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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Tokyo Olympics updates: Kevin Durant and Team USA lose to France, Simone Biles is on to the finals


After a long evening of gymnastics qualifications, Simone Biles and the United States gymnastics team competed for the first time on Sunday morning at the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, swimmer Katie Ledecky moved closer to defending her 400-meter freestyle gold medal by finishing first in her heat following her heat. Then, Kevin Durant & Co.’s quest for a fourth consecutive gold medal started with a hearty dose of adversity.

The first Olympic gold medal in skateboarding was awarded, and two-time Olympian April Ross and her new partner Alix Klineman won their first match in beach volleyball. The United States also ended a one-day medal drought by winning six medals in the pool, breaking its own record. (You can find out more about the Team USA athletes to keep an eye on here.)

We’ve got you covered with live updates throughout:

France upsets U.S. men’s basketball, snaps winning streak

Because of Team USA’s rocky exhibition game stretch leading up to Tokyo — the Americans lost to Nigeria and Australia, marking the first time the team has lost back-to-back exhibition games since professional soccer began in 1992 — it wasn’t entirely surprising. It demonstrated to the world that this team is not infallible. However, the Americans’ loss to France was notable — and jarring — in that it ended their 25-game Olympic winning streak, which had begun in Athens in 2004 and continued until this year.

Evan Fournier led the way for France with 28 points in what Brian Windhorst described as “one of the finest games he has ever played in his professional basketball career.” When it came to the United States, it was a completely different storey, with Durant shooting just 4-of-12 and Damian Lillard shooting 3-of-10. Durant played in his 17th Olympic game for Team USA on Sunday, and his 10 points were the fewest he had ever scored in any of those games before.

With two games remaining in pool play against Iran and the Czech Republic, Team USA must win both of these games in order to advance to the medal round.

Listed below is Windhorst’s summary of the action:

A wobbly day for U.S. women’s gymnastics

The United States women’s gymnastics team’s hold on the gold medal in the team event could be in jeopardy soon. After winning the gold medal in each of the previous three Olympics, the Simone Biles-led team appeared to be virtually unbeatable.

During qualifying, the team, on the other hand, showed signs of vulnerability. The Americans are in second place, 1.067 points behind the Russian Olympic Committee team, with a score of 170.562 points. Eight teams have advanced to the team final on Tuesday.

For Biles, it was an unusually sloppy day, with her floor routine and first vault both being called out of bounds by the referee. Despite this, she has the highest overall score (57.731) as well as the highest vault score (15.183) after three subdivisions. Sunisa Lee, a teammate, currently has the second-best all-around score and the highest score on bars, with a total of 15.200 points.

Despite their poor showing on Sunday and occasional stumbles, the Americans are still the favourites to win the team title on Tuesday, and Biles is expected to defend her all-around title as well as her vault and floor titles on the same day of competition. D’Arcy Maine, author

The real drama for the Americans was who would place second, joining Biles in the finals. Here’s a breakdown.

Kalisz the first American gold medalist

Chase Kalisz moved up to the top of the podium after finishing second in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His time of 4:09.42 earned him the gold medal. His dominant performance earned the United States its first overall medal at these Olympic Games, albeit by a narrow margin of fractions of a second in the process. In addition, teammate Jay Litherland earned a silver medal in the competition.

And Kalisz’s family went wild watching.

In the 400-meter individual medley, Kalisz became the first and only swimmer (male or female) to win both gold and silver medals in the same event. In the men’s 400-meter individual medley, the United States has won nine out of the 15 gold medals available. First time since Athens 2004, when Michael Phelps, who broadcasted the race for NBC, won gold and Erik Vendt took silver, has Team USA finished first and second in the same competition:

Later in the pool, Kieran Smith earned a bronze medal for Team USA in the 400-meter freestyle.

Team USA got another 400-meter individual medley double when Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger took the silver and bronze medal. Japan’s Yui Ohashi won the gold.

Australia set a new world record in the women’s 4×100 metre relay (3:29.69), but the Americans added another medal to their tally with a bronze in the event, giving them a total of six medals for the evening.

World records were falling early Sunday in the pool.

Three Olympic swimming records were broken in the final preliminary heats of the women’s 100-meter backstroke, including a world record set in the final heat. Canadian Kylie Masse set the Olympic record in heat 4 with a time of 58.17 seconds before American Regan Smith lowered the mark to 57.96 seconds in heat 5. Kaylee McKeown of Australia, who set the world record in 57.45 seconds earlier this month, lowered the Olympic record to 57.88 seconds in the sixth and final heat on Sunday. In the semifinals tonight, these three players, as well as American Rhyan White, will compete for a spot in the finals on Monday night against 12 other qualifiers (ET).

Huston off the podium as skateboarding makes its debut

Six-time world champion street skateboarder Nyjah Huston of Team USA, who was the overwhelming favourite to win his sport’s Olympic debut, finished seventh, causing one of the biggest surprises of the Games so far. Huston was the overwhelming favourite to win his sport’s Olympic debut. Instead, Jagger Eaton, 20, of Mesa, Arizona, made history by becoming the first skateboarder from the United States to win an Olympic medal. After finishing third behind current street skate world champion Yuto Horigome of Tokyo, Japan, and Kelvin Hoefler of Sao Paolo, Brazil, Eaton took fourth place in the overall standings.

The entire final, which was filled with multiple bails and tough slams, Eaton skated loosely, grooving to whatever music he had playing in his ear pods at the time.

In the lead-up to the Olympics, Eaton has been a contest staple since making his X Games debut in 2013 as the youngest competitor in the event’s history (his record was broken last week), but he has skated in Huston’s shadow most of the time. Eaton’s ability to maintain consistency in the event earned him a spot on the Olympic podium. In spite of falling behind early on in the competition, Huston was unafraid to take risks and attempted one of his most difficult tricks three times during the best trick portion of the final, but was unsuccessful each time. With the seventh and final round of the competition in the books, the headlines about Eaton’s medal were written for him. Alyssa Roenigk is a writer and editor.

Elsewhere, skateboarding royalty was on hand with a face of the future.

Plus, that’s gotta hurt.

American history in fencing

In the women’s foil final, Lee Kiefer of the United States defeated defending champion Inna Deriglazova of Russia 15-13 to win the country’s third gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kiefer has won four NCAA championships while at Notre Dame. After the final point, she yelled, “Oh my God!” as she ripped the mask off her face. During the 2012 London Olympics, she finished in fifth place, and she finished in tenth place at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

World No. 1 in women’s tennis out

Ashleigh Barty, the top-seeded Australian who won Wimbledon two weeks ago, was knocked out of the Olympic singles tournament in her first-round match on Tuesday. Tennis has been part of the Olympic programme since 1988, and only twice in that time period has the top seed won the women’s singles tournament: Steffi Graf in 1988 and Justine Henin in 2004.

Naomi Osaka also got off to a winning start in her Olympic competition.

A thigh strain has forced Andy Murray, a former Olympic champion, to withdraw from the men’s singles competition at the Wimbledon Championships.

USA softball to the gold-medal game

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Amanda Chidester hit a two-run double to keep Team USA undefeated in these Olympics at 4-0, and advance them to the gold-medal game, where they will face host Japan on Monday. Monica Abbott recorded a total of 13 strikeouts in the United States’ 2-1 victory over Australia.

French president, U.S. first lady at 3×3

Dr. Jill Biden enjoyed a tour of sports, watching Team USA, Saturday.

Team USA’s A-Team off to winning start

With a 21-17, 21-19 victory over China’s Wang Xinxin and Xue Chen in Pool B beach volleyball, Alix Klineman and April Ross, also known as the “A-Team,” got the tournament started on the right foot. Rosalie Ross is competing in her third Olympics, having previously competed in 2012 with Jennifer Kessy and won silver, followed by a bronze medal with Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2016. Ross is attempting to join Jennings and Misty May-Treanor as the only female beach volleyball players to have won at least three medals at the same event.

For Klineman, it was her first time participating in an Olympic event. The athlete admitted that she was “a little nervous” but “extremely excited” for the match.

Men’s gymnastics reaches team final

The U.S. men’s gymnastics team advanced to the team final with a fourth-place finish in qualifications.

Forever an Olympian

The Jamaican gymnast Danusia Francis was overjoyed to be able to fulfil her Olympic dream while Simone Biles and her United States teammates were competing across the gym during the women’s gymnastics qualification round.

Despite suffering a serious left knee injury this week while training, she was determined to compete at the Olympics and competed on bars for a brief period of time, demonstrating a few skills on the low bar. Even though she only received a 3.033 for her efforts, she received the most thunderous applause of the day – including from the American team.

Francis, who narrowly missed out on making the Great Britain Olympic team in 2012 and the Jamaican Olympic team in 2016, took a break from the elite scene to compete for UCLA, but she never gave up on her lifelong dream of competing at the highest level. After graduating, she took a break from the sport, but returned in 2018 with her sights set squarely on the Tokyo Olympics.

While the circumstances were far from ideal, the 27-year-old finally made her dream come true on Sunday. — D’Arcy Maine

Watch the birdie


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