Tune in early. For freestyle wrestler Kyle Snyder may become a household name this morning. The Olympics have a way of doing that. And, on the final day of the Rio Games, where the United States flag has been raised and the anthem played dozens of times, stardom awaits this 20-year-old wrestling man-child. He’s not the only one with medal hopes today, either. Take a look below to find out where more Team USA storylines and medals may come from on Day 17 before the bright light of the Olympic cauldron dims (times ET and available for live streaming event coverage on NBCOlympics.com).
Sunday, Aug. 21
None other than Jordan Burroughs tweeted this in March: “Kyle Snyder is the best wrestler ever.” Burroughs has also called him the future of the sport. For his part, Snyder insists his goal is to become the best wrestler ever. Kyle, the stage is yours. Competing for a chance at a medal in the 97 kg. weight class, Snyder will be up early. His elimination matches begin with the first match in the Round of 16 (8:10 a.m.). Advancing to the quarterfinals (8:50 a.m. or 8:58 a.m.) would give him a shot at the semifinals (9:14 a.m.) and a chance at a guaranteed medal. Team USA earned a medal on Saturday at 86 kg., and Snyder could add to the weekend wrestling medals. The 97 kg. men’s freestyle wrestling gold-medal match takes place this afternoon (2:15 p.m.).
Frank Molinaro would have a similar path in the 65 kg. weight class, only earlier across the board, beginning with the Round of 16 (7:54 a.m.). The quarterfinals (8:34 a.m. or 8:42 a.m.) and semis (9:06 a.m.) would follow, with the 65 kg. men’s freestyle wrestling gold0medal match taking place in the early afternoon (1:15 p.m.).
Marathoners Meb Keflezighi, the silver medalist in Athens and fourth-place finisher in London and in his final Games, along with Galen Rupp, who finished fifth in the men’s 10,000-meter, and Jared Ward will also be up early. Many believe, depending on the pace and the weather that at least one of them will be factors late in the race. The men’s marathon final, winding its way through Rio’s otherwise scenic course on what could be a shaky weather day, begins this morning (8:30 a.m.).
At the same time, the U.S. men’s volleyball team, which started the Games 0-2 but charged back to make a medal run by beating Brazil, France, Mexico and Poland before losing in the semifinals to Italy, still has medals on its mind and can match the U.S. women’s bronze medal. Four-time Olympian Reid Priddy, at 38, along with veteran David Lee and nearly a dozen players making their Olympic debut play for third place in the men’s volleyball bronze-medal match (8:30 a.m.).
At the Mountain Bike Center, Howard Grotts is the lone American rider racing the challenging steeps and turns for the men’s cross-country mountain bike race (11:30 a.m.).
Claressa Shields, the boxing world may be yours by the end of this afternoon. The Flint, Michigan, native is undefeated in Rio, and Shields’ boxing dreams can become a reality this afternoon in the gold-medal bout of women’s middleweight boxing (1 p.m.).
The U.S. men's basketball team, with all its star power, has a chance to match the U.S. women, who went undefeated in Rio and won gold on Saturday. Team USA, in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game as head coach, will play for a third consecutive gold medal – and its fifth of six dating back to 1992 – with a team that includes the top two scorers in U.S. history in Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, plus a handful of young stars. The men’s basketball gold-medal match features Team USA against Spain this afternoon in the … final sporting event of the Games (2:45 p.m.).
Later tonight, Simone Biles will lead the Team USA contingent into Olympic Stadium for the Closing Ceremony, where a most successful Games for the United States –
116 medals as of this morning with two more guaranteed to extend its margin of victory in the medal race to more than 40 over China – will officially close.