Rio Recap: Day 11

The United States remains atop the medal table eleven days into Rio.

Star of the day: Danell Leyva, USA, Gymnastics

Danell Leyva was initially left off the U.S. Men’s Artistic Gymnastics team, and was only added after John Orozco tore his ACL two weeks before the games. He’s now going to leave Rio as the most-decorated member of the team, after he won the silver medal in both the parallel bars and the high bar event finals yesterday.

Also shining brightly: Jennifer Simpson, USA, Track & Field

Simpson placed third in the 1500m race, winning the first-ever medal in the event for the United States. This was Simpson’s third Olympic games and first time medaling. Like fellow New Balance athlete Emma Coburn, Simpson cleverly managed to skirt “Rule 40” and displayed her appreciation for her sponsor by tossing her shoes over her shoulder so they would be in the pictures.

The “final two” go 1-2 again: Women’s artistic gymnastics wrapped up competition yesterday with the floor exercise finals, and Americans Simone Biles and Aly Raisman took the gold and silver. (They also went 1-2 in the all-around final.) In an interview after the event, Biles and Raisman said they were Team Coordinator Marta Karolyi’s “final two” before her retirement and they were happy to come out on top. Biles will leave Rio with five medals, four of them gold, and Raisman’s silver was the sixth Olympic medal of her career.

Walsh Jennings and Ross fall to Brazilian team: Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross lost to Brazil in a nailbiter beach volleyball semifinal match. They will play another Brazilian team tonight for the bronze medal.

The Final Five met Zac Efron: Today Show host Hoda Kotb pulled some strings and managed to bring actor Zac Efron (aka Simone Biles’ celebrity crush) to Rio to surprise the girls. Needless to say, Simone had negative chill when she realized who had come to surprise her.

Another proposal of Olympic proportions: After Will Claye won the silver medal in the triple jump (finishing behind fellow American Christian Taylor), he proposed to his girlfriend, Queen Harrison. She said yes.

The Olympic spirit personified: Abbey D’Agostino of the United States didn’t know New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin before the 5,000m race. Midway through, Hamblin and D’Agostino collided and fell. D’Agostino encouraged Hamblin to get up and finish the race, and Hamblin returned the favor when it became apparent that D’Agostino was badly hurt. The two crossed the finish line in last place, but they forged a bond that will last forever. (Although both girls petitioned their way into the final, it was revealed that D’Agostino had suffered a torn ACL and would not be able to compete.) What a beautiful display of sportsmanship.

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Jazz Shaw 7:31 PM on October 02, 2022