Updates on the Tokyo Olympics
Join myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about the news of the Tokyo Olympics.
Any Olympics is reinforced by an unacceptable rivalry. The first week of the Tokyo Games was determined by a pair of swimmers, Ariane Titmus from Australia and Katie Ledecky in the USA.
On Saturday, Ledecky beat Titmus in the women’s 800m freestyle. But the couple leaves Japan with two golds each and their reputation is enhanced for the challenge they posed to each other.
“It was not my last swim,” said the 24-year-old Ledecky, insisting that the battle continue over the next three years at the next Games in Paris. “I’m at least going to ’24, maybe to ’28, we’ll see. ‘
The American has now won seven gold medals at three Olympic Games. But in Rio de Janeiro she was unparalleled five years ago and won the 800 m freestyle by half a pool.
Titmus emerged to narrow the gap. The 20-year-old from Tasmania, the island in the south of the Australian mainland, started swimming at the age of seven and competed at 16. for World Championships for her country.
She chased Ledecky Monday, when she came off a body length in the early stages of the 400m freestyle to catch up with the American legend in the final few meters.
“I was just trying to chase her,” Titmus said after the victory. “I can not believe I really removed it.” She followed this up with a more dominant victory in the 200m freestyle, her favorite event.
Ledecky won the 1,500m freestyle earlier this week, but it was one race in which she did not face Titmus.
The American and Australian teams have dominated the swimming medals for decades. But in the recent Olympics, the gold has been largely reserved for the American team.
Saturday’s races show the dominance of the two nations. American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won his second Olympic title during these Games and won the men’s 100m butterfly final in a world record time of 49.45 seconds. Australia’s Kaylee McKeown won the women’s 200m backstroke and also won her second title in Tokyo.
In 2016, the US won 16 golds against Australia’s 3. In 2012, the score was 16-1. In 2008, it was 12-6. After Saturday’s races in Tokyo, the score was 8-7. A relatively even split during these Games, which were more accustomed to shelling out gold in the pool, hurt the U.S. in the overall medal table, starting Saturday behind China and Japan.
The last swimming races of the Games take place on Sunday, while it is again the American and Aussie teams to watch.
There was a shocking development on the day of the women’s 100m final. Blessing Okagbare from Nigeria has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit after testing positive for human growth hormone. Okagbare, one of the best sprinters in the event, recorded the positive test in an out-of-competition sample provided on July 19, the anti-doping agency said. Her suspension scurries further one of the most anticipated events of the Games in Tokyo, while Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Brit Dina Asher-Smith battle for the title of fastest woman in the world on Saturday night.
Simone Biles pulled out of two finals of the gymnastics apparatus, the uneven beams and the vault, the American Gymnastics said on Saturday, adding that the champion athlete is still being evaluated for participating in the balance ball and floor events.
Biles said she continues to struggle with what gymnasts refer to as “the twisties”, in which her body will not do what her mind pretends to her. ‘It’s honestly refreshing to try to do a skill, but not to have your body and mind in harmony. 10/10 does not recommend ”, she writes on Instagram. The mental block usually takes ‘two or more weeks’ to take off, she added, although Bules has been training on soft surfaces in Tokyo in hopes of taking part in the rest of the gymnastics schedule.
The team GB stalwart Jonny Brownlee withdrew from the Olympic competition with his first gold medal. He was part of the British team that, along with Jessica Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Lee, won the first mixed sprint triathlon ever. “Olympic Games? It is complete, “said the 31-year-old Brownlee afterwards. He has appeared regularly on previous stages. behind his brother Alistair. “It feels absolutely incredible. This is my third Olympics and I finally got gold. He plans to focus on even tougher Iron Man competitions in the future.
Britain also achieved a stunning victory in the mixed 4x100m freestyle, with the quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin with a world record time of 3.37.58. This was Team GB’s fourth swim in the pool, corresponding to his best performance in the sport since the 1908 Olympic Games.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has been eliminated from German men’s singles by German Alexander Zverev. The shock defeat means that the male player with the best position in the world does not have a “golden stroke”- won the Olympic title and the sport’s four“ grand slam ”tournaments in the same calendar year.
“I’m sorry for Novak,” Zverev said. “You can not have everything.” The German faces the Russian Olympic Committee, Karen Khachanov, in Sunday’s final. Before that, on Saturday, Switzerland, Belinda Bencic, will meet the Czech Republic, Marketa Vondrousova, in the women’s singles final.
China continued its dominance of table tennis during the Olympics. World number one Fan Zhendong was defeated by his compatriot and reigning champion Ma Long in the final of the singles singles at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Friday night. The country has now won all the available gold gold in table tennis since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Games. However, the country suffered a rare defeat earlier this week when Japan’s mixed doubles Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito won their country’s first ever table tennis gold.
Years of training to cover the final of the trampoline 😂 pic.twitter.com/qdorrpl8zy
– Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) 30 July 2021
Just as the world’s greatest athletes have been training for years to reach the Games, broadcasters have also prepared to capture the action. BBC presenter Dan Walker realizes this better than most, but could not do otherwise be entertaining by a cameraman filming the final of the trampoline on Friday. Let’s just say it’s a job with its ups and downs.
Click here to see FT’s “alternative medals table”, which not only picks countries on their medals, but also on how they should perform against economic and geopolitical factors.