Olympics Latest: After drama, Belarus is last in 4×400 relay

Aug 5, 2021, 5:51 AM
United States' Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring her side's second goal against Australia during the women's bronze medal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

TOKYO (AP) — After days of drama, the Belarus women’s 4×400-meter relay team finished last in its first-round heat at the Olympics.

The team was embroiled in controversy when sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya criticized officials on social media for putting her in the relay — an event she’d never raced — setting off a massive backlash in state-run media in Belarus. She was later barred from competing in the 200 meters.

She left Tokyo en route to Europe after resisting an attempt by her Olympic team’s officials to send her home to Belarus, where she feared she could be in danger from authorities who have relentlessly cracked down on dissent.

Before leaving Japan, Tsimanouskaya said she hoped she could continue her track career but that safety was her immediate priority.

Several countries offered to help after the 24-year-old runner sought refuge in the European Union, and Poland has granted her a humanitarian visa.

Belarus placed last in the first heat in a time of 3 minutes, 33 seconds. The U.S. advanced with the fastest time, winning in 3 minutes, 20.86 seconds.



Sandra Sánchez of Spain has won the first Olympic gold medal in karate, beating Japan’s Kiyou Shimizu in the final matchup in women’s kata.

The 39-year-old Sánchez scored a 28.06 in the final bout, her screams echoing off the walls at the Budokan as she put in a spirited demonstration of karate form. Shimizu’s score was 27.88.

Sánchez has dominated her discipline in Europe for the past seven years, making her a fitting first champion in the Olympic debut of karate. The martial art is in the Olympic program on a temporary basis in Japan after a half-century of attempts to gain Olympic recognition.

Grace Lau of Hong Kong, China, and Viviana Bottaro of Italy won bronze.


The Olympic women’s soccer gold-medal match between Canada and Sweden has been moved from Friday morning in Tokyo to the evening in Yokohama.

There were concerns about playing in the heat with an 11 a.m. kickoff in the National Stadium, and the final couldn’t be played there later in the day due to the venue being used for track and field.

So the match has been moved about an hour outside Tokyo to Yokohama, which is also staging the men’s final Saturday night.

The announcement was made Thursday at Sweden’s pre-match news conference. The game as scheduled would have occured during primetime in the United States, which lost in the semifinals.


Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd each scored a pair of goals and the United States won the bronze medal in women’s soccer at the Tokyo Olympics with a 4-3 victory over Australia.

It was arguably the best the Americans had looked during the course of a rocky tournament that opened with an uncharacteristic 3-0 loss to Sweden. Rapinoe set the tone early with a goal scored directly from a corner kick.

The loss spoiled the Australians’ first-ever trip to the medal round at the Olympics. No Australian soccer team, men or women, has ever won a medal.

The Matildas were the underdogs against the United States, the top-ranked team in the world and the defending World Cup champions who came to Japan hoping for a fifth gold medal. But the Americans struggled at times during the tournament, including a 1-0 loss to Canada in the semifinals.



Britain’s Matthew Walls won the opening scratch race of the four-event omnium and was never really challenged over the remainder of the races in winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Walls finished third in the tempo race and second in the elimination race before taking a lap on the field early in the concluding points race to effectively put the gold medal out of reach.

Campbell Stewart of New Zealand gained his second lap on the field just before the race concluded, sending him soaring from out of the medals to silver. Defending champion Elia Viviani of Italy fell to bronze.


France has beaten Egypt 27-23 for a place in the final of the Olympic men’s handball tournament.

France was 5-1 down after a slow start but recovered to 13-13 at half time and squeezed out Egypt in the second half. The French will play either Spain or Denmark in Saturday’s final.

France can become the first country in 37 years to win the men’s and women’s tournaments at the same Olympics. The French women’s team faces Sweden in their semifinal game Friday.

Egypt will play for the men’s bronze medal and could become the first African nation ever to reach an Olympic handball podium.



Italy’s Massimo Stano won the men’s 20-kilometer race walk at the Olympics, and Japan secured the silver and bronze.

It was the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games that China wasn’t on the podium.

Stano took the gold medal in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 5 seconds in Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Koki Ikeda took silver for the home country in 1:21:14 and Toshikazu Yamanishi the bronze in 1:21:28.

The race walks and marathon races were moved to cooler Sapporo to avoid the heat and humidity of the Tokyo summer.



Shanne Braspennincx of the the Netherlands has won gold in the women’s keirin at the Tokyo Olympics, hours after teammate Laurine van Riessen was taken out of the Izu Velodrome on a stretcher following a crash.

Braspennincx went to the front on the final lap of the six-lap race, where the first three are paced by a motorized bike and the last three are a free-for-all sprint to the finish.

She was followed across the line by New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews with the silver medal and Lauriane Genest of Canada taking bronze.

Braspennincx’s victory keeps the gold medal in Dutch hands. Elis Ligtlee won it at the Rio Games before retiring.


World champion Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands has cruised past two-time defending Olympic champ Jason Kenny in their best-of-three quarterfinal in the men’s sprint at the Tokyo Games.

Kenny’s gold medals at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games came after he took silver against countryman Chris Hoy at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Kenny will head home without a medal in his signature event.

Britain still has hopes of a fourth consecutive gold medal in the men’s sprint after Jack Carlin advanced to Friday’s semifinal round. Also advancing were Dutch rider Jeffrey Hoogland and Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul.


Maddie Musselman and the U.S. beat the Russian Olympic Committee 15-11 to advance to the women’s water polo final, continuing the team’s bid for a third consecutive gold medal.

The U.S. beat the Russian team 18-5 last week, but the ROC was much more engaged in the semifinal meeting. The U.S. had to rally after it trailed 7-4 with 48 seconds left in the first half.

Musselman scored five times, and captain Maggie Steffens had three goals. Next up for the U.S. is the winner of the Spain-Hungary semifinal.

The U.S. improved to 133-4 since it won gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games. It has won three in a row since it lost 10-9 to Hungary in group play for its first loss at the Olympics since the 2008 final against the Netherlands.



Chinese teenagers Quan Hongchan and Chen Yuxi have swept the top two spots in women’s 10-meter platform diving.

The 14-year-old Quan took gold with 466.20 points and the 15-year-old Chen grabbed silver with 425.40 as China completed a golden sweep of the women’s diving events.

Melissa Wu of Australia claimed the bronze medal with 371.40 points.


Dutch track cyclist Laurine van Riessen was taken from the track at the Izu Velodrome on a stretcher after a crash in the semifinals of the keirin at the Tokyo Olympics.

Van Riessen was trapped between two riders entering the final lap of the race. Her front wheel suddenly dodged to the right, wiping out British favorite Katy Marchant and sending both of them to the track.

Marchant was able to get back on her bike but van Riessen lay on the track apron for several minutes. She eventually was loaded onto a stretcher and taken down a tunnel.

The keirin is a six-lap race in which riders follow a motorized bike called a derny for the first three laps. It slowly picks up speed before leaving the track, leaving the riders to sprint the final three laps to the finish.



Albert Batyrgaziev of the Russian team has won the gold medal in men’s featherweight boxing, beating American Duke Ragan in a meeting of two professional fighters chasing Olympic glory.

Batyrgaziev won the bout 3:2, cruising to victory after winning the first two rounds on three of the five judges’ cards. He got off to an impressive, active start against Ragan, who needed time to find his groove before winning the third round on four of five cards.

Batyrgaziev and Ragan both turned pro last year during the Olympic delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Batyrgaziev recorded the best tournament run of his Olympic and amateur careers in Tokyo, while Ragan surged from an unseeded position to fall just short of the American team’s first men’s gold medal since 2004.

Lázaro Álvarez of Cuba and Samuel Takyi of Ghana won bronze medals. Takyi’s medal is the fifth won by Ghana in all sports in its Olympic history, and its first since 1992.


The Russian Olympic Committee men’s volleyball team avenged a semifinal loss to Brazil in the last Olympics by mounting a big rally in the third set to win their semifinal match in four sets.

The ROC fought back from eight points down to win the crucial third set and then closed it out in the fourth in a matchup of the sport’s two biggest powerhouses.

The Russians will play the winner of the France-Argentina semifinal on Saturday for the gold medal. Brazil will play the loser for the bronze after failing to make it to the gold medal game for the first time since 2000.


IOC investigators are “setting up the interviews” with the Belarus team suspected of trying to forcibly remove sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya from the Olympics.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says the disciplinary process that formally opened Tuesday is “determining who needs to be heard.”

Belarus officials Artur Shumak and Yuri Moisevich have been linked by the IOC to taking Tsimanouskaya in a car to the airport Sunday to put her on a plane to Belarus.

It is unclear if Shumak and Moisevich retain Olympic accreditation and can contact other Belarus athletes.

The IOC was asked Thursday if it acted fast enough when Olympic accreditations have been quickly removed in other cases.

Adams says the IOC moved “pretty swiftly … there has to be a process because there’s all sorts of allegations swirling around and we have to hear what they are.”

Tsimanouskaya, who had criticized team coaches on social media, is now in Poland, which gave her a humanitarian visa.


Marcell Jacobs will carry Italy’s flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony after succeeding Usain Bolt as 100-meter champion at the Olympics.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò made the announcement shortly after Jacobs helped the Azzurri qualify for the final of the 4×100 relay.

The Texas-born sprinter was the surprise winner of the biggest race of the Olympics last weekend.



Australia’s Keegan Palmer has won the last skateboarding gold of the Tokyo Games.

He won in men’s park, breaking what had been Japanese domination in all three previous events.

The silver went to Pedro Barros of Brazil. Cory Juneau took bronze, the second skateboarding medal for the United States.

The first for the U.S., also a bronze, was won by Jagger Eaton in men’s street. Palmer, who is 18 and was born in the United States, was untouchable with two runs of tricks and stunts in the eight-man final.

His gold was the first medal in skateboarding for Australia. All the golds in the other three events went to Japanese skaters.



Pedro Pichardo of Portugal has won the men’s triple jump gold medal at the Olympics.

The Cuban-born Pichardo recorded 17.98 meters on his third attempt to clinch his first Olympic title. He previously won silver medals at the 2013 and 2015 world championships while representing Cuba.

China’s Zhu Yaming took silver at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium with 17.57.

Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango claimed the bronze with 17.47, the first Olympic medal ever for his West African country.



Australia’s Thomas Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen have won the men’s kayak double 1,000 meters at the Sea Forest Waterway with a finishing kick over the final 200.

Germany’s Mox Hoff and Jacob Schopf were 0.304 seconds behind to to take silver. Rodek Slouf and Josef Dostal of the Czech Republic won bronze.


The International Olympic Committee says it’s not aware of any plans to change the schedule for the women’s soccer final between Canada and Sweden.

Both teams asked to avoid kicking off in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo’s heat and humidity at 11 a.m. Friday — an almost unprecedented early start for soccer at any time of year.

The forecast temperature at kickoff is around 91 degrees (31 Celsius).

A later kickoff time would risk a clash with the track and field program in the stadium later Friday, though other venues in Tokyo have been used for Olympic soccer and seem available.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says he “can’t shed any more light” on the process of moving the game.

Changes to the Olympic schedule involve the IOC, Tokyo officials, sports bodies like soccer’s FIFA and broadcasters.

The world champion United States team was expected to make the final and the 11 a.m. kickoff in Tokyo would have allowed NBC to broadcast the final at 10 p.m. on the east coast and 7 p.m. on the west.



New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington has won the women’s kayak single 500 to add to her gold medal haul at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Carrington won her third gold medal in three days, to go with her victories in the kayak single 200 and double 500. She is still scheduled to race the 500 fours.

Like her earlier races, Carrington was dominant from start to finish. Tamara Csipes of Hungary won silver. Denmark’s Emma Aastrand Jorgensen won bronze.



Ryan Crouser has broken his own Olympic record on his way to defending his shot put title.

On his last attempt, Crouser went 23.30 meters to earn the first track and field gold for the American men at the Tokyo Games. U.S. teammate Joe Kovacs finished second and Tomas Walsh of New Zealand was third.

The 28-year-old Crouser went 22.52 meters when he won at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Crouser is already the world-record holder after breaking a 31-year-old mark on June 18 at the U.S. Olympic trials. His throw that evening went 23.37 meters.

In the heat at Olympic Stadium, Crouser took the lead on his first attempt and saved his best for his final one.


Teenagers Quan Hongchan and Chen Yuxi dominated the semifinal round of the women’s 10-meter platform as China seeks a sweep of the women’s diving events.

The 14-year-old Quan led with 415.65 points and the 15-year-old Chen was second with 407.75.

Delaney Schnell of the United States advanced in third with 342.75 points.

The top 12 finishers of 18 starters qualified for the final later Thursday.

China has won every women’s diving event at the past three Olympics.

The only diving event that China has not won at these Games came in the men’s 10-meter synchro, which was won by Tom Daley and Matty Lee of Britain.

Chen is the reigning world champion in 10 meters and already won gold at these Games in the 10-meter synchro with teammate Zhang Jiaqi.



Hansle Parchment of Jamaica has won gold in the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympics by overtaking American Grant Holloway right near the end.

Holloway, the world champion, was in front through nine out of the 10 hurdles, but suddenly faded on the last. Parchment flew past him to add an Olympic gold to the bronze medal he won at the 2012 London Games.

Parchment won in his season’s best time of 13.04 seconds.

Holloway took silver in 13.09 and another Jamaican, Ronald Levy, had the bronze in 13.10 seconds.



Hungary’s Sandor Totka has won the gold medal in the men’s kayak 200, becoming the first non-British paddler to win the event since it started in 2012.

Rizza Manfredi of Italy took silver and defending Olympic champion Liam Heath of Britain won bronze.

Totka beat Heath for the European championship earlier this year and bolted off the start line before claiming victory in a photo finish that saw 0.045 seconds separate gold from silver.


The U.S. men have failed to advance to the final of the 4×100 relay in track and field, extending a long string of failure in an event they used to own.

The team of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie finished sixth in the second heat of qualifying, done in by a series of bad exchanges that resulted in a time of 38.10 seconds.

This marks the 10th time since 1995 that the men have botched a relay at a world championships or Olympics. They were disqualified for a faulty exchange five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. women made it through with a second-place finish in their heat. They’ll race for the gold medal Friday.


Tokyo Olympics organizers have apologized for introducing Ukrainian athletes as Russians at an artistic swimming medal ceremony.

Tokyo spokesman Masa Tanaka says it was “purely an operational mistake” when he announced the apology at the daily Tokyo Games news conference.

The error is more sensitive because of diplomatic tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

The Ukrainian region of Crimea was annexed by Russia soon after the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists continues

The artistic swimming duet competition was won late Wednesday by the Russian Olympic Committee athletes Svetlana Romashina and Svetlana Kolesnichenko.

The Ukrainian duo of Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk took bronze but were announced at the podium as representing the ROC.


Australia will play the United States for the beach volleyball gold medal.

Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy beat Latvia 23-21, 21-13 on Thursday to clinch at least a silver. Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka will play for the bronze against Switzerland, which lost to the Americans in the earlier semifinal.

Australia was an early Olympic beach volleyball power, when Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst claimed a bronze medal in Atlanta and gold at Bondi Beach in Sydney.

But they haven’t reached the podium since.


The American “A-Team” has advanced to the gold medal match of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

April Ross and Alix Klineman beat Switzerland 21-12, 21-11 at Shiokaze Park on Thursday to clinch at least a silver medal. It will be the third medal for Ross, who won silver in London and bronze in Rio de Janeiro. Klineman is a first-time Olympian.

Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre will play for the bronze against the loser of the second semifinal, between Australia and Latvia.

The Americans never trailed in the first set. They lost the first point of the second before rolling off three straight points to take a lead they never relinquished.

The victory also assures the United States of a beach volleyball medal for the seventh straight Summer Games. That’s every one of them since the sport was added to the program in Atlanta in 1996.

Only Brazil had achieved the same success — until now. It has been shut out in Tokyo for the first time, with none of its teams reaching the semifinals.


BMX rider Connor Fields was released from St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo on Thursday, five days after a horrific crash in his semifinal race at the Tokyo Olympics left him with a brain bleed and other injuries.

Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, the chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said in a statement that Fields will be able to return to his home in Henderson, Nevada, to begin his rehabilitation.

The 28-year-old Fields had already qualified for the finals last Friday based on his first two semifinal heats when the gate dropped for the final one. He was flanked by riders on each side of him as he landed hard on a jump into the first turn. The impact with the ground was severe enough, but Fields also was hit at high speed by two other riders.

He remained motionless while the race concluded. Medical personnel then rushed out to attend to Fields, who eventually was loaded onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Fields sustained a brain hemorrhage in the crash, and while the Olympic neurosurgeon was on standby in case surgery was needed to relieve pressure on his brain, a follow-up CT scan taken the next morning showed no additional injuries.

Fields also had broken ribs and a collapsed lung from the crash.



Germany’s Florian Wellbrock has added a gold medal in marathon swimming to his bronze medal at the pool, winning the men’s 10-kilometer race at Tokyo Bay.

Wellbrock raced out to an early lead and was up front most of the way on another sweltering morning in Tokyo. Even with the race starting at 6:30 a.m. local time, the temperature was already 81 degrees (27.2 Celsius) with 80 percent humidity, making it feel like close to 90 degrees.

The stifling conditions apparently got to France’s David Aubry, who dropped out of the race with less than two laps to go and was carried off the deck on a stretcher. There’s no word yet on his condition.

Britain’s Hector Pardoe also failed to finish.

Wellbrock pulled away on the final lap to win by a dominating 25.3 seconds, finishing in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 33.7 seconds. He also won a bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle on the last day of swimming at the pool.

The silver went to Hungary’s Kristof Rasovsky in 1:48.59.0, while Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri picked up the bronze in 1:49.01.1. The Italian was silver medalist in the 800 freestyle at the pool.

Defending Olympic marathon champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands finished seventh, while American Jordan Wilimovsky was 10th.

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Olympics Latest: After drama, Belarus is last in 4×400 relay