Rio Olympics viewer’s guide: Aug. 21
- Will Serbia pull off the upset over USA? The intriguing men’s basketball final headlines a day that’ll end with the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremonies.
The 1992 Olympic Dream Team spoiled Americans in one sense: It created a mythology that the United States cannot be beaten in Olympic basketball. Of course the rest of the world has made great strides since—Argentina won gold in 2004—but the prevailing thought during the Rio Games is that the U.S. led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony would land at the top of the podium come Sunday. But, as SI’s Ben Golliver writes, Serbia has other ideas:
“Amid the burst balloons and blowouts, there’s good news: Sunday’s gold medal game will reprise USA’s biggest test of the tournament, a 94–91 opening-round victory over Serbia that was headed to overtime had Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a wide-open three in the closing seconds,” writes Golliver. “If Spain wasn’t able to deliver the same level of fright it managed during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals, perhaps Serbia can build on its opening-round success and its impressive thumping of Australia to make this interesting. Although Serbia lacks ‘household name’ NBA players and lost three times in the opening round, there’s nothing fluky about its spot in Sunday’s final. The Serbians are talented, experienced and committed, capable of explosive runs on offense and precise, high-effort team defense.”
The gold medal game in men’s basketball tips at 2:45 p.m. ET and the good news is the game will air live across the U.S. It is the headliner of the final day of competition in Rio, where medals will also be awarded in the men’s marathon, boxing, cycling mountain bike, handball, rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball and wrestling.
• NBC said Mike Tirico, Mary Carillo and Ryan Seacrest will host NBC’s coverage of the Rio Olympics Closing Ceremony (8 p.m. ET/PT). Heather Cox and Lewis Johnson will serve as reporters. Simone Biles, who won four gold medals and one bronze in Rio, was selected by her teammates to serve as the flag bearer for the United States.
What to Watch
• The final day of the Olympics opens with the men’s marathon (6:30 a.m.). The Americans to watch are Galen Rupp, who won the U.S. Olympic Trials in his marathon debut, and Meb Keflezighi, the oldest U.S. marathoner in Olympic history. There are 155 men entered in the race.
• Wrestling will hand out medals in men’s 65kg and men’s 97kg categories. The competition starts at 7:30 a.m.
• The bronze medal game in basketball features Australia vs. Spain (10:30 a.m.).
• The rhythmic gymnastics group gold medal final begins at 11:00 a.m.
• The cycling mountain bike race begins at 11:30 a.m.
• The women’s middleweight gold medal bout is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. as American Claressa Shields meets Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. Shields won a gold medal in London in 2012 and beat Fontijn in the final bout of the 2016 World Championships. Three other boxing medals (men’s flyweight, men’s welterweight and men’s super heavyweight) will also be awarded.
• Italy and Brazil play for gold in men’s indoor volleyball (12:15 p.m.). The U.S. meets Russia meet for the bronze (8:30 a.m.).
• The gold medal match in handball pits Denmark against France (1:00 p.m.). Poland and Germany play for the bronze (9:30 a.m.)
Numbers of Note
The last time (year) a United States runner won a gold medal in the Olympic 1500 meters prior to Saturday night when Matthew Centrowitz made history in Rio. Centrowitz missed the podium by 0.04 seconds in London.
Number of years between an Olympic runner completed the 5,000-10,000 double in two Olympics. On Saturday, Mo Farrah of Great Britain won the 5,000, becoming the first man since Lasse Viren of Finland to pull the 5,000-10,000 double in two Olympics.
Around the Web
• SI’s Tim Layden on one last gold for Usain Bolt.
• More cool sports stuff from the New York Times Interactive group.
• SI’s Chris Chavez on Gwen Jorgensen winning USA’s first gold in triathlon.
• Via The New York Times: Want an all-access pass to the Rio Olympics? Being royalty helps.
Note: Not all events listed below are live, but you can watch every Olympic event live on NBCOlympics.com.
All times Eastern.
Track and field: Men’s marathon – NBC
Wrestling: Men’s freestyle qualifying – USA
Volleyball: Men’s bronze medal match – USA
Men’s basketball bronze medal game: Australia vs. Spain – NBCSN
Handball: Men’s bronze medal match – USA
Rhythmic gymnastics final – NBC
(11:30 a.m.) Cycling: Men’s mountain biking – USA
Men’s volleyball gold medal match: Brazil vs. Italy – NBC
(12:30 p.m.) Men’s freestyle 97kg: Qualifying and final – NBCSN
Women’s middleweight gold medal bout – NBCSN
Men’s handball gold medal match: Denmark vs. France – USA
Men’s basketball gold medal game: United States vs. Serbia – NBC
Look back at Rio games – NBC
Closing ceremony – NBC