So you’re Ryan Lochte (heaven forbid), you’re an Olympic star with a dozen medals, you’re a cool cat with bluish hair and a wry smile, and you’re returning from a night in Rio with three Olympic teammates.
Someone orders the cab driver to pull into a Shell gas station so someone can use the bathroom, but then everyone allegedly destroys the bathroom, breaking a door, busting a soap dispenser and tearing down a poster.
Your band of idiots returns to the cab without apology or explanation, and is prepared to drive to the Olympic Village when a security guard intervenes. The guy wants everyone to pay for the damages, a couple of your fools try to run, a gun is pulled and your boorish bunch finally shells out the equivalent of $50 and drives away unharmed.
Although rivals are nipping at Usain Bolt’s golden heels and he grumbled last week that his schedule at the Rio Olympics was too hectic for him to run world-record times, the lanky Jamaican sprinter remains unequaled at producing stunning performances on the most momentous of occasions.
Bolt reaffirmed his place in sports history Thursday at Olympic Stadium by winning the men’s 200-meter dash and becoming the only man to win the 100- and 200-meter races in three straight Olympics. His time of 19.78 seconds wasn’t the sub-19 time he had been hoping for, but it was enough for him to defeat Andre De Grasse of Canada (20.02 seconds) and Christophe Lemaitre of France (20.12). LaShawn Merritt of the U.S., the bronze medalist in the 400, finished sixth in 20.19 seconds.
It was the second medal in these Games for De Grasse, who competed for USC and was an NCAA champion. He won bronze in the 100, and in the 200 semifinals cheekily pushed Bolt into running a faster time than Bolt had planned. But Bolt had plenty of energy left Thursday and turned the evening into a historic occasion.
Ryan Crouser won the shot put gold medal with an Olympic record 22.52 meters, leading world champion Joe Kovacs in a 1-2 finish for the United States.
The 23-year-old Crouser recorded the three best throws of his career, starting with 22.22 on his second attempt to take an early lead and improving it to 22.26 before his biggest attempt of the night on his fifth put.
Kovacs, who had the season-leading mark heading into the final, took silver at 21.78 and world indoor champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand won bronze at 21.36.
The story that Ryan Lochte told four days ago was frightening and detailed, the Olympic gold medalist recalling a late-night robbery and a pistol pressed against his head.
On Thursday, Brazilian authorities presented evidence they say contradicts that account and could turn what at first had been a deeply embarrassing incident for the Summer Games’ host country into a different kind of international incident.
The head of Rio de Janeiro’s civil police, Fernando Veloso, said the version of the events told by Lochte and three U.S. swimming teammates was fabricated. The athletes, he said, damaged a gas station bathroom early Sunday morning and were involved in a confrontation with armed security before paying about $50 to resolve the matter.
A Jury of Appeals granted a protest by the United States on the outcome of second heat of the women’s 400-meter relay, in which the U.S. relay was disqualified after dropping the baton.
Ruling that the runner had been obstructed by a Brazilian runner at the second exchange (from Allyson Felix to English Gardner) the jury ruled that the U.S. women will rerun the race alone Thursday night. After Thursday's first heats, China was in eighth place with a time of 42.70 seconds. If the U.S. beats that time, they will advance to Friday's final.
Ryan Lochte may have hightailed it out of Rio de Janeiro in the wake of his much-disputed tale of being a victim of an armed robbery, but his sponsors haven’t abandoned the 12-time Olympic medalist.
A Speedo spokesman confirmed Thursday that the now-notorious swimmer continues to be sponsored by the swimwear brand. As for whether they will stand by him, the spokesman said: “Speedo is following the situation, and has a policy not to comment on ongoing legal investigations.”
A Ralph Lauren spokesman said Thursday: “We are working closely with the [U.S. Olympic Committee] on the developments in Rio and are reviewing the situation.”
Team USA captain Sue Bird missed Thursday’s semifinal because of a right knee injury, but that did not much matter for the United States, which advanced to Saturday’s gold-medal game with a 86-67 victory over France on Thursday.
The United States led by just four at halftime but turned up the defensive intensity out of the locker room and outscored France 25-8 in the third quarter.
Diana Taurasi had 18 points for the United States while Maya Moore added 15.
The U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team, given a second chance to reach the Rio Olympic final after successfully appealing its disqualification from its first-round heat, got the baton around the track safely in a rerun Thursday night and earned a chance to compete for a gold medal in Friday’s final.
The team of Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Morolake Akinosun had been disqualified from its heat Thursday morning after Felix was bumped by Brazil's Kauiza Venancio and was thrown off stride, causing her to make a faulty exchange to Gardner. The baton fell and Gardner picked it up, on Felix’s urging, and they finished the race. However, they and the Brazilian teams were disqualified. USA Track and Field officials sought relief from a Jury of Appeals on the basis that Felix had been impeded; the jury agreed and granted the rerun.
The same four athletes ran in the same order, but they were the only runners on the track. Their handoffs were fine and they were timed in 41.77 seconds, the top qualifying time. However, because they earned the spot in a rerun they are considered to have qualified for the final on time and will run in Lane 1 or Lane 8 instead of a prime middle lane. China timed at 42.70 seconds — a few hundredths behind Canada — and was dropped out of the field for the final.