Five For Friday: July 18, 2014

By Paul D. Bowker | July 17, 2014, 7:24 p.m. (ET)
David Boudia and Steele Johnson compete in the men's 10-meter synchronized diving final at the FINA Diving World Cup at the Oriental Sports Center on July 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China.

U.S. athletes are in China, Russia, Germany and Italy this weekend as they attempt to chase down world medals. Two-time Olympic medalist David Boudia and Steele Johnson have already earned a bronze medal at the FINA Diving World Cup in Shanghai. The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team is one of six nations in the FIVB World League Final in Florence, Italy, and a number of Olympians are at the fencing world championships in Kazan, Russia. The road to Rio also has a stop in Germany for 10 U.S. shooters who are seeking to clinch quota spots for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games.

As we ready for the weekend, here’s a look at five events to follow:

1) Diving

Two-time Olympic medalist David Boudia began the FINA Diving World Cup in Shanghai — the top international meet of the year — by winning a bronze medal Wednesday with Steele Johnson in the men’s synchronized 10-meter event. On Thursday, Boudia and Sam Dorman finished fourth in the synchro 3-meter event.

Boudia will turn his attention Friday to the individual 3-meter competition. The prelims and semifinals will be held Friday, followed by the finals Saturday.

Boudia and Johnson are among 12 U.S. divers at the world cup, which finishes up Sunday with Johnson and David Dinsmore competing in the men’s 10-meter, and Laura Ryan and Maren Taylor attempting to make the women’s 3-meter finals. Nick McCrory, who earned 10-meter synchro bronze with Boudia at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will return to international competition for the first time since London, competing in the individual 3-meter beginning Friday. Two-time national champion Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg and Jessica Parratto are in the women’s 10-meter, which is set for Friday.

The bronze-medal finish for Boudia and Johnson marked their first time diving together in an international competition, perhaps setting up a strong combination for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. Boudia earned the 10-meter synchro bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Nick McCrory and won a gold medal in the 10-meter individual.

“We’re a new synchro team,” Boudia said. “Steele and I have never done 10-meter synchro together at a major competition before. I thought we dove solid and this is a good stepping stone for the next two years.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 6:35 a.m. ET Saturday, 3:10 a.m. and 7:40 a.m. Sunday,

2) Volleyball

The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team is in Florence, Italy, as one of six nations that qualified for the FIVB World League Final Round. The semifinals will be played Saturday, followed by the medal round Sunday. The top two teams in both three-team pools advance to the semifinals; the bottom team in each pool after Friday’s pool-play rounds finish will be eliminated.

The United States began the final round Wednesday with a 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 loss to host Italy. Matt Anderson, the points leader among all players in pool play leading to the final round, led Team USA with 17 points against Italy. The Americans had advanced to the six-team final round by winning Pool B in the preliminary round with a 9-3 record.

3) Fencing

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, who is a four-time senior world champion in women’s saber, and 2013 men’s foil world champion Miles Chamley-Watson lead a solid U.S. contingent at the World Fencing Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Zagunis, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, begins competition Friday in the table of 64. Joining her are Dagmara Wozniak, Eliza Stone and Ibtihaj Muhammad. All four men’s saber fencers, including 2012 Olympian Daryl Homer, are also in the table of 64.

Chamley-Watson, a 2012 Olympian, became the first U.S. man to win an individual world title in 2013. He begins defense of that title in the men’s foil table of 64 Saturday. Also in the field are 2012 Olympic teammates Gerek Meinhardt, who was ranked No. 1 in the world earlier this year; Alexander Massialas, who is ranked No. 7; and Race Imboden, who is ranked No. 13.

The table of 64 in men’s and women’s individual epée will be held Sunday, followed by the team competition in all three Olympic disciplines over the following three days.

TV: 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET Friday, 9-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 p.m.-midnight Sunday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 11 a.m. Saturday, 12:25 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. Monday,

4) Gymnastics

The final men’s qualifier for the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships will include Danell Leyva, the bronze medalist in the all-around at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and 2013 world bronze medalists John Orozco and Brandon Wynn. The qualifier will be held Saturday and Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

At least 14 athletes will advance from the qualifier to the national championships, based on the USA Gymnastics Points Ranking System. The P&G Gymnastics Championships are set for Aug. 21-24 in Pittsburgh.

Other senior national team members entered in the qualifier include Chris Brooks, Josh Dixon, Paul Ruggeri and Donnell Whittenburg.

Meanwhile, in Louisville, Kentucky, more than 1,600 of the nation’s top gymnasts in acrobatic, rhythmic and trampoline/tumbling will compete through Saturday at the USA Gymnastics Championships. Among those competing in trampoline is 2012 Olympian Steven Gluckstein.

5) Shooting

The road to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games makes a big stop this week in Suhl, Germany. Eric Hollen, a 2012 Paralympian, is among 10 U.S. shooters competing in the International Paralympic Committee World Championships. The event, which begins Friday, will award the first quota slots for the 2016 Paralympic Games. More than 260 athletes from 55 nations are competing.

Among those joining Hollen in Germany are U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit members John Joss, Shaun Tichenor and Josh Budd. Joss is the American-record holder in R3 (mixed 10-meter air rifle prone SH1) and RH6 (mixed 50-meter rifle prone SH1). Mike Tagliapietra, one of the nation’s best pistol shooters, will compete in the most events of any U.S. athlete: P1, P3 and P4. Three women rifle athletes are also in the competition: Tammy Delano, Jazmin Almlie-Ryan and McKenna Dahl. Delano, a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and Dahl are world cup gold medalists.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for