Latter-day Saints in the Olympics, day 6: Wins on the rugby pitch, plus swimming and pistol shooting

Wins on the rugby pitch, a tie in the swimming pool and a pistol qualifying round for three athletes connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were all on day 6 of Olympic competition in Tokyo.  

Rugby   

Lauren Doyle (6) of the United States runs with the ball as teammate Jordan Matyas (8) follows behind, in their women's rugby sevens match against China at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Lauren Doyle (6) of the United States runs with the ball as teammate Jordan Matyas (8) follows behind, in their women’s rugby sevens match against China at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Shuji Kajiyama, Associated Press

Team USA won preliminary matches against teams from China 28-14 and Japan 17-7 in the rugby sevens Pool C. 

Jordan Matyas, 28, a Brigham Young University alumna, played in the final minutes of the first game against China. Both teams were tied 7-7 at the half with USA pulling ahead in the second half. She started in the match with Japan and scored a goal in the first half contributing to USA’s 10-0 lead at the half.  

USA plays the team from Australia (2-0) on Friday, July 30, in Pool C play. The top teams in each pool move on to the quarterfinal games on Friday evening.

Swimming  

Rhyan Elizabeth White of the United States starts in her heat of the women's 200-meter backstroke at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
Rhyan Elizabeth White of the United States starts in her heat of the women’s 200-meter backstroke at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Matthias Schrader, Associated Press

USA’s Rhyan Elizabeth White, 21, qualified for the 200-meter backstroke semifinal on Thursday, July 29, winning heat 2 and beating fellow American Phoebe Bacon.  

The 21-year-old’s time of 2:08.23 tied for second overall with Canada’s Kylie Masse, who took silver in the 100-meter backstroke. First overall was the 100-meter gold medalist Australia’s Kaylee McEown. (White was fourth in the 100-meter race.) Masse and McEown were in heat 4. The top eight moved on to the semifinals. 

A Utah native, White is a first-time Olympian and swims for the University of Alabama. The semifinal is on Friday, July 30.  

Pistol shooting 

Alexis “Lexi” Lagan was 21st overall after the first round of the 25-meter pistol qualifications on Thursday, July 29. With 100 points available in each of the first three precision rounds, she had a total of 288 points, less than 10 points from the first place score of 296. 

There are two rounds in the 25-meter pistol shooting. The precision round was Thursday and the rapid round is Friday, July 30, with 60 total shots split among six targets between the two rounds. Points from both rounds are added together and the top eight move to the finals.  

It’s the first Olympics for the 28-year-old University of Utah alumna.  

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

Competing Friday  

In addition to White’s semifinal, Lagan’s precision qualification and rugby’s pool play, events Friday, July 30, for athletes connected to the Church include the soccer quarterfinals for Brazil’s Bruna Benites against the team from Canada.  

Four-time Olympian with two golds and a silver medal, New Zealand’s Valerie Adams has shot put qualifications. In basketball, Australia (0-1), including Leilani Mitchell, tip off against China (1-0) in the preliminary round in Group C.  

In beach volleyball, Team USA’s Jake Gibb and teammate Tri Bourne, who are 2-0 in pool play, face the duo from Qatar, who are also 2-0 against the teams from Italy and Switzerland in Pool C. In volleyball, Team USA (2-1), including Taylor Sander, face Brazil (2-1) in Pool B.  

In soccer, rugby, basketball, volleyball and beach volleyball, the teams are divided into pools or groups. All the teams play against each other in the pool. The top teams in each group then move on to the elimination tournament with medals for the winners.  

On social/around the web  

First-time Olympian Jarod Arroyo, 20, representing Puerto Rico shared his gratitude for his Olympic experience in an Instagram story. The Arizona native in swam in both the 400-meter individual medley and the 200-individual medley.    

Credit: Screenshot from Instagram

Gymnast MyKayla Skinner with fellow United States teammates cheered on Sunisa Lee and Jade Carey at the women’s all-around final on Wednesday, July 28. She congratulated Lee in her Instagram stories.

From left, United States gymnast Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles and MyKayla Skinner stands for their national anthem as teammate Sunisa Lee receives the gold medal for the artistic gymnastics women's all-around at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo.
From left, United States gymnast Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles and MyKayla Skinner stands for their national anthem as teammate Sunisa Lee receives the gold medal for the artistic gymnastics women’s all-around at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit: Ashley Landis, Associated Press