Latter-day Saints in the Olympics, day 12: Silver in swimming, updates in track and basketball

Team USA won silver in the 4×100 medley swim relay, and Rhyan Elizabeth White swam in the preliminary heat to help qualify the team for the finals last weekend. In day 12 of competition in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, athletes connected to the Church representing Australia ran in the 800-meter final and competed on the basketball court.  

Swimming  

White, a first-time Olympian, helped Team USA in its effort for a silver in the 4×100-meter medley on Friday, July 30. The 21-year-old Utah native who attends the University of Alabama swam the backstroke leg in the preliminary heat. The top eight teams from the 16 teams in the two semifinals heats moved on to the finals. The four-person team took second behind the team from Canada — in the heat and overall — qualifying Team USA for the final. 

A different group of four swimmers swam in the final on Sunday, Aug. 1, winning silver. The team from Australia won gold and the team from Canada won bronze. The team that swam in the finals was on the podium for the medals ceremony and those that swam in the preliminary heat will also receive the same colored medal.  

White competed in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke at the Olympics and came in fourth in the finals in both events. 

Track  

Peter Bol, of Australia, competes in the final of the men’s 800-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Tokyo.
Peter Bol, of Australia, competes in the final of the men’s 800-meters at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Tokyo. Credit: Matthias Schrader, Associated Press

Australia’s Peter Bol, 27, came in fourth in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:45.92, on Wednesday, Aug. 4. In the semifinals, the South Sudan native broke the Australian record he set the day before in the preliminary heat. The new record is 1:44.11.  

He led early in the race and held the lead until the final 200 meters when he was passed by the trio who ended up on the podium.  

Bol’s family emigrated to Australia when he was child. Initially interested in basketball, he started running as a teenager. 

Basketball 

Australia's Leilani Mitchell (5) shoots over United States's Sue Bird (6) during a women's basketball quarterfinal round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Saitama, Japan.
Australia’s Leilani Mitchell (5) shoots over United States’s Sue Bird (6) during a women’s basketball quarterfinal round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. Credit: Charlie Neibergall, Associated Press

The Australian Opals, including guard Leilani Mitchell, lost 55-79 to the United States in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Aug. 4, eliminating them from the competition. The U.S. women will play Serbia in the semifinals.

Australia (1-3) placed eighth overall in the tournament.  

Mitchell, 36, started the game, played 23 minutes and scored 14 points, including four 3-pointers. This is the second Olympics for the Washington state native who is a University of Utah alumna and plays in the WNBA. Her mother is Australian.  

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

On social  

Bol responded to the support he’s felt during the Olympics. ”4th but Feeling the support and love of the whole nation. I thank you and I appreciate you,” he wrote.  

USA’s Sarah Robles’ birthday was Sunday, Aug. 1, and she competed in weightlifting on Monday, Aug. 2. The bronze-medal winner shared a photo from when she smiled and winked during a lift with the caption “The birthday girl had a good day!”  

Jake Gibb, who has played beach volleyball at four Olympics for Team USA, reflected on his experience in Tokyo. “I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I gave everything I had,” he wrote. His team was eliminated Monday from the beach volleyball tournament. “For now I just want to say thank you!” 

Jordan Matyas, who is part of Team USA’s rugby sevens team, noted that she “touched down in America as an Olympian.”  

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, who won bronze in shot put, shared her gratitude for the responses she’s received.  

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for you beautiful messages,” she wrote. “as I slowly read through them, I am touched by the love and support pouring through. my journey to my 5th Olympics hasn’t been the easiest but then again, what campaign is.” 

USA volleyball’s Tayor Sander shared how he felt “beyond blessed” to represent the USA in Tokyo.  

“It was not the result we worked day in and day out for,” he wrote. “We battled and came up short. It’s been such an honor to share the court with these guys. The ups and downs we shared as a team will stay with me for forever.” 

Mitchell shared a photo of five of her team members huddled up with the caption “still fighting” after Australia’s win over Puerto Rico that put them in the quarterfinals.