Jake Gibb dusted off the sand and his Olympic beach volleyball career following a loss in the Round of 16 in Shiokaze Park in Tokyo on Monday.
Gibb, a Bountiful native and University of Utah graduate, and partner Tri Bourne lost the elimination match in three sets to the German team of Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole. The scores were 17-21, 21-15, 15-11.
After the match, Gibb leaned back on the net and seemed to be soaking in the moment.
“I was just enjoying the moment. I was just enjoying that stadium and the energy,” Gibb said. “Just kind of taking it in one last time and, I guess, just letting it go in a way.”
A two-time cancer survivor, Gibb had expected to retire prior to these Olympics but was persuaded by partner Taylor Crabb to make one more push. When they qualified, Gibb became the oldest volleyball player — man or woman, indoor or beach — to qualify for the Olympics.
Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Japan and was replaced by Bourne, whom Gibb had never played with. Still, the pair won their first two matches and went 2-1 to take second in their pool.
“This is the hardest Olympics I’ve ever even ...,” Gibb said post-match. “It’s just one of those things. I’m trying to understand it. I’m sad that Taylor’s not here with me and I’m proud of Tri for stepping in. ... Props to this guy for stepping in in some weird, weird circumstances and playing some great ball.”
The Tokyo Games marked Gibb’s fourth Olympics. His best result was fifth, which he achieved in 2008 and 2012 with Sean Rosenthal. In 2016, he placed 19th with Casey Patterson.
Gibb said he will play some more Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) tournaments before he officially retires.
Still, Olympic beach volleyball lost two of its best-known men in a matter of a few hours. Phil Dalhausser, who partnered with Todd Rodgers to win gold in 2008, announced his retirement shortly after he and Nick Lucena were eliminated by a Brazilian team Sunday night.
Gibb said players like Bourne will pick up the torch.
“You’re looking at him right here. This is the future of the Olympics right here,” Gibb said when asked who is the future of the sport in the United States. “He knows now what he can do in the Olympics: lead the tournament in side-out percentage. He knows what he can do and it’s time for guys like him to step up and take it and go with it. ... And I’ll be there supporting them.”
Wickler and Thole advance to the quarterfinal, where they will play the Russian duo of Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy on Tuesday morning.
Men’s volleyball: Taylor Sander, Team USA say sayonara to Tokyo
Former BYU player Taylor Sander and the Team USA men’s volleyball team lost to Argentina on Sunday in pool play, ending the Americans’ run in the Tokyo Olympics.
Sander made six kills and a block in the 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 loss. Matthew Anderson led the team with 11 kills and TJ Defalco added 10 kills and three blocks.
The USA finished pool B with two wins and three losses. Its victories came over France and Tunisia, while it lost to Russia, Brazil and Argentina. It is the first time since 2000 that the U.S. men have not advanced to the Olympic quarterfinals.
“It’s heartbreaking,” setter Micah Christenson said. “We worked really hard for this. We delayed another year to work as hard as we could for this and this isn’t the way we wanted to finish. It’s heartbreaking.”
Team USA, with Sander on the court, won the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Baseball: Japan’s rally puts Eddy Alvarez, USA on the ropes
Japan scored a run in the ninth to force extra innings, then defeated the United States with a walk-off single, 7-6, Monday morning at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Tokyo.
The U.S. isn’t completely off the path to the gold medal. To get there, however, they must win their next two games. The first is Tuesday night at 9 p.m. MDT against the winner of Tuesday morning’s game between Israel and the Dominican Republic. If they win that, they will play Thursday morning for a shot at getting into Saturday’s final. If they lose either game, they will play for bronze Friday night.
Playing second base against Japan, Eddy Alvarez, the former Olympic speedskater who played a season for Salt Lake Community College, went 1 for 4. On defense, he had two putouts and seven assists.
Closer Ryoji Kuribayashi earned the win for Japan. Edwin Jackson Jr., who gave up a run in the third of an inning he pitched, took the loss.
Women’s basketball: One Ute eliminates another as Australia, Mitchell knocks out Canada’s Gaucher with big win over Puerto Rico
Kim Gaucher and Canada put their fate in other teams’ hands at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, and fellow former Ute Leilani Mitchell and Australia sent them home.
Australia defeated Puerto Rico, 96-69, in the final Group C game at Saitama Super Arena. The 29-point margin was enough to lift the Opals into the quarterfinals and eliminate Canada. Both Australia and Canada, which was in Group A, finished 1-2 in pool play.
Mitchell notched 12 points, six assists and two steals in the victory. For its reward, Australia will play the USA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 10:40 p.m. MDT. The loser will be eliminated.
Gaucher has been a mainstay for Canadian Olympic teams but she barely played in Tokyo. She totaled 11 minutes, 7 seconds of play during the early rounds, all of it in an easy win over South Korea. She tallied one assist and a rebound for the tournament.
Gaucher, playing in her third Games, perhaps made her biggest impact in these Olympics, however. Though fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gaucher lobbied the International Olympic Committee to allow her to bring her breastfeeding daughter to Tokyo. The committee eventually acquiesced under international pressure.
“I’m incredibly happy and very thankful for all the people who fought for this and helped out with this,” Gaucher told the Associated Press. “(It’s) the right decision for women in sports and we can move forward.”