The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are in full swing, and with it comes nearly 7,000 hours of coverage when it’s all said and done. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. According to a Los Angeles Times story, the Atlanta Games two decades ago had 170 hours of total coverage. It’s also up an additional 22 percent from London in 2012. It also means that stories will fall through cracks as the avalanche of content comes out of Brazil.
But we dug up a few of the stories the sports world might have missed over the first couple of days of the Games.
▪ The United States men and women basketball teams breezed through their two games of the preliminary rounds of the tournaments. The men topped both China and Venezuela by a combined score of 232-131, while the women beat Senegal and Spain by a total of 224-119.
U.S. forward and Indiana Pacer Paul George forgot he wasn’t playing in the NBA against Venezuela as he reached back to hand off his water cup to a non-existant attendant.
▪ U.S. men’s center and L.A. Clipper DeAndre Jordan also met one of Team USA’s smallest members, gymnastics alternate Ragan Smith, who stands 4-foot-6. The result was comical.
▪ Being an Olympic lifeguard at the Olympic Aquatic Stadium has to be one of the most boring jobs, but someone has to do it. Thanks to a Brazilian law, lifeguards are required when a pool exceeds 20 feet by 20 feet. Lucky for them, they get the best seats in the house, although this particular lifeguard doesn’t seem impressed.
▪ The Olympic vault has evolved over the years into one of the most athletic — and violent — events in the Summer Games. Here’s video of the winning vault from 1956 next to the winning vault from 2012.
▪ Speaking of the vault, the American women had the top-three scores in the event, but only two Americans will go on to the all-around final, Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. The trio, which also included former gold medalist Gabby Douglas, were the only competitors in the field to top 60 total points in the preliminaries.
▪ Central Coast boxer Carlos Balderas, of Santa Maria, is doing California proud, winning his first two bouts in the leightweight division. He beat Kazakhstan’s Berik Abdrakhmanov in the first round Saturday and then Japan’s Daisuke Narimatsu in a round-of-16 match Tuesday, both in unanimous decisions. Balderas will fight Cuban Lazaro Alvarez, a bronze medalist from the London Games at the bantamweight division, in the quarterfinals Friday. Tribune correspondent Chris Kudialis had the first-hand report from Tuesday’s bout in Rio.
▪ Michael Phelps added to his medal collection on Sunday, winning the 4x100 relay with Ryan Held, Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel. U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky showed that she can be the next dominant American swimmer, winning the 400 freestyle by nearly 5 seconds. Watch for her in the 800 free, her strongest event and the 200 free. She will also swim in the 2x200 free relay.
▪ The Russian national team is mired in controversy, with its entire track and field team suspended for the Games. Other Russian athletes, such as Yulia Efimova, who had positive tests and were suspended, were quietly reinstated before the start of the Olympics. The crowd watching Efimova swim in the 100 breaststroke booed as she was announced, while American swimmer Lily King showed her disapproval in a different way.
King went on to take gold in the event, edging Efimova.
▪ The U.S. currently leads the medal count with 20, followed by China (13) and Japan (11).