Tokyo Olympics Recap: Kipchoge fulfils legacy, USA continue basketball dominance

By Sports Desk August 08, 2021

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge successfully defended his men's marathon title and the United States added three more golds to their tally on the final day of Tokyo Olympics action.

Kipchoge crossed the line one minute and 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye to become the third athlete to win the event at back-to-back Games.

In doing so, the 36-year-old – who previously took 5,000 metre silver in 2008 and bronze in London four years later – believes he has inspired a generation of runners.

"It means a lot to me, especially at this hard time," he said. "Last year was postponed, and now it has happened.

"I think I fulfilled the legacy by winning the marathon for the second time. That's my total happiness, my inspiration for the next generation."

The final day of action at the 2020 Games ultimately belonged to the United States, though, as they collected three golds to finish above China at the top of the medal table.

 

USA TRUMP CHINA

Team USA trailed China by two gold medals heading into Sunday's events, but triumphs in basketball, volleyball and track cycling saw them top the standings.

USA's victory in the women's basketball would have come as little surprise given it is their seventh straight success in the competition.

Brittney Griner racked up 30 points and Breanna Stewart also impressed in the 90-75 win over Japan with 14 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi each picked up their fifth gold medals, while for Japan the silver was their first medal of any sort in the sport.

"The only thing about getting older, you know all the bad stuff that can happen," Bird said. "We lost in the 2006 World Cup. We tasted that and that's always been the driver. 

"So, when we actually have the medal around our necks, it just feels so good. It's a sense of relief in a lot of ways."

While success in the women's basketball is par for the course, overcoming Brazil in the volleyball final provided USA with their first gold medal in the event.

After finishing runners-up to Brazil in the 2008 and 2012 Games, USA exacted some revenge with a 25-21 25-20 25-14 victory in Sunday's final.

Jennifer Valente completed the hat-trick for the Americans in the women's cycling omnium, the 26-year-old delivering her country's first track cycling gold since 2000.

She led from start to finish, despite crashing in the final points race, with home favourite Yumi Kajihara taking silver.

"There were some bumps. It was actually quite a short day as far as omnium goes," Valente said. "That was something that was very much on my mind, that we played into.

"Crashing in the point races is never ideal. I was just trying to get back on my bike, make sure I was okay, and get back in the race as soon as possible."


BRITAIN RULE THE TRACK

Kelsey Mitchell won the women's sprint for Canada by beating Ukraine's Olena Starikova 2-0 in the best-of-three final.

But it was a familiar outcome in the men's keirin as Jason Kenny finished 0.763 seconds ahead of Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia to win his seventh Olympic gold medal.

That makes Kenny Great Britain's most decorated Olympian and ensured Team GB finished top of the cycling medals table with six golds, four silver and two bronze.

"It's a bit of shock, I think," Kenny said of his latest medal success. "I really wanted to cross the finish line. I am absolutely buzzing. 

"Going into the final I didn't expect anything other than a five, really. I was hoping to kind of get stuck in, and hopefully come away with some silverware. 

"To win at the corner on my own like that is absolutely buzzing."

AMERICA'S BOXING WAIT GOES ON

The final four boxing gold medals were up for grabs on Sunday and plenty of focus was on the super-heavyweight bout between Bakhodir Jalolov and the USA's Richard Torrez. 

Twenty-two-year-old Torrez started strongly with a ferocious assault in the first round, but Uzbekistani boxer Jalolov recovered and won unanimously.

Torrez's compatriot Keyshawn Davis earlier lost his men's lightweight clash with Cuba's Andy Cruz, meaning USA's wait for an Olympic men's boxing gold will reach 20 years come Paris 2024.

"I've never felt this much pressure in fights a day in my life," Davis said. "I'm glad I got to experience this because it did make me a better fighter.

"I'm not cool with winning silver, but it's something I've got to live with and I'm okay with that. I'm gonna live with it and we're just gonna take it to the next level."

In the female categories, Kellie Anne Harrington beat Brazil's Beatriz Ferreira in the lightweight final to earn Ireland their second gold of the Games, while GB's Lauren Price outclassed Li Qian to win the middleweight final on points.

Related items

  • Iniesta driving Vissel Kobe as ambitious Japanese side dream of becoming kings of Asia Iniesta driving Vissel Kobe as ambitious Japanese side dream of becoming kings of Asia

    Andres Iniesta arrived at Vissel Kobe amid plenty of fanfare in May 2018.

    One of the most successful players in Barcelona's history, having won LaLiga nine times and four Champions League crowns among his haul of 35 trophies, Iniesta was brought to Vissel to deliver silverware.

    Up until his arrival three years ago, Vissel had never won a trophy but during the Spain great's time in Kobe, the ambitious Rakuten-backed outfit have won the Emperor's Cup (2019) and Japanese Super Cup (2020).

    Vissel also qualified for the AFC Champions League for the first time in their 55-year history in 2020, reaching the semi-finals.

    Iniesta and Vissel are on track to feature in the Champions League again – Atsuhiro Miura's men are third in the J1 League this season and on course for their best finish in the top flight, three points clear of Nagoya Grampus in the race for the final qualification spot ahead of Sunday's showdown – as they seek to become kings of Asia.

    "The team have been saying we want to become the number one team in Asia so the first big goal is to win the Asian Champions League," Vissel defender Leo Osaki told Stats Perform about the project in Japan.

    "Of course we have to win the J1 League, we can't just be focused on the Champions League. But the biggest goal right now is to win the Champions League. We just have to finish third and hope we can play for the Champions League next season."

    When Iniesta swapped Camp Nou to join captain Lukas Podolski at Kobe Wing Stadium, it brought more eyes onto the club and attracted a host of stars the following year.

    Spain's all-time leading scorer David Villa, former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper all followed Iniesta to Kobe.

    Vissel's investment in Iniesta paid off in 2019 after conquering Kashima Antlers for their first ever piece of silverware before overcoming 2019 J1 League champions Yokohama F.Marinos on penalties in the Japanese Super Cup in 2020.

    Since his debut, Iniesta has showed no signs of slowing down, with the 37-year-old maestro boasting 175 completed dribbles (second in the J1 League) and a 64 per cent success rate (third among at least 100 attempts) to go with 164 created chances (fifth) in 81 league appearances.

    In total, captain Iniesta has scored 17 goals and supplied 17 assists to spearhead Vissel's cause under the ownership of Rakuten, who continue to dream big after buying the team from the Crimson Group in 2014.

    "He didn't come here to finish his career. He came to win and you can see it in the training and locker room," Osaki said, with Vissel's 2021 squad including Vermaelen, Bojan Krkic and Samper. "I think bringing him into the team opened the path for other world-class players to come in and it attracted a lot of people to watch the J1 League and Vissel Kobe. In that point of view, it gave the team a positive reaction.

    "For him playing with us, since the first day he came, there was a positive reaction. Watching him from behind, it's a dream come true because most of us were just watching him on TV.

    "Playing wise, he demands a lot from everybody, not just players next to him but behind him, goalkeeper and strikers. In our bad times, he tries to talk to players and motivate them so the team doesn't fall apart.

    "Winning that title changed everything in a good way," Osaki added. "Since it was the first title in the club's history, that boosted the confidence for everyone. Also the expectations got higher. Winning those two titles changed a lot."

    "I think we haven't accomplished anything, so the job isn't finished. We have to play in the Champions League and become the number one team in Asia. We've made progress in terms of getting two titles. The team had never won any titles, so that was big progress," the 30-year-old said.

    "Playing in the Champions League gave us experience and confidence, which has helped us this season. In the Champions League, we didn't end up winning but I think that experience gave us confidence and that's why we are in this position now."

    Since Iniesta's arrival, Vissel have ranked third in the J1 League in possession (57.2 per cent), passing accuracy (85.5 per cent) and shooting accuracy (47.3 per cent), while they have outperformed their expected goals (xG) value of 171.4 by scoring 183 goals – the fourth most in that span.

    "Bringing in Andres and all those world-class players always gives a positive reaction to the team but at the same time, fans are like 'you have these players, so you have to win'. But football isn't that easy," he added.

    "Of course we have quality players and we play with 11 players, but it's a team sport. It takes time. Fans can't wait, they want results instantly. We struggled in the beginning and we were focused on possession and everything but now we are probably 50 per cent counter-attack and 50 per cent possession - and we started getting results."

    He added: "I think sometimes we focus on the project too much in the past. Of course, we want to play out from the back, press the ball and dominate the game but sometimes we focus on that too much. At times we had 60-70 per cent possession but we couldn't get results or win. We're still working on that actually, playing out of the back. We kind of added a different kind of style, just go forward at times.

    "Now, we're focused more on the result. At times we play good and at times we don't, but still focusing on the result is keeping us in this position now."

  • Moyes not revising ambition after West Ham's perfect Europa League start Moyes not revising ambition after West Ham's perfect Europa League start

    West Ham manager David Moyes is refusing to get carried away with his side's perfect start to the Europa League and insists his goal remains qualifying for the knockout stages.

    The Hammers made it three wins from three games in Group H after defeating Belgian club Genk 3-0 at home on Thursday, following victories over Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna.

    West Ham are only the second English side to win each of their first three group games in a single Europa League campaign without conceding a goal, alongside Tottenham in 2013-14.

    The last team from any nation to achieve this was Sevilla who eventually won the competition in 2019-20 but Moyes would not be drawn on any comparisons.

    "I'm keeping relatively calm because we've got to go to Genk away and Vienna away," Moyes during his post-game news conference. "I'm not going to take anything for granted.

    "I said I want to be in Europe after Christmas. That's my plan for this year. We need another couple of points to qualify, not to win the group but if we can get that it would be a great start.

    "The players have done a brilliant job. They really have. We've not won any of them easily. They've all been tough. The games have been close, even though we've been the better team in all three of the games. We've got to keep working to get those extra points to make sure we qualify."

    West Ham's first two goals against Genk came from set pieces, with Craig Dawson and Issa Diop heading home from Aaron Cresswell's free-kicks.

    Cresswell has assisted eight goals from dead-ball situations in all competitions since the start of the season, more than any other Premier League player.

    Dawson has netted five goals in all club competitions this calendar year, which is equal best for any Premier League defender along with Manchester City's John Stones.

    Angelo Ogbonna nodded in the winner from a Jarrod Bowen set-piece in Sunday's Premier League win over Everton too.

    "It may be more effective in European football," Moyes said when asked about his side's set-piece threat. "The Premier League has got a lot of strong defences, and attackers who can defend set-pieces.

    "Up until Everton, I’m not sure we had scored this season from a set-piece, so it is not as if we have been doing it every game but thankfully we got the winning goal at Everton and tonight as well.

    "Craig Dawson is excellent at it, Issa Diop gets a goal tonight from it as well. Our centre-halves are the players on top scoring goals at the moment so I am happy with that and long may that continue."

  • Sixers GM Morey says Simmons trade saga could drag on for 'four years' Sixers GM Morey says Simmons trade saga could drag on for 'four years'

    Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey says the Ben Simmons saga could be drawn out for four years as he remains unflinching in the standoff.

    Simmons was suspended by the Sixers for conduct detrimental to the team before failing to appear at an individual workout on Thursday, following the side's season-opening 117-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Three-time NBA All-Star Simmons has demanded a trade amid criticism following last season's shock playoff exit to the Atlanta Hawks. He was absent from Philadelphia for the first two weeks of preseason work before showing up on October 11 to begin fulfilling COVID-19 protocols that would allow him to re-join the championship-chasing franchise.

    The situation has not improved internally with team-mate Joel Embiid admitting he would not "baby-sit" Simmons, while head coach Doc Rivers said the predicament was not fun.

    Morey added on Thursday that the Sixers would not trade Simmons as they were not satisfied what they could get in return would help them win an NBA title with their window open now. As a result, Morey said the icy situation could drag on.

    "You're going to think I'm kidding, I'm not, this could be four years," Morey told the Mike Missanelli Show. "The conditions I'm pointing out to you don't change.

    "People should buckle in, this is gonna go a long time because my only job is to help give us the best chance to win the title.

    "Unless Ben Simmons is traded for a difference-maker, we're in the prime of Joel [Embiid]'s career. We have to get back either Ben Simmons playing well for us, who helps us win the championship, or we have to get back a difference-maker for Ben Simmons. Or this could be four years from now, and we're still like, 'Hey, we took the best shot at it we could'.

    "This could be four years. This is not day-to-day. Every day, we're going to expect Ben Simmons to be back here, or we're trading him for a difference-maker.

    "There's no other outcome that doesn't materially hurt our chance to win the championship in Joel Embiid's prime.

    "We would want him to play and be back starting tomorrow. But if he chooses to take some other path, that's his choice."

    The 76ers had the best record in the Eastern Conference regular season at 49-23 before losing to the Hawks in the Conference semifinals.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.