Bountiful’s Jake Gibb will get to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after all.
USA Volleyball on Thursday morning named Tri Bourne as Gibb’s replacement partner in men’s beach volleyball. Bourne will take the place of Taylor Crabb, Gibb’s partner for the past four seasons, who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan.
“After taking every precaution, getting vaccinated and following protocols, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Crabb said in a statement on his Instagram page. “I’m symptom-free, thankfully, but deeply disappointed to not be able to join Jake on the sand and compete as a member of Team USA. I’ve faced adversity before, and I will face it again, but it doesn’t take the sting out of the situation.”
Gibb, who graduated from the University of Utah, played in the previous three Olympics. He was planning to retire until he partnered with Crabb, who convinced him to attempt qualifying for a fourth Games. At age 45, he is set to become the oldest beach volleyball player in Olympic history.
Crabb and Gibb earned the No. 1 spot for Team USA by finishing in the top 15 of the FIVB provisional Olympic rankings. They are ranked No. 4 in the world.
Gibb has never partnered with Bourne, a 32-year-old Honolulu native who played for USC and internationally. Bourne most recently competed on the FIVB and pro circuits with Trevor Crabb, Taylor’s brother. Trevor Crabb and Bourne finished 14th in the FIVB ranking but were beaten out for the USA’s other Olympic slot by Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.
Bourne arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday, the Orange County Register reported, and was undergoing processing at Narita International Airport. A COVID-19 test is part of that processing.
“It’s truly disappointing to hear that my dear friend will not be playing in the Tokyo Games,” Bourne said in a press release. “Taylor is one of the world’s best and he earned this Olympic spot. He texted me to tell me the news and genuinely wished me the best of luck. ... He’s a class act. I’m very honored to be filling in for him and what he represents: his team, family friends and community back home.
“That being said, I’m ready for this moment. I believe it to my core. Taylor always says, ‘Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,’ and that’s just what I’ve done. Jake Gibb, let’s ball!”
Gibb and Bourne are scheduled to open Olympic play Sunday at 7 a.m. MDT against Italy’s Enrico Rossi and Adrian Carambula.
Crabb became the first American scheduled to compete in Tokyo to test positive for COVID-19. Future Utes gymnast Kara Eaker was the first from the U.S. to test positive in Tokyo but is an alternate.
Crabb isn’t the only beach volleyball player to test positive for the virus, however. Ondřej Perušič of the Czech Republic also tested positive and will likely miss his first match with playing partner David Schweiner.
Softball: Draper-based players have big hits for USA, Mexico
Two Olympic softball players who now call Draper home made critical plays for their respective teams, but only one walked away with the win.
American Amanda Chidester connected for an RBI single in the top of the fifth inning against Canada at Fukushima Azuma Stadium, about 150 miles from Tokyo. It broke open a scoreless tie and ended up being the only run in Team USA’s victory over one of its biggest challengers for the gold medal.
Chidester, who started at shortstop and later was moved to designated hitter, finished 2 for 4. Team USA, meanwhile, improved to 2-0 after an opening victory over Italy in some of the first action of the Olympics on Monday.
In the ensuing game at the fan-less stadium, former University of Utah standout Anissa Urtez came through in the clutch for Team Mexico. She hit the game-tying RBI in the seventh inning of an opening-round game against host Japan. The game went to extra innings, but after Mexico left the bases loaded, Japan took advantage of the international tiebreaker rule and advanced a runner from second base to score the winning run.
Urtez, a shortstop, had a standout game for Mexico. She finished 2 for 3 with a run, two RBIs and four assists.
Mexico, which is playing in its first Olympics, drops to 0-2 after losing to Canada in the first round.
Urtez and Chidester are fiancees, but they’ll have to set their relationship aside Friday when Mexico and the USA play in their third game of the Olympics. The game is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. MDT.
SOCCER: REAL SALT LAKE FORWARD FALLS IN FIRST GAME
RSL’s Douglas Martinez started and played all 90 minutes for Honduras on Thursday morning. But Romania, making its first Olympic appearance in soccer since 1964, won 1-0 thanks to an Elvin Oliva own goal.
ROWING: UTAH’S KATHLEEN NOBLE SET TO COMPETE
Kathleen Noble, who trains on the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake, will compete for Uganda in the opening round of the women’s single sculls this evening. The event is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. MDT.