If you are looking for the most dominant U.S. Olympic team— 48-0 in Olympic play since 1992—turn your eyes to Carioca Arena today as the United States women’s basketball team battles Spain in the gold medal match. The Americans enter the final following a 19-point win over France, far below their average margin of 41.7 in their first six games in Rio. Does this give Spain any hope?
“The U.S. women are as solid a favorite as any team in any sport in Rio,” writes SI’s Alex Wolff. “But the first half, which ended with France trailing by only 40-36, exposed the Americans for the first time. The U.S. failed to finish around the basket with its usual efficiency. Facing a little more size and getting a little more body than they were used to in previous games, the Americans shanked short shots and often drew back iron.”
Look for the U.S. to bring its ‘A’ game on Saturday, even if starting point Sue Bird cannot go. They defeated Spain in their second game here by 40 points.
It’s a very busy day in Rio as medals will also be awarded in badminton, boxing, canoe sprint, cycling mountain bike, diving, golf, handball, modern pentathlon, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, taekwondo, triathlon, track and field, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.
What to Watch
• Brazil has a chance to win the most important medal of the Games for that country: The gold medal match in men’s soccer pits the host nation against Germany at Maracana at 4:30 p.m. Though a different roster for both teams, Germany crushed Brazil 7-1 in the last World Cup, a result that was a major embarrassment for Brazil. The bronze medal game features Honduras and Nigeria at noon.
• The final night of track and field competition should be terrific, highlighted by the 4x400m relays (women’s race starts at 9:00; men at 9:35). The United States is on a five-Olympic winning streak in the women’s 4×400 and is a heavy favorite again led by Allyson Felix. Jamaica will also be in contention.
• The United States have motivation to win the gold in the men’s 4×400 behind LaShawn Merritt, the 400m bronze medalist in Rio. The U.S. took silver in 2012 behind the Bahamas after Merritt suffered a lower leg injury before the final.
• Chaunte Lowe, a 32-year-old mother of three, is among the favorites in the women’s high jump (7:30 p.m.). Vashti Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, is also a medal threat.
• Kenyans Asbel Kiprop is the favorite in the 1500 (8:00 p.m.). Matthew Centrowitz has the best shot for the U.S.
• South Africa’s Caster Semenya is the favorite in the women’s 800 (8:15 p.m.). Kate Grace of the U.S. will also run in the final.
• Great Britain’s Mo Farah is on pace to repeat his historic double in London. He earlier won the 10,000 and tonight’s goes for the gold in the 5,000 (8:30 p.m.). Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris is one of the big threats to Farah. Five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat is the best bet for the U.S.
• Gwen Jorgensen of the U.S. is a serious contender for the women’s triathlon (10:00 a.m.) event.
• The United States meets the Netherlands in the bronze medal match (noon) in volleyball. The gold medal match pits China against Serbia.
• Three boxing medals will be awarded including the women’s fly (featuring favorite Nicola Adams of Great Britain) and men’s bantamweight (U.S. boxer Shakur Stevenson goes for gold against Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez). The competition starts at 1:00 p.m.
• The women’s gold medal match in team handball features Russia-France (2:30 p.m.). Norway and the Netherlands will meet for the bronze.
• American David Boudia goes for his second straight Olympic title in the men’s 10-meter platform. Qui Bo of China and London medalist Tom Daley of Great Britain will be in the mix. The diving finals begin at 3:30 p.m.
• Rivals Croatia and Serbia meet in what looks to be an epic men’s water polo final (4:50 p.m.).
• The men’s badminton gold medal match (8:20 p.m.) features China’s Chen Long against Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
•The final round of women’s golf takes place begins at 6:00 a.m. Inbee Park (South Korea), Lydia Ko (New Zealand) and Gerina Piller (U.S.) are the leaders after three rounds.
From SI writers
• Scott Price on the messy Ryan Lochte affair
• Michael Rosenberg on Ashton Eaton’s decathlon double
•Tim Layden on Usain Bolt’s greatness
•Austin Murphy on how triathlete Jorgensen pushed past her fears ahead of Rio Olympics
See Saturday’s Olympic television listings below, and be sure to check out SI.com’s comprehensive coverage of Rio 2016.
Note: Not all events listed below are live, but you can watch every Olympic event live on NBCOlympics.com.
All times Eastern.
Golf: Women’s final round. Golf Channel
Rhythmic gymnastics: Group event. USA
Triathlon: Women’s competition. NBC
Basketball: Women’s bronze medal game, France vs. Serbia (10:30 a.m.). USA
Soccer: Men’s bronze medal match, Honduras vs. Nigeria. NBCSN
Volleyball: Women’s bronze medal match, USA vs. Netherlands. MSNBC
Badminton: Men’s singles bronze medal match. MSNBC
Water polo: Men’s bronze medal match, Montenegro vs. Italy. USA
Handball: Women’s bronze medal match, Netherlands vs. Norway. USA
Flatwater canoe/kayak: Finals. NBC
Diving: Men’s 10m platform semifinal. NBC
Golf: Women’s final round. NBC
Wrestling: Men’s freestyle qualification. NBCSN
Mountain biking: Women’s competition. NBCSN
Rhythmic gymnastics: Individual all-around final. USA.
Badminton: Men’s singles final. USA
Basketball: Women’s gold medal final, USA vs. Spain (2:30 p.m.). NBC
Handball: Women’s gold medal match, France vs. Russia (2:30 p.m.). MSNBC
Soccer: Men’s gold medal match, Brazil vs. Germany (4:30 p.m.). NBCSN, Telemundo
Water polo: Men’s gold medal final, Croatia vs. Serbia (4:45 p.m.). NBC
Track and field: Women’s 4x400m relay, men’s 4x400m relay, women’s high jump. NBC
Diving: Men’s 10m platform final. NBC
Volleyball: Women’s gold medal final, China vs. Serbia. NBC
Boxing: Men’s bantamweight gold medal match, men’s middleweight gold medal match, women’s flyweight gold medal match. USA
Wrestling: Men’s freestyle medal-round matches, 86kg and 125kg. USA
Modern penthalon: Men’s competition. USA
Taekwondo: Men’s heavyweight final, women’s heavyweight final. USA