Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi have the chance to make history for both their team and themselves on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics.
The US will play Japan at 10:30 p.m. ET to win their seventh straight gold medal and ninth in 12 games since women’s basketball debuted at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. If the Americans prevail, Bird and Taurasi would be the first ever basketball players – women or men – to win five Olympic gold medals.
Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, have been important pillars in international women’s basketball since the beginning of their careers. The pair scored 46 points, 37 assists and 17 rebounds in their first four games in Tokyo, with Bird leading the team in assists.
In the preliminary round, the USA beat Japan 86-69 behind the dominant performances of postal players Brittney Griner and A’ja Wilson. The US is on a 54-game winning streak at the Olympics after beating Serbia in the semi-finals.
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Olympians from Australia and New Zealand will be quarantined for two weeks after returning from Tokyo. The two countries fared well compared to others during the COVID-19 pandemic, with New Zealand having recorded fewer than 3,000 total virus cases since the pandemic began.
“I think I’ll try to take it as a really good break at the end of the season, relax and keep a rehab under control – and stay healthy and then come out refreshed and ready to go,” said Linden Hall, an Australian 1500 Meter runner.
Even after that, athletes living in South Australia may need to be quarantined for an additional two weeks under their state’s rules for travel from other states.
Athletes from New Zealand will be accommodated in a government-run hotel complex, where exercise equipment will be made available to them during their stay. Likewise, unvaccinated Canadian Olympians will spend three nights in a hotel before being cleared by local health authorities.
Many other countries, including the United States, only require a COVID-19 negative test result or proof of vaccination when athletes return.
– Emily Leiker and Rachel Axon
The Summer Olympics are preparing to relocate to Paris in 2024
The closing ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics is still hours away, but the excitement for the next Summer Games in Paris in 2024 is already starting.
Several new sports were introduced at these Olympics and at least one event will debut in Paris. Break dancing will combine with skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing as the International Olympic Committee officials try to attract a younger audience to the Games. Unfortunately for softball and baseball – which have returned to the Tokyo Olympics – and the new Olympic sport of karate, the Paris Games will continue without these events, at least for now.
In 2024 you can’t just look forward to a new sport. Paris has some pretty well-known landmarks and fans of the Olympics should expect these sites to be incorporated into the 2024 Games. Just imagine: beach volleyball at the Eiffel Tower, skateboarding at the Place de la Concorde, horse riding at the Chateau de Versailles.
– Alyssa Hertel and Rachel Axon
While his US basketball teammates were playing exhibition games in July, Jrue Holiday was playing for an NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Holiday and Khris Middleton, who also plays for Milwaukee, have now joined an elite club of players to win an NBA title and Olympic gold in the same calendar year. They are the first couple to achieve this feat since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won in 1992. Lebron James and Kyrie Irving also both won titles in the same year.
It was the United States’ fourth consecutive gold medal, and Holiday scored 11 points in about 30 minutes to help the Americans win. Milwaukee’s win marked its first NBA championship in franchise history.
However, he still has no show-off rights in his own home. That right has his wife, Lauren Holiday, a former USWNT player who has won two Olympic gold medals and a world championship.
– Chris Bumbaca
TOKYO – Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first men’s re-Olympic marathon champion in 40 years on Sunday, winning in Sapporo on the last day of the Tokyo Games.
Kipchoge, 36, the marathon world record holder (2: 01.39), shot from the top group after just 30 km and won in 2: 08.38, more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field.
He is the first Olympic marathon champion in a row since Waldemar Cierpinski from the GDR at the Games in 1976 and 1980. Before that, the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won twice in a row in Tokyo in 1960 and 1964.
In a competitive finish for the remaining two medals, Dutchman Abdi Nageeye won the silver match against Belgian Bashir Abdi (bronze) and Kenyan Lawrence Cherono.
Galen Rupp, a four-time US Olympic champion, was the best American finisher, finishing eighth in 2: 11.41. Rupp was a bronze medalist in the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games and a silver medalist over 10,000 meters in London in 2012.
The other US runners were Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman, who finished 29th and 41st respectively with times of 2:16:26 and 2:18:27. Abdirahman competed in his fifth Olympic Games after running the 10,000 m in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and the marathon in 2012.
The leading group went through half-time in 1:05 with Stephen Mokoka from South Africa at the top.
The marathons and distance races were held in Sapporo, the site of the 1972 Winter Olympics, instead of Tokyo, in the hope of more moderate temperatures.
But Saturday was hot enough to push the women’s marathon time up by an hour. The men began their 42.2-mile hike at the regular start time of 7 a.m. with overcast skies, a temperature of 79, and a humidity of 78 percent. There was heavy rain in Tokyo at the same time.
– Jeff Metcalfe
Molly Seidel may have won bronze in the women’s marathon, making her the best-placed American in the race and only the third American to ever win a medal in an Olympic marathon. But American Aliphine Tuliamuk won in a different way, despite not finishing the event.
Tuliamuk, the first US Olympic champion, had to cancel the women’s marathon in Tokyo because of a hip injury that plagued the runner for weeks. That was fine for Tuliamuk, however, who was greeted by her husband and daughter Zoe on the sidelines of the course.
The 32-year-old mother was allowed to bring her child to Tokyo because she was still breastfeeding; Zoe wasn’t born until January, and Tuliamuk appealed to the Olympic Committee to change their stance so as not to allow the family to travel to the Games.
Tuliamuk joins a handful of other mothers in the Olympics. Track star Allyson Felix and her adorable daughter took the world by storm when Cammy hit the Eugene, Oregon track with her mother after US Athletics Tests.
– Alyssa Hertel
Between the US boxer Richard Torrez Jr. and a gold medal stands – in the truest sense of the word – a competitor with whom the 22-year-old has a long history.
In 2019, Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov knocked Torrez unconscious for over a minute and a half before he was removed from the ring. The knockout, which took place at the AIBA World Cup, went viral on YouTube with nearly a million views. It’s a moment USA boxing coach Bill Walsh said Torrez was embarrassed.
Torrez will have the chance to avenge his loss to Jalolov in the super heavyweight boxing final, one of the final events of the Tokyo Olympics, on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. ET. While Torrez, who seeded number 3, showed an impressive performance in the semifinals, number 1 Jalolov also convinced.
– Josh Peter
Currently number one in the world, the United States’ indoor volleyball team has the chance to win its first Olympic gold medal.
The USA will play the title game against Brazil – a very familiar archenemy – on Sunday at 12.30 p.m. after beating Serbia 3-0 in the semifinals. Since volleyball was added to the Olympics in 1964 – the first time Tokyo hosted the Summer Games – the US has won three silver and two bronze medals. It finished third in 2016, while Serbia won silver and China gold in Rio.
Brazil beat the US in their two most recent gold medal games in 2008 and 2012, beating the Americans 3-1 in both Beijing and London.
The American middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, who had to miss the US semi-finals in 2016 with a knee injury, played her best offensive game of the Olympic tournament against Serbia. This is the 33-year-old’s third appearance at the Games, but initially as a mother after the birth in 2019.
– Emily Leiker
Eliud Kipchoge will have a chance to defend his marathon title at the 2016 Rio Olympics when the men’s marathon kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Only two other men have successfully won consecutive Olympic marathons. The Ethiopian Abebe Bikila did so in 1960 and 1964, and the East German Waldemar Cierpinski won in 1976 and 1980.
Kipchoge had ten consecutive marathons in seven years, including his Rio gold, before losing the 2020 London Marathon. He is the first man to break the two-hour mark in a marathon (in a restricted competition in 2019), but the world record he holds – 2:01:39 – was set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Galen Rupp, the US men’s marathon champion, will be one of the challengers to 36-year-old Kipchoge. As an established American long-distance runner, Rupp won bronze in Rio. Also representing the United States is Abdi Abdirahman, 44, who will become the oldest American to run an Olympic marathon.
– Emily Leiker