Latter-day Saints in the Olympics, day 5: Wins for volleyball, plus swimming

There were wins in volleyball, both out on the sand and indoor on hardwood, for players on Team USA with connections to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on day five of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo — plus races in swimming and more news from gymnastics.

Beach volleyball  

Tri Bourne, left, of the United States, celebrates with teammate Jake Gibb, after winning a men’s beach volleyball match against Switzerland at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Tri Bourne, left, of the United States, celebrates with teammate Jake Gibb, after winning a men’s beach volleyball match against Switzerland at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Felipe Dana, Associated Press

In beach volleyball, Jake Gibb, 45, and teammate Tri Bourne, 32, with Team USA beat a duo from Switzerland in two sets, 21-19 and 23-21, in an evenly matched competition on Wednesday, July 28. The temperature was hovering around the mid-80s with 75% humidity in the stadium at Shiokaze Park. This is the second time Gibb, of Bountiful, Utah, has competed with Bourne as Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan. Bourne was part of the No. 3 U.S. team. Gibb has “TAY” written on the bill of his hat.

It was their second win in the pool play. The teams in beach volleyball and volleyball are divided into groups or pools and they play each team in the pool. The top teams in the pool move on to the tournament for medals.

Their next match and last match in the pool play is against a duo from Qatar on Friday, July 30.  

Volleyball  

USA's Taylor Sander, right, jumps to the block the spike from Tunisia's Mohamed Ali Ben Othmen Miladi, left, during a men's volleyball preliminary round pool B match between United States and Tunisia at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
USA’s Taylor Sander, right, jumps to the block the spike from Tunisia’s Mohamed Ali Ben Othmen Miladi, left, during a men’s volleyball preliminary round pool B match between United States and Tunisia at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) Credit: Manu Fernandez, Associated Press

Over in the Ariake Arena, Team USA, including outside hitter Taylor Sander, won its match against Tunisia 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 35-14 and 25-23) on Wednesday, July 28. Sander, 29, is a BYU alumnus and part of the bronze-winning 2016 team in Rio.

Team USA is now 2-1 in pool play and faces Brazil on Friday, July 30, and Argentina on Sunday, Aug. 1. The team from Brazil won gold in the Rio Olympics four years ago.  

Swimming  

In swimming at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Puerto Rico’s Jarod Arroyo raced in qualifying heats in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:01.92. Overall, he was 39th of the 45 swimmers and the top 16 moved on to the finals. The 20-year-old Arizona native also competed in the 400-meter individual medley earlier this week.

Gymnastics  

Latter-day Saint gymnast MyKayla Skinner’s Olympic competition may not be over just yet, according to news reports. Simone Biles has withdrawn from the individual all-around competition and will consider each of the four apparatus finals she qualified for individually.

The top eight in each apparatus qualify for the final with a limit of two per country. Skinner, 24, the former University of Utah All-American gymnast, was in fourth place for the vault. However she was behind two other USA gymnasts — Biles, who was first, and Carey Jade, who was second. If Biles decides to withdraw from the vault competition, Skinner would replace Biles, according to ABC News.  

Meanwhile, Skinner retweeted a photo of her, Biles and three of the gymnasts from the men’s team at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre cheering on Team USA’s Brody Malone and Sam Mikulak, who placed 10 and 12, respectively

Read more of Church News’ coverage of athletes connected to the Church competing in the Olympics

Upcoming Thursday  

On Thursday, July 29, the rugby pool matches begin and Team USA includes Jordan Gray Matyas, who was on BYU’s 2011 championship team. They play China and Japan tomorrow. Also, swimmer Rhyan Elizabeth White is scheduled to race in the 200-meter backstroke qualifying heats.

On social  

Brazilian soccer player Bruna Benites celebrated her team qualifying to move on to the eight-team knock-out tournament. They play the team from Canada on Friday, July 30.

Gibb shared a photo of him spiking the ball against the Swiss team.  

Matyas posted a photo of her holding her jersey in the Olympic Village with flags of various countries lining the street and hanging from balconies.  

In her Instagram stories, White shared about swimming in her first Olympic final, calling it an “amazing experience” and sharing gratitude for the support.

Credit: Screenshot from Instagram