Local Athletes Participating around the Rio Olympics
Several local athletes participated around the games over the past few days, with some medal favorites falling short in their events, while others began their journey to Olympic glory.
Shooter Matt Emmons of Brown Mills, NJ came in as a favorite to win his fourth career Olympic medal, but he was faced only more disappointment, finishing 19th in the men’s 50m rifle three positions. After disappointment in Athens and Beijing, he took bronze in London, but was expected for gold again at age 35 in Rio. However, he made it nowhere close to even qualifying for the final in the event, 1169 points, five points away from the eighth and final qualifying slot. It was his only event in Rio, marking the end of these Olympics for him.
In the boxing ring, the career of Newark’s Shakur Stevenson continued to rise, as he took his round of 16 bout in the bantamweight division. He toppled hometown favorite, Robenilson de Jesus of Brazil in a unanimous decision. It was impressive for him to rebound after not fighting since March, shaking off the rust in front of a very hostile crowd. Despite that, he still has plenty of room to improve in future bouts if he hopes to reach the podium. After Nico Hernandez won a bronze earlier in the games, the pressure is off of Stevenson now who was expected to be America’s best hope to win a men’s boxing medal after being blanked in London four years ago. He can now simply focus on the fight when he takes the ring, as he takes on Erdenebat Tsendbaatar of Mongolia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.
Matt Anderson of West Seneca and the men’s volleyball team punched their ticket to the semifinals in the tournament, after winning their third consecutive match, this time against Mexico, three sets to none. While it was a dominating win for the team that has a 3-2 record after losing their first two matches, Anderson struggled greatly, eventually being subbed out near the end of the second set. Team USA will need his play to improve if they are to continue to advance through the crowded field.
In the velodrome, Bobby Lea of Topton, PA continues to struggle in men’s omnium, not even finishing in the final points race. On Sunday, he finished 17th in the scratch race and eleventh in the elimination race. However, he did finish in eighth in individual pursuit, which would be his best finish in an individual competition. A 14th place in the time trial, and a 12th place in the flying lap, which led to him not even finishing in the points race, ending his Olympics, after being the final cyclist selected for the American team. His final ranking was 17th.
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