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Olympics / Team USA

Local Athletes around the Olympics: Day 14

Several local Olympians participated in the Olympics on Thursday, highlighted by the debut of 18-year old Vashti Cunningham

Middletown’s Cunningham participated in the qualifying round of the women’s high jump, punching her ticket to the final. She seemed to struggle to reach the qualifying heights, but eventually she reached it.  At such a young age, this Olympics may be seen as a stepping stone to future success, but she is expected to contend for a medal as long as she can shake off the nerves and hit the jumps that she is capable of. American teammates Chaunte Lowe and Inika McPherson also qualified for the finals. The final for the event will take place on Saturday.

Joe Maloy of Wildwood Crest finished 23rd in the men’s triathlon, well off the podium. However, not much more was expected of the 30-year old making his Olympic debut, as he was only ranked 26th in the world. He came off of the bike segment in 40th place out of 55 competitors, but in the run, he made up a remarkable amount of ground to finish as the top American in the field. Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and his younger brother Jonathan won gold and silver, while Henri Schoeman of South Africa took home the bronze.

Staten Island native Robby Andrews ran with a bid in the 1500m final on the line, but he was disqualified after it was discovered that he had stepped on the inside track with about 50m left to run. Andrews was well back in the pack, but made a big kick with about 200m left to vault himself near the top and into a qualifying spot as the fifth place finisher. He had been boxed into the inside of the track, causing him to try to pass on the inside. The United States Olympic Committee protested the ruling, but it was denied. Teammates Matthew Centrowitz and Ben Blankenship will compete in the final on Saturday.

Also on the track, Vorhees Township’s English Gardner was part of an odd moment in Track & Field history. After dropping the baton pass by Allyson Felix in the 4X100m relay qualifying, the United States appealed that Felix was bumped by a Brazilian team next to them. The appeal was one, allowing Felix, Gardner, and teammates Tianna Bartoletta and Morolake Akinosun to run all alone later on  with a chance to qualify for the final. Four clean handoffs and an amazing split by Gardner later, the Americans qualified with the top time.

On the court, the women’s indoor volleyball team was upset by Serbia, dropping their bid to earn the team’s first Olympic gold. They took the first set, but were eventually edged three sets to two, with Serbia riding an 8-3 run late in the third set to victory. After back-to-back silvers in London and Beijing, the top-ranked team in the world was expected to win gold, but now they will be relegated to the bronze medal match against the Netherlands on Saturday.


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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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