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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Olympics

MyKayla Skinner says she was going to leave Tokyo Olympics

McKayla Skinner

MyKayla Skinner won a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Tokyo on Sunday, and the medal came as a big shock — especially to her.

Skinner was an extra member of the US women’s gymnastics team and not expected to represent the US in any events due to Olympic limitations. Simone Biles finished first in the vault in qualifying, with fellow Americans Jade Carey in second and Skinner in fourth. Skinner was limited by the two competitors per country rule and not expecting to compete in the vault finals. However, Biles’ withdrawal from competition gave Skinner the opportunity to compete.

The 24-year-old gymnast pulled off a stunning second-place finish to win silver in the vault, finishing ahead of Carey, who placed eighth. Skinner commented after winning her medal on how surprising it was. She says she was ready to fly home from the Olympics … until Biles’ withdrawal changed everything.

“This was seriously so unexpected,” Skinner told NBC. “I was actually going to take a flight home after team finals. So for me to be able to turn myself around, to be able to come out and finally compete for one last time was seriously so unreal. It was so exciting to be out there. Having this opportunity to win silver, it’s seriously just a dream come true.”

Skinner isn’t the only gymnast who benefited from Biles’ absence. Suni Lee won gold in the all-around and bronze in the uneven bars as well. This was a much better outcome for Skinner than flying home in a plane without a medal!

Rory McIlroy admits he was wrong about golf in Olympics

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has done a 180 regarding his stance on the Olympics.

McIlroy did not play at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. He did not seem very enthusiastic about competing at the Summer Games in Tokyo either.

McIlroy said prior to the Olympics that he was not a very patriotic guy but was participating just to represent the sport of golf.

Now, after competing and contending for a medal, McIlroy’s stance has changed, and he feels the beauty of the Olympics.

“I made some comments before that were probably uneducated and impulsive, but coming here experiencing it, seeing, feeling everything that goes on, not just Olympic golf but just the Olympics in general, that sort of Olympic spirit’s definitely bitten me and I’m excited how this week’s turned out and excited for the future,” McIlroy said on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Irish golfer was part of a 7-way tie for third that entered a playoff to determine the bronze medal winner. Though he did not win the bronze, which went to C.T. Pan, McIlroy said he had never competed so hard for third place. He also said he was already excited about competing in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Overall, McIlroy acknowledged that he’s a bit of a skeptic. That led him to be skeptical of the Ryder Cup and the Olympics. But once he participated in both events, he learned how special they were and was proud to be proven wrong.

Bears DE Robert Quinn’s sister Jasmine sets Olympic hurdling record

Jasmine Camacho Quinn

Chicago Bears defensive end Robert Quinn is a two-time Pro Bowler who has had a successful NFL career, but he may not even be the best athlete in his family. Many would argue that his sister, track and field star Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, holds that that honor.

Camacho-Quinn set an Olympic record in the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles in Tokyo on Sunday. She blew away the field with a time of 12.26 seconds, beating Sally Pearson’s previous record of 12.35 seconds. Check out how far Camacho-Quinn was ahead of the other athletes as she crossed the finish line:

Camacho-Quinn, who represents Puerto Rico, will try to win a gold medal in the 100 meter hurdle final on Monday. That would be her first Olympic medal.

The NFL has had quite a bit invested in the Tokyo Olympics, as several players have family members competing in events. Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough has also watched his wife enjoy success in track and field, and the team shared an awesome video of him celebrating her accomplishments on Friday night.

Sydney Pickrem had hilarious quote after winning bronze in team swimming relay

Sydney Pickrem

Canadian swimmer Sydney Pickrem offered a fairly unfiltered assessment of her thoughts while swimming her leg of the team 4X100m medley relay.

Pickrem was part of the Canadian team that ultimately won bronze at the event on Sunday. Pickrem, who came into the event without any Olympic medals, swam the breaststroke in the relay. To say she was nervous was an understatement.

Asked about handling the pressure during her breaststroke leg during a live interview on CBC in Canada, Pickrem offered an epic soundbite, though not exactly family-friendly.

“I was absolutely s—ing myself, I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it,” Pickrem said.

After winning an Olympic medal of any kind, you should be forgiven for swearing on live television. This one can be forgiven.

The Canadian team clocked in at 3:52.60, a second behind gold medal winners Australia.

Caeleb Dressel joins elite company with fifth Olympic swimming gold

Caeleb Dressel national anthem

Caeleb Dressel made Olympic history on the final day of swimming events at the Summer Games in Tokyo.

Dressel claimed his third individual gold medal and fifth overall in two separate events on Sunday. The American set a new Olympic record in the 50m freestyle final with a time of 21.07. That event earned him his third individual gold and fourth overall.

That left the 4×100 medley relay, where Dressel swam the butterfly. According to USA Swimming, his 49.03 split was the fastest in American history for that particular split.

With the help of teammates Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, and Zach Apple, the Americans won the event and got Dressel his fifth Olympic gold medal. It made him the fifth Olympian ever to win at least five swimming medals in one Olympics, joining Mark Spitz in 1972, Kristin Otto and Matt Biondi in 1988, and Michael Phelps, who accomplished the feat three times.

Dressel took on a grueling schedule, too, but it never seemed to impact him. He’s put himself right up there with the very best in history, and deservedly so.

Katie Ledecky has surprising comment about her Olympic medals

Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky on Saturday in Tokyo won gold in the 800 meter freestyle, giving her two gold medals and four medals overall in this Olympiad.

The 24-year-old swimmer made fans happy when she shot down retirement talk and said she planned to compete in 2024 and possibly even 2028.

But Ledecky said something after her final event in Tokyo that was surprising.

Ledecky has won seven gold medals and three silver medals during her Olympic career thus far. The American swimmer was asked to reflect on her Olympics accomplishments during an interview that NBC aired on Saturday.

Ledecky said in the interview that winning the medals still hadn’t sunk in for her. In fact, she said that her win at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London still hadn’t sunk in!

Talk about focus! Ledecky won her first Olympic gold medal as a 15-year-old in London. That was nine years ago! But she was so determined to prove in 2016 that she wasn’t a one-hit wonder that she didn’t have time to celebrate her first gold. Instead, she focused on her training and then won four more golds and a silver at Rio in 2016. And she’s added four more medals at the 2020 Summer Games.

Maybe that’s just how it is for the great ones. They’re so focused on what’s next that they don’t stop to think about what’s in the past. We actually heard a very similar comment recently from another great athlete. That’s part of the great athlete mentality.

Pamela Ware completely botches last dive, misses final at Olympics

Pamela Wade dive

Pamela Ware was expected to contend for a medal in the 3 meter springboard diving event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Unfortunately, she did not come to realize that fate.

Ware completely botched her final dive in the semifinals and failed to advance to the finals of the event. The Canadian diver went to the diving board and jumped into the water without attempting a dive with the maneuvers she was planning. Ware actually scored zeroes across the board for failing to attempt a dive.

Ware finished 18th with a score of 245.10. She would have needed to score over 44.7 on her fifth dive in order to qualify for the final.

Absent the complete screwup, Ware would have likely scored inside the top 10 to make it to the final. Imagine training for years only to have that happen at the Olympics. What a bummer.

Video: Lions go nuts as QB David Blough’s wife qualifies at Olympics

Lions David Blough wife Olympics

The Detroit Lions have their hands full preparing for the 2021 season under a new head coach, but several members of the team took the time on Friday night to focus all their attention on the Olympics. They did so to show support for a teammate’s wife.

After their third training camp practice, Lions players and coaches gathered in their film room to watch quarterback David Blough’s wife Melissa Gonzalez in the 400-meter hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics. Gonzalez qualified for the semifinals with a time of 55.32, which set a Colombian national record.

The Lions shared an awesome video on Saturday morning that showed Blough and other members of the team going nuts over Gonzalez’s accomplishment.

The Lions also put together a video on Friday wishing Gonzalez luck.

Blough, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday, said he could not have asked for a better gift.

“It was about the best birthday present you could ever ask for in her just being there,” Blough said, via ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “So, we’re so thankful.”

Gonzalez was born and raised in the United States but has dual citizenship because of her father, so she is representing Columbia in Tokyo. Blough and Gonzalez, a former Texas track star, attended Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas, together.

Gonzalez will now try to reach the final of the 400-meter hurdles. We can only imagine how the Lions will react if she wins a gold medal.

Video: Novak Djokovic threw racket, had outbursts during Olympic loss

Novak Djokovic racket smash

Novak Djokovic will head home from the Tokyo Olympics without a medal, and the world’s No. 1 player allowed his temper to become a major storyline as his bid for the Golden Slam came to an end.

Djokovic lost his bronze medal match on Saturday to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets. The 20-time Grand Slam winner was extremely frustrated at numerous points during the match. He threw his racket into the stands and also smashed a racket against the net. You can see the videos of Djokovic’s outbursts below:

Djkovic still had a chance to win a bronze medal in his mixed doubles match with Serbian teammate teammate Nina Stojanovic, but he withdrew due to a shoulder injury. The bronze medal was awarded to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and John Peers as a result.

You can understand why Djokovic was disappointed in his Olympic performance, but his behavior was embarrassing. Of course, Djokovic is known for having outbursts on the court. He smashed his racket in anger during the Australian Open earlier this year. He was also infamously disqualified from the US Open last year after he hit a ball in frustration and it inadvertently struck a line judge. You can see the video of that incident here.

Djokovic said after his US Open disqualification that he would focus on controlling his temper, but he clearly has work to do. The meltdowns happen far too often when things aren’t going his way.

Caeleb Dressel has ridiculous run of three swim events in two hours

Caeleb Dressel national anthem

Team USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel more or less conquered one of the most grueling schedules of any Olympian during Saturday’s swimming events in Tokyo.

After some question as to whether he would do so, Dressel anchored the U.S. mixed relay team in its event, which meant he would swim three events in a span of roughly 80 minutes. It was a feat that not even Michael Phelps ever undertook at a single Olympic games.

Remarkably, the schedule didn’t seem to take a toll on Dressel. He opened with the 100-meter butterfly and won gold, setting a world record in the process with a time of 49.45 seconds. Less than an hour later, he took part in the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle. He finished first in that, too, qualifying for the final in that event on Sunday.

Dressel swam a solid anchor leg in the mixed medley relay, but the Americans were roughly eight seconds behind by the time he entered the pool. Team USA ended up finishing fifth in the event, denying Dressel the opportunity to win multiple Olympic medals in just over an hour.

Dressel already smashed one Olympic record during the games even before his world record swim on Saturday. He’ll have the chance to win another gold in the 50m final tomorrow in what should be a slightly more forgiving schedule.