Nick Delpopolo in contention for judo bronze; Marti Malloy eliminated
U.S. judoka Marti Malloy, the bronze medalist from the London Olympics, lost to Lien Chen-Ling of Chinese Tapaei in her opening match of the Rio Games and has been eliminated from competition.
Malloy is the reigning Pan American Games gold medalist and was seeded No. 3 in the women's 57kg (125.5 lbs) weight class in the Olympic tournament. She was expected to contend for a medal.
The women's 57kg weight class is arguably one of the most loaded weight classes at the Olympics this year. All four medalists from the 2012 Games were in the field. That doesn't even account for the top two seeds, Mongolia's Sumiya Dorjsuren and South Korea's Kim Jan-Di.
Lien finished the Olympic qualification period ranked 13th in the world.
In London, Malloy became the second U.S. woman to win a medal in judo – Ronda Rousey was the first – and another podium finish in Rio would have made her the first American to win back-to-back medals in the sport.
Below is a look at what else happened in the preliminary rounds of competition in the women's 57kg and men's 73kg (161 lbs) divisions. The final block – which will feature repechage matches, semifinals and medal matches – will stream live on NBCOlympics.com at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Can Delpopolo get the first U.S. medal?
Nick Delpopolo has stated that this Olympics is all about redemption for him. After being disqualified from the London Games because of a pot brownie, Delpopolo refused to retire; instead he rededicated himself to training in hopes of getting back to the Olympics and redefining his story.
In London, prior to the disqualification, Delpopolo reached the quarterfinals before losing. He made it there once more in Rio.
In the Round of 32, Delpopolo went up against Niger's Ahmed Goumar. The match went more than four minutes without a score, though Delpopolo held the edge on shidos. With 25 seconds left, Delpopolo had Goumar on the ground and forced him to tap out.
Next up was Mongolia's Odbayar Ganbaatar in the Round of 16. Scoreless at the end of regulation, the match went into a golden score period, in which Delpopolo threw the Mongolian for a waza-ari to advance to the next round.
Delpopolo's march toward gold came to an end in the quarterfinals though. There he faced Israel's Sagi Muki. Delpopolo held the edge based on shidos for awhile, but suddenly, with about a minute left, Muki was able to flip the American flat on his back for a quick ippon.
Delpopolo's medal hopes remain alive. The loss moved him into the repechage, which will take place during the final block (2:30 p.m. ET; NBCOlympics.com). Should Delpopolo win his repechage match, he will battle for a bronze medal shortly after.
Silva gives the fans something to cheer for
Despite being one of the strongest countries in judo, Brazil has so far been shut out of the podium in 2016.
Rafaela Silva is one win away from changing that.
Silva, who grew up in one of Brazil's most violent favelas, reached the semifinals and looked strong throughout the morning. She dispatched Germany's Miryam Roper with two quick waza-aris in her first match, then won her next two matches by waza-ari. Among the opponents she beat was South Korea's Kim Jan-Di, the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Match of the day?
The 57kg quarterfinals included a massive showdown between Matsumoto and Pavia, two of the medalists from London.
The battle ended up scoreless at the end of regulation and went into a golden score period. With the referee seemingly hesitant to decide the match by shido, the two fought on for nearly another four minutes.
Finally after 7 minutes, 50 seconds of total match time, Matsumoto got the winning waza-ari to move into the semifinal.
So far Japan has won four medals in judo – one in each weight class – but they have all been bronze. Matsumoto and compatriot Shohei Ono (73kg) are one win away from at least a silver, and two wins away from gold. In 2012, Matsumoto was the only member of the vaunted Japanese team to capture gold.
Here's a look at the matches coming up in today's final block. Rankings from the end of the Olympic qualification period are included.
Men's 73kg semifinal matches
No. 18 Dirk Van Tichelt (BEL) vs. No. 6 Shohei Ono (JPN)
No. 2 Rustam Orujov (AZE) vs. No. 4 Sagi Muki (ISR)
Men's 73kg repechage matches
No. 9 Denis Iartcev (RUS) vs. No. 5 Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO)
No. 15 Miklos Ungvari (HUN) vs. No. 32 Nick Delpopolo (USA)
Women's 57kg semifinal matches
No. 1 Sumiya Dorjsuren (MGL) vs. No. 5 Kaori Matsumoto (JPN)
No. 14 Rafaela Silva (BRA) vs. No. 8 Corina Caprioriu (ROU)
Women's 57kg repechage matches
No. 10 Telma Monteiro (POR) vs. No. 6 Automne Pavia (FRA)
No. 11 Hedvig Karakas (HUN) vs. No. 13 Lien Chen-Ling (TPE)