Rio 2016: Five things to watch Monday — Can Allyson Felix step up?
RIO DE JANEIRO — The Rio Olympic Games enters its final week with stars of London 2012 looking to repeat their success on the track, the hockey pitch and in the murky waters around Rio.
With the United States topping the medal table, Allyson Felix will hope to add to her golden tally on the track, while fast-rising Great Britain will be looking to Charlotte Dujardin in the dressage competition and cycling great Mark Cavendish in the velodrome.
Athletics fans will also be on the lookout for records. Can Kenyan runner Rudisha repeat the heroics of London 2012? Can the world’s best pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie go even higher?
Perhaps there will be more surprises during Day 10 of the Games. Here are a few names to watch for during Monday’s competitions.
One of the jewels of middle-distance running is the Olympic 800-meter final. Rudisha, the 2015 world champion, will attempt to repeat his performance in London, where he broke the world record of one minute 40.91 seconds on his way to glittering gold.
France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse qualified fastest but it’s likely to be a tight contest. Watch out for Kenyan Alfred Kipketer, Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi and American Clayton Murphy.
The men’s pole vault features world record-holder Lavillenie of France, who has cleared an astonishing 6.16 meters — that’s more than 20 feet — and will be looking to go higher in Rio’s Olympic Stadium.
American Sam Kendricks and Poland’s Piotr Lisek finished second and third to him at this year’s world indoor championships. Both will be having another go at knocking him off his lofty perch in Rio Monday.
With 2012 winner Sanya Richards-Ross now retired, her fellow American Felix is hoping to step up in the women’s 400m final as the reigning world champion.
Also defending her 200m title in Rio, Felix faces serious competition in the longer distance Monday from compatriots Natasha Hastings and Phyllis Francis along with 2015 world silver medalist Shaunae Miller of Bahamas.
Open water swimming
The swimmers will have to brave the waters of the 10 km course off Fort Copacabana.
There was major concern ahead of the Games about water quality around Rio, with studies finding that it was contaminated with drug-resistant superbugs. The US rowing team even invested in antimicrobial suits.
The women’s competition is on Monday and the men’s race is Tuesday.
Watch out for Hungarian Eva Risztov, who claimed gold in London, GB’s Keri-Anne Payne who took silver in Beijing in 2008, American Haley Anderson, Australia’s Melissa Gorman, and Martina Grimaldi of Italy.
It’s a grueling event, and a chance for someone to grab glory.
It is quarterfinals day in the women’s competition, with some great ties to enjoy.
In a rematch of the 2012 final, the champion Dutch team meets Argentina. Australia, another of the favorites, is matched with neighbor and rival New Zealand. The US plays Germany and Great Britain is drawn against Spain.
The Netherlands finished top of Pool A, while the British — third at London 2012 — led Pool B with a 100% record, beating Australia and Argentina.
Mark Cavendish has won virtually ever major honor in cycling — 30 Tour de France stage wins, a road race world championship and classics such as Milan-San Remo — but he is missing an Olympic medal.
Cavendish has seen British teammates such as Bradley Wiggins pick up a clutch of medals on the track and road, while for the Manxman a series of disappointments.
All that can change Monday with the final day of the omnium competition, an all-round test of six events, from sprints to endurance, where Cavendish is among the favorites — he was third after Sunday’s openers behind France’s Thomas Boudat and Italian Elia Viviani.
Two-time world champion Fernando Gaviria of Colombia was fifth.
Fellow Briton Laura Trott will begin the defense of her women’s omnium title, bidding for her second gold at Rio and fourth overall.
The sport of the “dancing horses” gained worldwide coverage in the 2012 London Games as Charlotte Dujardin won gold with a startling display of skill and grace on Valegro in both the team and individual competitions.
Four years later and the same partnership is still in place and still dominant in a sport which requires precision and feel for both horse and rider.
Dujardin and her British teammates were relegated to the silver medal position in the team event by a strong German quartet in Rio, so she will be looking to make amends in the individual competition Monday and win a third Olympic gold in total.