6 to Watch: Track Star Allyson Felix, Battle for Beach Volleyball Gold and More

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Thursday marks day 14 of the Tokyo Olympics – and the stakes are rising for Team USA in the medal hunt. Here’s a look at some of the top picks of what and how to watch.

One of the best to ever run for Team USA in track and field, Allyson Felix, will look to add to her impressive resume of medals while the USA women’s basketball team aims to continue their winning streak dating back to before some members of this year’s squad were even born.

Here are the 6 things to watch at the Tokyo Olympics.

1. Allyson Felix, Team USA’s 4x100m relays highlight stacked track and field action

Allyson Felix is the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history.

The stars will be under the bright lights of Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on Friday. 

The session, which begins at 6:50 a.m. ET, features six intriguing finals: women’s javelin throw, men’s 5000m, women’s 400m, women’s 1500m, women’s 4x100m relay and the men’s 4x100m relay.

Allyson Felix is making her fifth Olympic appearance in Tokyo and is hoping to add to her historic medal totals. She won silver in the women’s 400m in Rio and among the medal contenders in the event once again.

The U.S. men will be looking for their first Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay since 2000 and first medal of any kind since 2004. Team USA was represented on the men’s 100m podium with Fred Kerley winning silver, while Ronnie Baker placed fifth in the final. Trayvon Brommell, Micah Williams and Cravon Gillepsie will also look to help Team USA reclaim a podium finish.

The Jamaican women went a level above the American men in the 100m, sweeping the podium. Still, the American women come into the 4x100m final as the two-time defending Olympic champions and set the record at the 2012 London Games

Maggie Malone is the United States’ lone competitor in the women’s javelin final after she posted the second-best overall result in qualifying, trailing only Poland’s Maria Andrejczyk. Malone is making her second Olympic appearance and attempting to become the first American woman to medal in the event since 1976.

Paul Chelimo, who posted the second-fastest overall time in the men’s 5000m heats, will be joined by fellow American William Kincaid in the final, while there are no American racers in the women’s 1500m final.

Allyson Felix, of United States races in a women's 400-meter heat at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Allyson Felix, of United States races in a women’s 400-meter heat at the 2020 Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

2. Team USA tips off against Serbia in women’s basketball semifinal

U.S. women’s basketball advanced to the semifinals with its win over Australia. The win marks the team’s 53rd straight win, putting the U.S. two victories away from a seventh straight gold medal.

The U.S. women’s basketball has looked like a team determined to win its seventh straight Olympic gold medal so far in Tokyo.

After trailing heading into the second quarter of Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup against Australia, Team USA took charge on its way to a 79-55 rout. The victory extended the team’s 53-game Olympic winning streak dating back to 1992 and put the team two wins away from another gold medal. Breanna Stewart continued her scorching Tokyo run with a game-high 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

Next up for Dawn Staley’s squad is a semifinal contest against Serbia, which went 2-1 in Group A play and handled China 77-70 in the quarterfinals. Serbia is looking for its second straight Olympic medal after earning bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Team USA is hoping to send Serbia back to the bronze medal game once again. Tipoff is at 12:40 a.m. ET on Friday.

Getty Images

Marianna Tolo of Team Australia drives to the basket against A’Ja Wilson of Team USA during a Women’s Basketball Quarterfinals game.

3. April Ross, Alix Klineman battle for beach volleyball gold

Finding a beach volleyball partner good enough to challenge for an Olympic medal can be a tricky process for sure, so when April Ross and Alix Klineman teamed up for Tokyo, they considered themselves lucky that it was like at first sight.

April Ross already has a silver medal and a bronze medal in her collection. Now, she has a chance to add gold.

Ross and partner Alix Klineman will take on Australian duo Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy in the women’s beach volleyball gold medal match at 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. The American duo is a perfect 6-0 in the tournament so far, losing only one set along the way. Ross and Klineman enter the final off the heels of a semifinal win over Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich.

A U.S. pair has stood atop the podium in three of the last four Olympics, but Ross has yet to claim a gold medal. With Klineman by her side, that can change Thursday night.

Alix Klineman #2 of Team United States celebrates with April Ross #1 after defeating Team Switzerland during the Women's Semifinal beach volleyball on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Shiokaze Park on Aug. 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Alix Klineman #2 of Team United States celebrates with April Ross #1 after defeating Team Switzerland during the Women’s Semifinal beach volleyball on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Shiokaze Park on Aug. 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

4. Brooke Raboutou looks to climb Olympic podium

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. To get familiar with the sport, Team USA climber Brooke Raboutou grabbed a bowl of Legos to explain what you will see when competition beings.

Brooke Raboutou has a chance to make history during the first ever Olympic women’s sport climbing final, which begins at 4:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

The 20-year-old climber placed fifth overall in Wednesday’s qualification at Tokyo’s Aomi Urban Sports Park. She finished 12th in speed, second in bouldering and eight in lead, totaling 192 points along the way.

Raboutou has some catching up to do if she wants to win an inaugural Olympic women’s sport climbing medal. Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret, South Korea’s Seo Chae-Hyun, Japan’s Miho Nonaka and Japan’s Akiyo Noguchi finished above her in qualifying. Nonaka, who placed third overall in qualifying, had half the points of Raboutou with 96, while Garnbret held the lead with 56.

The action begins with the speed final at 4:30 a.m. ET, transitions to the bouldering final at 5:30 a.m. ET and ends with the lead final at 8:10 a.m. ET. While the climbers take on three different disciplines, the medals will be awarded to the three highest finishers on the overall leaderboard.

Brooke Raboutou


Brooke Raboutou of the US competes in the women’s Boulder competition semi-final of the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Innsbruck, Austria, on June 26, 2021.

5. USA Women’s Volleyball faces Serbia in women’s semifinals

The U.S. women’s volleyball team advanced to the semifinals after shutting out the Dominican Republic 3-0.

The U.S. women’s volleyball team has overcome plenty of adversity in reaching the semifinals in Tokyo.

Two of the team’s top players, Jordan Thompson and Jordyn Poulter, went down during pool play with apparent injuries. Without two stars, the squad grouped together for a dominant quarterfinal win over Cuba on Wednesday. Andrea Drews stepped up at the net with 21 points, while Micha Hancock took Poulter’s spot as the facilitator and collected 37 assists.

Friday’s match, which begins at 12 a.m. ET, is a rematch of the semifinals in Rio. Serbia got the better of the U.S. last time, winning a tight contest in the fifth set. Serbia claimed silver, its first Olympic women’s volleyball medal, after falling to Brazil in the championship match.

Getty Images

USA’s Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (R) spikes the ball in the women’s quarter-final volleyball match between USA and Dominican Republic during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on August 4, 2021. (Photo by YURI CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

6. Wrestling continues with USA men, women in action

American David Taylor beat Iran’s Hassan Yazdani on Thursday to win gold in the men’s freestyle 86kg event.

The United States will be in action on the wrestling mat on both the men’s and women’s side Thursday.

For the women, Sarah Ann Hildebrandt will take on Turkey’s Evin Demirhan on the Women’s Freestyle 50 kg 1/8 final at 10 p.m. EST. On the men’s side, Kyle Snyder will battle with Canada’s Jordan Steen in the Men’s Freestyle 97 kg 1/8 final.

Earlier in the day, 2018 world champion David Taylor saved the biggest trick of his life for the last seconds of his gold medal bout at the Tokyo Olympics. Trailing 3-2 to defending champion and top seed Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran, the first-time Olympian suddenly swept through his opponent for a big two points and the win.

Kyle Snyder

Getty Images

USA’s Kyle Snyder celebrates after winning the men’s freestyle wrestling -97kg category final at the FILA World Wrestling Championships in Paris on August 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / BENJAMIN CREMEL (Photo credit should read BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images)

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