Olympic viewing guide: Simone Biles returns, Andre De Grasse back on the track
What to watch Monday night and Tuesday morning
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Officially, Canada did not win any medals on Day 10. But the women's soccer team's semifinal victory over the United States was as good as gold.
Words can't really describe how thoroughly the Americans had owned this rivalry. It's better expressed in numbers. Like 3/61 — as in Canada had won three of its 61 matches all-time vs. the U.S., dating back to the mid-1980s. And 20 — as in the number of years since Canada last beat the U.S. As if the Canadians needed any more baggage to carry into this morning's matchup with the reigning World Cup champs, their last Olympic meeting ended in utter heartbreak. Minutes away from a seismic upset in the 2012 Olympic semifinals in London, Canada gave up a late tying goal after a controversial penalty-kick call and then lost 4-3 in the dying seconds of extra time.
So excuse the Canadian women if they feel like they won a gold medal after Jessie Fleming's clutch 74th-minute penalty-kick goal held up for a cathartic 1-0 victory over the Americans. After taking bronze medals at the last two Olympics, Canada's slogan for Tokyo was "change the colour." Mission accomplished: They'll play Sweden in the gold-medal match on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET and will leave Tokyo with no worse than silver.
Canada's Olympic team has a few opportunities to turn the medal faucet back on in Day 11 — including a chance to end a century-long drought in the hammer throw. Also, Canadian track stars Andre De Grasse and Moh Ahmed will both try to secure a spot in the final of their best event.
So let's start our daily Olympic viewing guide with track and field. Plus, we'll cover the return of Simone Biles (and Canada's Ellie Black) for one last shot at a medal, another brutal blow to Canadian basketball and an incredible comeback on the track.
Here's what to watch on Monday night/Tuesday morning:
Camryn Rogers can end a 109-year drought
Canada hasn't won an Olympic medal in hammer throw since Duncan Gillis took the men's silver in 1912. But Camryn Rogers looks like a real podium contender in the women's final on Tuesday at 7:35 a.m. ET. The 22-year-old from Richmond, B.C., had the fourth-best throw in qualifying, and only four women in the world have topped her best toss this year. That came at the NCAA championships in June, where Rogers broke the U.S. college record and won her second title.
Rogers is the only Canadian competing in a track and field final on Monday night/Tuesday morning. But two of Canada's biggest track stars can qualify for the medal race in their best event.
Andre De Grasse, fresh off his bronze in the 100 metres, begins his quest for a second Olympic 200m medal when the opening-round heats get going at 10:05 p.m. ET. De Grasse, who took silver in this event behind Usain Bolt in 2016, runs in heat 3 at 10:21 p.m. ET. Fellow Canadian Aaron Brown is up at 10:37 p.m. ET. The semifinals start at 7:50 a.m. ET. The final goes Wednesday morning.
Mo Ahmed runs in the opening heat of the men's 5,000m at 6:56 a.m. ET. He took bronze in this event at the 2019 world championships and was fourth at the 2016 Olympics. Last week, Ahmed finished sixth in the 10,000m — solid, considering that's his weaker distance.
The main event in track on Day 11 is the women's 200m final at 8:50 a.m. ET. 100m winner Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica had the best time in this morning's semifinals and is favoured to become the first woman ever to win the 100/200 double at consecutive Olympics.
Other Canadian medal chances on Monday night/Tuesday morning
Here are the strong ones besides Camryn Rogers, in chronological order:
Track cycling — women's team pursuit
Canada is no longer in contention for gold or silver because of its result in qualifying, but it can still win its second consecutive Olympic bronze medal. The way it works is the four fastest teams from this morning's qualifying are paired off in head-to-head races to decide the two that advance to the gold-medal final. Canada placed eighth (out of eight) in qualifying, so it will race in a heat with France at 2:37 a.m. ET. It's not enough to simply beat the French: Canada's time must be one of the two fastest among the six teams who are eliminated from advancing to the gold-medal race. Those two teams will square off for the bronze medal at 4:19 a.m. ET.
Gymnastics — women's balance beam final
Simone Biles is back. And so is Canada's Ellie Black. After both gymnasts missed the individual all-around final (Black due to an ankle injury, Biles because of her much-discussed battle with a mental block known as "the twisties"), they'll return for the last women's event of the Games at 4:50 a.m. ET.
Though Biles's mysterious and debilitating loss of orientation while performing certain moves in the air made it impossible for her to credibly compete in her other events without grave risk of injury, the beam keeps gymnasts a little closer to the ground for the most part. It's not her best event, but that's a relative term for the greatest gymnast of all time. True, Biles settled for bronze in the beam in Rio five years ago, but she's won the world title three times — including the most recent one, in 2019. So Biles has a chance to end her nightmare of an Olympics on a high note.
Black's medal chances are just as tough to gauge. They may hinge on the health of her left ankle, which she hurt while training on the beam last week. The 25-year-old from Halifax didn't compete in the balance beam final at either of her two previous Olympic appearances. At the world championships, she's placed seventh, seventh, eighth and fifth. At the 2019 worlds, Black withdrew from the beam after injuring her right ankle during the all-around final. She placed fourth in that event and was the silver medallist in the all-around at the 2017 worlds in Montreal. So the talent is there. Plus, her fifth-place beam finish at the 2018 worlds, combined with the question mark in 2019, suggests Black may have some hidden upside in this event.
Some other interesting things you should know about
The Canadian women's basketball team is out. This summer held so much promise for Canadian hoops. Riding an unprecedented wave of NBA talent, the men's national team seemed headed for its first Olympic appearance in two decades, while the fourth-ranked women's squad looked to have a real shot at its first-ever medal. But the men failed to win their last-chance qualifier on home court in Victoria last month, and today the women were eliminated from reaching the playoff round in Tokyo. A 1-2 finish in the group stage left the Canadians needing help from other teams to land a wild-card berth. Their hopes all came down to this morning's game between Puerto Rico and Australia, with Canada needing the underdog Puerto Ricans to lose by 23 points or fewer (or win outright). The Aussies crushed them by 30. Read more about what went wrong for Canada's women's team here.
Two Canadian teams are on a collision course in women's beach volleyball. To no one's surprise, reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes advanced easily to the quarter-finals last night. The No. 2-ranked team has yet to drop a set through four Olympic matches. To some people's surprise, 16th-ranked Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson are joining them in the quarters after upsetting an American duo ranked third. Bansley and Wilkerson will play a Latvian team ranked 15th on Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET. Pavan and Humana-Paredes take on an Australian tandem ranked 18th at 9 a.m. ET. If both Canadian pairs win, they'll face each other in the semifinals on Wednesday night with a spot in the gold-medal match on the line.
The Canadian men's volleyball team plays in the quarter-finals tonight. Canada's 2-3 record and fourth-place finish in its pool resulted in a tough draw: They'll face the Russian team, which went 4-1 to win the other group. The match starts at 8 p.m. ET.
Sport climbing makes its Olympic debut. If you're a fan of American Ninja Warrior, you might like this. The walls that athletes have to scale in the Olympics won't be as flashy as the obstacle courses you see on the TV show, but they demand a similar skill set. In fact, Sean McColl, Canada's only entry in the men's event, has appeared on the show multiple times. McColl's qualifying rounds start at 4 a.m. ET. Women's qualifying, with Canadian Alannah Yip, opens Wednesday at the same time. Read more about sport climbing and see what it looks like here.
You literally cannot keep Sifan Hassan down. The Dutch runner went viral last night when, on the final lap of her 1,500m heat, she tripped over a fallen opponent and crashed to the ground at the back of the pack, then got up and somehow roared back to win the heat. Less than 12 hours later, she returned to the track and won gold in the 5,000. Talk about a comeback.
How to watch live events
They're being broadcast on TV on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Or choose exactly what you want to watch by live streaming on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website. Check out the full streaming schedule here.