While Jessica Long was winning gold in the 200m individual medley (SM8) the other day—her fourth consecutive Paralympic gold in that event over a 14-year period—another pretty big story unfolded under the radar. Eighteen-year-old US swimmer Haven Shepherd finished 5th in that race, the first Paralympic event of her career, and she came within a few hundredths of a second of finishing 4th. That’s an auspicious debut for a young swimmer. It’s also a proud moment for Long, who has mentored Shepherd since before Rio. Shepherd has one more race on her docket, the 100m breaststroke (SB7). Her heat is tomorrow night at about 8pm Eastern (Long is also entered in that race.)
GAFFNEY GETS HER MEDAL
Whatever the reason Julia Gaffney got disqualified from the 200m medley the other day (we’ve given up on finding that answer), she didn’t let it bother her in her next race, the 400m freestyle (S7). She finished 3rd, taking bronze for her first career Paralympic medal. She joined US champion Mackenzie Coan on the podium. Afterward she alluded to the DQ, without shedding any light on what the infraction was: “I had to move on and I’m so happy that I was able to bounce back and get a bronze for Team USA. I just had to know that I had other chances to get on the podium.” In fact, she completed one of those chances early this morning; we’ll include the result in the spoilers down below.
THREE FOR THE SHOW
US racers made up almost half the field in the finals of the 100m sprint (T64). Hunter Woodhall, Jonathan Gore, and Jarryd Wallace all advanced out of the heats yesterday, joining a formidable group that includes Paralympic champions Johannes Floors (Germany), Jonnie Peacock (Great Britain), and Felix Streng (Germany). Woodhall finished 3rd in his heat, while Wallace and Gore both finished 4th. The medal race went off early this morning, less than an hour ago. Results down below in the spoilers.
THE WEIGHT CONTINUES
Powerlifter Jacob Schrom performed well in the finals last night, but he fell a few kilograms short in his quest to return the US to the podium in this event after a 20-year dry spell. He nailed his first lift at 215 and stood in 3rd place after that round, then hefted his 2nd at 218 kg but dropped to 5th. On his final attempt, Schrom took a shot at 221 kg but didn’t get the bar up cleanly. In fact, only one lifter was successful in the final round, a Georgian athlete named Akaki Jintcharadze. He hoisted 221 kg, dropping Schrom to his final position of 6th place. When we spoke with Schrom earlier this summer, he told us he’s just entering his prime years. Remember his name, and check back in 2024.
TONIGHT’S COMPETITION: WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Matt Stutzman takes aim at the podium tonight in the knockout rounds of men’s compound bow. He faces Slovakia’s Marcel Pavlik in the round of 16, starting at 8:15 pm Eastern. The quarterfinals ensure about two hours later, the semis begin at roughly 11:30 pm, and the gold-medal match starts at about 12:30 am. Since we’re in the Mountain time zone, we can stick with this competition to the bitter end and still get to bed before midnight. Results tomorrow morning.
Three US women will be racing in the 200m preliminaries (T64): Femita Ayanbeku, Beatriz Hatz, and Sydney Barta. Starter’s gun for the first qualifier is at 9 pm Eastern time. The final is tomorrow morning at 6:45 Eastern. If you’re up at that hour, you can also watch what we consider to be one of the marquee events of the entire Paralympics: the men’s high jump (T63) featuring world-record holder Sam Grewe and up-and-comer Ezra Frech. By the way, Frech kicked off his Paralympic career with an 8th-place finish in the long jump the other day. Not the result he was hoping for, but an impressive showing nonetheless for a 16-year-old kid competing in his first Games.
SPOILERS: OVERNIGHT RESULTS
We’re about to reveal outcomes in the men’s 100m T64, the women’s volleyball match against China, and a handful of swimming events. Stop reading here if you’d rather watch these events without knowing who won. Without further ado:
Men’s 100m T64: Felix Streng pulled an upset to win his first individual Paralympic gold medal. The three Americans finished 6th (Wallace), 7th (Gore), and 8th (Woodhall). Floores and Peacock shared the bronze medal with identical times of 10.79786 seconds. That’s right, they tied down to the hundred-thousandth of a second.
Women’s 100m backstroke S7: Gaffney won her second bronze of the Games, once again finishing behind a fellow American—in this case, Mallory Weggemann. The latter is emerging as one of the stars of these Paralympics, with two gold medals already and three more events on her docket.
Women’s 100m backstroke S9: Hannah Aspden took the gold, winning this race by more than a full second. It’s her third career Paralympic medal (she won two bronzes at Rio). Lizze Smith finished 5th in the same race.
Women’s 50m butterfly S6: Elizabeth Marks grabbed her second medal of the Games, a bronze to go along with her unexpected silver medal in the 50m freestyle.
Women’s sitting volleyball: Ooof. The US got shut out 3-0 against the powerful Chinese squad. The team now stands 1-1 in pool play, with one more match in the preliminary round (against the Russians early Wednesday morning). They need to win to keep their medal hopes alive.