Northwest

5 To Watch: Ledecky Faces Stiff Test, Mariel Zagunis begins her bid for gold

Northwest

Four more swimming medals are up for grabs, with all eyes fixed on Katy Ledecky‘s quest for gold in the women’s 400m freestyle.

Ledecky set the world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but she’ll be pushed to the limit by Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, who has since beaten Ledecky in competition.

Meanwhile, USA softball can win gold with a victory over Japan, Team USA’s men’s gymnastics team is seeking its first Olympic team gold since 2008 and Beaverton native Mariel Zagunis sets her sights on her 3rd gold medal in Sabre Fencing.

Here’s what to watch (and how).

Katie Ledecky, men’s 4x100m freestyle relay highlight swimming finals

Four more swimming medals will be awarded Sunday night, as finals get underway for the women’s 100m butterfly, men’s 100m breaststroke, women’s 400m freestyle and men’s 4x100m freestyle relay beginning at 6:30 p.m. PT.

Katie Ledecky will get her first chance at a medal in Tokyo in the women’s 400m freestyle. The six-time Olympic medalist set the world record in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and had the fastest time in Sunday’s qualifying.

The U.S. men are also looking to repeat as gold medalists in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Two-time Olympic medalist Caeleb Dressel will make his Tokyo debut in the event.

 

Torri Huske will be in contention for a medal in the women’s 100m butterfly after finishing with the fourth-fastest time in qualifying on Saturday. Michael Andrew will also be in the mix in the men’s 100m breaststroke after posting an impressive third-place time in qualifying.

Michael Andrew

Sunday’s swimming slate also includes semifinals in the men’s 200m freestyle, women’s 100m breaststroke, men’s 100m backstroke and women’s 100m backstroke.

Watch live in NBC’s primetime coverage, or stream live on NBCOlympics.com.

Can Team USA remain unbeaten in softball vs. Japan? 

Arguably America’s strongest team through the first weekend of play, the U.S. softball team will look to remain undefeated against the host country on Sunday, July 25, at 6 p.m. PT.

Team USA has won against Canada, Mexico, Italy and Australia so far. A win over Japan would put the team at a perfect 5-0. The only time Team USA has gone undefeated through the entire tournament was at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The team went undefeated in the group stage at the 2008 Beijing Olympics before falling to Japan in the gold medal game.

The offense has only posted seven runs so far in Tokyo, but it has been backed up by tremendous pitching. Monica Abbott gave up the first run of the Games to Australia on Saturday night.

Oregon State University softball head coach, and Olympic legend, Laura Berg serves on the coaching staff for Team USA. 

Stream Sunday’s game live at 6 p.m. PT here or at 12 a.m. PT Monday on NBC Sports Network.

Women’s skateboarding makes Olympic debut

The women’s street event takes place a night after the inaugural Olympic men’s street skateboarding competition was filled with falls. Jagger Eaton took bronze for the U.S., whereas Nyjah Huston disappointed with a seventh-place finish.

There will be three Americans competing: Mariah Duran, Alexis Sablone and Alana Smith. Duran has won three X Games medals, including gold in the 2018 street event. Sablone has six X Games medals, highlighted by three street golds.

Smith only has one X Games medal, but it was a historic one. Back in 2013, Smith claimed silver in the park event at just 12 years old, becoming the youngest medalist in X Games history.

The three Americans will have to contend with favorites like Japan’s Aori Nishimura, Brazilians Pamela Rosa and Rayssa Leal and a competitive field in order to reach the podium.

The event begins with qualifying heats starting at 4:30 p.m. PT on Sunday and concludes with final runs starting at 8:25 p.m. PT.

Watch qualification at NBCOlympics.com. You can also catch it in NBC’s Primetime Plus coverage at 9:05 p.m. ET. 

 

Beaverton native Mariel Zagunis begins her quest for a third Olympic gold medal

Oregon's own Mariel Zagunis is the most decorated fencer in the history of USA Fencing. 

The four-time Olympic medalist grew up in Beaverton, Oregon and attended Valley Catholic from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. She picked up a saber for the first time at the age of 10.

In 2004, Zagunis won her first Olympic gold at the 2004 Athens Games in individual saber after she defeated Chinese fencer Xue Tan in the championship round, 15–9. With the victory she also became the first American to win an Olympic fencing gold medal in 100 years.

Most notable for Zagunis, though, is that these will be her first Olympics as a mom.  “If there’s one thing I want people to know about my journey here it’s that being a mom and a professional athlete is very, very challenging,” she said. “I think it’s harder than winning an Olympic gold medal without a child, so I’m just really happy to be here, really thankful, and this journey has really taught me a lot.”

Tonight, she begins her quest for her third gold medal - and fifth overall. 

Stream the event live here starting at 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 25. 

Gymnastics men’s team final kicks off three events for Team USA

Team USA finished fourth in the all-around qualifying competition on Saturday and will be looking to upset Japan and China in the men’s team final Monday, July 26, at 3 a.m. PT.

The team combined to post the highest score on floor exercise in qualification. Sam Mikulak (parallel bars), Brody Malone (high bar), Yul Moldauer (floor exercise) and Alec Yoder (pommel horse) qualified for individual events.

Team USA is seeking its first medal in the event since 2008, while host nation Japan is looking to repeat as gold medal winners.

Stream the event at NBCOlympic.com or catch the competition during NBC’s primetime coverage.