By Orge Castellano and Matthew Gephart
On the second to last day of competition marking the 10th day in Rio, Team USA has added a few more gold medals to its collective count, bringing the total to 40.
With the biggest highlights from the games today, the Women’s Sitting Volleyball team and the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team placed first in competition, taking home Gold medals.
The Women’s Sitting Volleyball team faced a tough match China, just as it was in London for the 2012 Paralympic games. The US women took the first set 25-12, and ended second set with the same results, taking the first two in the start of the match. After only being behind for a few serves at the beginning of the third set, the US women’s team took charge and finished off the set 25-18, taking the gold from the reigning champion Chinese team.
“In the third set at point 22 or 23, I started to feel nauseous because I was having this feeling of ‘OK, you are not there yet… but you are there. So don’t lose’ said Katie Holloway.
“It was absolutely my best moment in sport. I have played for a long time and to have this moment after almost 14 years it’s amazing; everything has paid off and the team I just walked off court with are the best. We are all together and we worked so hard to get this medal. It has been our focus for years.” said Lora Webster after their win.
The Men’s Basketball team was able to defeat Spain in a 68-52 victory taking the number one position on the podium. By checking the final score you would not be able to tell how close of a game this really was. After the US Team lead the entire first half of the game, Spain cut down their lead and took the momentum into the second half, coming with in two points of tying the game with just under a minute in in the 3rd quarter. The United States was able to hold off the Spaniards and take Gold, only having praise to speak of the opposition.
“Spain is a terrific team. We knew they would play us aggressively and they beat a bunch of great teams to get here. So we weren’t underestimating them. In the fourth quarter we found our rhythm offensively and that carried us to the victory.” said Steve Serio.
It’s the first time since 1988 that the men’s has been able to won gold.
“It is a huge deal. We have been in a drought for many years. I wouldn’t want to to do it with another group of guys. We played awesome and it feels great to bring it back to the US.” Said Aaron Gouge.
The United States mixed team of Lia Coryell and Jeff Fabry were just edged out of a medal in Archery, placing fourth being defeated by the Czech Republic team. Coryell was also defeated during Individuals in the quarterfinal earlier in the morning, losing to Great Britain’s, Jo Frith.
Athletics kept Team USA busy on the day, competing in Men’s Long Jump was Trenton Merrill and Jerome Singleton who finished in 9th and 11th respectively. Shirley Reilly was able to take bronze in the Women’s 800m T53 final after finishing just three tenths of a second behind first place, while in the T54 classification Tatyana Mcfadden was able to take home the gold by the same margin, gathering her fourth gold in Rio 2016.
“This is my fourth gold medal. In London, I got three. It’s just been an amazing Games. I came home with silver in the 100m then gold from there on out. It’s been quite an amazing journey” said Tatyana.
Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt was able to qualify for the 1500m T11 race, but finished in the final position in that event. In the Women’s 100m T51/52 final, Kerry Morgan took second place over fellow teammate Cassie Mitchell who did not start. Just missing out on a bronze medal also was Men’s Shot Put thrower Michael Wishnia.
Road Cycling finals in the C4-5 and the B races left our Team USA members without Medals on the day. Samantha Bosco came in 6th place in the Women’s Road Race C4-5, which was the highest placing athlete for the day in Cycling. In a more somber note, the passing of Iranian Cyclist, Bahman Golbarnezhad, has struck the Paralympic world as thoughts and prayers go to his country and family.
Brad Kendell, Rick Doerr and Hugh Freund competed in the final race of the three-person keelboat (Sonar) class at the Marina da Gloria on Saturday taking home a silver medal. When asked about how he was feeling after the race Brad said: “Not much sleep. Woke up in the middle of the night and certainly started thinking about the race, how we were going to get out there and manage it and what we had to do to win it. We wanted to win that race to go out in style.”
The chosen venue for the event wasn’t the easiest having to do extreme turns.
“It’s an incredibly tough venue. There’s every kind of condition you can see. We’ve been practicing that for a long time so we knew we could be down on one lap and come from the back. We tried to keep our cool in every race, we knew we had another lap to get back.” said Hugh.
The 2-person Keelboat race didn’t go as smoothly for Ryan Porteous and Maureen Mckinnon, who finished 7th overall, while Dee Smith competed in the 1-person Keelboat race and just missed the podium by another three tenths of a second loss.
In Swimming Roy Perkins from Washington, DC, clinched a silver medal at the Men’s 100 meter Freestyle S6 with a time of 1:14.55 not being able to overtake Brazilian Para-elite swimmer Daniel Dias who took gold.
“It’s been loud every time Daniel (DIAS) swims. It definitely makes it more fun but I didn’t think too much about it, it’s my fourth race with him” said Perkins.
It’s the 8th and last medal for the 26 year-old who had a very successful journey in Rio.
Wheelchair Rugby will be set to finish in the final day of the Paralympic Games in Rio with the United States qualifying for the final round over Canada today, winning 60-55. Taking advantage of a deadly combination of 6 takeaways for the US team and 10 turnovers by the Canadians, the United States team was just able to squeeze into the next round after an evenly matched bout with the team that edged them in London 2012. The United States team will take on London’s Gold Medalists, Australia, tomorrow at 15:00 BRT, 3:00pm EST.