It was supposed to be a victory lap where winning didn’t matter, and averting a catastrophe did. By the time they returned to shore, Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan were being chaired back onto dry land inside their boat after putting the most emphatic exclamation mark on Australia’s easiest gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics.
Belcher, the most successful sailor in Australia’s Olympics history, signed off on his partnership with Ryan in style, giving their rivals a start and a beating to seal the country’s second gold medal of the sailing regatta at Enoshima.
Only a disqualification for a false start or some other unworldly sequence of events in Wednesday’s medal race was going to deny the Australian pair, who had opened up an unassailable lead from the 10 previous races as they plotted revenge from Rio, where they took home silver.
Australian climber Oceana Mackenzie has finished her bouldering section at the Aomi climbing arena in Tokyo. She qualified from the speed section in 13th place and started strong in the second stanza by becoming one of the first to reach the top of the wall but could not finish off in her final three climbs.
The climbers are kept in isolation ahead of their climb and go into the bouldering section blind, forcing them to think on their feet when they first see the wall. That’s a challenge when the DJ is blasting out tunes at one of the busiest events I’ve seen at the Games.
There’s at least a couple of hundred team members from other disciplines coming into the arena to check out the sport’s Olympic debut as other competitions wind up. It’s a party vibe.
Judging by the number of climbers who have failed to make the top halfway through the section, this is a really tough climb.
The wall is forcing them to use their fingernails, toes, shins, anything that can get a grip on boulders at 30-degree-plus angles.
The standout so far has been the Russian Olympic Committee’s Victoria Meshkova, the only one of six to hit the wall so far to have made it to the top of two climbs. She leads with eight points, scored from each zone she made it to on the wall.
Mackenzie, one of six sisters, learned to climb with her mum and her siblings in Warrandyte, Victoria. Her first climb netted her three points. But with half the field still to tackle the wall, she will have to pull out a big score in the lead section of the event to get into the final.
The top eight out of 20 are selected based on their combined ranking across the three climbs.
Australia’s Jessica Hull has run an Australian record 3:58.81 in the 1500 metres semi-final and come fourth to qualify for the final.
The top five in each semi-final and the next two fastest runners qualify for the final.
Hull is the first Australian woman into a 1500-metre final since 1996. Faith Kipyegon of Kenya won the semi-final. Another Aussie, Linden Hall, is up next in the second semi-final.
Australia’s Ash Moloney has pulled a compression bandage onto his right knee. Seemed to favour the leg after his first high jump at 1.90m.
Countryman Cedric Dubler jumping well, just cleared 1.99m.
The Swedish and Canadian women’s soccer teams have asked that the gold-medal match in Tokyo on Friday be moved to a different time because of heat.
The match is scheduled for 11am at the Olympic Stadium, where track and field events are being held. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 30s Celsius with high humidity.
The timing of the final recalled the men’s gold-medal match between Argentina and Nigeria at the 2008 Beijing Games. The game was played at midday in the Bird’s Nest, with temperatures above 37 degrees.
The head of Sweden’s team, Marika Domanski Lyfors, said she had reached out to FIFA about a possible change. The Swedish soccer federation also contacted the International Olympic Committee.
Canada Soccer issued a statement in support of the request.
Italy have broken their own world record to win the gold medal in men’s team pursuit cycling at the Tokyo Olympics, while Australia bounced back from calamity in the earlier rounds to secure bronze.
The team of Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon and Jonathan Milan stopped the clock in 3:42.032 to edge world champion Denmark in a dramatic final at the Izu Velodrome. Denmark finished in 3:42.203.
All eyes will be on the men’s 800m final tonight, and Australian Peter Bol’s pursuit of a medal, possibly even the gold.
Bol won his semi-final on Sunday night and has qualified second fastest for the final in a time of 1:44.11.
Other runners in the final include Nijel Amos of Botswana, controversially included after being involved in a fall with American Isaiah Jewett with less than 200m to run in their semi-final.
But while Amos was reinstated and secured a start, Jewett did not.
After his controversial semi-final (and before being included), Amos said: “I still can’t put my head around it. I am crazy about it, but that is 800. These things happen.
“I got a clip on the leg and it is always (about) the timing, but it just sucks it happened this time around. I thought I was in a good position to take this heat and I can’t put words on it.”
Drama in the men’s team pursuit final as Australia win bronze. It was incredibly close the whole way through – until one of the New Zealand riders crashed out mid-race. The fourth Kiwi rider clipped the wheel of the man in front and went flying across the track. Up until that point only two tenths of a second separated the two teams and both had time in the lead.
Yesterday it was the Australians who suffered a crash, when Alex Porter’s handlebars snapped off mid race, sending him sprawling across the track. Porter did not take part in the race for bronze today.
Italy took gold in the same event in world record time, coming from behind in the last 500 metres to beat Denmark.