USA came first in Olympics medals stand

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TOKYO: USA came first in Olympics medals stand with 113 medals altogether. Thirty-three sports have been contested across 16 days in largely empty stadiums, with fans barred over coronavirus risks and athletes living in strict biosecure conditions.

The Olympics were plagued by low Japanese support over fears they would become a super-spreader event but officials maintained that a record haul of 27 gold medals, putting Japan third on the table, has won hearts.

“We believe our athletes’ earnest spirit and all-out performance moved people,” said Tsuyoshi Fukui, chef de mission for the Japanese team.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto declined to give a final verdict on the Games until the Para­ympics are over, telling a news conference she “couldn’t say at this stage that we have achieved 100% success”.

“If we had spectators, we wouldn’t have been able to provide a sense of safety for the general public,” she said.

Britain finished fourth with 22 golds and the Russian Olympic Committee, the team for Russian athletes after Russia were banned for systematic doping, were fifth with 20.

Eliud Kipchoge produced a marathon masterclass and the United States edged China at the top of the Tokyo Olympics medals table as the curtain fell on the biggest sports event since the pandemic on Sunday.

After Kipchoge’s marathon win for Kenya, the United States scored victories in volleyball, track cycling and basketball to top the tally with 39 gold medals, just one ahead of China.

The 339th and final gold medal went to Serbia’s men’s water polo team, capping a Games that were in serious danger of cancellation after they became the first postponed Olympics last year.

A succession of big names have failed to perform in Japan, where new sports skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate have brought young new stars to the fore.

But marathon world record holder Kipchoge showed his class, kicking in the closing stages and clocking 2hr 08min 38sec to retain the title he won in 2016.

Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands claimed silver in 2:09.58, just ahead of Belgium’s Bashir Abdi in the final event of the athletics programme.

Kipchoge’s victory margin of 1min 20sec was the biggest since Frank Shorter’s win in the 1972 Munich Games.

The marathon, moved north to Sapporo to avoid Tokyo’s summer heat, was one of the few events to allow spectators.

Kipchoge began to smile as marathon-mad Japanese fans lined up the streets and cheered him on to the finish line. He waved at the fans as he came through the tape, slapped his chest and pumped his fist into the air.

The 36-year-old’s triumph, his 13th win in the 15 marathons he has raced since 2013, came a day after teammate Peres Jepchirchir secured back-to-back women’s Olympic marathon titles for Kenya’s women.

“I have fulfilled the legacy by winning the marathon for the second time, back-to-back. I hope now to help inspire the next generation,” he said.

“It means a lot for me, especially at this time,” he added of winning his second gold medal.

“It was really hard last year, it [Olympic Games] was postponed. I am happy for the local organising committee who made this race happen. It is a sign that shows the world we are heading in the right direction — we are on the right transition to a normal life.”

Among the final events on Sunday, Canadian cyclist Kelsey Mitchell took gold in the women’s sprint while Jason Kenny won the men’s keirin to become the first Briton to win seven Olympic titles.

Kenny edged in front of former team-mate Chris Hoy on the list of most-decorated British Olympians and was hoisted high on the podium by Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang and world champion Harrie Lavreysen, who finished a distant second and third.

ELISA Balsamo of Italy reacts as Egypt’s Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed goes over her during the women’s track cycling omnium scratch race at the Izu Velodrome.—Reuters
SEVENTH STRAIGHT GOLD

The Americans started the day two golds behind China but the women’s basketball and volleyball titles and US track cyclist Jennifer Valente’s omnium victory put them top of the final table.

The US extended a historic run of championships in women’s basketball, winning against home team Japan in their first-ever medal match at the Saitama Super Arena, north of Tokyo.

Brittney Griner scored a game-high 30 points with five rebounds and two assists as the US earned their seventh-straight gold in the 90-75 victory, with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi collecting their fifth Olympic gold medals to cap remarkable careers.

For the US women’s volleyball team, it was their first Olympic gold as they claimed a 3-0 victory over Brazil in the final at the Ariake Arena.

US opposite Andrea Drews scored 15 points to lead the team to a smooth and comprehensive victory, with the 2016 bronze medallists winning 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 and avenging their losses against the Brazilians in the 2012 and 2008 Olympic finals.

But the US failed to strike gold in the boxing ring.

The final two Americans in the Tokyo field got agonisingly close to ending their team’s 17-year men’s gold medal drought Sunday, only to fall short against two of the best boxers who stepped into the Kokugikan Arena.

Cuba’s Andy Cruz defeated Keyshawn Davis by split decision to win the men’s lightweight while super-heavyweight Richard Torrez was given a pounding by the giant Uzbek Bakhodir Jalolov in their final.

In the women’s competition, British middleweight Lauren Price and Irish lightweight Kellie Anne Harrington also claimed gold medals in the final session.

Price succeeded two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields of the US as the champion of the largest women’s weight class, while Harrington followed in the footsteps of Katie Taylor of Ireland, who won the inaugural lightweight gold in London.

In the Yoyogi National Stadium, France won their first women’s handball gold medal to become the first country in 37 years to win both men’s and women’s tournaments five years after losing both finals.

France beat the Russian team 30-25 in the women’s final with the men’s players cheering on a day after they beat Denmark. Both finals were rematches from 2016.

Bulgaria’s perfect co-ordination helped them bag gold in the rhythmic gymnastics group event, ending a Russian juggernaut that stretched back to the Sydney Games in 2000.

In the two rotations — five balls; three hoops and two clubs — Bulgaria scored 92.100 points, weighted towards the first round. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) scored 90.700 points overall, taking silver, while Italy won the bronze with 87.700 points. The final gold medal on offer was at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre and Rio 2016 champions Serbia retained their men’s title, beating Greece 13-10 in a thrilling final.

Dusan Mandic, Nikola Jaksic and Andrija Prlainovic scored three goals apiece as Serbia defended the crown they won in Rio five years ago, denying Greece a first Olympic gold medal in any team sport.

MEMBERS of the United States women’s volleyball team celebrate their victory gold medal match against Brazil at the Ariake Arena.—AFP
Final medals table

(Tabulated under gold, silver, bronze, total):

United States 39 41 33 113

China 38 32 18 88

Japan 27 14 17 58

Great Britain 22 21 22 65

Russian OC 20 28 23 71

Australia 17 7 22 46

Netherlands 10 12 14 36

France 10 12 11 33

Germany 10 11 16 37

Italy 10 10 20 40

Canada 7 6 11 24

Brazil 7 6 8 21

New Zealand 7 6 7 20

Cuba 7 3 5 15

Hungary 6 7 7 20

South Korea 6 4 10 20

Poland 4 5 5 14

Czech Republic 4 4 3 11

Kenya 4 4 2 10

Norway 4 2 2 8

Jamaica 4 1 4 9

Spain 3 8 6 17

Sweden 3 6 0 9

Switzerland 3 4 6 13

Denmark 3 4 4 11

Croatia 3 3 2 8

Iran 3 2 2 7

Serbia 3 1 5 9

Belgium 3 1 3 7

Bulgaria 3 1 2 6

Slovenia 3 1 1 5

Uzbekistan 3 0 2 5

Georgia 2 5 1 8

Taiwan 2 4 6 12

Turkey 2 2 9 13

Greece 2 1 1 4

Uganda 2 1 1 4

Ecuador 2 1 0 3

Ireland 2 0 2 4

Israel 2 0 2 4

Qatar 2 0 1 3

Bahamas 2 0 0 2

Kosovo 2 0 0 2

Ukraine 1 6 12 19

Belarus 1 3 3 7

Romania 1 3 0 4

Venezuela 1 3 0 4

India 1 2 4 7

Hong Kong 1 2 3 6

Philippines 1 2 1 4

Slovakia 1 2 1 4

South Africa 1 2 0 3

Austria 1 1 5 7

Egypt 1 1 4 6

Indonesia 1 1 3 5

Ethiopia 1 1 2 4

Portugal 1 1 2 4

Tunisia 1 1 0 2

Estonia 1 0 1 2

Fiji 1 0 1 2

Latvia 1 0 1 2

Thailand 1 0 1 2

Bermuda 1 0 0 1

Morocco 1 0 0 1

Puerto Rico 1 0 0 1

Colombia 0 4 1 5

Azerbaijan 0 3 4 7

Dominican Republic 0 3 2 5

Armenia 0 2 2 4

Kyrgyzstan 0 2 1 3

Mongolia 0 1 3 4

Argentina 0 1 2 3

San Marino 0 1 2 3

Jordan 0 1 1 2

Malaysia 0 1 1 2

Nigeria 0 1 1 2

Bahrain 0 1 0 1

Lithuania 0 1 0 1

Namibia 0 1 0 1

North Macedonia 0 1 0 1

Saudi Arabia 0 1 0 1

Turkmenistan 0 1 0 1

Kazakhstan 0 0 8 8

Mexico 0 0 4 4

Finland 0 0 2 2

Botswana 0 0 1 1

Burkina 0 0 1 1

Ghana 0 0 1 1

Grenada 0 0 1 1

Ivory Coast 0 0 1 1

Kuwait 0 0 1 1

Moldova 0 0 1 1

Syria 0 0 1 1

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