Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 8 in Tokyo

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 8 in Tokyo

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    Kevin Durant
    Kevin DurantCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Day 8 of the Tokyo Games is loaded with excitement, particularly for Team USA. Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky will return to the swimming pool with a chance at medals, while both the men's basketball team and a beach volleyball pair are aiming to advance in their respective competitions.

    Also on the schedule are a couple of marquee track eventsincluding the women's 100-meter finalthe women's singles final in tennis and the quarterfinals in men's soccer.

    Since 13 hours separate Tokyo and the Eastern Time Zone, the events will begin Friday evening and continue into Saturday morning in the United States. Replays may be available throughout the day, though we're highlighting which competitions are live and when.

    This is your guide to Day 8 at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Start Times and TV Info for Notable Events

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    Caeleb Dressel
    Caeleb DresselMatthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Men's Archery

    Bronze-medal match: 3:30 a.m. ET Saturday, CNBC

    Gold-medal match: 3:45 a.m. ET Saturday, CNBC


    Athletics (Track and Field)

    Mixed 4x400 relay final: 8:35 a.m. ET Saturday, Peacock

    Women's 100-meter final: 8:50 a.m. ET Saturday, Peacock



    South Korea vs. United States: 6 a.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN



    United States vs. Czech Republic: 8 a.m. ET Saturday, Peacock


    Beach Volleyball

    Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva (Brazil) vs. Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil (United States): 8 p.m. ET Friday, CNBC



    Men's Round 3: 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, Golf Channel


    Rugby Sevens

    Women's bronze-medal match: 4:30 a.m. ET Saturday, USA

    Women's gold-medal match: 5 a.m. ET Saturday, USA



    Spain vs. Ivory Coast: 4 a.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN



    Men's 100-meter butterfly final, women's 200-meter backstroke final, women's 800-meter freestyle final, mixed 4x100 relay final: Races start at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday, NBC



    Women's singles final, plus bronze-medal matches in women's singles, men's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles: Matches start at 2 a.m. ET Saturday, Olympic Channel


    Friday's prime-time coverage on NBC begins at 8 p.m. ET and will feature athletics (track and field), beach volleyball and swimming. The track finals will be available live Saturday morning and replayed Saturday evening on NBC.

Beach Volleyball

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    Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil
    Kelly Claes and Sarah SponcilPetros Giannakouris/Associated Press

    After a thrilling third-set comeback to defeat Latvia in the opener, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil quickly beat Kenya and improved to 2-0. As a result, no matter what happens in the third match, the U.S. duo has already secured a spot in the round of 16.

    The short version is math is very much in their favor. But they're not focused on tiebreaker calculations.

    Claes and Sponcil will challenge Brazil's Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva to close the preliminary round. Not only are both pairings considered medal contenders, but the winner of this match will also likely finish atop Pool D.

    With a victory, Claes and Sponcil would have a slightly more favorable first opponent in the knockout stage.

    And for good measure, a Pool D win keeps the dream alive of an all-U.S. final with Claes and Sponcil against April Ross and Alix Klineman. That last happened in the 2012 London Games.


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    Katie Ledecky
    Katie LedeckyMatthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Day 8 is another prime medal opportunity for Dressel and Ledecky.

    Up first is Dressel, who set an Olympic record in the heats of the 100-meter butterfly. He'll attempt to hold off Hungary's Kristof Milak, the winner of the 200-meter fly final and who broke Dressel's record in the first semifinal. Not to be outdone, Dressel beat Milak's time in the second semifinal.

    Soon after that showdown, Ledecky returns to the pool looking to even the score with Australia's Ariarne Titmus in the 800-meter freestyle. While the young Australian won the 200- and 400-meter free, Ledecky won the 1,500-meter free.

    Not to be forgotten, Team USA's Katie Grimes qualified second and will swim alongside Ledecky.

    Between those races is the 200-meter backstroke final. Australian's Kaylee McKeown, the gold medalist in the 100-meter back, is hoping for a sweep. Her top competition is Canada's Kylie Masse and the U.S. pair of Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon.

    Following the trifecta of finals, the semifinals of the men's and women's 50-meter freestyle will break up the session. Dresselthe favorite for goldMichael Andrew, Simone Manuel and Abbey Weitzeil will represent Team USA in the event.

    The last competition is the mixed 4x100-meter medley relay. Who exactly swims the medley isn't yet determined, but Australia, China, Great Britain and Team USA are likely contenders.


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    Marketa Vondrousova
    Marketa VondrousovaSeth Wenig/Associated Press

    Marketa Vondrousova has stormed to the final.

    During the first round, she defeated 16th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in three sets. Vondrousova then eliminated Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu before pulling off a 6-1, 6-4 shocker to eliminate second-seeded Naomi Osaka.

    The Czech advanced again when Spain's Paula Badosa retired because of extreme heat and defeated fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals. And now, she's set to play ninth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland for the gold medal.

    Bencic reached the final thanks to a three-set victory over 15th-seeded Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan.

    Tennis begins at 2 a.m. ET Saturday on the Olympic Channel. The coverage also features Novak Djokovic playing for a bronze in both men's singles and mixed doubles, including a showdown with Australian star Ash Barty in the latter match.

    The bronze-medal matches are:

    • Women's singles: Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) vs. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
    • Men's singles: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain)
    • Women's doubles: Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina (ROC) vs. Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani (Brazil)
    • Mixed doubles: Novac Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic (Serbia) vs. John Peers and Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

Men's Soccer Quarterfinals

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    Martin Mejia/Associated Press

    The field of 16 in men's soccer is now trimmed to eight.

    Saturday brings the start of the knockout round, and Group C winner Spain opens the action opposite Group D runner-up Ivory Coast. Spain, which arrived in Tokyo as the favorite, is aiming for the country's first Olympic soccer medal since 2000.

    That contest is slated for 4 a.m. ET Saturday, and the next three matches bring a tidy set of storylines.

    Host nation Japan plays New Zealand at 5 a.m. ET, and 2016 gold medalist Brazil takes on Egypt at 6 a.m. ET. Rounding out the slate is a 7 a.m. clash between Mexico and South Korea, which won gold and bronze at the 2012 London Games, respectively.

    The winners of these four matchups will advance to the semifinals and guarantee themselves a shot at the podium.

Medal Events in Track and Field

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    Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
    Shelly-Ann Fraser-PryceDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Track and field fans, your patience is now being rewarded.

    The men's 10,000-meter race kicked off the medal portion of athletics, and three finals are coming on Saturday. These include the men's discus, 4x400 mixed relay and women's 100-meter final.

    Jamaica is the heavy favorite in the women's 100. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won gold in 2008 and 2012, and Elaine Thompson-Herah earned gold in 2016 when Fraser-Pryce took bronze. Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith are also contenders.

    As with swimming, we're not certain who will be participating in the mixed relay and cannot point to any specific runner. Barring an appeal, the United Statesthe gold medalist at the 2019 worldswill not participate in the event.

    Regardless, another safe bet: It's going to be fast.

    Sweden's Daniel Stahl is the front-runner in discus ahead of countryman Simon Pettersson, Lithuania's Andrius Gudzius and Slovenia's Kristjan Ceh, among others. Stahl won gold at the 2019 worlds.

US Basketball Looking to Survive and Advance

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    Damian Lillard
    Damian LillardCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    The loss to France was ugly, no doubt. But to borrow a college basketball phrase, Team USA needs to survive and advance.

    After a 54-point win against Iran, the United States can simplify its path to the knockout round with a victory over the Czech Republic. While in theory the U.S. could lose and still move onpending a later result between Argentina and Japanthat's not a conversation Team USA wants to have.

    There's no shortage of optimism in the team, either.

    "After that loss [to France], we came together," Damian Lillard said, per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. "There was a lot of communication between then and now. It was like, 'All right, it's time to start looking like Team USA.'"

    Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is the key player for the Czech Republic, which also has 2014 NBA first-round pick Jan Vesely on the roster. But, on paper, this shouldn't be a close game. The Czech team only defeated Iran 84-78.

    Even in a comfortable win, Team USA's performance will be scrutinized. The important part, though, is to win.


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