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Tokyo Olympics: Recapping the first full week of Michigan alumni performances

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Swimming - Olympics: Day 9 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Week 1 of the Olympics is in the books and it was definitely a good week for Michigan Wolverines in Tokyo. The University of Michigan, if it were a country, would be tied for 16th in the world in the medal count with eight of them going to former Wolverines.

While the Olympics may be halfway over, most of the medal events with Wolverines in them have already occurred. Due to being overrepresented by swimmers, Michigan’s Olympic schedule was somewhat front-loaded. There are eight medal events left as of Monday with Wolverines a threat to win a good chunk of them. I’ll recap the highlights here but for full results, please take a look at my project, The Big Google Doc About Michigan at the Olympics.

Swimming

Michigan found incredible success in the pool this Olympics, with six medals and two breakout stars in Maggie MacNeil and Siobhan Haughey. MacNeil, representing Canada, won three medals including individual gold in the women’s 100m butterfly. MacNeil was seventh at the turn but made up 0.8 seconds in the second length to finish in 55.59 and take home gold. She also participated in two relay teams that medaled, as the Canadians earned silver in the 4x100 free relay, and a bronze in the 4x100 medley relay.

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong exploded onto the scene in these Olympics, taking two silver medals herself. The 200m freestyle final was billed as the big second battle between Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky. Haughey crashed their party, taking a silver medal for Hong Kong’s first-ever swimming medal. She followed up that performance with a silver in 100m free.

The other Wolverine medal came from Catie Deloof, who raced in the prelims for the USA 4x100 free team. The USA earned bronze in the final. Felix Auböck, Jake Mitchell, and Patrick Callan all made swimming finals (Callan’s as part of a relay), and Mokhtar Al-Yamani, Mariella Venter, and Jamie Yueng made their Olympic debuts.

Softball

Amanda Chidester came up with clutch hits often during the Olympic tournament and helped the United States earn silver. She had the game-winning RBI in two games, the first being the only score of a 1-0 win over Canada. The United States’ fourth game against Australia, went to extras at 0-0 and the Australians scored in the top of the 8th. Chidester hit a walk-off two-run single to clinch a gold medal game berth. Ultimately, Team USA fell to Japan in the Gold Medal Game.

Other Highlights

  • The other medal for the Wolverines was a diving silver won by Michael Hixon (USA) and his synchronized 3m springboard partner Andrew Capobianco. Hixon is a current grad assistant for the Michigan Dive team. Based on his collegiate swimming both Indiana and Texas also list this medal in their counts. (Capobianco is a current Hoosier).
  • Sam Mikulak helped the United States qualify for the men’s gymnastics team all-around final and qualified for the individual all-around final himself. While he medaled in neither of these events, he’ll get one more shot in the parallel bars apparatus final.

Week 2 Preview

Soccer

Canada has secured a medal, through a massive upset over the USWNT. They will play in the gold medal game against Sweden on Thursday at 10 pm, after two straight bronze medal Olympic finishes. Wolverines Jayde Riviere and Shelina Zardosky were a bigger factor in the group stage than they have been in the knockout round so far, and in the Chile game, they played 90 minutes together on Canada’s backline. Riviere will be back with the Wolverine women’s soccer team, giving Michigan fans plenty of chances to support an Olympian in person.

Wrestling

If Michigan were to win another non-soccer medal at these Olympics, there is a pretty good chance that it comes from wrestling. While the brackets are not out yet, both Serbia’s Stevan Micic and San Marino’s Myles Amine are in medal contention. Per DraftKings, Micic has the second-best odds in the 57kg, and Amine has the third-best odds at 86kg. By sheer luck, these weight classes are paired together on the schedule and begin Tuesday at 10:30 PM (all times eastern).

Basketball

Moe Wagner and Germany have had a mixed time at these Olympics. They did exactly enough to make the quarterfinals, going 1-2 in pool play to finish third in their group. Their only win was Wagner’s best game, where he scored 17 points in an 89-76 win over Nigeria. Because Germany had the best points differential among third-place teams they made the quarterfinals where they drew a tough Slovenia. Oddsmakers have Germany as the biggest underdog of the quarterfinals against Luka Doncic, but if they win they will be guaranteed at least a berth in the bronze medal game. Lucky for Wolverines fans, this is the easiest-to-watch game of the quarterfinals, Monday at 9 pm.

Everything Else

  • Abby Andrews, Amy Ridge, and the Australian women’s water polo team are also in the quarterfinals, where they’ll play ROC (Russia). Australia finished second in their group at 4-1. ROC is the only team to qualify for the quarterfinals with a negative goal differential.
  • Three of the Wolverines track athletes were eliminated already; Mason Ferlic (USA) in the steeplechase prelim, and Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember (both Great Britain) in the 100m hurdle semis. The remaining athletes, decathlon Steven Bastien (USA) and two-time 1500m medalist Nick Willis (New Zealand) are not Vegas favorites to medal.