Two of USA Swimming’s biggest stars were back in the pool Saturday in Tokyo.
While the swimming was taking place, we got more clarity on the status of gymnastics star Simone Biles, who will not compete in the vault and uneven bar event finals on Sunday. Her participation in the balance beam and floor exercise finals are still to be determined.
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TOKYO — The U.S. narrowly won bronze in the Olympic debut of the mixed-gender 4×400 relay Saturday, finishing about one-third of a second off the winner with a time of 3:10.22.
The Americans gained ground in the final leg of the race but ultimately finished behind both Poland, which won gold, and the Dominican Republic, which took silver. Vernon Norwood, who ran the anchor leg, barely sneaked in front of the Netherlands at the finish line to keep the U.S. in a medal spot.
“At the end of the day, just walking away at the Olympic Games with a medal is a pretty good feeling,” Norwood said. “Obviously we wanted to get the gold. That’s what we step on the track for. But at the end of the day, we just feel blessed and thank God that we walked away healthy and each and every one of us that came out here today put the hard work in to get back with bronze, silver or gold.”
Trevor Stewart ran the first leg of the relay for the U.S., followed by Kendall Ellis and Kaylin Whitney.
The bronze medal came after a brief scare for the U.S. the previous night, when it was disqualified for a lane violation. The ruling was reversed upon appeal.
The inclusion of a mixed-gender debut in track is part of a broader initiative by the International Olympic Committee, an attempt to correct some of the gender disparity that has long plagued the Games. Other sports have included similar mixed-gender events this year for the first time. Mixed-gender relays in triathlon and swimming debuted earlier Saturday; Team USA won silver in the former and missed the podium in the latter.
— Tom Schad
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Team USA will have a chance to accomplish what they came to Japan to do: win a medal.
An opportunity is now guaranteed following their 4-2 victory over South Korea on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium.
The U.S., winners of Group B, will face Group A winners Japan on Monday. The victor of that matchup will advance to the semifinals, while the loser — at worst — will compete for bronze while still having a chance of making the gold-medal game.
In the early going, the offense looked lost against South Korea right-hander Youngpyo Ko, who used his combination of a side-arm delivery and effective stuff early to keep Team USA off-balance.
Then they saw him for a second time through the order. Ko hit the first batter of the inning, U.S. flag-bearer Eddy Alvarez — trying to become one of a handful of athletes ever to medal in the Winter and Summer Olympics — and Triston Casas cranked a two-run homer into the empty blue seats past the high right-field wall two batters later.
Shortstop Nick Allen extended the lead with a solo shot down the left-field line with two outs in the fifth. Three consecutive singles from Jamie Westbrook, Alvarez and Tyler Austin, who now has four RBI in two games these Olympics, made it 4-1.
Meanwhile, starter Nick Martinez was cruising on the mound. After a tough-luck first inning — South Korea scored its lone run on a fielder’s choice following two singles — the right-hander settled down. A day after Friday’s starting pitcher Joe Ryan didn’t allow a free pass, neither did Martinez over five frames with nine strikeouts.
On for the ninth inning, David Robertson issued a leadoff walk and a double. Another hard-hit ball found the glove of Bubba Starling for a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2 and the former MLB veteran retired the next two hitters — punctuated by a diving stop and throw at third base from defensive replacement Jack Lopez at third base — to end the game.
Thanks to a walk and a hit batsmen in the seventh by reliever Edwin Jackson, South Korea brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning. But Kunwoo Park lined out to shortstop against Anthony Gose, a former position player and now left-handed reliever, to end the threat.
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah won consecutive Olympics golds in the women’s 100 meters, finishing in 10.61 seconds, a new Olympic record.
Her teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.74 for the silver followed by Shericka Jackson at 10.76.
TOKYO — Sweden’s Daniel Stahl entered Tokyo with the No. 1 ranked mark in the world this year. He ended the Olympic discus final as an Olympic gold medalist.
Using an explosive blend of speed and power in the discus circle, Stahl was able to toss 226 feet to win the men’s discus at the Tokyo Olympics. It’s the first Olympic gold medal for the 2019 discus world champion.
Sweden’s Simon Pettersson won silver with a toss of 221-1. Austrian Matthew Denny was third with a toss of 220 .
The 28-year-old Stahl has had a rapid rise to becoming the top discus thrower in the world. Since failing to qualify for the final in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Stahl’s won a world championship and now he’s an Olympic champion.
Stahl is the first Swedish discus thrower to win an Olympic gold medal. He’s just the second Swedish discus thrower to medal at the Olympics. Sweden’s Ricky Bruch earned a bronze medal in 1972.
TOKYO — It’s difficult to notice it’s Athing Mu’s first ever Olympics.
The 19-year-old led wire-to-wire in the women’s 800-meters semifinal, making the race look easy. Mu won her second semifinal heat in the women’s 800 meters with a time of 1:58.07. The Texas A&M product has the No. 1 time heading into the Olympic final.
“It wasn’t one of those races where you start some way and you get mixed up in the middle,” Mu said after the race. “It was pretty smooth leading wire-to-wire. I just wanted to start off strong and finish strong as well.”
Raevyn Rogers narrowly qualified to the 800-meter final. The former Oregon Duck runner didn’t get an automatic spot in the top two in her third heat, but her time of 1:59.28 was good enough to advance to the final.
American 800-meter record holder Ajee Wilson wasn’t so lucky. Wilson ran a 2:00.79 to finished fourth in her heat and failed to advance to the final.
“It just wasn’t my night tonight, unfortunately. You want to show up in these big moments and it just didn’t happen for me today,” Wilson said.
The Women’s 800-meter final is scheduled for Tuesday night in Tokyo.
U.S. weightlifter Harrison Maurus finished fourth in the 81kg Saturday for the best showing by an American man at the Olympics in 33 years.
Mario Martinez was the last American to come as close to the podium in 1988. He is also the last U.S. man to medal (1984).
Maurus made all three of his attempts in snatch, including a personal best of 161kg on his third. In the clean and jerk, he matched his current American Record of 200kg on his second.
Maurus went for 205kg on his last clean and jerk attempt. That that would have put him in bronze medal position, but missed. His 361kg total is a new American Record, besting his previous record of 357kg set at the 2018 World Championships in Turkmenistan.
TOKYO — The three Americans in the men’s 100-meter field all advanced Saturday to the semifinals, some more comfortably than others.
Ronnie Baker (10.03 seconds) and Fred Kerley (9.97) cruised into the semis by finishing in the top three of their respective heats, while Travyon Bromell — the prohibitive favorite in the events — squeaked into the semis on time. He ran a 10.05 but finished fourth in his heat.
The U.S. is expected to win at least one medal in the men’s 100. Together, Baker, Bromell and Kerley own six of the eight fastest times in the world this year.
— Tom Schad
TOKYO – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic came to the Olympics trying to add a gold medal to the three Grand Slam titles he’s already won this year. Instead, he’ll go home without any medal in men’s singles.
A day after his shocking collapse against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals, a frustrated Djokovic dropped a second consecutive three-setter, this time losing to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match 6-4, 6-7, 6-3.
For Carreno Busta, ranked No. 11 in the world, winning a bronze medal here ranks as arguably the biggest achievement of his career alongside his two semifinal appearances at the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2020.
Djokovic was supposed to play another bronze medal match later Saturday in mixed doubles with Nina Stojanovic but the Serbian duo withdrew, giving the medal to the Australian team of John Peers and Ash Barty.
— Dan Wolken
YOKOHAMA, Japan — While he hasn’t played Major League Baseball since 2018, five-time All-Star Adrián González confirmed that 2021 will be his final season in the game.
Playing first base for Team Mexico in baseball’s return to the Olympic stage for the first time in 13 years, González went hitless with two strikeouts in four at-bats during Mexico’s 7-4 loss to Japan on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium. He went 1-for-3 the day before as Mexico lost to the Dominican Republic, 1-0.
González represented Mexico at four editions of the World Baseball Classic. In the Mexican League this year, he is playing in the Mariachis de Guadalajara’s inaugural season.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “Playing in Mexico is a lot more fun … just because of the atmosphere.”
At 0-2, Mexico will be at the bottom of the bracket as the tournament moves to a double-elimination format after pool play concludes. Mexico will face Israel.
— Chris Bumbaca
TOKYO — Brady Ellison’s fourth Olympics ended without a medal after the world No. 1-ranked archer came to Japan hoping to win three.
Instead, the 32-year-old from Arizona lost in the men’s individual quarterfinals Saturday at Yumenoshima Park. Earlier, he and U.S. teammates lost in the first round of mixed team and men’s team quarterfinals.
Ellison plans to compete through the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, so he potentially has two more chances (also Paris 2024) for the gold medal that has eluded him since 2008. He has won two team silvers (2012 and 2016) and an individual bronze in Rio.
“There’s a lot of Americans that say I’m not (expletive) until really until you win a Games,” he said. “Until you do win the Olympics, that’s when you really stamp your thing as a legend. I’ve won everything, but you still need this one. I just want a gold medal, I don’t care where (event-wise) it comes from. If I get a gold, I get a complete set and that would be pretty cool.”
Ellison was tied 3-3 against Turkey’s Mete Gazoz through three sets then shot consecutive eights to start the fourth set, losing 27-26 for a two-point deficit. World No. 4 Gazoz finished with a perfect score of 30 in the fifth set to Ellison’s 29 for his third victory in their head-to-head matches and went on to win the gold medal.
The U.S. archery team failed to medal for the first time since 2008 even with the addition of a new event (mixed team).
— Jeff Metcalfe
Brian Burrows and Madelynn Ann Bernau of the United States won the bronze medal as mixed team trap shooting made its Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Burrows and Bernau prevailed in a shoot-off 3-2 after tying Slovakia Erik Varga and Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova with 42 targets each.
Spain’s Alberto Fernandez and Fatima Galvez won the gold. They defeated San Marino’s Gian Marco Berti and Alessandra Perilli 41-40 in the gold medal match.
San Marino went into its final two shots with a chance to tie and send the match to a shoot-off, but Berti missed his to give the gold to the Spaniards.
The medal is San Marino’s highest in the Olympics and just its second in 61 years of competition after Perilli won bronze in women’s individual trap.
The gold was the first Olympic medal for Fernandez, a three-time world champion who’s been one of the world’s most decorated shooters.
Burrows was retired for two years before being convinced to come back in 2018, paving his way to the Tokyo podium.
“It has been just a crazy Cinderella story,” he said. “I was only going to do it for a match and I kept winning and winning and set a world record in Mexico and then was making world championships teams… And just for it to come full circle and we’ve got an Olympic medal is unbelievable.”
— Associated Press, Rachel Axon
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Megan Rapinoe has added incentive for the U.S. women’s soccer team to win gold.
Rapinoe’s fiancée, Sue Bird, already has four Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s basketball team, and is favored to win a fifth at the Tokyo Games. Rapinoe has one gold medal, from the 2012 Olympics in London.
“I could never catch up, but I can’t fall too much further behind,” Rapinoe joked Friday night after converting the final penalty kick to lift the USWNT to a quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands.
The Americans are looking to become the first reigning World Cup champs to win the Olympic gold.
“It’d be nice if I had multiple golds and (Bird) had multiple golds,” Rapinoe said, “so then we can just say we have multiple golds.”
— Nancy Armour
TOKYO – U.S. swimmers Ryan Murphy, Lydia Jacoby, Torri Huske and Caeleb Dressel took fifth in the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay final, which made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics.
Murphy (backstroke), Jacoby (breaststroke), Huske (butterfly) and Dressel (freestyle) finished with a time of 3:40.58 behind Great Britain, China, Australia and Italy.
Great Britain, with a time of 3:37.59, broke the world record set by China on Sept. 26, 2020.
TOKYO – Connor Fields, the American BMX racer who was hospitalized Friday after crashing at the Olympics, suffered a brain hemorrhage at the venue but doctors reported there has been no additional bleeding and no new head injuries were found, USA Cycling said in a news release issued Saturday.
Fields has been moved out of the critical care unit and will remain in the hospital until cleared, according to USA Cycling.
“There’s a bit of fluid on his brain, but it has not increased for the next 24 hours, so they’re feeling good about that,’’ Mike Fields, his father, told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. “So far the results seem pretty positive.’’
According to his father, Connor Fields also suffered a broken rib and bruised lung in the crash.
Fields, a medal favorite who crashed in a semifinal heat at Ariake Urban Sports Park, underwent a CT scan on his brain Saturday morning, according to his father. He also had CT scans on his spine and abdomen.
“Cognitively, he’s doing well,’’ Mike Fields said. “He knows where he is. He knows his birthday. He recognizes people.’’
— Josh Peter
TOKYO – Simone Biles will skip the event finals for vault and uneven bars, still not ready to compete again after losing her sense of where she is in the air. The announcement was made Saturday morning in Tokyo.
Biles also has qualified for Monday’s floor exercise final and Tuesday’s balance beam final. A decision on her availability for those two events has yet to be made.
Biles will be replaced in the vault final by fellow American MyKayla Skinner. Skinner was fourth on vault in qualifying, but Jade Carey and Biles were ahead of her and countries are limited to two gymnasts per final. Biles’ spot in the uneven bars final will be filled by the first reserve, which currently is France’s Melanie de Jesus dos Santos.
TOKYO – Katie Ledecky, the most decorated female swimmer of all time, won the women’s 800-meter freestyle for the third consecutive Olympic Games.
Ledecky won in 8:12.57, beating silver medalist Australian Ariarne Titmus by 1.26 seconds.
With the victory, Ledecky, 24, closed out her 2020 Olympics with two golds and two silvers. She has said she is going to keep swimming to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
In the women’s 200 backstroke final, Americans Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon fell short of the podium. White finished in fourth with 2:06.39 and Bacon finished a place behind her with 2:06.40. Australian Kaylee McKeown, Canadian Kylie Masse and Australian Emily Seebohm took the top three spots.
TOKYO – U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel took gold in the men’s 100-meter butterfly, breaking his own world record and marking his third gold-medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dressel finished in 49.45 seconds ahead of Hungary’s Kristof Milak and Switzerland’s Noe Ponti. He set an Olympic record with a time of 49.71 during Friday’s semifinals, which was two tenths of a second slower than the world record he set in 2019. He is the only man to have broken 50 seconds in the event.
He later competed in the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle, where he easily advanced to the final, and anchorced the mixed medley relay.
Dressel took his first Tokyo gold in the 100-meter freestyle and picked up another gold in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
TOKYO – Morgan Pearson gutted out a blistering run on the final leg of the triathlon mixed relay on Saturday to give the United States a silver medal in the event’s Olympic debut.
Katie Zaferes, the bronze medalist in the women’s race, gave the Americans a narrow lead on the first leg, but the U.S. team was in second when Pearson took over the final leg. France’s Vincent Luis came from third to first halfway through the bike on the final leg, but Pearson ran him down to finish second.
Britain won gold, while France took bronze in the first Olympic race for the event, in which teams of four each swim 300 meters, bike 7.4 kilometers and run 2 kilometers.
Ever wonder how the horses used for equestrian competitions at the Olympics make it to the host cities? Just like their riders, they fly business class, and it took 19 planes to transport over 300 horses to Tokyo.
The U.S. team, which consists of 12 Olympic and Paralympic athletes along with coaches, groomers, doctors and more, flew first to Europe for their pre-export quarantine before heading to Tokyo. Each horse’s groomer and vet has to bring a month’s worth of supplies with them. Team USA is known for overpacking.
Horses don’t have any more trouble flying than humans, though. Some like it more than others, and they’re tended to during the entirety of the flight.
–Gabriela Miranda and Rachel Axon
Another new event, the triathlon mixed relay, makes its debuts at the Tokyo Olympics.
There are 17 countries listed as competing in the event. Each country has a four-person team — two men and two women — who will each compete in a super sprint triathlon that consists of a 300-meter swim, 6.8-kilometer bike ride and 2-kilometer run. The order of competitors will alternate between genders and start with a woman.
Kevin McDowell, Morgan Pearson, Taylor Knibb and Katie Zaferes will race for the U.S. Zaferes finished third in the women’s individual event on Monday.
Team USA has won five World Championship medals since this triathlon discipline was formalized in 2009, including gold in 2016 and silver in 2020. France is the three-time defending world champion. Australia and Great Britain will be other teams to watch.
Xander Schauffele overtook Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz in Friday’s second round for first place halfway through the tournament. He shot 8-under par on the day and is 11-under in the tournament heading into the third round. Schauffele is likely the best shot Team USA has for a medal in men’s golf.
Schauffele’s fellow Americans, Patrick Reed and Collin Moriwaka, are 8-shots back from the lead.
The first two days of the Olympic tournament have been marred by bad weather, with stoppages occurring due to storms in the area.