Monday, August 22, 2016

Keeping it Rio: China is going through its worst Summer Olympics in years. They seem OK with it

Keeping it Rio: China is going through its worst Summer Olympics in years. They seem OK with it

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Qian Ren of China won gold in women's 10m platform diving. Through Friday, though, China had won just 22 gold medals — its lowest Summer Games total since 1996.
Al Bello / Getty ImagesQian Ren of China won gold in women's 10m platform diving. Through Friday, though, China had won just 22 gold medals — its lowest Summer Games total since 1996.
Keeping it Rio is your daily guide to can’t-miss events and the headlines you need to start your Olympic day. All times ET.
Keeping it Rio
THE GOLD STANDARD
Winning two dozen Olympic gold medals would be seen as a coup in all but a handful of countries. China is among that handful, after its Olympians captured 32 golds or more at three straight Summer Games, dating back to 2004. But this year, with 22 golds as of Friday, the Chinese are lagging well below their usual total — leading some officials to wax philosophical in rationalizing their country’s slip.
“We want to strive for every piece of gold, but gold cannot be used wholly as the constant standard,” Gao Zhidan, China’s deputy Olympic head, told a national Communist Party newspaper, per the Wall Street Journal. “There is victory, and there is defeat … This sort of experience is good for the development of Chinese sports.”
The state-run Xinhua News Agency, meanwhile, published a piece by writer Nian Wei calling for China to “face the vicissitudes of the Olympics with greater peace of mind,” reported the Journal. “We would like to see the gold tally no longer attract so much of people’s attention.”
HUGGING IT OUT
Jack Conger and Gunner Baetz, two of the unsung players in Ryan Lochte’s alleged robbery saga, took centre stage Thursday when they were yanked off their U.S.-bound flight to to be questioned by police. The American swimmers were released and flew out of Brazil later in the day, landing in Miami early Friday — where, according to the Daily Mail, they ignored reporters and “shared a tentative hug” before parting ways.
The pair’s lawyer, Sergio Riera, told the Associated Press that police only questioned them as witnesses to the spiraling controversy. Lochte has said he and three of his teammates were held at gunpoint by a stranger on Sunday, while police say the athletes fabricated a robbery after vandalizing a gas station. The Games end this weekend, but this tale may not fade out so soon.
Leo Correa / Associated Press
Leo Correa / Associated PressU.S. Olympic swimmers Gunnar Bentz, left, and Jack Conger leave a police station in Rio on Aug. 18.
HOPE IS STILL SOLO
The United States crashed out of Olympic women’s soccer a week ago — but people are still condemning goalkeeper Hope Solo for lashing out in defeat. In this case, the people are her teammates, who distanced themselves from Solo’s remark that Sweden “played like a bunch of cowards” in their penalty-kick, quarterfinal victory over the U.S. on Aug. 12.
“They played their cards right,” striker Alex Morgan told USA Today this week. “I saw (Solo’s) comments, but I feel like those are opinions I don’t share.”
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, meanwhile, said to NBC that Solo could have handled a rare U.S. loss more “graciously.” “That’s not our team,” Rapinoe said, referring to Solo’s comment. “That’s not what this team has always been. That’s not what this team will be in the future.”
CAN’T MISS EVENTS
GOLF: WOMEN’S STROKE PLAY
Round 4, 6 a.m. (TSN2)
Smiths Falls, Ont.’s Brooke Henderson will be in medal contention over the final 18 holes; she enters Saturday five strokes back of silver and bronze, and seven back of gold. Two months after claiming first at the Women’s PGA Championship, winning or cracking the podium in Rio would be an even greater feat for the 18-year-old.
Jean Levac / Postmedia Network
Jean Levac / Postmedia NetworkMelissa Bishop of Canada runs in the women's 800m semifinal in Rio on Aug. 18.
ATHLETICS: WOMEN’S 800m
Final, 8:15 p.m. (CBC)
Melissa Bishop did not advance past the 800m preliminary stage four years ago in London. But after winning Pan American gold last year in Toronto and taking silver at the 2015 world championships, the Eganville, Ont. native could be poised for a third straight major podium. Bishop’s seasonal best time (1:57.43) slots her third among the eight finalists.