NC State swimmer Sophie Hansson conquered America, or at least American college swimming, when she won four national championships as the NCAA meet in May. Sunday night, she put herself in position to take on the world’s best with a chance at bringing home an Olympic medal.
Swimming for her home country Sweden, Hansson finished second in her 100 meter breaststroke semifinal in a time of 1.05.81. That was good enough for fifth overall and one of eight spots available in Monday’s event final.
As strong as her performance has been thus far in her first Olympic experience, the 22-year-old told Swedish television station Kanal 5 that she has to be even better to mount a serious challenge race favorites Lily King of the U.S. and Yulia Efimova of the Russian Olympic Committee team
“I think I have to open a tenth faster to be involved and fight for a medal,” she said.
Hansson’s sister Louise is also competing in the Olympics, finishing fifth in the 100 meter butterfly with a personal record time a few races before Sophie got into the pool.
________________________________Gold Silver Bronze Total
China 6 5 7 18
USA 7 3 4 14
Japan 8 2 3 13
ROC 4 5 3 12
Italy 1 4 4 9
It was a light day of action in Tokyo for athletes with ties to North Carolina.
Other than Hansson, Duke coach Kara Lawson’s women’s 3-on-3 basketball team had the best result with a pair of wins to improve to 6-0 in the competition. Allisha Gray, who started her college career at UNC before transferring to South Carolina and then moving on to the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, played a major role in both victories.
She tied for the team lead with six points in a 17-13 win against Italy, then followed that up with five points and three blocked shots — including two during a key late-game stretch — to help the U.S. team to a 21-19 win against China. Gray was 6 of 9 from the floor in the two games (baskets and free throws count as one point each; shots from beyond the arc count as two points).
NC State softball star Tatyana Forbes scored a run for Mexico in its 4-1 softball win against Australia. Forbes entered the game as a pinch runner during a two-run fourth inning and stayed in the game to play left field. She grounded out in both of her at bats. Mexico has won two straight in pool play after going 0-3 to start the tournament and will play Canada on Tuesday for the bronze medal.
Former Duke national champion Jahlil Okafor scored four points and had four rebounds in just over 11 minutes for the Nigeria men’s basketball team in its 84-67 loss to Australia.
Team USA Highlights
Swimming star Katie Ledecky was upset in the 400-meter freestyle, finishing second to Australian Ariarne Titmus in one of the most anticipated duels of the Games. Ledecky, the defending Olympic champion and world record holder, finished in a time of 3:57.36 — the fourth-fastest ever recorded. But she had to settle for the silver medal when Titmus, who trailed by nearly a full body-length at the halfway mark of the eight-lap race, turned on the speed to touch in 3 minutes, 56.69 seconds.
Things went better for top American male swimmer Caleb Dressel. Swimming the leadoff leg of the 4×100 meter freestyle relay, Dressel gave the U.S. a lead it never relinquished on the way to the gold medal. Blake Pieroni and Bowe Becker kept the Americans out front before Zach Apple turned in an anchor leg of 46.69 to leave no doubt at the end. Italy took the silver in 3:10.11, with the bronze going to Australia in 3:10.22.
Kelsey Stewart hit a game-ending home run leading off the seventh inning as the United States rallied late to beat Japan 2-1 and win the Olympic softball group stage — and with it the right to bat last in the gold medal game. Valerie Arioto hit a two-out RBI single to tie the game in the sixth for the U.S. to offset an unearned run by Japan in the first.
Vincent Hancock became the first skeet shooter to win three Olympic gold medals by repeating the victories he earned at the 2008 and 2012 Games. The 38-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, hit his first 26 targets in the Tokyo final and set an Olympic record with 59 of 60 overall. He beat Denmark’s Jesper Hanen by four.
The Associated Press contributed to this story