When it comes to the Olympics, nothing is crueler than fourth place. That’s especially true for Mara Abbott, the American cyclist who had the gold medal within reach yesterday in Rio before three competitors passed her by 150 meters from the finish, booting her not only from first place, but the podium altogether.
I tuned in to the road race about halfway in, when Abbott bullied her way to the lead on the brutal climb up the mountain towards Vista Chinesa. Abbott, a 30-year old from Boulder, Colorado, is famous for her skills on the hills, and she and Dutch rider Annemiek van Vlueten were the first to the top before beginning the terrifying descent into Rio. Van Vlueten pulled ahead, but suffered a horrific crash halfway down, giving Abbott a clear path to gold. Abbott looked like a sure bet for first place, pulling ahead of the next closest group of cyclists by as much as 40 seconds, but as she came down the final stretch along Copacabana beach, she ran out of gas. Her lead slipped away like sand through fingers as the trio of “chasers” came bearing down on her, zooming past seconds from the finish line. As you would imagine, Mara’s family rushed to console her after the race:
You may not leave Rio with a medal, Mara, but you made a fan out of me. Keep your head up.
Now, here’s what we have to look forward to in UK sports land today…
Mark Stoops and the defense will talk to reporters after practice
Practice #2 goes down this morning at the new football training center, and Mark Stoops and the defensive coaches and players will address the media afterwards. In turn, we’ll have a recap of their remarks on the site a little after lunchtime for your viewing pleasure.
On Saturday, the team practiced in front of fans, and if you weren’t able to make it, Nick Roush had a great breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly from everyone’s first glimpse of the 2016 Wildcats.
Did you see Matt’s report on the basketball team’s summer workouts?
If not, I suggest you click here and get to reading. The team’s off until school starts, so we’ll need insider tidbits like this to tide us over. Summary: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Adebayo and Isaac Humphries would be the starting lineup if the season started today, and the staff thinks this group is the hardest working since the 2012 team. If I remember correctly, that team did pretty well.
Meanwhile, John Calipari and fam (minus Erin) enjoyed a weekend in Boston, dining at Carm’s North End last night:
Seriously, could Calipari be any tanner?
Think your Monday is bad?
At least you’re not the guy who painted the field at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio last night. The annual NFL Hall of Fame Game, which traditionally kicks off the preseason exhibition schedule, had to be canceled due to field conditions. The NFL claims the paint in the end zones and midfield had congealed and essentially rubberized, making it slick and therefore dangerous for the players. There’s not much that can be done about that; however, NFL decided to cancel the game around 6:30 p.m. and notified teams of the decision, but didn’t let fans at the game know until much later. Because of that, several fans bought concessions, merchandise, etc. without knowing the game was off, a deceit which Gregg Doyel took the NFL to task for last night.
Boogie and Team USA take on Venezuela today in Rio
After annihilating China on Saturday, Team USA is back in action today against Venezuela at 6 p.m. (NBC Sports Network). DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in only 15 minutes of action Saturday, and will likely turn in another big performance against Venezuela, who USA beat 80-45 during their exhibition tour.
Last night’s Olympic action gave us Katie Ledecky’s dominant, world-record setting performance in the 400-meter free and Michael Phelps’s 19th gold medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Today, Phelps will compete in the prelims and semis for the 200-meter butterfly, but I’ll also be tuning in to watch American Lilly King take on Russian Yulia Efimova in the 100-meter breaststroke. If you missed the drama last night, King made her feelings about Efimova, who failed a doping test but was quietly reinstated, known on the NBC broadcast:
US swimmer Lily King gives Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova the Mutombo finger wave pic.twitter.com/YMBrgp2Mw9
– â“‚arcusD (@_MarcusD_) August 8, 2016
OH SNAP! Lilly King explains the finger waving towards Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova. pic.twitter.com/aLrkhSkNuG
– â“‚arcusD (@_MarcusD_) August 8, 2016
So, there you have it: our very own Rocky vs. Drago. We know how that one ended.
Here’s a schedule of today’s biggest events:
(Note: The finals of the 200m butterfly are actually tomorrow night)
KSR is in… ?
Somewhere in the Bluegrass. We’ll find out in an hour.