AT THE GAMES — Rhyan White admitted she thought there may be some added nerves with so many back home in Utah tuning into the Olympics to watch her.
"It's nice to hear their support, but sometimes it does make me a little bit nervous just because it adds a little pressure because I know more eyes are on me," White told KSL.com before the Olympics began.
Turns out she can handle the pressure pretty well.
The Herriman native finished second in her 100-meter backstroke semifinal, just behind Olympic record-setting USA teammate Reagan Smith, to earn a spot in the event final.
White, 21, will swim for her first Olympic medal on Monday night at 7:51 p.m. MDT.
"It's amazing. I wouldn't trade it for anything," White told KSL-TV's Shara Park after the semifinals. "I love the atmosphere and everything. Seeing all these athletes from around the world is really cool."
White's time of 58.46 was the fourth-fastest time in the semifinals behind Smith (57.86), Canada's Kylie Mass (58.09) and world-record holder Kaylee McKeown of Australia (58.11).
Softball: USA 2, Japan 1
Just days after Salt Lake City resident Amanda Chidester's walkoff game-winner against Australia, Kelsey Stewart stroked a walkoff home run over the right-field fence to keep Team USA undefeated with a 2-1 win over Japan in the final game of round-robin pool play Sunday.
Stewart was 1-for-12 prior to Sunday's home run, but her solo shot in the bottom of the seventh was all the United States needed to squeeze past Japan, which led from the opening frame until Haylie McCleney tied it up in the bottom of the sixth.
Chidester went 0-for-2 for Team USA, which was held to just four hits by Japanese pitcher Yamato Fujita. Ally Carda, Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott combined on a four-hitter for the United States.
With the win, the United States will be the home team and bat last in the gold-medal game against host nation Japan. First pitch is scheduled for Tuesday at 5 a.m. MT.
Softball: Mexico 4, Australia 1
Former Utah shortstop Anissa Urtez went 2-for-4 to help Mexico book a spot in the bronze medal game against Canada.
Urges also force two put-outs in the field for El Tri, which pounded out 11 hits and did all its scoring in the first four innings.
Men's volleyball: Russian Olympic Committee 3, USA 1
At Ariake Arena, former BYU All-American Taylor Sander tied for the match-high with 14 kills and two blocks, but the Russian Olympic Committee finished off a 25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23 win over Team USA in Pool B play Sunday night.
Matt Anderson added 14 kills for the Americans, who out-hit, out-passed and out-received the Russians by 53-46, 85-66 and 74-68 but were out-blocked by a Russian side that handled the emotion-less atmosphere of an empty arena.
"I think understanding that we have to create the energy, and going out and doing it," Sander told KSL-TV's Shara Park after the match. "We're just dealing with the situation we're in; we don't get fans, but we have a lot of people back home who are cheering us on and we feel their support."
But the Russian Olympic Committee, which is unable to compete under the Russia team banner due to the country's doping violations imposed by the International Olympic Committee, posted 10 blocks and seven aces to top the United States.
The Russians fought off two set points to take the second set, 27-25 and take a 2-0 lead on the United States.
Sander sparked a mini-revival in the third set, helping the Americans to a 4-2 advantage with a kill. Matt Anderson's ace highlighted a 3-0 rally midway through the set, and the Americans never trailed en route to a 25-21 set 3 victory.
The Americans rode the momentum to a 19-15 lead in the fourth set, capped by back-to-back points and a monster solo block by Sander for the four-point edge.
Russia chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the set at 22-all on a block by Dmitry Volkov. Russian captain Igor Kobzar's re-insertion into the side was the key difference as Russia rallied to take the decisive fourth set, 25-23.
Volkov totaled 12 kills, two blocks and two aces for the Russians.
The United States will move on to face Tunisia at 8:05 p.m. MT Tuesday.
All times listed below are in MDT.
- Artistic Gymnastics: Team Final - Grace McCallum (4:45 a.m.)
- Softball: Bronze Medal Game: Mexico v. Canada - Anissa Urtez (10 p.m.)
- Swimming: Women's 100m Backstroke Final - Rhyan White (7:51 p.m.)
- Women's basketball: Canada vs. Serbia - Kim Smith Gaucher (2:20 a.m.)