We are just over a week into the competition in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics and five of the nine Minnesota Gophers athletes in Japan are be done with their events. One former Gopher struck gold on Sunday night while another add bronze to her list of accomplishments very early Tuesday morning. Here is an update on how the Gophers who have competed thus far have faired in Toyko.
We will kick it off with the best right out of the gate. Former Minnesota swimmer Bowe Becker swam the best pair of 100 meter freestyle races of his life and helped the US win the 4x100 meter free relay Sunday night. Bowe Becker....is golden!
GOLD pic.twitter.com/U1nioDIrMs— Minnesota Swimming & Diving (@GopherSwimDive) July 26, 2021
Becker swam in the third spot for the US in the prelims early Sunday morning and had the best time of the four US swimmers in the prelims. It was well known that Caleb Dressel would take at least one spot in the relay final from one of the prelim swimmers, but it was possible the US would also make one additional change as well. They didn’t and Becker would end up swimming the the third leg for the US in the final Sunday night as well.
Dressel gave the US a good lead, but by the time Becker jumped in the pool the lead was down to about two tenths of a second. Becker did what he needed to do putting up a great time of 47.4 seconds and gave the US the lead they needed heading into the final leg. It would be enough and Bowe and his teammates would be gold medalists.
This photo is everything. #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/q9gfrH9J4E— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) July 26, 2021
With the win comes the spoils....and a national TV spot on the Today show Monday morning.
Add in a great article on Becker by SI.com’s Pate Forde on just how Becker got to this point.
Watch the entire race replay here:
LIVE: Watch the #TokyoOlympics 4x100m freestyle relay final right here on Twitter! https://t.co/jNmHInfaiJ— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 26, 2021
Congrats to Bowe!
Sarah Groenewegen is the second former Gopher to earn an Olympics medal this cycle as she heled her Canadian softball team to the bronze with a 3-2 win over Mexico early Tuesday morning.
.@saragroe is the first @GopherSoftball player to win an Olympic medal as Canada defeats Mexico 3-2!#OlympiansMadeHere | #Gophers pic.twitter.com/xUkQ3yce6o— Minnesota Softball (@GopherSoftball) July 27, 2021
Groenewegen started the bronze medal game and gutted through three innnings in incredibly tough windy and rainy conditions allowing three hits, one run, and striking out three.
Groenewegen was great for the Canadians in Tokyo. Helping Canada to a 3-2 record in pool play and finishing third, Groenewegen started three of the five pool play games for Canada and entered a fourth in relief. She lead the Canadians with 13.1 innings pitched, had one win in the pool play opener against Mexico, has a 1.05 ERA, has struck out 14 batters, and was also 1-3 with a double at bat.
In Groenewegen’s opening game win over Mexico she threw four innings striking out three, walking one and not allowing a hit to earn the win.
Congrats to Sara!
Three other Gophers have competed and most likely completed their games this week.
Freeman is a sophomore for the Gophers and swam in both the 400 and 200 freestyle events for Botswana. IN the 400 freestyle prelims on Saturday Freeman swam a time of 4:03:10 with him finishing in 35 out of 36 qualifiers for the event.
On Sunday Freeman swam the 200 in a time of 1:52:87 which saw him end up in 38th pace out of 39 competitors in the event.
Smith returned to the games after competing for Canada in Rio in 2016. Unfortunately for her her time was much shorter this year. Smith swam Sunday in the women’s 100 breaststroke heats and recorded a time of 1:07:87 which was good enough for 24th overall, but not good enough to get her into the semifinals in the top 16.
Shane Wiskus—Men’s Gymnastics—USA
The fifth Gopher to compete in the games this far Wiskus and the US Men’s gymnastics team competed in the qualifying event on Saturday and then very early Monday morning here in the US competed in the Men’s Team final. It was unfortunately a close but not close enough Olympics for Wiskus who just missed out on qualifying for the floor exercise event final, and due to the 2 per team Olympic rules did not qualify for the individual all-around finals.
In the qualifying event on Saturday Wiskus finished in ninth place on the floor with a score of 14.733, which was just 0.33 short of getting him into the top 8 and making the individual event finals next week. He is the first alternate should one of the other eight need to drop out.
Wiskus recorded a score of 13.366 on the pommel horse, his weakest event placing him 37th. He scored a 13.866 on the rings, good for 26th place. Wiskus scored a 14.700 on the parallel bars, good for 27th place, and a 13.700 on the high bar also in 26th place. He scored just a 13.000 on the vault. His all-around score was 83.365 ending him up in 21st place. The top 24 qualified for the all-around finals, but only two per team and both Brody Malone and Sam Mikulak scored higher for the US squad to advance.
The US qualified in fourth position as a team on Saturday setting up a chance to try and win a medal Monday morning in the men’s team final. Unfortunately it was not a good day for the US as they faltered in several events and would end up finishing in fifth place. Wiskus would have four of his six scores count in the team standings earning a 13.446 on floor, 14.166 on rings, 14.700 in parallel bars, and 14.000 on high bar.
Wiskus’s Olympics are most likely over unless someone drops out of the floor exercise final, which will occur on August 1st.
Four other Gophers will begin competition next week highlighted by Gable Steveson. Good luck to them in their quest to add Olympic medals to the list!
Barbora Spotakova—Javelin—Czech Republic
Monday August 2nd, Javelin Qualification 7:20 PM NBCOlympics.com
Friday August 6th, Javelin Final 6:50 AM Peacock
Kyra Condie—Women’s Climbing—USA
Wednesday August 4th Women’s Combined Qualification 3:00 AM NBCOlympics.com
Friday August 6th Women’s Combined Final 3:30 AM NBCOlympics.com
Wednesday August 4th 125 KG Freestyle wrestling Round of 16/quarterfinals 9:00 PM The Olympic Channel
Thursday August 5th 125 KG semifinals/repechage 9:00 PM The Olympic Channel
Friday August 6th 125 KG medal matches 4:15 AM The Olympic Channel.
Kion Benjamin—Track and Field—Trinidad & Tobago
Thursday August 5th 4x100 meter prelims 9:30 PM NBC
Friday August 6th 4x100 meter final (if qualify) 8:50 AM Peacock