When the 2020 Summer Olympic Games began in Tokyo, Japan last week, there were 27 athletes with current or future ties to the University of Texas who were slated to compete.
Four full days of competition have been held since the opening ceremony on Friday and several members of the Longhorn contingent have had their first event, and a few have already seen the end of their Olympic run.
Here’s a run-through of how each Texas Longhorn athlete in Tokyo has fared so far, out of those whose events have already started. The time difference between Japan Standard Time and U.S. Central Time is 14 hours, so a lot of contests begin at odd hours. When mentioning dates and start times for events in this post, it will always be by Central Time.
Kevin Durant (USA) - Durant was one of the starters in Team USA’s pool play game vs. France on Sunday, and in just under 21 minutes of floor time he scored 10 points, grabbed 2 rebounds, and recorded 2 assists. He had a poor shooting game, making only 4 of 12 shots from the field and 1 of 6 three-point attempts, an effort that was not uncommon among players for Team USA in a 83-76 upset loss to France. The loss was the first for Team USA in an Olympic competition since 2004.
Durant and Team USA will hope to literally and figuratively rebound when they play Iran in a game that will tip off at 11:40 pm Central Time tonight (Tuesday).
Ariel Atkins (USA) - Team USA beat Nigeria 81-72 in its first group play game this morning. Atkins played just 1:14 and did not record any statistics in the game. Team USA will next face host country Japan in a game set for tip-off on Thursday at 11:40 p.m. Central Time.
Gia Doonan (USA) - Doonan, the first Longhorn rower to compete in that sport at the Olympics, is a member of the American women’s eight rowing team, which punched its ticket to the final by winning its first heat on Friday. Team USA’s time was about a second slower than that clocked by the winner of the other heat, the team from New Zealand. The women’s eight gold medal race is currently scheduled for Thursday night at 8:05 pm Central Time.
Julia Grosso (Canada) - Grosso, the first Longhorn athlete to compete in soccer at the Olympics, did not play in Canada’s 1-1 tie with Japan last Wednesday in its first group play match, but started at midfielder and played the first 61 minutes of its 2-1 win over Chile on Saturday. In Canada’s match against Great Britain, which began early this morning and resulted in a 1-1 draw, Grosso entered the game as a substitute and played 23 minutes.
With one win, no losses and two ties in group play, Team Canada advanced to the quarterfinal round, where it will face Brazil in a match that will begin at 3:00 a.m. Central Time on Friday morning. The winner will advance to the semifinal round and face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Team USA and the Netherlands.
Cat Osterman (USA) - The Olympic vet has seen action in three of Team USA’s five games. She got the start in a 2-0 win over Italy and was that game’s winning pitcher, she pitched the first six innings of a 2-0 win over Mexico, and she came on in relief in the sixth inning of a 2-1 win over Japan late Sunday night and struck out the only two batters she faced.
The win over Japan gave Team USA a perfect 5-0 record in pool play. The Americans will be the home team in the Gold Medal game against Japan, which will begin at 10:00 pm Central Time on Tuesday. In her three appearances in the 2020 Olympics, Osterman has pitched a total of 12.2 innings and struck out 15 hitters while allowing no runs, 2 hits, and 1 walk.
Alison Gibson (USA) - Gibson, a four-time All-American during her time at Texas, was paired with Krysta Palmer in the Synchronized 3-meter Springboard event on Sunday, and they finished with the lowest score of the eight duos in that competition. Their 263.49 total points was nearly four points behind the 7th place team, and just under 63 points less than the total score by the gold medal-winning team from China.
Caspar Corbeau (The Netherlands) - Corbeau’s first Olympic race was a preliminary heat for the men’s 100 meter breaststroke on Saturday. He swam a time of 1:00.13 and finished last out of the seven swimmers in his heat who completed the race and did not advance to the semifinals. Early this morning he swam in the prelims for the 200 meter breaststroke, and his time of 2:10.21 was seventh-fastest out of the eight swimmers in his heat. He did not advance to the semifinals in that event.
Townley Haas (USA) - Haas, a returning Olympian who finished 5th in the men’s 200 meter freestyle at the 2016 Olympics, was one of two Americans entered in that event at this year’s games, but he did not improve on his finish from five years ago. He finished fourth in his prelim heat on Sunday and qualified for the semifinals, which were held later that day. In his semifinal heat, he had by far the slowest reaction time at the start and was in last place after the first 50 meters, and was only able to get into fifth place by the race’s end. He did not have one of the top eight semifinal times overall and did not advance to last night’s final.
It is unclear if his Olympic run is now over. He was previously listed as a member of Team USA’s 4x200 meter freestyle relay team, but he was not part of the American foursome that swam in this morning’s semifinals, a group that had the fifth-fastest qualifying time overall and will swim in the finals tonight at 10:26 p.m.
Drew Kibler (USA) - Kibler swam Team USA’s first leg of the 4x200 meter freestyle relay this morning, swimming a team-best 1:46.12 split and helping the squad to a time of 7:05.62. The final race in that event is scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) at 10:26 p.m. Central Time.
Anna Elendt (Germany) - Elendt, the first Longhorn athlete to represent Germany at an Olympic games, had her prelim heat in the 100 meter breaststroke on Sunday morning and finished 2nd with a time of 1:06.96. She did not fare as well in her semifinal heat, finishing in 7th place with a time of 1:07.31, more than a second and a half behind her future Longhorn teammate Lydia Jacoby (more on her in a bit). Elendt did not advance to the 100m breaststroke final, but still has one event left in Tokyo. On Friday morning she will swim a leg of Germany’s 4x100 medley relay in that event’s initial heats, and with a top eight time her team will advance to Saturday’s final heat.
Joanna Evans (The Bahamas) - Evans, competing in her second Olympics, did not advance past the first heat either of her events this week. In Sunday’s 400 meter freestyle prelims she finished 2nd in her heat with a time of 4:07.50 (exactly one-tenth of a second faster than her prelim time in the same event at the 2016 Olympics), but it wasn’t a fast enough time to qualify for one of the two semifinal heats. The next day she swam in the prelims for the 200 meter freestyle and finished 7th in her heat with a time of 1:58.40, an improvement of nearly 3 seconds on her time at the 2016 Olympics, but not fast enough to get her into the semifinals.
Lydia Jacoby (USA) - I did not mention Jacoby in my Texas Longhorn-centric Olympics preview piece on Friday that named the 26 Longhorn athletes set to compete in Tokyo. I was unaware that she was a Longhorn swimming commit, and she was not included on the release from UT Athletics last week that named the Longhorn athletes slated to compete in Tokyo because she is an incoming high school senior and has not yet signed a letter of intent with Texas. The 17-year-old Alaska native swam in the 100 meter breaststroke prelims on Sunday and advanced to the semifinals with a time of 1:05.52. She won her semifinal heat with a slightly slower time of 1:05.72 to advance to Monday’s final.
In her first Olympic final she got off to a promising start, and after 50 meters she was in 3rd place behind fellow American and reigning Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Lilly King, and South African Tatjana Schoenmaker, who had set a new Olympic record in her prelim heat. After the turn, Jacoby caught up to and passed both King and Shoenmaker to win the gold medal with a time of 1:04.95, besting Schoenmaker’s 1:05.22 silver medal finish.
Jacoby is not listed as a participant in any other events, but she seems a likely candidate to be included on Team USA’s 4x100 medley relay, which will have its opening heat on Friday night.
Remedy Rule (The Philippines) - Rule, the only swimmer representing The Philippines, and the first Longhorn to compete for that country in the Olympics, swam in the prelims for the 100 meter butterfly on Saturday, and though she finished 2nd in her heat she did not advance to the semifinals. Swimming in the 200 meter butterfly prelims early this morning, she finished 6th in her heat with a time of 2:12.23, but since only 16 swimmers actually finished the race between the three prelim heats, she was able to earn a spot in the semifinal heats.
Rule will swim in one of that event’s semifinals tonight at around 9:04 Central Time. If her time is one of the eight best, she’ll compete in the 200 meter butterfly final on Wednesday night. If she doesn’t advance to the final, then tonight’s race will likely be the final one as a competitive swimmer for the former Longhorn All-American, as she has stated that she plans to retire from swimming after the Olympics.
Erica Sullivan (USA) - Sullivan, who will turn 21 on August 9, the day after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, finished 2nd in her qualifying heat of the 1,500 meter freestyle on Monday. Her time of 15:46.67 was the third-best qualifying time among the eight swimmers who advanced to the final, which is scheduled to begin tonight at 9:54 p.m. Central Time. Also in the final heat will be Katie Ledecky, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics but has not previously swum the 1,500 meter freestyle in Olympic competition. [Author’s note: until watching the NBA Olympic broadcast on Tuesday night I did not know that neither Ledecky nor any other female swimmer has swum the 1,500m in the Olympics before. This is the first time it has been included in the women’s Olympic swimming competition, though it has been swum by the male Olympians since the 1904 summer games. Previously, no women’s Olympic race had exceeded 800 meters.] Ledecky set an Olympic record with a time of 15:35.35 in her qualifying heat, and she also holds the world record in that event (15:20.48).
Chiaka Ogbogu (USA) - Ogbogu was one of two players on Team USA’s roster who did not play in its 3-0 win over Argentina in pool play on Saturday. She also got a DNP in yesterday’s upset win by Team USA over China, which it won in straight sets 29-27, 25-22, 25-21. The Americans will next play Turkey on Thursday in a game set to begin at 7:45 a.m. Central Time.