Tokyo Olympics were a showcase of resilience amid an attempt at normalcy
The COVID-19 pandemic had forced a year’s postponement and, with much of Japan still in a state of emergency, cancellation remained possible to the last moment. Even as the massive sporting event lurched ahead, spectators were banned, leaving athletes to compete in eerily quiet stadiums and arenas.
On Sunday, with inclement weather threatening to ruin the closing ceremony, the sky lifted and brightened by late afternoon. After 17 rocky days, these Summer Games had once again found a way to get by.
Athletes from around the world gather at Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony
Here’s a look at some of the festivities that took place during the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony at Olympic Stadium:
Final medal count for the Tokyo Olympic Games
Here’s the final medal count for every country that competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games from July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.
With competition over, all that’s left is the closing ceremony
Competition at the Tokyo Games is over and that means just one event is left — the closing ceremony.
The closing ceremony will take place at 4 a.m. PDT on Sunday (8 p.m. in Tokyo). NBCOlympics.com, Peacock and the NBC Sports app will stream the ceremony live. NBC will broadcast it starting at 5 p.m. PDT Sunday.
Jennifer Valente comes back from fall to give U.S. first gold in omnium cycling
Jennifer Valente got up from a crash in the omnium-ending points race to hang on for the gold medal, capping what had been an otherwise frustrating and disappointing Olympics for American cycling.
Valente won the opening scratch race, picked up three sprints in the points race and performed well in the elimination race to take an eight-point lead into the points race, where points are awarded for sprints every 10 laps.
Valente won the first sprint to pad her lead, then got up from a crash with 30 laps left to keep from losing any ground on her pursuers. She wound up taking second in the final sprint to secure the gold medal.
Yumi Kajihara took silver for Japan. Kirsten Wild earned bronze for the Netherlands.
U.S. women’s basketball defeats Japan for seventh consecutive Olympic gold
SAITAMA, Japan — Fifty-five.
It started with a bounce back, a recovery from a loss to leave Barcelona in 1992 with a bronze. That one win turned into a streak for the United States women’s basketball team in Atlanta, with Dawn Staley becoming the heartbeat of a team of legends as its point guard.
By the end of those games, it was nine in a row, the U.S. reclaiming gold. In Australia they won eight more, the winning streak building as quickly as their sport’s emerging footprint in America. In Athens, with new blood like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird on the roster, they won eight more.
Over the next 17 years, the stacked wins and gold medals, building an unstoppable dynasty at the Olympics. The two-game winning streak Staley built in 1996? It had grown to an absurd 54 games by the time of Sunday’s Olympic game.
And to celebrate win No. 55, they were given gold.
For the seventh consecutive Olympics, no one was better in the Tokyo women’s basketball tournament, the Americans unbeaten and mostly unchallenged as they routed host Japan 90-75 on Sunday.
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya successfully defends Olympic men’s marathon title
SAPPORO, Japan — Eliud Kipchoge pulled away late and no one could come close to catching him as the 36-year-old from Kenya defended his Olympic marathon title.
Kipchoge finished in 2 hours 8 minutes 38 seconds on a breezy and humid Sunday along the streets of Sapporo. It was more than 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Bashir Abdi of Belgium earned bronze to close out the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games.
Kipchoge smiled along the way and even fist-bumped a fellow racer. Kipchoge becomes the third athlete to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon, joining Abebe Bikila (1960, ’64) and Waldemar Cierpinski (’76, ’80).
A day after winning bronze in the 400 meters, Allyson Felix wins gold with the 1,600-meter relay team at the Tokyo Olympics. It’s her 11th medal.
Kipchoge, wearing white-and-pink Nikes, took off around the 30-kilometer mark and never looked back.
On a day with plenty of cloud cover, Kipchoge cruised. The temperature was around 77 degrees at the start and climbing to 84. The men’s race stayed at the same time after the women’s race was moved up an hour the day before to avoid the heat.
It was humid, though, at 81%, as the runners wound their way through Sapporo, which is about 500 miles north of Tokyo. The race was moved to escape the extreme heat, but it was about the same temperature in Tokyo — and rainy.
Taking the starting line were 106 runners. More than two dozen did not finish. The top American was Galen Rupp in eighth place.
Allyson Felix breaks record for most U.S. track medals in 1,600-meter relay win
Allyson Felix became the all-time leading medal winner in U.S. track and field history on Saturday when she ran the second leg of the gold-medal-winning 1,600-meter relay at Olympic Stadium.
In her final race, the five-time Olympian helped the team that also included Sydney McLaughlin leading off, Dalilah Muhammad running third and Athing Mu running anchor to finish in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds.
Felix, 35, has won 11 medals, eclipsing the record she shared with Carl Lewis. Felix tied the record on Friday by earning a bronze medal in the 400 meters, the final individual race of her Olympic career.
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Neeraj Chopra of India wins the men’s javelin
TOKYO — Neeraj Chopra of India won the men’s javelin throw gold medal Saturday night at Olympic Stadium.
Chopra won with a mark of 287 feet, 4 inches.
Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic finished second at 284-4. Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic took bronze with a mark of 280-3.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins gold medal in 1,500 meters for Norway
TOKYO — Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway won the gold medal in the men’s 1,500 meters Saturday at Olympic Stadium.
Ingebrigtsen finished in 3 minutes, 28.32 seconds to outpace Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya, who finished in 3:29.01, and Josh Kerr of Britain, who finished in 3:29.05.
Cole Hocker of the United States was sixth at 3:31.40.
Matt Centrowitz of the United States, the 2016 gold medalist, did not qualify for the final.
Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan wins gold in the women’s 10,000 meters
TOKYO — Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won gold in the women’s 10,000 meters Saturday night at Olympic Stadium.
Hassan, who also won the gold medal in the 5,000 meters, finished in 29 minutes, 55.32 seconds.
Hassan outkicked Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain for the victory. Gezahegne finished in 29:56.18.
Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia finished in 30:01.72 to earn bronze.
Molly Seidel’s aggressive strategy pays off with bronze in marathon
TOKYO — Molly Seidel had a unique strategy going into the women’s Olympic marathon on Saturday in Sapporo.
“Just trying to, like, stick my nose where it didn’t belong and just kind of get after it,” she said. “I mean, Olympics only happens once every four years, you might as well take your shot.”
Seidel’s moxie paid off.
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the gold medal with a time of 2 hours 27 minutes and 20 seconds. Brigid Kosgei of Kenya was second in 2:27:36. Seidel earned the bronze medal by finishing in 2:27:46.
The U.S. women’s water polo team dominated Spain in the gold-medal final. After personal tragedies and a year’s delay, resilience got the players here.
Seidel became the third American woman to earn a medal in the marathon, joining 1984 gold medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson and 2004 bronze medalist Deena Kastor.
Seidel said she was inspired by Courtney Frerichs, who won the silver medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
In that final, Frerichs said she took a gamble. Rather than hanging back and waiting to react to other runners’ moves, she took advantage of her strength and pushed the pace in the middle of the race to open a big lead and put pressure on others.
“Seeing your peers do incredible things kind of gives you the courage to go after it,” Seidel said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nelly Korda wins Olympic women’s golf tournament to give U.S. a gold-medal sweep
KAWAGOE, Japan — Nelly Korda gave the Americans a sweep of gold medals in golf on Saturday, holding on for a one-shot victory in a thrill-a-minute finish to the Olympic women’s golf competition.
Korda led by as many as three shots on the back nine. In the end, she needed two putts from just inside 30 feet on the 18th hole for par and a 2-under 69.
Mone Inami of Japan made bogey from a plugged lie in the bunker on the 18th hole and faced a playoff against Lydia Ko of New Zealand for the silver medal.
Kevin Durant leads U.S. to gold-medal win over France in men’s basketball
There was only one acceptable outcome.
It did not matter that the lingering physical and mental effects of the NBA bubble and the compressed season that followed kept several American stars from competing. It didn’t matter that the team was vulnerable, an embarrassing seventh-place finish in the 2019 world championships more than signaling that the world had caught up.
It did not matter that the American roster, compiled of some of the NBA’s best scorers, the faces of their franchise, multi-time All-Stars, was more of a group of mercenaries than an actual team. It did not matter that COVID-19 cost them one star and that the NBA Finals kept three key players in America until the eve of competition.
It did not matter. There was only one acceptable outcome.
Luis Grijalva makes his dream come true, representing Guatemala at the Olympics
TOKYO — Luis Grijalva finished 12th in the men’s 5,000-meter final Friday night at Olympic Stadium.
He could not have been happier.
“Finished 12th in the world,” he said. “It’s insane.”
Grijalva, 22, was running for Guatemala, where he was born. He said his parents brought him to the United States when he was 1, and he was raised in Northern California and attended college at Northern Arizona.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “I feel like it’s a privilege and honor to represent Guatemala, just for a country that’s over 15 million people but also where my family started.”
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya wins women’s marathon; American Molly Seidel is third
Peres Jepchirchir led a 1-2 Kenyan finish in the women’s marathon, withstanding the heat and humidity while running through the streets of Sapporo.
Jepchirchir finished in a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 20 seconds in a race moved up an hour to avoid the heat. A smattering of fans lining the course applauded as the Tokyo Games moved north for the marathons and race walks. Her teammate Brigid Kosgei was second and American Molly Seidel, a relative newcomer to the marathon stage, took home the bronze.
A race that was moved to Sapporo to avoid the extreme heat in Tokyo found little relief on a winding course through the city. The starter’s gun went off a minute after 6 a.m. local time under sunny skies and with a temperature reading of 77 degrees Fahrenheit). It climbed to nearly 86 degrees near the finish, with a humidity of around 65%.
There were 88 runners entered in the field, with more than a dozen recording a did not finish. That included world champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya.
Canada clinches gold in women’s soccer after shootout win over Sweden
Julia Grosso converted her kick from the spot and Canada clinched the Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer by winning a penalty shootout 3-2 against Sweden after Friday’s final ended in a 1-1 draw.
It was the first major tournament title for the Canadians, who were the bronze medalists at London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe stopped Jonna Andersson to make way for Grosso, a 20-year-old player for the University of Texas, who beat Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
It was the second straight silver medal for the Swedes, who were also aiming for their first title in a major tournament, after falling 2-1 to Germany at Rio in 2016.
Stina Blackstenius gave Sweden the lead in the 34th minute, but Jessie Fleming equalized with a penalty kick in the 67th to tie it for Canada and the game went to extra time.
Kara Winger selected as U.S. flag bearer for closing ceremony
TOKYO — Four-time Olympian Kara Winger will be the flag bearer for the U.S. delegation during the closing ceremony at Olympic Stadium on Sunday, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced.
Winger, who finished 17th in the women’s javelin competition, was chosen in a vote by U.S. athletes. One of two captains for the U.S. track and field team, Winger is the fourth track and field athlete to lead the U.S. delegation in the closing ceremony.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected by my fellow Team USA athletes to be our flag bearer,” Winger said in a statement. “There’s no better way to conclude my career as an Olympic athlete than to lead the U.S. team into the Closing Ceremony. On behalf of Team USA, we want to thank the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the people of Tokyo and the country of Japan for hosting these Olympic Games and bringing the world back together again through sport.”
The closing ceremony will take place at 4 a.m. PDT Sunday (8 p.m. in Tokyo). NBCOlympics.com, Peacock and the NBC Sports app will stream the ceremony live. NBC will broadcast it starting at 5 p.m. PDT Sunday.
U.S. women’s 400-meter relay team takes silver behind Jamaica
TOKYO — Jamaica won the women’s 400-meter relay gold medal and the United States earned silver on Friday night at Olympic Stadium.
Jamaica won in 41.02 seconds. The U.S. team of Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini and Gabrielle Thomas finished in 41.45 seconds.
Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, the 100-meters and 200-meters gold medalist, won her third gold medal of the Tokyo Games.
Allyson Felix wins bronze in women’s 400 to tie U.S. record for most track medals
TOKYO — Allyson Felix, running the last individual race of her storied Olympic career, won the bronze medal in the 400 meters on Friday at Olympic Stadium.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas repeated as goal medalist in 48.36 seconds. Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic took silver in 49.20. Felix, a five-time Olympian, finished in 49.46.
Felix has now won 10 medals, tying her with Carl Lewis for most by an American track and field athlete. She also eclipsed Merlene Ottey as the most decorated track and field Olympian.
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei wins gold in 5,000 meters
TOKYO — Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda won the gold medal in the men’s 5,000 meters on Friday night at Olympic Stadium.
Cheptegei finished in a world-record time of 12 minutes 58.15 seconds.
Mohammad Ahmed of Canada earned the silver medal with a time of 12:58.61. American Paul Chelimo, the silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, finished third in 12:59.05, but he fell across the finish line. His finish could be subject to official review.
U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team qualifies for final
TOKYO — The United States men’s 1,600-meter relay team has a chance for a big finish.
The U.S. team qualified for the final by winning its heat on Friday night at Olympic Stadium.
Trevor Stewart, Randolph Ross, Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood were timed in 2 minutes 57.77 seconds, putting them in Saturday’s final, the last event that will be held at the stadium in the Olympics.
The U.S. men have won only one gold medal in track and field. Ryan Crouser won the shot put for the second consecutive Olympics, but the men have not won a running event.
The U.S. 400-meter relay team finished sixth in its heat Thursday and did not qualify for the final, which will be run later Friday.
IOC removes two coaches involved in trying to send athlete to Belarus
TOKYO — The International Olympic Committee removed two Belarus team coaches from the Olympics, four days after they were involved in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus.
The IOC said it canceled and removed the credentials of Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich.
It added that the men “were requested to leave the Olympic Village immediately and have done so … in the interest of the wellbeing of the athletes.”
Shimak and Maisevich continued to have contact with Belarus athletes since Sunday after the IOC linked them to taking Tsimanouskaya in a car to the airport to put her on a plane to Belarus.
Tsimanouskaya had criticized team coaches on social media and is now in Poland with a humanitarian visa.
The IOC said Shimak and Maisevich “will be offered an opportunity to be heard” by its disciplinary commission investigating the case.
U.S. women’s basketball dominates Serbia to advance to gold-medal game
SAITAMA, Japan — The U.S. women’s basketball team, one of the Olympic Games’ most dominant forces, easily got past Serbia to earn a spot in Sunday’s gold-medal game.
The American defense smothered Serbia in a 79-59 win Friday, making any talk about its supposed vulnerabilities heading into these Olympics seem foolish.
While they weren’t particularly sharp offensively, they were more than comfortable matching Serbia’s physicality, limiting their opponents to under 30% shooting while five different American players scored at least eight points, led by Brittney Griner’s 15.
U.S. women’s volleyball defeats Serbia to advance to gold-medal match
The United States’ quest for its first gold medal in women’s volleyball might be about to end.
The Americans are one more victory away from their first championship in the sport after routing Serbia, 25-19, 25-15, 25-23, in a semifinal of these Tokyo Olympics on Friday at Ariake Arena.
Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” played during a timeout with U.S. up 17-12 in the second set, a fitting soundtrack to the good vibes surrounding the team.
April Ross and Alix Klineman win gold for U.S. in women’s beach volleyball
TOKYO — Some 1,300 days ago, the veteran and the newcomer cemented their fledgling partnership by touching sloshing waterbottles together in a toast on a beach.
April Ross and Alix Klineman were an unlikely duo.
Though both had been raised in Southern California, Ross established herself as one of the world’s top beach volleyball players and captured two Olympic medals while the long-armed Klineman pursued the indoor game.
The beach brought them together and, on a steaming afternoon at Shiokaze Park on Friday, the American duo won a gold medal at the Summer Games.
Michael Norman and Michael Cherry miss podium in men’s 400 meters
TOKYO — The United States men’s track team suffered another disappointment Thursday night at Olympic Stadium, where Michael Norman and Michael Cherry finished out of the medals in the men’s 400 meters.
Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won the gold medal, finishing in 43.85 seconds.
Anthony Jose Zambrano finished in 44.08 to earn the silver medal, and Kirani James of Grenada finished in 44.19 for bronze.
Cherry was fourth in 44.21, Norman fifth in 44.31.
American Katie Nageotte wins the gold medal in women’s pole vault
TOKYO — Katie Nageotte missed on her first two attempts in the women’s Olympic pole vault final, putting her in a precarious spot.
One more and she would be out of the competition.
“Started a little messy,” she said. “Made my coach a little nervous.”
But Nageotte rallied and came back not only to clear the bar and move on, but to win the gold medal.
Women’s soccer gold-medal match rescheduled for Friday night
TOKYO — The Olympic women’s soccer gold-medal match between Canada and Sweden has been moved from Friday morning in Tokyo to the evening in Yokohama.
There were concerns about playing in the heat with an 11 a.m. local time kickoff in the National Stadium, and the final couldn’t be played there later in the day because the venue is being used for track and field.
So the match has been moved about an hour outside Tokyo to Yokohama, which is also staging the men’s final Saturday night.
The announcement was made Thursday at Sweden’s pre-match news conference. The game as scheduled would have occurred during prime time in the United States, which lost in the semifinals.
Women’s 1,600-meter relay team qualifies for final
TOKYO--The U.S. women’s 1,600-meter relay team qualified for the final by winning a heat Thursday at Olympic Stadium.
Kailyn Whitney, Wadeline Jonathas, Kendall Ellis and Lynna Irby finished in 3 minutes, 20.86 seconds.
The final will be held Saturday.
U.S. women’s soccer defeats Australia to win bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics
KASHIMA, Japan — If it’s possible to put a positive exclamation point at the end of an otherwise dismal tournament, the women’s national team did just that Thursday, bowing out of the Tokyo Olympics with a dominant 4-3 win over Australia behind two goals each from Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd.
The victory earned the women a bronze keepsake of a tournament they’d just as soon forget. But if it was the last competitive game for some on the U.S. roster, they gave a final performance that was a worthy coda to a remarkable era.
With an average age of 30.8 years, the Tokyo roster was the oldest ever for a U.S. Olympic team. And in the oppressive heat and humidity of the Japanese summer, the players at times looked every bit as old as their passports say they are.
U.S. women’s water polo rallies against ROC to make gold-medal match
The self-proclaimed “badass” United States women’s water polo team appeared on the verge of an epic letdown.
Having gone unbeaten while winning the last two Olympics competitions, the Americans faced a three-goal deficit late in the first half Thursday against the Russian Olympic Committee.
A loss would send the U.S. to the bronze-medal game, an unlikely destination for the heavy favorites.
But after scoring twice in the final 39 seconds of the first half, the U.S. rallied for a 15-11 victory Thursday at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
U.S. men’s basketball defeats Australia, will play for gold medal
The U.S. men’s basketball team faced disaster, down double-digits to an Australian team that had already beaten them once this summer, their every move being exploited.
Blow it all up? Blame Gregg Popovich? Maybe the team’s architect, Jerry Colangelo? Find the right excuses — the elongated 2019-20, 2020-21 NBA seasons, the injuries to the stars that didn’t compete in these Olympics, the lack of practice time.
All of it was on the table until American’s ultimate problem solver, Kevin Durant, said all of that will need to wait.
Australia’s Keegan Palmer wins gold in skateboard park; Cory Juneau of U.S. third
TOKYO — Australia’s Keegan Palmer has won the last skateboarding gold of the Tokyo Games.
He won in men’s park, breaking what had been Japanese domination in all three previous events.
The silver went to Pedro Barros of Brazil. Cory Juneau took bronze, the second skateboarding medal for the United States.
The first for the U.S., also a bronze, was won by Jagger Eaton in men’s street. Keegan, who is 18 and was born in the United States, was untouchable with two runs of tricks and stunts in the eight-man final.
His gold was the first medal in skateboarding for Australia. All the golds in the other three events went to Japanese skaters.
Ryan Crouser wins first U.S. men’s track and field gold at Tokyo Olympics
TOKYO — Ryan Crouser sent a couple of messages on Thursday.
The 2016 Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the shot put defended his title, winning with an Olympic record throw of 76 feet 5 ½ inches at Olympic Stadium.
Afterward, Crouser took out a piece of paper. It had a note penned to his late grandfather, Larry, who died just before Crouser left for Tokyo to compete in the Olympics.
“GRANDPA, WE DID IT. 2020 OLYMPIC CHAMPION!”
Hansle Parchment wins men’s 110-meter hurdles; Grant Holloway of U.S. second
TOKYO — Grant Holloway of the United States, who had run the fastest time in the world this year in the 110-meter hurdles, finished second in the Olympic final on Thursday at Olympic Stadium.
Hansle Parchment of Jamaica won the gold medal in 13.04 seconds. Holloway, the reigning world champion in the event, finished in 13.09 seconds.
Holloway’s race came minutes after the U.S. 400-meter relay team of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie — finished sixth in their heat and failed to qualify for the final.
While members of the U.S. women’s team have won gold medals — including Athing Mu in the 800- meters, Sydney McLaughlin in the 400-meter hurdles and Valarie Allman in the discus — the men had been shut out, despite a noteworthy performance from Rai Benjamin in the 400-meter hurdles.
April Ross and Alix Klineman advance to gold-medal match in beach volleyball
TOKYO — In a scrap of shade at Shiokaze Park, April Ross and Alix Klineman rested amid screeching cicadas and shirt-soaking humidity that pushed the heat index to 99 degrees.
Like everything else the American beach volleyball duo has faced at the Summer Games, the sweltering morning didn’t faze them.
“I feel like I’m getting used to it,” said Klineman, the first-time Olympian from Manhattan Beach.
The same could be said for their romp through the bracket, where they have won six times and dropped only one set on the way to the gold-medal game.
Andre De Grasse of Canada wins men’s 200; U.S. runners finish 2-3-4
TOKYO — Andre De Grasse of Canada won the gold medal in the men’s 200-meter Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium.
De Grasse, who competed for USC in 2015, finished in 19.62 seconds.
Kenneth Bednarek of the United States finished in 19.68 seconds to earn the silver medal. Noah Lyles of the United States finished in 19.74 and earned bronze.
American Erriyon Knighton was fourth in 19.93.
Courtney Frerichs wins silver in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase
TOKYO — Courtney Frerichs of the United States won the silver medal in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at Olympic Stadium.
Peruth Chemutai of Uganda won the gold medal, finishing in 9 minutes 1.45 seconds. Frerichs finished in 9:04.79 seconds.
“I’m over the moon,” said Frerichs, who opened a big lead for much of the race.
Emma Coburn of the United States was disqualified.
“My body just shut down,” she said. “I don’t even know what my last 600 meters were. It took everything I had just to stay on the track and not pull off to the side. I was just shutting down.”
American Allyson Felix advances to the 400-meter final
TOKYO — Five-time Olympian Allyson Felix finished second in a women’s 400-meters semifinal on Wednesday night at Olympic Stadium to qualify for Friday’s final.
Felix ran in the third semifinal and finished in 49.89 seconds.
Felix has won nine Olympic medals, one shy of the U.S. record held by Carl Lewis.
Quanera Hayes of the United States qualified for the final in 49.81 seconds. Wadeline Jonathas of the U.S. did not.
Belarusian Olympic runner flies to Europe amid fear of reprisal at home
MOSCOW — A Belarusian sprinter left Tokyo for Europe on Wednesday after resisting an attempt by her Olympic team’s officials to send her home to Belarus, where she said she could be in danger from authorities who have relentlessly cracked down on dissent.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya boarded a plane at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport that was bound for Vienna, but she was expected to travel on to Poland. Before leaving Japan, Tsimanouskaya said that she hoped she could continue her career but that safety was her immediate priority.
Several countries offered to help after the 24-year-old runner sought refuge in the European Union, and Poland, an EU member nation, has granted her a humanitarian visa.
Single-day record of COVID-19 cases reported by Olympic organizers
TOKYO — Summer Games organizers reported a single-day record 29 cases of COVID-19 related to the Olympics on Wednesday, including four athletes.
Thirty-one athletes are among the 327 Olympic-linked cases announced since July 1.
The new cases include three members of the Greek artistic swimming team, coming a day after another team member tested positive for the illness.
U.S. baseball remains in gold-medal hunt with win over the Dominican Republic
YOKOHAMA, Japan — The United States topped the Dominican Republic 3-1 at Yokohama Stadium on Wednesday to remain in contention for an Olympic gold medal in baseball.
The Americans will next face the loser of Wednesday night’s game between Japan and South Korea on Thursday for a chance to play in Saturday’s gold medal game. The Dominicans will play for bronze Saturday against Thursday’s loser.
Former Dodger Scott Kazmir, who returned to the majors this season to pitch in three games for the San Francisco Giants, held the Dominican Republic to two hits over five scoreless innings. The 37-year-old left-hander struck out five and walked one. The Dominicans generated their best scoring chance against him in the first inning, loading the bases with one out, but Kazmir escaped unscathed.
U.S. women’s basketball dominates in quarterfinal win over Australia
SAITAMA, Japan — In its final game before heading to Japan, the U.S. women’s basketball team squandered a double-digit lead against the Australian national team before ultimately losing. The game came on the heels of a defeat to the WNBA All-Stars, the first time the U.S. women had lost back-to-back exhibitions since 2011.
After that loss, a frustrated Breanna Stewart said the team had fallen short of the high standard women have set in their program for generations. And the losses, combined with the unknown aftereffects of a physically and mentally draining 2020 WNBA season, made it seem like the Americans were vulnerable for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Well, after Wednesday’s 79-55 win, it might be time to recalibrate all that.
U.S. women’s volleyball defeats the Dominican Republic to stay in medal chase
TOKYO — Relying heavily on its superiority at the net — and everywhere, really — the U.S. women’s volleyball team was never seriously challenged by the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in a quarterfinal match at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Americans opened a big early lead and rarely sputtered during a 25-11, 25-20, 25-19 victory at Ariake Arena that sustained their hopes of winning the country’s first gold medal in the sport.
The U.S. will play the winner of the Italy vs. Serbia match in a semifinal on Friday.
Sydney McLaughlin breaks world record in women’s 400-meter hurdles to win gold
TOKYO — Sydney McLaughlin keeps getting faster.
McLaughlin, who set a world record in the women’s 400 meters hurdles during the U.S. Olympic trials, broke her own record and won an Olympic gold medal Wednesday at Olympic Stadium.
McLaughlin was timed in 51.46 seconds, eclipsing her record of 51.90.
U.S. teammate Dalilah Muhammad, the 2016 gold medalist and previous world record holder, finished second with a personal-best of 51.58.
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah wins 200 meters; Gabrielle Thomas of U.S. is third
TOKYO — Elaine Thompson-Herah won the gold medal in the women’s 200 meters at Olympic Stadium.
Thompson-Herah, who also won the 100-meters gold medal, completed her second consecutive sweep of the events.
Thompson-Herah finished in 21.53 seconds. Christine Mboma of Namibia won the silver medal and Gabrielle Thomas of the U.S. took bronze.
Athing Mu wins gold for U.S. in 800 meters; Raevyn Rogers is third
TOKYO — Athing Mu of the United States won the gold medal in the women’s 800-meters on Tuesday night at Olympic Stadium.
Mu, 19, became the first American woman to win the event since Madeline Manning in 1968 at Mexico City.
Mu had breezed to victory in a preliminary heat and the semifinals, and she made it look easy again in the final, finishing in 1 minute 55.21 seconds
Keely Hodgkinson of Britain won the silver medal and Raevyn Rogers of the U.S. took bronze.
Mexico’s gold-medal quest ends in penalty shootout loss to Brazil
KASHIMA, Japan — Brazil and Mexico have arguably the best U-23 soccer teams in the world, having shared the last two Olympic gold medals after meeting in the final of the 2012 Games.
And for more than 120 minutes Tuesday, they traded blows in a heavyweight battle worthy of another final. But only Brazil will play for the gold after winning a penalty shootout following a Tokyo Olympics semifinal that ended in a scoreless draw.
Brazil will play the winner of the second semifinal between Japan and Spain in Saturday’s final. Mexico will play the winner Friday in the bronze-medal game.
Simone Biles comes back to win bronze in the balance beam final
TOKYO — Superstar gymnast Simone Biles, who withdrew from most of the events on her Olympic schedule after experiencing a lack of awareness in the air that jeopardized her safety, made a remarkable return to the gym floor Tuesday and won a bronze medal in the balance beam final on the last day of competition at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Biles joined teammate Suni Lee in the balance beam final and performed a routine that scored 14.000 points. Before that, Biles had last competed in the women’s team final July 27. In that event she performed one unsteady vault and then scratched from her other events that evening, later explaining her problem as a bout with “the twisties,” which afflicts gymnasts and throws off their timing and spatial awareness. The other U.S. women stepped up to win a silver medal.
Lee, who later won gold in the all-around event and bronze on the uneven bars, had a major wobble on the beam and scored 13.866 to finish fifth in Tuesday’s event. Guan Chenchen of China (14.633) won gold, followed by Tang Xijing of China (14.233) and Biles.
IOC looking into Chinese athletes wearing Mao pins on the podium
TOKYO — The image of Communist China’s founding leader, Mao Zedong, made an unscheduled appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday it is “looking into the matter.”
The gesture — Mao pin badges worn by two Chinese gold medalists at their medal ceremony — risks being judged a breach of Olympic Charter Rule 50, which prohibits political statements on the podium at the Tokyo Games — and at the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
After winning the women’s sprint in track cycling Monday, Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi wore pin badges of Mao. The communist leader who proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 remains an iconic figure in China 45 years after his death in 1976.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a wide range of problems for wrestlers, who had to come up with creative ways to train for the Tokyo Olympics.
The incident came one day after American shot-put silver medalist Raven Saunders crossed the wrists of her raised arms on the podium. She was standing next to the gold medalist from China.
It was unclear Tuesday if the Mao pins were a response to the shot-put medal ceremony.
“We have contacted the Chinese Olympic Committee, asked them for a report about the situation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said at the daily news conference at the Tokyo Games.
Badges showing Mao’s profile were worn by hundreds of millions of people in the 1960s to show their loyalty to the Communist Party chairman and the ultra-radical Cultural Revolution he launched in 1966. China’s current party chief, Xi Jinping, has invoked Mao’s image as he tries to promote his own status as a history-making Chinese leader.
U.S. men’s basketball overcomes slow start vs. Spain to advance to semifinals
They were down, then they were up and then it was close again, the U.S. men’s basketball team violently swinging between dominance and docility.
For the last month, it’s defined their play, the product of a less-than-ideal roster and little time together. With low stakes, the losses here and there could be justified as part of a process.
But facing Spain on Tuesday in their first elimination game, the Americans and their unshakable traits made it clear that the next week is going to be a wild ride.
Shot putter tests positive for steroids at the Games