TOKYO, July 31 -- The United States’ hopes of winning a first Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball took a hit on Saturday when they lost ace spiker Jordan Thompson to injury in a straight sets defeat by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team.
Thompson sprained her ankle in the second set and did not return after she was helped off the court to receive medical attention.
The American opposite hitter, competing in her first Games, has been their breakout star after top-scoring in their first three wins which included a colossal 34-points effort against defending champions China.
The 24-year-old watched on from the sidelines with tears streaming down her face as ROC won 25-20 25-12 25-19 for the world No. 1 ranked United States to lose their first match at the Tokyo Games and drop to third in Pool B.
“It’s not a major ankle sprain, somewhere between mild and medium,” U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said, adding that Thompson would take an x-ray and MRI scan to know the extent of the injury.
“I was told that we can be somewhat hopeful that she might be back in action in a few days... I would think that probably is unlikely for (Monday's final pool game against) Italy and maybe hopeful for something beyond that.”
Russian athletes are competing under the ROC flag at the Tokyo Olympics as part of sanctions for several doping scandals.
Turkey got its campaign back on track after two losses when they beat Pool B’s bottom side Argentina 25-23 25-20 25-18 for a second win in Tokyo.
Four Turkish players finished in double figures for points while Zehra Gunes and captain Eda Dundar combined for 11 of the team's 13 blocks.
The Dominican Republic thrashed Kenya 25-19 25-18 25-10 with Lisvel Eve (13 points and six blocks) and Prisilla Rivera (12 points) leading the way to move the Caribbean side provisionally up to the fourth and final qualification spot in Pool A.