look like they really want to be there, and there has been some really good golf so far. Three players sit with a realistic shot of winning: Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Marcus Fraser. All three have good narratives behind their journeys, and turns it into something worth monitoring in the background, in case of a close finish.

Boxing – Men’s 49kg

Yuberjen Herney Martinez Rivas  is a surprise finalist, decisioning strong favourite Joahnys Argilagos  in the semi. The Colombian will fight Hasanboy Dusmatov in the final, the current Asian champion in this weight class.

Gymnastics – Men’s Floor, Pommel Horse; Women’s Uneven Bars, Vault

We don’t see the point of having separate events and medals for these disciplines. Surely they could re-purpose the arena to provide more diversity to the Olympic program.

Simone Biles is a very strong favourite in the vault, but she won’t get a start in the uneven bars. Instead, fellow Americans Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian will face off against Aliya Mustafina in the battle for gold.

The men’s floor will see the Biles-equivelent of the men’s competition Kōhei Uchimura battle against Americans Mikulak and Dalton, plus Brazilian Hypólito. The pommel horse sees two Brits, Smith and Whitlock at the top of qualifications.

Tennis – Mixed Doubles, Women’s Doubles

WHO WILL WIN? WILL IT BE THE FAVOURITES FROM THE USA, OR THE PLUCKY USA UNDERDOGS???

The mixed final will be fought out between two American teams, and that’s really no fun. Venus Williams, partnered with Rajeev Ram, has a chance to put a cherry on top of her glittering Olympic career. The other US has Sock and Mattek-Sands, and should probably be primed for one of the biggest matches of their career. Probably at least.

The women’s doubles match sees the Russian pairing Makarova and Vesnina battle against the evergreen Martina Hingis and Bacsinszky. It’s worth noting that the only player on this court that would have been suspended for drug use, in a match involving Russia, is Hingis.

Don’t bother

Wrestling – Men’s Greco-Roman 59kg and 75kg
There’s two types of wrestling in the Olympics – Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Normally we don’t mind hopping on a bit of nostalgia, but it’s clear that the superior form of wresting is freestyle. We don’t know why Greco-Roman is here, and it’s sexist as well – women don’t get to compete.
In the 59kg, three former world champions are fighting it out. The field is tight, but current world number one “Call Me” Ismael Borrero comes in as favourite. Don’t count out Rovshan BayramovStepan Maryanyan 0r Stig Andre Berge either.
The 75kg class is also packed, with two reigning Olympic champions battling it out. Kim Hyeon-Woo steps up from the 66kg class, and Roman Vlasov is the defending champion in this class.
Shooting – Men’s rifle three positions
We’ve stopped caring so much that we’re not even going to make a joke here. This shooting crap needs to be fixed. One or two events, mixed entry, involving different kinds of guns, would be sufficient. Or even none would be fine. Tokyo, it’s all on you now.

Fencing – Men’s Team Epee

Donald Trump’s favourite event of the Olympics. He loves that the winners get gold medals. But in an HPN exclusive, he did ask where the fence was last night…

 

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