Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 9 in Tokyo

Carol Schram@pool88Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 9 in Tokyo

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    As we roll into the second week of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, we’re seeing the changing of the guard between two of the marquee sports of the Games, swimming and track.

    On Day 9, fans are treated to a taste of both. The last day of racing in the pool concludes with five medal events, including the 50-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley relays for both men and women. Already with three gold medals, Caeleb Dressel could increase that total to five by the end of the day.

    Back on land, Trayvon Bromell will chase gold in the 100-meter event on the track at Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

    In gymnastics, the individual event finals begin, with Simone Biles still choosing once again to stay on the sidelines. We also have gold medals on the line in men’s tennis and golf as well as the new BMX freestyle competition.

    With the tricky time change between North America and Japan, here's your daily reminder of what's happening, when. Day 9 events will start on Saturday evening, run through the night and wrap up Sunday morning.

    Let's go! This is your guide to Day 9 at the Tokyo Olympics.

Start Times and TV Info for Notable Events

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    Andy Wong/Associated Press

    Track and Field: Men's 100-meter Final on Peacock

    Sunday morning at 8:50 a.m. ET

    Swimming Finals: Saturday night on NBC

    • Men's 50-meter freestyle: 9:30 p.m. ET
    • Women's 50-meter freestyle: 9:37 pm ET
    • Men's 1,500-meter freestyle: 9:44 p.m. ET
    • Women's 4x100 medley relay: 10:15 p.m. ET
    • Men's 4x100 medley relay: 10:36 p.m. ET

    Men's Tennis: Gold-medal match Sunday morning on

    Following mixed doubles and women's doubles gold-medal matches. Session begins at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday night.

    Men's Golf: Final Round Saturday evening on Golf Channel

    Starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Replay Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET.

    Gymnastics Individual Events Finals: Sunday morning on 

    • Men's floor exercise: 4 a.m. ET
    • Women's vault: 4:45 a.m. ET
    • Men's pommel horse: 5:44 a.m. ET
    • Women's uneven bars: 6:27 a.m. ET

    BMX Freestyle Cycling Finals on

    • Women's final: 9:10 p.m. ET
    • Men's final: 10:20 p.m. ET

    Saturday's prime-time coverage on NBC includes coverage of a women's beach volleyball, replays of track and field events events including the women's 100-meter final and the first round of the men's 100-meter, and live swimming finals including the 50-meter freestyle races and the men's 1,500-meter freestyle.

Can Trayvon Bromell Succeed Usain Bolt?

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The sprinting world said goodbye to a megastar after the 2017 retirement of Usain Bolt. The Jamaican has was a fixture for the last three Olympics, winning eight gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races in Beijing, London and Rio.

    Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds is almost certainly safe this year. The group of runners vying for this year's gold medal includes Trayvon Bromell and Ronnie Baker of the U.S. and Akani Simbine of South Africa.

    Bromell, 26, has overcome serious injuries to get back to the Games and recorded the fastest time in the world this year. He became just the second American ever to break 9.8 seconds, after Justin Gatlin, when he clocked in at 9.77 seconds at the Olympic Trials in June. Simbine holds the second-fastest time of 2021 at 9.84 seconds.

    In other events at Olympic Stadium on Day 9, keep an eye out for American JuVaughn Harrison in the final of the men's high jump scheduled for 9:10 a.m. ET. Medals will also be handed out in the women's triple jump and shot put.

Caeleb Dressel Headlines the Final Day of Swimming

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Swimming in three events on Day 8, Caeleb Dressel broke his own world record as he picked up his third gold in Tokyo in the 100-meter butterfly.

    He could hit the water two more times at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Day 9, looking to match Michael Phelps' mark of five gold medals with wins in the men's 50-meter freestyle and 4x100 medley relay.

    In the sprint, Dressel qualified first in the semifinals with a time of 21.67 seconds.

    In the medley relay, the American men just squeaked into the final with the team of Joseph Armstrong, Andrew Wilson, Tom Shields and Blake Pieroni. That lineup could change for the final.

    The American women will come into their final in a stronger position. Rhyan White, Lilly King, Claire Curzan and Erika Brown earned a spot in Lane 5 with a semifinal finish that was just one one-hundredth of a second behind the leaders from Canada.

Zverev Takes on Khachanov in Men's Singles Final

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Alexander Zverev is still seeking his first career Grand Slam win in men's tennis. But the 24-year-old German now has a chance to play for an Olympic gold medal after knocking off the top player in the world.

    In the Olympic semifinal, Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic in a stunning three-set upset, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.

    Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year. He was looking to add an Olympic gold and a U.S. Open victory to join Steffi Graf as the only tennis players ever to complete the Golden Slam.

    Seeded fourth in the tournament, Zverev will now meet 12th-seeded Karen Khachanov in the final. The 25-year-old member of the Russian Olympic Committee took out Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in straight sets in his semifinal, 6-3, 6-3. 

    Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer elected not to participate in this year's Olympic tournament. Andy Murray of Great Britain took home the gold in both 2012 and 2016.

    The Day 9 tennis session kicks off at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday night. The mixed doubles and women's doubles gold-medal matches will precede the men's final.

Medals to Be Handed Out in Men's Golf

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Bad weather delayed the end of Round 2 of the men's golf event at Kasumigaseki Country Club. But Moving Day has lived up to its name, as some of the game's top players have made a charge to put themselves in position to challenge for gold.

    Xander Schauffele heads into the final round of play at 14-under with a one-stroke lead over hometown hero and Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama. After a blistering Round 2, Schauffele was able keep himself alone at the top of leaderboard at the end of Round 3 with a clutch birdie at the 18th hole.

    It sets up a tantalizing final round of golf with the likes of Rory McILroy, Paul Casey and Carlos Ortiz all within striking distance of Schauffele. Casey shot a 5-under 66 in Round 3 to move within two strokes of the American, while McILroy was 4-under in Round 3 and in contention of grabbing a medal entering the final round.

Gymnastics: Event Finals

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The individual events begin on Day 9 at Ariake Gymnastics Center, with medals on the line in women's vault and uneven bars and men's floor exercise and pommel horse. 

    Once again, Simone Biles will be watching from the sidelines. Despite qualifying for all four individual events, Biles has announced that she will skip both Day 9 events. She has not yet made a decision on the floor exercise or the balance beam, with both those individual finals still on tap in the coming days.

    In Biles' absence, keep an eye on Sunisa Lee. The 18-year-old brought home the all-around gold medal for the United States earlier in the week and is one of the best in the world on the uneven bars. She'll also take part in the balance beam final on Day 10.

    Silver medalist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil delivered the top score on the vault in the all-around competition.

    On the men's side, Japan's Daiki Hashimoto brought home the gold in the all-around, with first-place finishes on the pommel horse and the high bar. Brody Malone was the top American, in 10th place.

BMX Freestyle Medals at Stake

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    New in Tokyo, the BMX freestyle competition has joined BMX racing as an Olympic sport.

    If you enjoyed the inaugural skateboarding competition earlier in the Games, this could be an event for you. Once again, both women and men are competing.

    Back in the Ariake Urban Sports Park setting, which hosted the skateboarders, BMX freestyle competitors will have 60 seconds to execute acrobatic tricks and skills on obstacles such as walls, box jumps and spines. Scores are based on elements including difficulty, originality and creativity.

    There are nine competitors in each category. On the women's side, American Hannah Roberts, 19, is favored to become the first teenage woman to win an Olympic cycling gold medal. In 2019, she became the first woman to successfully land a 360 tailwhip in competition. She recently won her third world title.

    Another American, Perris Benegas, is also a strong medal contender.

    On the men’s side, keep an eye on Logan Martin of Australia and 2018 world champion Justin Dowell of the United States.