TOKYO 2020/Saturday Review & Preview: Felix gets 4×400 m gold for 11th medal; U.S. men’s basketball & women’s water polo extend gold streaks

Good as gold: McLaughlin, Felix, Muhammad and Mu in the women's 4x400 m (Photo: USATF on Twitter)

(★ Friends: Very grateful to say that 48 donors have now covered 70% of our current server & support bill. If you have enjoyed this coverage, please donate here. Your enthusiasm is what motivates this site. Thank you. ★)

= TOKYO 2020 =
From Lane One

Although the Tokyo Games has not closed yet, the International Olympic Committee is already focused on the future.

In a final-day meeting of all IOC members – known as a “Session” – several proposals are being offered to the Olympic Charter to allow the IOC’s Executive Board to implement much stronger discipline throughout the Movement. These include, according to an IOC announcement:

● “Allow the IOC EB to suspend a sport, event or discipline from the programme of the Olympic Games.”

● “Clarify that the IOC Session may remove any sport from the programme of the Olympic Games if, among other violations, the relevant International Federation (IF) governing such sport does not comply with the decisions of the IOC EB, or if the relevant IF acts in a manner likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.”

● “Reinforce the principle that nobody is entitled as of right to an accreditation, as well as the principle that the granting and removal of an accreditation is at the IOC’s full discretion.”

● “Allow for up to seven IOC Members to be elected in special cases without a nationality or National Olympic Committee (NOC) requirement.”

Translation: IOC President Thomas Bach is further breaking free from the cumbersome structure of having to wait for the annual Session to meet in order to implement immediate disciplinary measures, but also expanding the grounds by which a sport can be removed from the Games.

This will be of special interest to the federations for boxing (AIBA) and weightlifting (IWF), both of which have vexed the IOC for years with regard to governance, doping and fraud.

The measures on accreditation for the Games also speak to disciplinary procedures, not just for those misbehaving during the Games, but from allowing accreditation in the first place, such as for anyone who has had a doping violation in the past. The IOC lost a case in Tokyo at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to Russian Weightlifting Federation chief Maxim Agapitov – who was suspended for doping when a competitor – who was refused accreditation, but appealed that he was entitled as a member of the IWF Executive Board. No more.

The separation of IOC membership from endorsements of National Olympic Committees will also allow the IOC to bring in members it thinks will be helpful, even if not in line with NOC wishes. This has been a thorny problem in the past, which Bach will be happy to dispense with.

The Games may still be on, but Bach is already moving on.

Through Saturday, 326 out of 339 events (96%) have been completed in Tokyo; the current medals leaders:

1. 108: United States (36-39-18)
2. 87: China (38-31-18)
3. 69: Russian Olympic Committee (20-26-23)
4. 63: Great Britain (20-21-22)
5. 56: Japan (27-12-17)

An Olympic-record total of 92 countries have won at least one medal, surpassing the 86 for the 2016 Games in Rio.

Our exclusive TSX team scoring uses the familiar collegiate system of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 per event to give a much better view of the relative achievements of the teams:

1. 1,241.0 United States
2. 922.7 China
3. 747.0 Russian Olympic Committee
4. 693.5 Great Britain
5. 679.5 Japan
6. 529.5 Australia
7. 493.5 Germany
8. 486.0 Italy
9. 443.0 France
10. 415.5 Netherlands
11. 323.0 Canada
12. 281.0 Korea

Germany moved ahead of Italy on Saturday; consider the remarkable performance of the Netherlands, with a population of just 17.3 million! Australia, at 25.4 million, has also performed brilliantly in Tokyo.

NBC’s primetime coverage on Thursday was down to 13.3 million, probably its lowest total for the Games. As specific numbers were not given for last Saturday and Sunday, the available information shows:

● 23 July (Fri): 8.2 million for the Opening Ceremony
● 24 July (Sat): 15.3 million
● 25 July (Sun): 19.2 million
● 26 July (Mon): 16.8 million
● 27 July (Tue): 16.2 million
● 28 July (Wed): 15.0 million
● 29 July (Thu): 19.5 million
● 30 July (Fri): 15.2 million
● 31 July (Sat): not reported
● 01 Aug. (Sun): not reported
● 02 Aug. (Mon): 15.8 million
● 03 Aug: (Tue): 17.4 million
● 04 Aug: (Wed): 14.6 million
● 05 Aug: (Thu): 13.3 million

These numbers are for the “total audience” for primetime programming across NBC-NBCSN-CNBC-USA Network, but far behind the Rio 2016 numbers, in a better time zone. NBC says more than 105 million Americans have watched some part of the Games so far.

These numbers can be compared to 27.5 million per night in Rio in 2016.

Final-day weather forecast:

● 08 Aug. (Sun): 88 F ~ 78 F; morning thunderstorms

The forecast for Sapporo for the men’s marathon:

● 08 Aug. (Sun): projected 81 F at 7 a.m.; cloudy

These are warm conditions for endurance events, but cooler than are expected for Tokyo.
~ Rich Perelman


Artistic Swimming: Team
As expected, Russia won easily for its sixth consecutive Olympic victory in this event, scoring 196.0979 to China’s 193.5310. The Russians won both the Technical Routine and Free Routine by more than a point each.

Ukraine finished third (190.3018), with Japan fourth (188.3106).

Athletics: Men’s 1,500 m-4×400 m-Javelin
(Apologies to 400 m star Anthony Zambrano, identified as Dominican instead of from Colombia in yesterday’s post; this was corrected on the site.)

Whenever Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot has been challenged in a major international race, he has had the extra speed that got him to the line first. In the Olympic 1,500 m final, he was in front as usual, pushing a fast pace and being shadowed closely by Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, right into the final turn.

Cheruiyot is known for running away coming into the final straightaway, so rather than waiting to hit the straight, Ingebrigtsen hit the gas with about 140 m to go, pushing even and then past Cheruiyot on the outside just as the Kenyan looked backwards on the inside of the track, with teammate Abel Kipsang and Britain’s Josh Kerr in hot pursuit.

Ingebrigtsen opened a meter’s lead on Cheruiyot into the straight and ran away; the Kenyan had no response and trotted home second, 3:28.32-3:29.01, an Olympic Record, a lifetime best and a European Record for the winner.

Kerr got third ahead of Kipsang, 3:29.05-3:29.45, lifetime bests for both. American Cole Hocker was a very creditable sixth in a huge lifetime best of 3:31.40, no. 8 on the all-time U.S. list.

Ingebrigtsen, 20, moved to no. 8 on the all-time list and won for the first time against Cheruiyot in 11 tries at 1,500 m and 13 times in the 1,500 m and mile. It was Norway’s first-ever medal in the event.

The U.S. was supposed to win the 4×400 m relay, right? But as nothing else had gone right in Tokyo for the U.S. men on the track – no wins so far – it was nervous time.

The American order started with Michael Cherry, having a career year, and he brought the U.S. in second at 44.2, just behind Isaac Makwala’s 43.8 for Botswana, and passed to Michael Norman. Using a patient approach, Norman only took the lead off the final turn, passing Jereem Richards (TTO) and then powering ahead (44.0 split) to hand off first to Bryce Deadmon.

Deadmon opened a lead for the U.S. and came down the straight up by a half-second over a Dutch team running out of its mind; Deadmon’s 44.1 bested Tony van Diepen’s 44.28 and the American handed off to Rai Benjamin.

Race over. Benjamin accelerated away and built a big lead over Dutch anchor Ramsey Angela and split 43.40 (!) to bring the U.S. home in 2:55.70, the fourth-fastest time in history.

The Dutch were a stunning second in 2:57.18, moving them to the no. 5 nation ever; Botswana got an African record of 2:57.27 in third.

Benjamin was the key; his teammates were happy he stuck around for the relay.

One of the most shocking results in Tokyo came when Germany’s Johannes Vetter, the man who had made 90 m throws commonplace, failed to qualify for the final three throws, managing only 82.52 m (270-9) in his first throw and then suffering two fouls and ending up ninth. This really was unbelievable.

That opened the door for others. With the second throw of the event, India’s Neeraj Chopra took the lead at 87.03 m (285-6), putting a lot of pressure on the field. German Julian Weber got out to 85.30 m (279-10) for second.

In the second round, Chopra was on it again, reaching 87.58 m (287-4), with no response from the field. The third round was better, with Vitezslav Vesely (CZE) moving into second at 85.44 m (280-4).

In the final three throws, Chopra did not improve and Czech Jakub Vadlejch, the 2017 Worlds silver medalist got hold of one in the fifth round, moving into second at 86.67 m (284-4). That’s how it ended.

Hardly inspiring, except that Chopra, 23, won India’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Games and, incredibly, its second-ever individual gold, after shooter Abhinav Bindra in 2008. That is historic.

Athletics: Women’s 10,000 m-Marathon-4×400 m-High Jump
After the brutally fast 1,500 m on Friday, what would World Champion Sifan Hassan have left for the 10,000 m on Saturday? As it turned out, plenty.

Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey, the world-record holder, had the lead for most of the race and towing a smaller and smaller number of trailers with her. With five laps to go, she had shaken off everyone except Hassan and Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne, a former Ethiopian!

At the bell, Gidey was still in front, with Hassan and Gezahegne right behind. She kept leading and started to push around the final turn, but Hassan bolted first, with Gezahegne right behind, into the straight and running away from Gidey. Hassan’s sprint took her to the line with a decisive win in 29:55.32, with Gezahegne second (29:56.18) and Gidey in 30:01.72.

A great follow-up by Hassan to her 1,500 bronze and she won both the 5,000 m and 10,000 m in Tokyo.

Francine Niyonsaba (BDI), the 2016 Olympic silver medalist at 800 m, but whose testosterone levels are too high to allow her to compete in events from the 400-mile per the World Athletics regulations, finished an impressive fifth in 30:41.93.

Emily Sisson of the U.S. finished 10th in 31:09.58, followed by Karissa Schweizer (31:19.96) in 12th and Alicia Monson in 13th (31:21.36).

The women’s marathon was moved to 6 a.m. in the morning in Sapporo, but that did not mean the heat – starting at 77 F – was not going to be a major factor.

An excellent field of 88 included the world-record holder, Brigid Kosgei (KEN), and from the start, a large pack moved together at the front of the race, at a modest pace thanks to the conditions.

By halfway, there were 15 in the front group, coming through in 1:15:14 with two-time World Half Marathon champ Peres Chepchirchir leading. Slowly, the pace increased, as did the heat and the number in the front group receded.

By 25 km, there were 12 in the lead pack, then American Sally Kipyego dropped off the pace. By 30 km, 2019 World Marathon Champion Ruth Chepngetich – who had handled the midnight heat in Doha so well – fell off the lead group.

Chepchirchir and American Molly Seidel were in the front, not cooperating, but towing the lead group along. The pace increased slowly but steadily and the lead group broke up.

Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje fell back, as did Germany’s Melat Kejeta and Japan’s Mao Ichiyama, and by 35 km, there were five in front: Chepchirchi, Kosgei, Seidel, Israel’s Lorna Salpeter and Eunice Chumba (BRN).

Then Chumba dropped off the pace and there were four women for three medals. Just past 37 km, Chepchirchir and Kosgei pushed away, with Salpeter following and Seidel dropping back to fourth. This was the major break in the race and the drama wasn’t over.

Chepchirchir and Kosgei ran together, more or less, separating from Salpeter, but just after 38 km, Salpeter just stopped, overcome by the conditions.

Seidel kept motoring, knowing that she had a medal and thinking she could move up again. She remained in visual contact, but kept conserving energy, passing 40 km six seconds back of the Kenyans, with Dereje another 31 seconds behind.

When the Kenyans came to the bottle station after the 40 km mark, Chepchirchir took off and ran unopposed to the finish in 2:27:20, a remarkable performance in the conditions and especially considering this was only her fifth career marathon.

Kosgei labored to the finish in second in 2:27:36 and Seidel stormed home in third in 2:27:46, a staggering achievement in the heat and in her third career marathon. It was her worst time and her best performance.

Dereje was fourth (2:28:38) as the temperature at the finished reached 84 F; Kipyego finished 17th (2:32:53). Salpeter got going again and finished 66th in 2:48:31, wilting in the heat as happened in Doha in 2019. Chepngetich and U.S. Trials winner Aliphine Tuliamuk were among the 14 who did not finish.

Seidel’s achievement is staggering. She’s only the third American woman to win an Olympic medal, after Joan Benoit in 1984 and Deena Kastor in Athens in 2004. At 27, she has a lot of running ahead of her, possibly including a home World Championships in 2002 in Eugene.

The U.S. coaches were taking no chances with the women’s 4×400 m relay. After Jamaica’s impressive times in the 400 m rounds, only one of the top three finishers from the U.S. Trials – Tokyo bronze medalist Allyson Felix – was on the team for the final.

Instead, the 400 m hurdles stars – Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad – and 800 m gold medalist Athing Mu were on the track with McLaughlin to lead off.

Her 50.2 from the blocks brought the U.S. in even with Natalia Kaczmarek of Poland, then Felix got the stick.

Her 49.3 leg opened the race up and she had a clear lead when she handed to Muhammad, who blew away the field with a 48.94 split and gave Mu a huge lead on the anchor.

Mu then finished by terrorizing the entire women’s 400 m world with a 48.32 (!!!) split than ended with the U.S. winning by almost half the straightaway in the no. 5 time in history: 3:16.85.

Poland ran a national record 3:20.53 for second and Jamaica came home third in 3:21.24.

It was the seventh straight U.S. win in this event and the fourth straight for Felix, who ended the Games with 11 career Olympic medals (7-3-1). That’s the most of any American track & field athlete, passing Carl Lewis’s 10 and second-most in history behind Finland’s Paavo Nurmi (12).

At 35 and after maternity, this is more than amazing. And to be sure, the year’s delay from 2020 to 2021 helped her immensely.

Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene has been an outspoken critic of the Russian track & field federation and on the Russian doping scandal that robbed her (and others) of being able to compete in Rio in 2016 and under varying sanctions elsewhere.

Nevertheless, she came in as the 2017 and 2019 World Champion – competing as an “Authorized Neutral Athlete.” This time, she was competing for the “Russian Olympic Committee.”

At least she was competing. And she made the best of it, winning the Olympic gold with a season’s best of 2.04 m (6-8 1/4).

Nine cleared 1.96 m (6-5), but seven had misses along the way. The real jumping started at 1.98 m (6-6), with only Nicola McDermott (AUS) making it on her first try, then Lasitskene and Ukraine’s Iryna Gerashchenko on their second and Yaroslava Manuchikh on her third.

At 2.00 m (6-6 3/4), Gerashchenko went out, McDermott was over again on her first try and Lasitskene and Mahuchikh needed two attempts. So the medal winners were set.

The bar went to 2.02 m (6-7 1/2) and Lasitskene took the lead with a first-time clearance while McDermott needed two tries. Manuchikh missed, and realizing she had nothing to gain by clearing this height, passed to 2.04 m (6-8 1/4).

She missed twice and settled for the bronze medal. Laskitskene made it on her second try, a season’s best and McDermott missed all three to leave with a national record and the silver medal.

Laskiskene has been the best women’s high jumper in the world for quite a while. She now has an Olympic gold medal to prove it.

American Vashti Cunningham – the 2019 Worlds bronze medalist – finished in a tie for sixth at 1.96 m (6-5).

Baseball: Team
Japan barely edged the U.S. in their first match-up, 7-6, in 10 innings. The second one wasn’t as close.

Playing for the Olympic title in a baseball-crazed country whose fans could not attend, Japan won its first baseball medal since 2004 and it’s first Olympic title by shutting out the U.S., 2-0.

Third baseman Munetaka Murakami opened the scoring with a third-inning home run off of Nick Martinez and the game remained 1-0 all the way into the eighth. Japan’s Masato Morishita held the U.S. to three hits over five innings and then saw a string of relievers hold the lead. The U.S. had chances in the late innings, but could not score.

Japan got a second run in the bottom of the eighth for the 2-0 final.

Infielder Eddy Alvarez of the U.S. is the sixth athlete in Olympic history to win medals in both the Olympic and Winter Games; he won a silver with the U.S. 5,000 m Short Track relay in Sochi in 2014.

The Dominican Republic clubbed South Korea for the bronze by 10-6.

Basketball: Men
The U.S. men concluded a torturous route to a fourth straight Olympic gold medal by defeating France, 87-82 in the Olympic final in Saitama.

The American men had led France in their opening game of the tournament by seven points in the fourth quarter before a 16-2 run sent to the U.S. into defeat. This time, there was no game-ending rout.

Instead, the U.S. methodically built a 22-18 lead at the quarter and 44-39 at the half. Another closely-played third quarter ended with the U.S. up by eight, 71-63. A Kevin Durant jumper put the U.S. up 73-63, but the French scored seven in a row to close to 73-70 before four points from Jrue Holiday made it 79-70 and when Damian Lillard hit a three to make it 82-72 with 3:24 to go, the issue was decided.

Four points from Nando de Colo closed things up to 85-82 with 10 seconds left, but Durant made two free throws to seal it with eight seconds to go for the 87-82 final.

Durant led all scorers with 29 points on 9-18 from the field and 8-9 from the line. Jayson Tatum had 19 and seven rebounds; and Holiday and Lillard each had 11. Evan Fournier led France with 16.

It was a difficult road for the U.S., but a successful one for Gregg Popovich in his first Olympic head coaching assignment. As he predicted.

The U.S. men have won 16 times in 20 Olympic tournaments played. France has now lost to the U.S. in three finals: 65-21 in 1948 and 85-75 in 2000.

Australia beat Slovenia, 107-93, in the bronze-medal game.

Beach Volleyball: Men
It only took 40 minutes for Norwegian stars Anders Mol and Christian Sorum to dispense with Russia’s 2019 World Champions Viacheslav Kasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy, 21-17, 21-18, in the final.

Mol and Sorum have won 13 FIVB World Tour tournaments together, and won two of the bellwether Cancun tune-up tournaments in the spring. They are the best in the world.

Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, one of the best pairs on the sand in 2021, won the bronze medal match from Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs (LAT), 21-12, 21-18.

Boxing: Men’s 52 kg-75 kg
Britain’s Galal Yafai defeated Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in the 52 kg Flyweight final by 4:1, with all judges scoring the very tight match 29-28.

Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka and Saken Bibossinov (KAZ) won the bronze medals.

In the 75 kg Middleweight division, Brazil’s Hebert Conceicao, a 2019 Worlds bronze medalist, was winning the fight on all five cards against World Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak (UKR), then knocked him out at 1:29 of the third round. Wow!

Eumir Marcial (PHI) and Gleb Bakshi (ROC) share the bronze medals.

Boxing: Women’s 51 kg-69 kg
Two-time Worlds silver medalist Stoyka Krasteva (BUL) dominated Turkey’s Buse Naz Cakiroglu in the 51 kg Flyweight final.

Krasteva won a 5:0 decision, with four of the five judges giving her a 30-27 edge.

The bronze medals went to Tsukimi Namiki (JPN) and Hsiao-Wen Huang (TPE).

In the 69 kg Welterweight final, a very closely-contested final saw Turkey’s 2019 World Champion Busenaz Surmeneli overcome two-time Worlds silver medalist Hong Gu of China by 3:0.

Two judges had the match even at 28-28, but three had Surmeneli winning, 29-28, for a 3:0 decision.

The bronzes went to American Oshae Jones and India’s Lovlina Borgohain.

Canoe: Sprint/Men’s K-4 500 m-C-1 1,000 m
Germany, Spain and Slovakia the medal winners from the 2019 World Championships, and they finished in the same order in Tokyo in the debut of the men’s K-4 500 m in the Olympic program.

Spain got out best and had the lead at halfway by 0.29, but the Germans had a strong second half and won by 1:22.219 to 1:22.445. Slovakia was third at 1:23.534.

In the men’s C-1 1,000 m, World Champion Isaquias Queiroz of Brazil came on the back half of the race, passing China’s Hao Liu and won by 4:04.408 to 4:05.724. Moldova’s Serghei Tarnovschi finished third in 4:06.069.

Queiroz moved up to the top of the podium after winning the silver medal in Rio.

Canoe: Sprint/Women’s K-4 500 m-C-2 500 m
Belarus got out to the early lead in the women’s K-4 500 m, but Hungary had the fastest second half of all the boats and won by 1:35.463 to 1:36.073. Poland similarly overtook New Zealand for third, in the final 250 m, by 1:36.445 to 1:37.168.

The C-2 500 m was a new event for Tokyo and China’s Shixiao Xu and Mengya Sun duplicated their 2019 world title run to become Olympic champions. They led from start to finish, crossing the line in 1:55.495 to 1:57.499 for Liudmyla Luzan and Anastasiia Chetverikova (UKR) and 1:59.041 for Canada.

Cycling: Track/Men’s Madison
Reigning World Champion Denmark, with Lasse Norman Hansen and Niklas Larsen riding in Tokyo, won the 200-lap Madison with 43 points to 40 for Great Britain and France.

The Danes scored on 14 of the 20 sprints – winning three – to edge Matthew Walls and Ethan Hayter, who also had 14 scores.

Diving: Men’s 10 m Platform
As expected, China’s Yuan Cao and Jian Yang finished 1-2 in a tight battle, 582.35 to 580.40 in the final. Each won three dives and Cao overcame a bad second dive – placing sixth – to finish 1-1-2-2 on his last four. Yang won the last two dives to tighten up what was a 12.95-point lead.

Britain’s Tom Daley – the London bronze medalist – finished third at 548.25, finishing second on two dives and third on two others. Russian Aleksandr Bondar was a not-very-close fourth at 514.50.

Jordan Windle of the U.S. finished ninth and Brandon Loschiavo was 11th.

Equestrian: Team Jumping
This event required a jump-off to determine the winner after Sweden and the U.S. tied in the final with just eight penalties each.

Belgium was a clear third (12) over the Netherlands (17), but Henrik von Eckermann and Laura Kraut has ridden clean for the Swedes and Americans. Sweden had single penalties (4 points each) from Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson, while McLain Ward and Jessica Springsteen had penalties for the U.S.

The jump-off was concerned with penalties and time. All six riders concluded their runs without penalties, but the combined times saw Sweden at 122.90 seconds and the U.S. at 124.20 and that decided the gold and silver medals.

This event dates back to Stockholm in 1912 and has France, the U.S. and Germany as the Rio medalists and the U.S., Sweden and Germany as the medalists at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

The amazing Ward, 45, won his fourth Olympic medal; he was a member of the American gold medalists in the 2004 and 2008 Games and the silver winners from Rio and Tokyo.

Football: Men
Brazil won its second straight Olympic football title with a 2-1 win over Spain in extra time.

The sides played to a 1-1 tie in the first 90 minutes, with Mikel Oyarzabal putting Spain up 1-0 in the 11th minute. Brazil had to chase the game from then on, but got even at 45+2 with a goal from striker Matheus Cunha for a 1-1 halftime tie.

The second half produced no scores and so the extra time commenced and in the second extra period, it was striker Malcom who ended the game with a score in the 108th minute via a shot that deflected off Spanish keeper Unai Simon.

Mexico defeated Japan, 3-1, for the bronze medal on Friday.

Golf: Women
American Nelly Korda, the LPGA Championship winner this year, took charge of the Olympic tournament with a second-round 62 and rode home to a one-shot victory over Mone Inami (JPN) and Lydia Ko (NZL).

Korda shot 67-62-69-69 to finish at -17 (267) and had as much as a six-shot lead during parts of the last two rounds. But the competition kept getting closer and closer and both Inami and Ko shot find-round 65s to inch up to -16. Korda has a double-bogey five on the seventh hole of the final round, but rebounded to finish the day at two under (69).

Inami and Ko ended up tied and went to a playoff to determine the silver medal. Playing again on 18, Inami parred and Ko shot five, giving Japan the silver. Ko has now won two Olympic medals, after winning the silver in Rio.

Gymnastics: Rhythmic/All-Around
Israel’s Linoy Ashram, a silver and bronze-medal winner at the World Championships, upset three-time World Champion Dina Averina of Russia in the All-Around final.

Ashram and Averina went 1-2 on each apparatus, with the Israeli winning on Hoop and Clubs and Averina winning on Ball and Ribbon. In the end, Ashram’s 28.650-28.150 margin on Clubs was the difference in a 107.800-107.650 victory.

It’s Israel’s first medal in the sport and breaks a five-Games gold streak for Russia.

Alina Harnasko (BLR) won the bronze medal (102.700) ahead of Arina Averina (102.100). .

Handball: Men
France grabbed a 14-10 lead at halftime and held off Denmark, 25-23 in the Olympic final despite nine goals from Danish scoring machine Mikkel Hansen.

Nedim Remili scored five for the French, who won their third Olympic gold in the last four tournaments – also in 2008 and 2012 – while defeating the Rio winners.

Hansen was the leading scorer in the tournament, with 61 goals in 100 attempts!

Spain defeated Egypt, 33-31 for the bronze.

Karate: Men’s +75 kg-Women’s +61 kg
Iran’s 2016 World Champion at +84 kg, Sajad Ganjzadeh won the Olympic tournament in the heaviest weight class with a 4-0 final win over Saudi Arabia’s Tareg Hamedi.

Ganjzadeh was 3-0-1 in his pool matches and advanced to the semis, where he won a 0-0 bout on Senshu (scored first) over Turkey’s 2018 World 84 kg winner Ugur Atkas. Hamedi came out of the same pool, and won his semi by 2-0 over 2016 World 84 kg champ Ryutaro Araga (JPN).

The two finalists had tied, 0-0, in their pool match. This time Ganjzadeh was able to score and took home the gold medal.

Atkas and Araga shared the bronze.

Egypt’s Feryal Abdelazaiz came in ranked no. 2 in the world in the women’s 68 kg class and left with the gold medal in the Olympic +61 kg class tournament. She was 2-1-1 in pool matches, then won a tight, 5-4 semi against Kazak Sofya Berultseva to advance to the final against 2018 World 68 kg winner Iryna Zaretska (AZE). Another tight match ensured, but Abdelaziz managed a 2-0 win and is Olympic champion!

Berultseva and China’s Li Gong shared the bronze medals.

Modern Pentathlon: Men
Britain’s Joseph Choong moved up from his 2019 Worlds silver medal to Olympic Champion with a strong start that saw him a tight battle with Egypt’s Ahmed Elgendy, 1,482-1,477.

Choong was third in the swimming section, won the fencing, and was 14th in riding, good enough to allow him to start first in the Laser Run, with a 12-second lead over 2017 World Champion Jin-Hwa Jung (KOR).

Choong took eight shots to make five on his stage, then shot 5/5, 5/7 and 5/5 to cross the line first and claim an Olympic-record point total.

Behind him, Elgendy was flying through the course, having started 50 seconds back in 13th place. A faster runner than Choong, he shot 5/9 on the first stage, then 5/5, 5/5 and 5/7 to move up quickly, and finished with the second-fastest Laser Run in the field, but ended just a little short and settled for silver.

Korea’s Woong-Tae Jun, also a strong runner, started 28 seconds back and moved up to the bronze medal with the seventh-best Laser Run, ahead of Jung (17th).

Volleyball: Men
France won its first-ever Olympic volleyball medal and it was the gold, defeating the Russian Olympic Committee in the final by 3-2: 25-23, 25-17, 17-25, 21-25, 15-12.

Earvin N’Gapeth scored 26 for the winners, including 21 kills and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He was aided by 14 points from Jean Patry. Egor Kliuka had 20 for Russia.

France had beaten Russia in their pool match, 3-1, and looked like it might sweep this match, but it ended up in a tense third set after going to 2-2.

Argentina edged Brazil, 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13) for the bronze medal.

Water Polo: Women
The U.S. women completed another outstanding performance with a fourth straight Olympic gold medal after a 14-5 defeat of Spain in the final.

Maddie Musselman scored three times for the Americans, who took a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The U.S. had a 7-4 lead at half, and 12-4 at the end of the third quarter.

Aria Fischer, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Alys Williams each scored twice for the U.S. and keeper Ashleigh Williams saved 11 of 15 shots.

It continues an amazing streak of success, with the American women not only winning their fourth straight Games, but compiling a 94-2 record in their last 96 games against all comers. In Tokyo, the U.S. out-scored its opponents by 109-47.

Hungary won the bronze with a 11-9 over Russia.

Wrestling: Men’s 65 kg-97 kg
Japan won its first men’s Freestyle gold of the Games, with 2018 World Champion Takuto Otoguro taking the 65 kg class by 5-4 over three-time World Champion Haji Aliyev (AZE) in the final.

Gadzhimurad Rashidov (ROC) and India’s Bajrang Punia won the bronze medals.

At 97 kg, Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev won a tense battle with American Kyle Snyder, 6-3, in a match-up of Olympic gold medalsts.

The Russian won in Rio at 86 kg and moved up in weight to battle Snyder, the defending champion at this weight from Rio. Sadulaev had a 2-0 lead at the break and maintained was able to hold off Snyder for his second Olympic gold, to go along with four world titles.

Cuba’s Reineris Salas and Abraham Conyedo (ITA) won the bronze medals.

Wrestling: Women’s 50 kg
Japan’s two-time World Champion Yui Sasaki overwhelmed China’s Yanan Sun, a Rio bronze medalist at 48 kg, by 10-0 in the final.

Sasaki ended the tournament not just winning her four matches, but out-scoring them by 41-0!

The bronze medals were won by Mariya Stadnik (AZE) and American Sarah Hildebrandt. Stadnik defeated Tsogt-Ochiryn Namuuntsetseg (MGL) by 10-0 and Hildebrandt pounded Oksanas Liach (UKR) by 12-1 in her bronze match.

(13 events across 8 sports)

Athletics: Men’s Marathon
After the hot and humid conditions that greeted the women on Saturday, the 106 starters in the men’s 7 a.m. marathon will have to be ready to race in an environment far different than the big-city mega-races that they are so familiar with.

The field includes many stars, beginning with the greatest marathoner of all time, defending champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. He dominated the race in 2016 in Rio, winning in 2:08:44 and in 14 career marathons, has won 12 times. He set the world record of 2:01:39 in Berlin in 2018, but did stumble with an eighth-place finish in the 2020 London Marathon.

Nevertheless, he “warmed up” for Tokyo with an impressive, 2:04:30 win in Enschede in April that’s still no. 5 on the world list for 2021.

His teammates are Lawrence Cherono and Amos Kipruto. Cherono will be running on his 32nd birthday and he’ll be shopping for a medal for himself; he’s a 2:03:04 man from the 2020 Valencia Marathon and won in Boston and Chicago in 2019.

Kipruto won the 2019 Worlds bronze in the midnight run in Doha and also ran his best – 2:03:30 – in that Valencia race in 2020. He was second to Kipchoge in Berlin in 2018.

The Kenyans will principally be challenged by their East African rivals from Ethiopia, led by Lelisa Desisa, the 2019 World Champion who has also logged major wins in Boston in 2013 and 2015 and New York in 2018. His best of 2:04:45 dates back to 2013, but his competitive record speaks for itself.

Shura Kitata (2:04:49) and Sisay Lemma (2:03:36) are the other Ethiopian entries. Kitata won in London in 2020 (2:05:41) and set his best there in 2018. Lemma has been a solid, top-3 placer; in his 18 career marathons, he’s been in the medals 10 times, including five of the last six.

Beyond these six obvious medal candidates are lesser-known talents like Bashir Abdi (BEL), the Tokyo Marathon winner in 2:04:49 in 2020; El Hassan El Abbassi (BRN), seventh in Doha in 2019, with a best of 2:04:43 in 2018; and Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay in his third career marathon, after running 2:04:55 in Milan last May.

There are a dozen others with less flashy times, but excellent skills for these conditions. Britain’s Callum Hawkins was fourth in Doha’s extreme heat (2:08:14 PR); Stephen Mokoka (RSA) was fifth (2:07:40 PR) and others.

The U.S. contingent is led by Trials winner and Rio bronze medalist Galen Rupp, with a best of 2:06:07, but always well prepared and a good tactician. Abdi Abdirahman (2:08:56 in 2006) is now 44 and on his fifth U.S. Olympic Team. He ran in the 10,000 m in 2000-04-08 with best of 10th, he did not finish in the 2012 London Olympic marathon. The newcomer is Jacob Riley, 33, the surprise runner-up to Rupp at the Trials in 2020, running his lifetime best of 2:10:02 there, in his fourth career marathon.

Could he pull off a Molly Seidel-esque performance?

Basketball: Women
There was more than a little worry when the U.S. women lost two exhibition games to the WNBA All-Stars and to Australia. Even when the six-time defending gold medalists began play in Tokyo, they won by too-close-for-comfort scores of 81-72 over Nigeria, 86-69 over Japan and 93-82 against France.

But as the Games piled up, so did the cohesion, balance and defense. And in the quarterfinals, the U.S. thrashed Australia when it counted, 79-55. More of the same in the semis, a 79-59 win over Serbia. And that brings the American women to the precipice of a seventh-straight Olympic title, going into the final with a 54-game Olympic winning streak.

The opponent is Japan, the four-time defending champions in the FIBA Asia Championships and already with its highest finish ever in the Olympic Games. In its fifth Games in women’s basketball, Japan has placed 4-7-10-8 in 1976-1996-2004-2016, but is now nothing less than silver medalists.

After going 2-1 in Group B behind the U.S., the Japanese edged Belgium by 86-85 and then defeated France, also from Group B, 87-71.

In the group-stage game, the U.S. blew open a tight game with a 21-10 second quarter and outscored Japan in the second half by 37-29. A’Ja Wilson led the U.S. with 20 points and Breanna Stewart added 15 and had 12 rebounds. The U.S. shot 54.5% from the field and held Japan to 34.6%. Center Maki Takada led Japan with 15 points; the U.S. out-rebounded them, 48-33.

The U.S. is the overwhelming favorite in this game, but it was supposed to win those exhibitions, too. Coach Dawn Staley, herself an Olympic gold medalist in 1996-2000-2004 has molded the team into what appears to be yet another Olympic Champion.

If the U.S. wins, it will have two players – Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi – who will be five-time gold-medal winners.

Boxing: Men’s 63 kg-+91 kg
Cuba has won three boxing golds in Tokyo, equaling its total in Rio 2016, and has one more chance at the top of the podium in Andy Cruz in the Lightweight final, against American Keyshawn Davis.

Cruz is the two-time World Champion at 63 kg, winning in 2017 and 2019 when it was labeled as the “Light Welterweight” division. Now Lightweight, he’s won his bouts by 5:0, 4:1 and 5:0 to get to the final.

Davis, 22, knows Cruz first-hand, having lost a 5:0 decision to him in the finals of the 2019 Worlds and a 4:1 decision in the finals of the 2019 Pan American Games. Since then, he turned professional and has a 3-0 record; when the qualifying tournaments for Tokyo were eliminated due to the coronavirus, Davis – and others – were called back as the IOC’s Boxing Task Force selected fighters based on rankings from the 2017-19 period.

He’s made the most of it, winning 5:0, then by the referee stopping his round of 16 fight, followed by a 4:1 decision and a 5:0 decision in his semi. Can he find a way to deal with Cruz?

The U.S. hasn’t won this division since 1992, when Oscar de la Hoya won gold; Cuba hasn’t won since 2004. Davis would certainly like to emulate de la Hoya at any stage of his career!

Semifinalists Hovhannes Bachkov (ARM) and Harry Garside (AUS) will share the bronze.

The U.S. will have a final chance at a men’s boxing gold in the +91 kg Super Heavy division with Richard Torrez, facing an uphill battle against Bakhodir Jalolov (UZB).

Torrez is an amateur, and won a bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru and finished fifth at the 2019 Worlds in this class. He won a 5:0 decision in his first bout, when 4:1 over Cuba’s Dainier Pero before having the referee stop his bout with Kamshybek Kunkabayev (KAZ) in the semis due to injury.

Jalolov is a pro, with an 8-0 record, with his first seven fights in the U.S. He won the 2019 World Championship in this class, as well as a bronze in 2015. He met Torrez in the 2019 Worlds quarterfinals … and knocked him out. He’s won his Tokyo fights by 5:0, 5:0 and referee-stops-contest for injury in the semis.

The U.S. hasn’t won this class since Tyrell Biggs won gold in 1984, the year it was first contested. The last medal winner came four years later with Riddick Bowe, who lost to Canada’s Lennox Lewis in Seoul. Jalolov is the first Uzbek medal winner in this class since 2000.

Jalolov is the clear favorite, but Torrez is two years advanced from 2019. Enough to make a difference?

Britain’s Frazer Clarke and Kunkabayev will share the bronze.

Boxing: Women’s 60 kg-75 kg
The Lightweight class has two decorated fighters as finalists in Kellie Harrington (IRL) and Beatriz Ferreira (BRA).

Harrington won the 2018 World Championship in this class after winning a 2016 Worlds silver in the then-Light Welterweight division. She won her first two bouts by 5:0 and then got by Thai Sudaporn Seesondee by 3:2 to make it to the final.

Ferreira is the reigning World Champion in this class, winning the 2019 Worlds as well as the 2019 Pan American Games. She has completely dominated her opponents, winning by decisions: 4:1, 5:0, 5:0 and 5:0 in the semis against Finland’s Mika Potkonen.

Way too close to call this one. Semifinalists Potkonen and Seedondee will share the bronze.

The women’s Middleweight title fight has Lauren Price (GBR) and China’s Qian Li, with Price coming in as the current World Champion at 75 kg, after moving up from bronze in 2018. She won her first two Tokyo fights by 5:0, but had a tough semifinals, winning over the accomplished Nouchka Fontijn (NED) only by 3:2.

Li is returning as the Rio bronze medalist and won the 2018 World Championships title. She’s won all three of her fights by 5:0 decisions.

Fontijn and Zemfira Magomedalieva of Russia will share the bronzes.

Cycling: Track/Men’s Keirin
The Netherlands has already won the Team Sprint and seen Harrie Levreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland go 1-2 in the individual Sprint, so why not try for more in the Keirin?

Lavreysen is the current World Champion in the event, winning over Yuta Wakimoto (JPN) in 2020 and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Azizulhasni Awang (MAS). Dutch teammate Matthijs Buchli won the Rio silver and was the 2019 Worlds in the Keirin!

The Dutch will be trying to break up a three-Games win streak for Great Britain, with Jason Kenny the defending Olympic champion. But he hasn’t won a Worlds medal in this event since 2013 (a gold!). But teammate Jack Carlin was fourth at the 2020 Worlds in the Keirin.

Germany has two strong entries with 2019 Worlds bronze medalist Stefan Boetticher and Rio 2016 silver medalist Maximilian Levy ready to go.

The Keirin is enormously popular in Japan and perhaps the ones to watch are actually the home favorites: Wakimoto and Yudai Nitta. Wakimoto is a four-time Asian Champion in this event in addition to his Worlds silver. Nitta won a 2019 Worlds bronze in the event and was second in the 2018 Asian Games.

Wild cards: Australian sprinter Matthew Glaetzer, France’s Sebastien Vigier and Russia’s Denis Dmitriev.

Cycling: Track/Women’s Sprint-Omnium
The medalists from the 2020 World Championships is already in the round of 16: winner Emma Hinze (GER), runner-up Anastasiia Voinova, bronze winner Wai Tze Lee (HKG) and fourth-placer Kelsey Mitchell (CAN). The 2019 bronze medalist, Mathilde Gros (FRA) is in, as is the 2016 Rio bronze medalist, Katy Marchant and fifth-placer Tianshi Zhong (CHN).

The medals figure to come from that group, but do not count out the Dutch when talking about women’s track cycling. And with the Keirin winner, Shanne Braspennicx in the line-up, anything is possible. Another wild card: Germany’s Lea Sophie Friedrich.

In the Omnium, the top seven from the 2020 World Championships are all back: Japan’s Yumi Kajihara (gold), Letizia Paternoster (ITA: silver in 2019 and 2020), Daria Pikulik (POL: bronze), Maria Martins (POR: 4), American Jennifer Valente (5, but the 2019 bronze), Amalie Dideriksen (DEN: 6, but the 2018 silver) and Dutch star Kirsten Wild (7).

Wild, especially, bears watching. Now 38, she has world titles in the event from 2018 and 2019 and three more medals from 2011-17.

London 2012 bronze medalist Annette Edmondson (AUS) is also back, the 2015 World Champion.

Gymnastics: Rhythmic/Group All-Around
Russia has won this event at five straight Games, in fact in each Games this century! It’s a separate event from the individual All-Around and neither of the Averina sisters is listed on the Russian roster.

However, it’s place in Tokyo figures to be no different, as Russian teams won the 2017–18-19 World Championships golds and start as big, big favorites.

Japan has been a strong contenders for medals, winning silver in 2019 and a bronze in 2017. Same for Bulgaria, bronze medalists in 2019 and 2018 and silver winners in 2017. Italy also won a Worlds medal in 2018 with a silver.

Handball: Women
France and the Russian Olympic Committee will face off for the Olympic title, repeating the final from Rio in 2016.

There, the Russians managed a 22-19 win for its first Olympic gold, although the USSR won in 1976 and 1980. Russia also won a bronze in the 2019 World Championships, after France won the Worlds in 2017.

The two sides played a thriller in the group stage, a 28-27 Russian win on 31 July. In the knock-out round, the ROC defeated Montenegro, 32-26, then edged Norway, 27-26, to reach the final.

The French battered the Netherlands, 32-22 in the quarters and got by Sweden by 29-27 for the chance to meet the Russians again.

Norway and Sweden will meet for the bronze; the Norwegians have won a medal in this tournament the last three times, including a bronze in Rio.

Volleyball: Women
Two teams with lots of history – Brazil and the United States – meet in the Olympic women’s final, with the U.S. trying to win the Olympic tournament for the first time. The Brazilians beat the U.S. in the 2008 and 2012 finals; the U.S. won a Rio bronze, while Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Unlike some sports where teams rarely see each other, the Americans and Brazilians know each other well from the FIVB Women’s Nations League. Played in May and June of this year in Rimini (ITA) in a sequestered environment, the U.S. won the title over Brazil by 3-1, after also beating the Brazilian in the round-robin, also by three sets to one.

In Tokyo, the two teams haven’t seen each other until now. Brazil went 5-0 in its group and them pushed aside the Russians, 3-0 nd South Korea by 3-0 to reach the final.

The U.S. won Pool B at 4-1, then eased past the Dominican Republic by 3-0 and Serbia by 3-0 to get a chance for gold.

The American squad, coached by Karch Kiraly – himself an Olympic gold medalist from 1984 and 1988, and on the beach in 1996 – has been resilient, especially after losing Opposite Jordan Thompson, but Andrea Drews has stepped up be the leading American scorer.

The U.S. is favored, but it won’t be easy.

Water Polo: Men
Greece and Serbia will play for the Olympic title, with the Serbs trying to extend a streak of four straight medals in Olympic play.

As Serbia and Montenegro, they won silver in 2004, then have gone bronze-bronze-gold, winning in Rio in 2016. For Greece, the Tokyo Games is its first medal in the sport,

However, Greece telegraphed its Olympic success with its performance in the FINA Water Polo World League, winning the 2020 tournament that was extended into 2021 by defeating Montenegro in the final in January, 12-7. (The Serbs were knocked out in the quarters.)

That sent the Greeks to the FINA Super Final, ending in a third-place finish over Italy.

In Tokyo, Greece won its group at 4-0-1, then defeated Montenegro, 10-4 and Hungary, 9-6, to reach the final. Serbia was only 3-2 in its group, but got past Italy, 10-6 and edged Spain, 10-9 to clinch at least a silver medal.

Hungary and Spain will play for the bronze.


IOC President Thomas Bach (GER) noted during his Friday news conference that their Olympic Scholarship Program – which provides direct payments to athletes – had 836 athletes from 178 NOCs in 26 sports in Tokyo.

They have done quite well; as of the time he was speaking, those athletes had won 23 gold, 25 silver and 25 bronze medals.

With the weightlifting competition completed, Bach was also asked about the future of the sport on the Olympic program, given the IOC’s continued monitoring of the International Weightlifting Federation. He was not positive:

“We still need to see a culture change in this international federation. If you look at the last Congress which has taken place and the vote results there, this does not necessarily speak of a culture change and of real awareness of the need to dramatically improve the governance of this federation.”

The IWF still has not completed approval of a new constitution, preventing elections of new officers and Board members. This is scheduled for after the Games.

The Games-related Covid positives report by the Tokyo 2020 organizers decreased again down to 22 on Saturday, with 13 among contracted personnel resident in Japan. There were also four “Games-concerned” personnel, but no athletes.

The infection total is now 404, of which 207 (55%) are contractors, 108 are “Games-concerned personnel” (27%), 29 are athletes, 20 media and 27 are Tokyo 2020 staff and volunteers.

The testing report by stakeholder group through 5 August:

Athletes and team officials: 33 positives in 270.409 tests (0.01%).
Media/Tokyo 2020 staff: 100 positives in 328,941 tests (0.03%).

The number of people coming to the Games through airports actually increased to 71 on 5 August. The infection rate among all Games-related personnel coming to Japan is at 0.08%.

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee reported no positives among 728 U.S. personnel in Tokyo on 6 August.

Prior results: 1 in 1,038 athletes and officials on 24 July; 0 of 1,144 on 25 July, 0 of 1,172 delegates on 26 July, 0 of 1,175 on 27 July, 0 of 1,214 for 28 July, 1 in 1,174 on 29 July, 0 of 1,174 on 30 July and 0 for 1,148 on 31 July. In August: 0 of 1,088 for 1 August, 0 of 1,010 on 2 August, 0 of 863 on 3 August and 0 for 748 on 4 August; 0 for 726 on 5 August.

You can receive our exclusive TSX Report by e-mail by clicking here. You can also refer a friend by clicking here, and can donate here to keep this site going.

For our 649-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!