There’s still plenty of buzz about yesterday morning’s dazzling 400m freestyle race between Morgan Stickney and Jessica Long (S8). If you haven’t watched the race yet, you can do so right here. It’s one for the ages.
After the race, Stickney said she wasn’t sure where she stood in relation to Long as they entered the last 50 meters. “Honestly, I was just like ‘put your head down and just go,’” she told reporters. “Everything I’ve been through in the past few years kind of flashed before my eyes.” For her part, Long said: “The 400 is one of the most painful events. I knew that I was going be ahead in the first 200, but with age it’s just hard to push the last 200. I’m 29. I’ve swam it for 17 years so I knew that it was going to be a fight to the end.”
Long was back in the pool early this morning for her next-to-last event of these Games. Results in the Spoilers section below.
Amputee shot-putter Josh Cinnamo (F46) won his first Paralympic medal last night, but it wasn’t the color he was hoping for. The world-record holder took home bronze with a distance of 15.90 meters, his best throw of 2021 but well short of his standard-setting throw (16.80 meters) from 2019. The gold went to Canadian Greg Stewart, who set a new Paralympic record at 16.75 meters and came within a whisker of the world record.
BASKETBALL Ds UP
Midway through the second quarter of last night’s quarterfinal match against Turkey, Team USA was down 7 points and defending a fast break that could have stretched the deficit to 9. Their lone defender, Matt Scott, maneuvered into the passing lane and forced the ball-handler to put up an awkward shot, which bounced off the rim and into Scott’s grasp. It didn’t seem like a turning point at the time, but the US proceeded to slam the door shut for the remainder of the half, allowing only one more basket and cutting the halftime deficit to one point. They suffocated Turkey in the 2nd half, allowing just 19 points en route to a 52-47 victory.
The key stat? Team USA forced 17 turnovers while coughing the ball up only four times. That whopping +13 turnover edge meant Team USA got off 15 more shots than their opponents. They also contained Turkey’s star player, Özgür Gürbulak, holding him to a relatively modest 21 points. Brian Bell paced the US side with 18 points. The Americans face Spain in the semifinals on Friday; tipoff time hasn’t been announced, but it’s likely to be an overnight/early morning affair.
Meanwhile, the women WC hoopsters are also in the semis after a 15-point win Tuesday against Canada. They face China tomorrow morning at 5:45 am Eastern time.
SPOILERS: OVERNIGHT RESULTS FROM SITTING VOLLEYBALL, SWIMMING, TRACK AND FIELD
Facing a must-win match against the Russians, the US sitting volleyball team came through with a surprisingly easy victory in straight sets, 3-0. The win vaults them into the semifinals for a showdown with Team Brazil very early on Friday morning (5:30 am Eastern).
Jessica Long won her fourth medal of the Tokyo Games this morning with a silver in the 100m breaststroke (SB7). That brings her career tally to 27, with one chance remaining (the 100m butterfly) on Friday.
Trenten Merrill won his first career Paralympic medal, a bronze in the men’s long jump T64. In the process, Merrill broke his own US record with a distance of 7.04 meters. It’s happy outcome for Merrill, who barely missed the podium in this event in 2016.