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Tuesday update: Michigan's Olympians

By John Niyo
The Detroit News
From left, Jamaica's Andrew Riley, France's Dimitri Bascou  and American Jeff Porter compete in the 110-meter hurdles semifinals. Porter, from Canton, did not advance.

Rio de Janeiro — Jeff Porter was looking for his Kobe Bryant moment.

Tuesday inside the Rio’s Olympic Stadium, he had his chance.

But as the former Michigan track star stood catching his breath, moments after coming up just short of the final in the men’s 110-meter hurdles — missing out by .04 seconds — he sighed and smiled. This wasn’t exactly what he’d had in mind.

“No, it wasn’t,” said Porter, 30, of Canton. “But, I mean, to go out at the Olympics? What more could someone ask for. A lot of people are home watching. So I’m definitely grateful for that opportunity.”

After easing through his opening heat Monday, Porter ran the last of three semifinals Tuesday night. The top two in each semifinal automatically advance to the final, along with the next two fastest times. And after a fast second semifinal that included top American Devon Allen running third in 13.36 seconds, “I knew exactly what I had to do.”

But Porter was sluggish out of the start — “There’s no excuse, I’m a veteran,” he said — and couldn’t make up enough ground, finishing in 13.45. Canadian Johnathan Cabral — one of Allen’s former teammates at Oregon — was the last qualifier at 13.41.

Porter stopped short of saying this was his last run, but last month, he’d talked about it in those terms. Porter, whose wife, Tiffany, and sister-in-law, Cindy Ofili, both will compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdles semifinals Wednesday night, said he’s ready to hang up his track spikes.

He’s currently working on his Ph.D. in higher education at Eastern Michigan while also working for the Michigan athletic department. And Porter, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, had long viewed this as his last go-around.

“Yeah, I would have to say so,” Porter said last month. “I’m 30 years old. I have a pretty hectic schedule as it is. This is my third Olympic cycle. At this point, I’m tired. I am a little old. This will be my last one.”

A look at how athletes with ties to Michigan fared at the Rio Games on Tuesday (Team USA unless noted):

* Ypsilanti natives and sisters Cindy Ofili and Tiffany (Ofili) Porter, who compete for their mother's native Great Britain, advanced to Wednesday's semifinals of 100-meter hurdles after solid performances in heats.

Cindy Ofili qualified fourth overall in 12.75 seconds, while Tiffany Porter came in 14th overall in 12.87.

American Brianna Rollins had the fastest time in 12.54.

When the night session began, Eastern Michigan's Eric Alejandro, who runs for Puerto Rico, finished 24th (in the 400 hurdles semifinals in 49.95 seconds and did not advance.

Leland's Alisha Glass and her American teammates romped past Japan in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

* In women's volleyball, Leland's Alisha Glass helped lead Team USA into the semifinals for the third consecutive Olympics with a straight-sets victory over Japan. The Americans play the Russia-Serbia winner in the semifinals.

* In men's gymnastics, Michigan's Sam Mikulak finished fourth in the horizontal bar final with a score of 15.400 points.

* In women's soccer, Michigan's Shelina Zadorsky and her Canadian teammates lost to Germany, 2-0, in the semifinals.

* In sailing, Detroit's Bora Gulari and crew Louisa Chafee finished eighth in the mixed Nacra 17 final

* In the 1,500 meters, two former University of Michigan runners advanced to Thursday's semifinals.

Nick Willis, running for New Zealand, qualified sixth overall in 3 minutes 38.55 seconds. Meanwhile, Canadian Nate Brannen qualified 28th overall in 3:47.07.

The best time of 3:38.31 was turned in by Jakub Holusa of the Czech Republic.

* In the open water 10K, Michigan's Sean Ryan finished 14th in 1 hour 53 minutes 15.5 seconds.

The winning time of 1:52:59.8 was turned in by Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands.