And now on to Team USA! USA! USA! Plenty of medals up for grabs for them on Day 15. Here are a few highlights:
10.30pm EDT: men’s basketball final
After stumbling in warm-up games before heading to Tokyo and also in the first matchup of the group stage of the tournament, the US men’s hoops team looks to be back on track. They’re undefeated in their past four Olympic games and have won those contests by an average of 35.5 points. Now, they’re set to face France, the talented squad that topped them in their first game in Tokyo, in the final, and the US will need to have learned from its mistakes. That said, France has won by slimmer margins en route to the gold medal match, and the US is gelling with their full roster finally accustomed to playing together, so odds favor the Americans.
3.30am EDT: women’s water polo final
Water polo may be the most grueling sport at the Olympics – though the 50k race-walk seems pretty brutal – and the US women are playing against Spain for gold. Women’s water polo debuted at the 2000 Games, and since then, Team USA has played in all but one final, and they’ve won the past two gold medals, topping Spain in 2012 and Italy in ‘16. They’re heavily favored in Tokyo and have won every major international tournament they’ve competed in since 2014, but they did suffer a loss to Hungary in group play, their first Olympic defeat since 2008.
6.35am EDT: women’s high jump final
Vashti Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, was the lone US woman to make the high jump final, and she has a strong chance to medal. Cunningham, 23, has already won national championships and a world indoor title; in 2019, at the most recent world championship, she finished third in the high jump.
7.40am EDT: men’s 1500m final
Cole Hocker represents one of the final two chances for the US men’s track team to take an individual gold in Tokyo – and he has long odds to do so. Hocker, 20, is competing in his first Olympics, and he won the 1500 at the NCAA championship this spring. At the Olympic trials, he edged reigning gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz, who made the team but failed to reach the final.
6am EDT: men’s baseball final
Baseball, which was back on the Olympic schedule this year for the first time since 2008, won’t be returning to the in Paris in 2024, so Saturday’s action will mark a kind of ending, or pause – and there’s no better matchup to finish on than Team USA vs. Japan. The US hasn’t won gold since 2000, and Japan never has, but the two teams have been dominant thus far in Tokyo. They’ve already matched up once, on Monday, when Japan won 7-6 in extra innings, and if Saturday’s game is even almost that exciting, it’ll be one to remember.
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