Tokyo Olympics recap: Allyson Felix makes history with 400m bronze; US heavyweight wins wrestling gold

·38 min read

The U.S. women have been golden so far Friday on center stage at the Tokyo Olympics.

American sprinter Allyson Felix made history in the final of the 400-meter dash. The 35-year-old Felix won bronze, giving her ten medals across four Olympics, the most of any woman in U.S. track and field history. The medal ties her with Carl Lewis' overall Olympic record and passes Merlene Ottey of Jamaica for most medals in women's track and field.

It was a A+ effort for the "A Team" as Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman cruised on their way to winning women's beach volleyball gold against Australia’s Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.

The dominance in volleyball wasn't limited to the beach, either; the women of Team USA won the indoor volleyball semifinal with a straight sets victory over Serbia. The U.S. will play the winner of the Brazil-Korea match (8 a.m. ET) for the gold medal on Sunday.

The University of Minnesota's Gable Steveson earned a gold medal in the men’s freestyle wrestling 125kg division. With the win, Steveson could be in for a huge payday, even if he decides to return to school.

The U.S. women's basketball team rolled against Serbia as they extended their Olympic winning streak to 54 games. The Americans haven't lost in women's hoops since the semifinals at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. The gold medal game is Sunday.

Allyson Felix (USA) celebrates winning the bronze medal with Quanera Hayes (USA) in the women's 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium.
Allyson Felix (USA) celebrates winning the bronze medal with Quanera Hayes (USA) in the women's 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium.

THURSDAY'S RECAP: U.S. wins gold in shot put, pole vault, freestyle wrestling

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Canada wins first women's soccer gold medal after dramatic shootout

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Stephanie Labbe blocked two shots in a shootout and Julia Grosso converted the winner as Canada won its first major title Friday night, beating Sweden in a shootout for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Canada beat Sweden 3-2 on penalties after the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Jessie Fleming converted a penalty in the 67th and Stina Blacksteinius had scored in the 34th.

Canada’s best finish at a World Cup or an Olympics had been the bronze medal in both London and Rio. Their victory gives Christine Sinclair, the international scoring leader, a gold medal in what could be her last game for Canada.

As the shootout ended, the Canadian players dogpiled on the field while Sweden trudged away, several players in tears. It’s Sweden’s second consecutive silver medal. The U.S. women won the bronze.

Sweden had pressed for a goal in extra time, and had several chances. Its best likely came in the 111th, when Lina Hurtig’s header off a Kosovare Asllani corner kick went wide by less than five feet. But Canada’s defense refused to buckle, scrapping for every ball.

Fleming even blocked one shot with her head.

It had been Fleming who made all these dramatics possible.

Sweden had been physical the whole game, and it got particularly rough with Sinclair in the second half. She had her foot stepped on and got whacked in the face. In the 64th, Amanda Ilestedt clipped Sinclair from behind, whipping the Canadian’s right leg out from beneath her.

Sinclair was furious, as was likely every single person in Canada, and, after a review, the Canadians were awarded a penalty. Fleming, who converted a PK to beat the U.S. women in the semifinals, did it again, sending the ball untouched into the back of the net when Hedvig Lindahl guessed wrong and dove in the opposite direction.

Sweden controlled the game for almost the entire first half, forcing Labbe to make several saves, and it felt as if it was only a matter of time before it got a goal. Sure enough, in the 34th, Kosovare Asllani floated a pass to Blackstenius, who one-timed it just beneath the outstretched hand of a diving Labbe.

It was a team-high fifth goal in Tokyo for Blackstenius and her seventh overall, moving her past Lotta Schelin for most at the Olympics by a Swedish player.

--Nancy Armour

Four-time Olympian Kara Winger to bear flag for Team USA at closing ceremony

TOKYO - The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced that four-time Olympian Kara Winger was selected to lead the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team into the Closing Ceremony as flag bearer on Sunday, Aug. 8 at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Chosen by a vote of fellow Team USA athletes, Winger is the fourth track and field athlete to lead the U.S. delegation in the Closing Ceremony and the first since 2012 when Bryshon Nellum carried the flag.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected by my fellow Team USA athletes to be our flag bearer,” said Winger. “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.”

One of two captains for the U.S. track and field team in Tokyo, Winger placed 17th in the javelin competition in Tokyo, marking her second-best career performance at an Olympic Games.

--United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee

Jessica Springsteen and U.S. jumping equestrian team qualify for final

TOKYO – The U.S. jumping equestrian team qualified in fifth place to advance as one of 10 teams to the equestrian jumping finals scheduled for Saturday.

As a team, the Americans racked up 13 penalty points, which was more than good enough to make the final.

Jessica Springsteen and partner Don Juan van de Donkhoeve accounted for the four of those penalty-points as Don Juan knocked over a post during the final stretch of jumps. They still crossed the finish line in less than the allotted 82 seconds.

“Good, solid ride,” jumping team chef d’equipe Robert Ridland told USA TODAY Sports. “Actually, a very good ride.”

Neither of Springsteen’s teammates, McClain Ward and Laura Kraut, made significant errors either and the trio will now have a chance at the medal stand.

--Chris Bumbaca

U.S. women take silver in 4x100 relay behind Jamaica

TOKYO — The U.S. women’s team was unable to get a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 4x100-relay, but they will be on the podium.

The four-member team ran a season-best 41.45 to place second in the 4x100-meter relay final on Friday night behind Jamaica.

“We were really excited to come out with a medal. We knew it was gonna come,” Gabby Thomas, who was the relay anchor, said.

The team included Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini and Thomas.

Jamaica was bolstered by Olympic gold medalists Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Thompson-Herah ran the second leg, which is sometimes the place of the fastest runner, and Fraser-Pryce ran the third leg.

Jamaica’s gold-medal-winning time was 41.02, good enough to break a national record. Jamaica achieved the record despite having trouble on the first exchange.

Great Britain placed third in the relay with a time of 41.88.

The win is Jamaica’s second Olympic gold medal in the women’s 4x100-meter relay. Jamaica won in 2004.

The silver for the U.S. women’s team is its 16th Olympic medal in the event. The U.S. said it was content with the result because of a lack of training time together.

“We are really happy what we did given the circumstances,” Prandini said. “We were able to come out here and get the stick around and do what we needed to do to get a medal.”

--Tyler Dragon

U.S. javelin thrower makes first Olympic final but misses podium

TOKYO -- American javelin thrower Maggie Malone placed 25th at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro. She improved her Olympic performance in Tokyo, but her podium hopes came up short.

Malone threw 196 feet, 3 inches in the women’s javelin final on Friday evening. The U.S. thrower placed 10th in the event.

China’s Liu Shiying tossed a gold-medal-winning mark of 217 feet, 8 inches to win the event. Poland’s Maria Andrejczyk placed second with a throw of 211 feet, 11 inches and Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia got the bronze, throwing 211 feet, 9 inches.

An American woman has not won an Olympic medal in the javelin since Kate Schmidt took bronze at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

In 2016, Malone became the first female javelin thrower to win an NCAA championship and an Olympic trials title in the same season.

--Tyler Dragon

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon wins women's 1,500 meters in new Olympic record

TOKYO – Faith Kipyegon set a new Olympic record in the women’s 1,500 meters to win gold here on Friday.

Kipyegon pulled away in the final 200 meters of the race to finish in 3:53:11, ahead of Britan’s Laura Muir and Sigan Hassan of the Netherlands.

American Elle Purrier St. Pierre started the race with the leaders before dropping off on the second lap. She finished 10th, more than eight seconds back of Kipyegon, and teammate Cory McGee finished 13th.

--Rachel Axon

Brooke Raboutou finishes fifth in first women's Olympic sport climbing final

American Brooke Raboutou finished fifth in the women’s sport climbing combined final as sport climbing wrapped up its Olympic debut in Tokyo Friday night.

Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret, “The Queen” of climbing, won gold with 5.00 combined points. Miho Nonaka of Japan won silver with 45.00 combined points. Japan’s Akiyo Noguchi earned bronze with 64.00 combined points.

Raboutou ranked seventh in speed, second in bouldering and sixth in lead, earning her 84.00 points.

In the bouldering discipline, Raboutou put on an impressive display of problem solving and strength, but ultimately finished with no tops and three zones. She made it to the final hold of boulders one and two, but fell before she could secure the hold for the top to count.

Garnbret was the only climber to successfully top any of the three boulders. Garnbret also set the highest point in the lead discipline.

The U.S. climbing team is heading home with one medal after Nathaniel Coleman won silver Thursday in the men’s combined final.

--Sandy Hooper

Allyson Felix makes history with bronze medal run in 400 meters

TOKYO — This one's for the moms.

Less than three years after the birth of her daughter Camryn, Allyson Felix won bronze in the women's 400-meter dash at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday night, becoming just the second U.S. track and field athlete to win 10 Olympic medals.

Felix, 35, joins Carl Lewis as the only two Americans to win double-digit medals on the track. Only 11 U.S. athletes in all sports, both summer and winter, have ever reached the milestone – and eight of them are swimmers, where competitors can more easily take on multiple events.

Felix used a strong kick Friday to finish in the top three, crossing the line in 49.46. Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the gold in 48.36, and Marileidy Paulino took the silver.

--Tom Schad

U.S.'s Paul Chelimo wins bronze in 5k with dramatic diving finish

TOKYO -- Paul Chelimo lunged headfirst over the finish line Friday to win bronze in the men's 5,000-meter final, falling on his stomach after recording a season-best time of 12:59.05.

Chelimo, who won the event at the U.S. Olympic trials, led for parts of the race but ultimately couldn't keep up with Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei and Canada's Mohammed Ahmed, who finished first and second, respectively.

With his last-second dive Friday, Chelimo has now won medals in each of his two Olympic appearances. He won silver in the 5,000 at the 2016 Rio Games.

Fellow Americans Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid finished ninth and 14th in the final, respectively.

-- Tom Schad

American heavyweight Gable Steveson earns wrestling gold

TOKYO – U.S. wrestling heavyweight Gable Steveson, still a collegian at Minnesota, won the Olympic men’s freestyle 125kg gold medal in the closing seconds Friday.

Steveson, 21, defeated Georgia’s Geno Petriashvili 9-8 at Makuhari Messe Hall, completing an astounding run that includes going undefeated to an NCAA title as a junior and outscoring opponents 42-4 at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Leading 4-0 after the first period, Steveson fell behind 8-5 to Petriashvil, who was third at the 2016 Olympics and top-seeded in Tokyo. The American rallied to a point down with 6.5 seconds left then scored another takedown for the comeback victory, which held up under video review.

The U.S. has won seven wrestling medals in Tokyo with another opportunity later Friday.

--Jeff Metcalfe

Ariel Torres wins U.S.'s first Olympic medal in karate

TOKYO – American karateka Ariel Torres won the bronze medal bout in men’s kata, the non-fighting discipline of karate, earning the U.S.'s first Olympic medal in karate.

Torres, 23, scored 26.72 points overall, which is broken down to a technical performance score of 18.62 and an athletic performance score of 8.10. He finished with a greater score than his opponent Antonio Jose Diaz Fernandez of Venezuela, who earned 26.34 points.

In the ranking round to qualify for the final or bronze medal bout, Torres finished in second place with a score of 26.46 (18.48 technical performance, 7.98 athletic performance). Damian Quintero of Spain finished with 27.28 points total, earning a spot in the final.

Torres has been a member of the U.S. national team for four years. He is a two-time national champion, and he won a silver medal at the 2019 Pan American Games. In 2021, Torres won his first Karate 1-Premier League bronze medal.

--Olivia Reiner

Men's 4x400 team redeems U.S. relays, advances to final

TOKYO – The U.S. men’s track and field team found better luck at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium in the mile relay.

A day after the U.S. men’s 4x100-meter relay team failed to qualify to the Olympic final, the men’s 4x400-relay team made sure they were going to keep their medal hopes alive.

The U.S. team placed first in the first heat of the opening round of the relay to automatically advance to Saturday’s final. They ran a season best 2:57.77 to qualify. Botswana ran a national record of 2:58.33 to go on to the final and Trinidad and Tobago recorded a national record of 2:58.60 to advance as well.

Randolph Ross, who won this year’s NCAA title in the 400 meters, got the lead for the men on the second leg and the team never gave up its leading position.

U.S. men’s 4x400-relay teams have won 17 gold medals in Olympic history. The U.S. has won 20 overall medals in the event.

Trevor Stewart, Ross, Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood were the members on the relay team in the qualifying round. The team may look different in Saturday’s final, likely including the U.S.'s top 400-meter athletes Michael Cherry and Michael Norman.

The U.S., Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Poland, Germany, Netherlands and Italy all qualified through the opening round to the 4x400-meter relay final.

--Tyler Dragon

Brooke Raboutou takes second in bouldering, currently fifth overall

American Brooke Raboutou ranked second in the bouldering discipline of the women’s sport climbing combined final.

Raboutou put on an impressive display of problem solving and strength, but ultimately finished with no tops and three zones. She made it to the final hold of boulders one and two, but fell before she could secure the hold for the top to count.

Raboutou is currently in fifth place with 14.00 combined points (speed 7.00, bouldering 2.00).

Janja Garnbret of Slovenia was the only climber to successfully top any of the three boulders. She is currently leading the field of eight climbers with 5.00 combined points (speed 5.00, bouldering 1.00)

Three climbing disciplines make up the combined format. Speed, bouldering and then lead. The rankings from each segment are multiplied together for a final score. The lower the score, the better.

--Sandy Hooper

Kyle Dake becomes sixth U.S. wrestling medalist with bronze in freestyle

TOKYO – U.S. wrestler Kyle Dake won an Olympic bronze medal Friday in men’s freestyle 74-kilogram class.

Dake, the 2018 world champion at 79kg, defeated Italy’s Frank Chamizo Marquez 5-0 at Makuhari Messe Hall with all but one point scored in the first period.

Dake is the sixth U.S. wrestling medalist in Tokyo with two more opportunities for medals coming later Friday.

--Jeff Metcalfe

Team USA's Tom Scott eliminated from karate sparring tournament

TOKYO – U.S. karateka Tom Scott failed to advance to the semifinal round in the men’s -75kg kumite competition, ending his aspirations of medaling at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kumite is the sparring discipline of karate.

The Richardson, Texas native won two bouts and lost two in the Pool A elimination round. The top two karatekas from each of the two pools advanced to semifinals, and Scott finished in fourth place in his group.

“I felt like I had moments where I did great and then moments where I just stuttered or just kind of blanked,” Scott said. “But it was close. I mean, we're talking one point in one match where things could've been different. But man, it was a blast. It was a rush.”

Scott, 31, scored a total of 16 points through four bouts, including four by yuko (punches to the head or body) and 12 by ippon (kicks to the head or any scoring technique delivered to a thrown opponent).

During the Olympic selection process, Scott initially failed to qualify a spot. However, after Iranian karateka Bahman Asgari Ghoncheh was deemed unable to compete due to a doping issue, Scott was awarded his spot.

Scott has won two kumite gold medals at the Pan American Games, one in 2015 and another in 2019. He also took silver at the 2011 Pan American Games.

--Olivia Reiner

American Brooke Raboutou in sixth after speed round of sport climbing final

After the speed round of the women’s sport climbing combined final, American Brooke Raboutou was ranked seventh heading into the bouldering discipline. The favorite to win gold, Janja Garnbret of Solvenia is currently ranked fifth in combined points. Aleksandra Miroslaw of Poland is currently in first where she set a new world record in speed with a time of 6.84 seconds.

Three climbing disciplines make up the combined format. Speed, bouldering and then lead. The rankings from each segment are multiplied together for a final score. The lower the score, the better.

-- Sandy Hooper

American climber Brooke Raboutou advances to final

American Brooke Raboutou will compete this evening in the women’s sport climbing combined final with seven other competitors.

A field of eight climbers will begin with the speed discipline, followed by bouldering and then lead. The rankings from each segment are multiplied together for a final score. The lower the score, the better.

In the quarterfinals for speed, Raboutou will face Japan’s Miho Nonanka in a head-to-head race up a 15-meter wall. The winner will advance to the semifinals for a chance to rank one to four.

For Raboutou, 20, climbing is in her blood. She is the child of two world-class competition climbers and grew up climbing in the elite ABC climbing gym in Boulder, Colorado, which is owned and operated by her parents. Recently, Raboutou won second in lead at the Innsbruk, Austria World Cup and made the podium in back-to-back bouldering World Cups in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The favorite to stand atop the podium tonight is Janja Garnret of Slovenia. She swept the 2019 bouldering World Cup season – the first to ever do so – and won the 2019 combined World Championship in Hachioji, Japan. Garnbret easily topped all four boulders during Wednesday’s qualifying and finished first with 56.00 combined points.

American Nathaniel Coleman took home silver in Thursday’s men’s combined final.

-- Sandy Hooper

U.S. women's basketball team reaches gold medal game

TOKYO — There isn’t a single entity in American sports as reliable as the U.S. women’s basketball team. Not only do they show up at every Olympics with superior talent to the rest of the world, they deliver on that promise time and time again – without exception, without drama, without fail.

At this point, it’s nothing less than a dynasty. And Team USA is one win away from extending their dominance one more Olympic cycle.

After dispatching Serbia in the semifinals, 79-59, the U.S. team will play in the gold medal round on Sunday but will have to wait several hours to find out whether they’ll face Japan or France. The U.S. beat both teams in group play earlier in the tournament, but at least those matchups have the potential to challenge the Americans in ways that Serbia did not.

-- Dan Wolken

Brittney Griner drives to the basket against Serbia's Dragana Stankovic.
Brittney Griner drives to the basket against Serbia's Dragana Stankovic.

Sarah Hildebrandt, Kyle Snyder reach wrestling semifinals

Kyle Snyder, 2016 Olympic champion, won his two matches at 97kg on Friday and has qualified for Friday night's semifinals. In the semifinals, Snyder will battle 2020 European champion Suleyman Karadeniz of Turkey, who entered the event unseeded.

In the women's 50kg competition, Sarah Hildebrandt also will compete in Friday night's semifinals. Hildebrandt has drawn 2013 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sun Yanan of China in her semifinal match.

2019 world champion Jacarra Winchester qualified for a bronze-medal match at 53 kg, where she will battle two-time world champion Vanesa Kaladzinskya of Belarus on Friday night.

Kyle Dake qualified for the 74kg bronze medal match, where he'll face off against two-time world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Frank Chamizo of Italy.

U.S. boxer Keyshawn Davis advances to lightweight finals

TOKYO — Keyshawn Davis will have a chance to end the 17-year gold medal drought lingering over the U.S. men’s boxing team.

On Friday, Davis defeated Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia in the lightweight semifinals by unanimous decision, 5-0, at the Tokyo Games.

He will fight in the final Sunday at Kokugikan Arena.

Fellow American Richard Torrez will fight in the super heavyweight final Sunday in the final bout of the tournament.

The last U.S. men’s boxer to win a gold medal was Andre Ward in 2004.

Davis, 23 and a native of Norfolk, Virginia, is one of three professionals on the U.S. team’s roster.

Davis is 3-0 since turning pro in February.

In the round of 16 here, Davis scored a TKO victory over France's Sofiane Oumiha, who was the No. 1 seed and 2016 Olympic silver medalist.

In the quarterfinals, Davis beat Russian Gabil Mamedov by split decision, 4-1.

-- Josh Peter

Keyshawn Davis (left) fights Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia in the men's lightweight semifinal.
Keyshawn Davis (left) fights Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia in the men's lightweight semifinal.

Team USA advances to indoor volleyball final

TOKYO — The U.S. women’s volleyball team will finally have a chance to play for Olympic gold.

The Americans advanced to the final, beating Serbia 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 in the semifinal on Friday. Annie Drews and Jordan Larson led the U.S. women with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Setter Jordyn Poulter returned after rolling her ankle during pool play, while outside hitter Jordan Thompson was still out with an ankle injury.

Five years ago in Rio, the United States fell to Serbia in the semifinal and went on to take the bronze medal. It will have the opportunity for the country’s first gold after claiming bronze in 2012 and silver in 2008.

The Americans will face either Brazil or Korea after those teams face off in the other semifinal later Friday.

-- Rachel Axon

USA player Andrea Drews (11) hits the ball as Serbia player Mina Popovic (5) defends.
USA player Andrea Drews (11) hits the ball as Serbia player Mina Popovic (5) defends.

US women's basketball in control at the half against Serbia

Despite being a bit stuck in the mud in their semifinal against Serbia, the U.S. women’s basketball team has had little trouble to this point and leads 41-23 at halftime.

It wasn’t a great display of basketball for either side, but much of that is due to Serbia being unable to do much of anything against Team USA’s defense. The Serbians made just 10-of-36 field goals in the first half, including several airballs, and often looked like they were just throwing up prayers at the rim and hoping for something good to happen.

The U.S. wasn’t particularly sharp for long stretches but picked it up toward the end of the second quarter and went on an 11-2 run in the final 2:25 of the half to create some distance.

Guard Sue Bird and center Brittney Griner each have eight points for the U.S. while A’ja Wilson has seven. At this point, Team USA appears well on track to make the gold medal game back here at Saitama Super Arena on Sunday.

-- Dan Wolken

Nelly Korda heads into final round of women's golf with lead

KAWAGOE, Japan — Nelly Korda didn’t have her best game, at least not compared to Thursday’s Olympic-record score of 62 (9-under-par) in the second round, but that didn’t matter much.

She’ll carry a three-shot lead into the final round of the women’s stroke play tournament Saturday at Kasumigaseki Country Club, with Aditi Ashok of India three strokes back, after shooting a 69 on Friday.

Groups will tee off at 6:30 a.m. local time off tees one and 10 in an effort to finish the final round before an expected tropical storm moves into the area. Before the tournament started, players had been warned the tournament may last only 54 hole or that the final round could be moved to Sunday.

Had the 54-hole reality panned out, Korda would already be Olympic champion. Instead the 22-year-old will have to hold off Ashok and four others tied for third at 10-under for the tournament. One of those golfers is defending silver-medalist Lydia Ko (New Zealand), who fired the second-best score of the day with a 66.

The other players at 10-under are Hannah Greene (Australia), Emily Petersen (Denmark) and Japan’s Mone Inami.

-- Chris Bumbaca

Ross and Klineman capture beach volleyball gold

TOKYO – The U.S. beach volleyball “A Team” of April Ross and Alix Klineman took Olympic gold in their 2-0 finals victory over Australia’s Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.

Ross and Klineman won 2-0 (21-15, 21-16). Ross contributed nine total attack points and Klineman finished with ten attack points and two block points. They went on an early 5-0 run to go up 7-2 in the first set and Australia was never able to take a lead through 20 minutes of playtime.

After going down two points to start the second set, Ross and Klineman went on a resurgent 10-0 run. Martacho del Solar and Clancy tried to overtake the lead, closing the gap to 16-13, but the U.S. team prevailed.

This is the first Olympic gold for Ross, who has two additional medals to her name – silver from the 2012 London Olympics with Jennifer Kessy and bronze from the 2016 Rio Olympics with Kerri Walsh Jennings. Klineman, a first-time Olympian, and Ross teamed up at the start of 2018 and were ranked No. 2 in the world entering the Tokyo Olympics. Kessy currently coaches Ross and Klineman.

In 2019, the duo was named joint 2019 Women’s Player of the Year by USA Volleyball. Going into the Olympics, Ross and Klineman won once and took third twice on the abbreviated world tour in 2021. They have six FIVB wins total.

The duo only dropped one set in the preliminary round at the Tokyo Olympics and went undefeated in the round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final.

-- Olivia Reiner

US wrestlers make it to bronze medal matches

Two U.S. wrestlers will compete for medals after Kyle Dake and Jacarra Winchester won their semifinal repechage matches in freestyle wrestling.

Dake, in the men's 74kg, won by technical superiority over Cuba's Jeandry Garzon Caballero with his 10-0 win. Winchester won in the women's 53 kg by shutting out Laura Herin Avila of Cuba in a 5-0 victory.

The Americans will be back in action later today as Dake will take on Italy's Frank Chamizo at 6:30 a.m. ET, while Winchester will face Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus at 7:55 a.m. ET.

-- Jordan Mendoza

Belarussian coaches' credentials revoked by IOC

TOKYO – The International Olympic Committee revoked the credentials of two Belarussian coaches who were involved in taking sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to the airport to return her to their country.

The IOC announced that it is investigating the incident and Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevish “in the interest and wellbeing of the athletes… of Belarus who are still in Tokyo.”

The two coaches have left the Olympic Village.

Tsimanouskaya criticized team coaches for putting her on a 4x400 meter relay she had not trained for, and she said Belarussian officials took her to the airport.

She told the Associated press that the officials “made it clear that, upon return home, I would definitely face some form of punishment,” Tsimanouskaya told the AP in a videocall from Tokyo on Tuesday.

After receiving protection by Japanese authorities, Tsimanouskaya received a humanitarian visa and arrived in Poland on Wednesday.

-- Rachel Axon

Nelly Korda leading women's golf on Day 3

KAWAGOE, Japan – On Day 3 of the women’s golf stroke play tournament, American Nelly Korda maintained her four-stroke lead over Aditi Ashok of India, as both players went 2-under-par on the front nine.

An Olympic record 62 (9-under) from Korda during Thursday’s second round created some distance between her and the rest of the field. Both players finished the first day of play in a tie for second with scores of 67.

There’s still a level of uncertainty regarding the tournament at Kasumigaseki Country Club. Extreme heat has been a factor, and tee times were pushed up with groups of three going off from holes 1 and 10 simultaneously to finish earlier in the day. Additionally, officials are monitoring a tropical storm threatening the area that could impact play during Saturday’s scheduled final round.

The current plan is for all 72 holes to be played, but there is a chance the final round could be pushed to Sunday, or that the standings after Round 3 would determine the medals.

-- Chris Bumbaca

Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony details taking shape

After heartwarming, triumphant moments and despite heartbreaking ones, the Tokyo Olympics are soon coming to a close.

The last day of the Tokyo Olympics will feature more than just the closing ceremony. Finals for women's volleyball, men's water polo and boxing will all see winners on the podium ahead of the Olympic closer.

Like the opening ceremony, little is known about what exactly the closing ceremony will entail except for a theme: "Worlds We Share." According to a press release, the theme is meant to make athletes and viewers "think about what the future holds" and "expresses the idea that each of us inhabits their own world."

The Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony will occur at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday and will be broadcast live on Peacock. What will the athletes be wearing? Who will carry the U.S. flag? Here's everything you need to know about the closing ceremony.

-- Emily Leiker

Olympic glory can also be very lucrative for athletes from different countries

TOKYO – For athletes from some countries, an Olympic medal brings more than glory and fulfillment for years of hard work. It’s a pay day – and occasionally a big one.

Weightlifter Hsing-Chun Kuo of Chinese Taipei will receive roughly $716,000 for her gold in the 59 kg category. But go up one weight class and it’s clear how varied this can be.

Canada’s Maude Charron won at 64 kg, but that only earns her roughly $16,000. Italy’s Giorgia Bordignon will receive nearly $107,000, thanks to her silver medal. And Chinese Taipei’s bronze from Wen-Huei Chen will earn her more than $179,000.

Why does it work out that way?

A couple reasons. Generally, countries with larger delegations and more projected medals give less in bonuses. The United States, for instance, is challenging for the top of the medal count and tops out at $37,500 for gold medals.

Many countries fund their sports regularly through their Olympic committees or ministry of sport, so rather than getting a big payday after an event, athletes receive regular funding.

That doesn’t mean Americans can’t make money here.

Caeleb Dressel earned $187,500 just from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for his five golds. Two gold and two silver earned Katie Ledecky $125,000, and both will receive bonuses from USA Swimming on top of that.

Both will be handsomely rewarded for leading the United States in the pool. With one medal, though, athletes from Singapore could surpass them.

The country has the most generous medal bonus of any surveyed. A gold for any of its 23 athletes will earn them $1 million.

American Sakura Kokumai right at home in Tokyo karate competition

TOKYO – For Sakura Kokumai to step onto the mat at the famed Nippon Budokan with a chance for a bronze medal in karate’s Olympic debut is a storybook ending of its own.

Kokumai is Japanese-American, born in Hawaii, and lived most of her high school and college years in the very city where she competed Thursday for the U.S. in kata, a demonstration event comparable to floor exercise in gymnastics. Her parents live in Okayama, an eight-hour drive west of Tokyo.

For Kokumai, ranked No. 7 in the world, to reach the final six at the Olympics – there are two bronze medal matches in kata – wasn’t shocking. Rather it’s fulfilling for a 28-year-old whose parents are Japanese nationals yet identifies with a sport born in Japan (via the indigenous Ryukyu Kingdom, annexed in 1879) through her American heritage.

Kokumai lost her bronze medal match, but she was proud of her performance. "I would not change anything about it," she said. "I’m happy to be back here in Japan. I spent a lot of time here as a kid and a college student. It was a very special Olympics. Unfortunately, I won’t be back with the hardware.”

-- Jeff Metcalfe

Texans' Jonathan Owens 'sick' watching girlfriend Simone Biles struggle

Simone Biles’ boyfriend, Jonathan Owens, knows a thing or two about the pressure that comes with being an elite athlete. Owens is a safety for the Houston Texans, but he acknowledges he doesn’t understand the pressure Biles felt.

“It was hard for me to really understand what she was going through because I’m not on that stage and dealing with those pressures and everything, but I just try to be as understanding as possible,” Owens told reporters Thursday.

Houston Texans defensive back Jonathan Owens, pictured here during practice on Saturday, July 31, 2021, spoke out about watching girlfriend Simone Biles struggle during the Olympics.
Houston Texans defensive back Jonathan Owens, pictured here during practice on Saturday, July 31, 2021, spoke out about watching girlfriend Simone Biles struggle during the Olympics.

When Owens saw Biles walk off a rough first vault in the gymnastics team final on July 27 and immediately talk to her coach, he said he felt sick to his stomach.

“I was sick for her, just because I can see her face, I kind of know her facial expressions, I can kind of read her lips and kind of know what was going on and kind of what she was telling her coach,” Owens said.

“I kind of knew what was going on beforehand so I was just really hoping she was going to get over it and be able to go out there and perform,” Owens continued. “So I was sick to my stomach because she wasn’t able to go out there.”

Part of Biles' legacy will also include how she stepped away from the sport on its biggest stage to preserve her mental and physical health. That’s something Owens, like most of the gymnastics world, is proud of.

“I was proud of her,” Owens said. “Just to be able to overcome what was going on. She kind of altered her beam routine, but I was just happy for her.”

-- Alyssa Hertel

Kevin Durant one win away from becoming America's greatest international basketball player

TOKYO – We’ve never really known what makes Kevin Durant happy, what he really wants his legacy in this game to be. Perhaps that’s the way he prefers it. But from the outside looking in, his 13 years in the NBA have marked by the ennui of a millennial who is seduced by the promise of fulfillment, only to discover real life doesn’t exactly work that way.

The path Durant has chosen for his career made him a target of constant derision. He was called a frontrunner for leaving Oklahoma City to join Steph Curry’s team in Golden State. When he left basketball nirvana to join up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, the only explanation that made sense was annoyance with how little credit he got for delivering two titles.

But Durant is one game away at these Olympics from doing something that will hopefully deliver the satisfaction and the unique place in history that seems so elusive for him. If he wins the gold medal on Saturday, Durant will have a claim as the greatest American men's basketball player of all time on the international stage.

-- Dan Wolken

Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley makes a splash with knitting

British diver Tom Daley, who won a gold medal last week in synchronized 10-meter platform diving, has taken social media by storm with his crafting projects during the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Daley on Wednesday revealed a cardigan he made and embroidered with symbols to represent the Tokyo Games and Team Great Britain. The sweater features the word “Tokyo” on the front, a Union Jack flag, and a “Team GB” logo with Olympic rings.

Daley showed off the cardigan in a video posted to social media.

“When I got to Tokyo, I wanted to make something that would remind me of these games. Something that I could say I had made in Tokyo, during the Olympics!” Daley wrote in the caption of his video.

Daley in a video last week revealed a pouch he made to store his gold medal. He shared with fans that “the one thing that has kept me like sane throughout this whole process is my love for knitting and crocheting, all things stitching."

His videos have quickly gone viral, garnering millions of views on Instagram and TikTok.

Daley’s knitting and crocheting at Olympic events in Tokyo have also caught the eye of fans at home, who have celebrated his crafting on social media.

Daley has also used his knitting and crocheting skills to raise money for the Brain Tumor Charity in the U.K., setting up a raffle last month that fans could enter for the chance to win a colorful sweater.

Robert Daley, Tom Daley's father, died of brain cancer in 2011.

The diver is set to raffle off Tokyo-inspired sweaters to raise money for the organization, according to multiple reports.

-- Marina Pitofsky

US wrestler can win a lot more than just gold in final

U.S. wrestler Gable Steveson will participate in the men's freestyle 125kg final Friday at the Tokyo Olympics, where he will compete with pride and honor in representing his country.

He'll be competing for 250,000 other reasons, too.

Steveson, also a wrestler for the University of Minnesota, stands to cash in big with a gold medal, thanks to award programs in place that pay out stipends to athletes who make it to the podium.

It starts with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). Through its program Operation Gold, any U.S. athlete who wins a medal in any sport will also receive a financial reward: $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver, $15,000 for bronze.

But that's just the beginning.

Several of the national governing bodies of the sports have additional incentive reward programs, based on performance. But since the national governing bodies are organized as private, non-profit organizations, they are not required to publicly disclose the monetary amounts of the awards.

The governing body of wrestling, however, USA Wrestling, has details about its reward program called the Living The Dream Medal Fund on its official website.

Under the program, any wrestler who gets a gold medal will cash in $250,000. A silver nets $50,000 and a bronze $25,000.

USA Wrestling spokesman Gary Abbott confirmed to USA TODAY Sports' Steve Berkowitz that USA Wrestling had the Living The Dream Medal Fund in place for the Tokyo Games.

So when Steveson faces Geno Petriashvili, the 2016 bronze medalist and three-time world champion (2017-19) of Georgia in the final on Friday, he could take home the quarter of a million dollars.

-- Lorenzo Reyes

Beach volleyball 'A Team' close in on Olympic gold

TOKYO – For finals-bound U.S. beach volleyball duo April Ross and Alix Klineman, the dream of an Olympic gold medal started with a risk.

In 2017, 31-year-old Klineman abandoned a lifetime of playing indoor volleyball and switched her focus exclusively to beach. The 6-foot-5 Stanford alumna had her sights set on the Olympics despite having no international beach volleyball experience.

Ross, 39, had a legacy on the sand. After winning silver at the 2012 London Olympics with Jennifer Kessy and taking bronze at the 2016 Rio Games with Kerri Walsh Jennings, Ross sought a new partner. Then, after parting ways with Lauren Fendrick — her teammate in 2017 — Ross took the plunge and joined up with Klineman later that year.

In their 2-0 semifinal victory over the Swiss pair of Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidric, Ross and Klineman showed what makes their partnership special. Both displayed their offensive prowess, as Ross finished with 15 attack points and Klineman added nine. Klineman, who was named AVP’s best blocker in 2018 and 2019, contributed four block points.

Although Ross knew what to expect heading into her third Olympics, she admitted the tournament doesn’t get any easier with time. That’s why the prospect of earning a medal is still just as exciting as it was when Ross first set out on her Olympic journey. They’ll have that opportunity in the final on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET Thursday) when they play Australia’s Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.

To win gold with Klineman would be the perfect payoff on a major investment.

“She has worked so hard to get where she is,” Ross said. “I didn't want to let her down. I think the fact that we're in the gold medal match is just what we both wanted for each other.”

-- Olivia Reiner

Alix Klineman, left, and April Ross, right, get set for a serve during a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games match against Germany at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, Japan.
Alix Klineman, left, and April Ross, right, get set for a serve during a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games match against Germany at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, Japan.

Sumo wrestler statue may be scaring equestrian horses

They may be used to hurdling over obstacles in front of crowds, but horses are still skittish by nature.

It takes years of training to wean them of their natural behavior and channel their strength into equestrian jumping, but when a life-sized sumo statue is added next to an obstacle, it may compound their jumpy nature.

"As you come around, you see a big guy’s (butt)," British rider Harry Charles said.

"It is very realistic," Israel’s Teddy Vlock added.

The sumo wrestler, whose arms are apart while the body is hunched over in a squat, is positioned on the 10th obstacle in the 14-jump Olympic course and riders believe its presence may have distracted some horses in qualifying for the individual jumping final Tuesday night. Some pairings accumulated penalty points when their horses pulled up short of the barrier, preventing pairs from entering Wednesday's finals.

-- Christian Ortega

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympics 2021 recap: Felix makes history; US wrestling gold

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