Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 8, 3:54 p.m.
SAITAMA, Japan — The U.S. women’s basketball team continued its run of dominance at the Olympics, defeating Japan, 90-75, on Sunday afternoon at Saitama Super Arena to claim its seventh consecutive gold medal.
The team has now won 55 consecutive games at the Olympics. The last time it lost a game in this tournament was in 1992.
The veteran stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird each claimed a fifth gold medal, a new career record for basketball players at the Games.
But amid a generational changeover, there were plenty of assurances that the future for the team would remain equally bright. The Americans’ game plan, which never stopped working, was to get the ball inside to Brittney Griner. She led the team in scoring, with 30 points, and hardly missed a shot.
Japan, undersized and overmatched, relied on its outside shooting to keep the score close in the early part of the game. But the Americans were too clinical around the basket, too tough on defense. Japan will settle for a silver medal, its best finish in Olympic basketball.
Coach Karch Kiraly barely mentioned the U.S. women’s volleyball team’s talent and athleticism when he talked about it at the Games. Instead, he spoke with pride of the atmosphere of “trust, accountability and democracy” that the women had created for themselves.
Foluke Akinradewo, a veteran middle blocker, said team members had made a conscious decision in recent months to express their emotions about the tension inherent in their quest for gold rather than running away from it.
“We allow ourselves to say to each other, ‘I’m nervous,’” Akinradewo said after the Americans’ quarterfinal win over the Dominican Republic. “We say we’re nervous, and then we get after it.”
It was, it turned out, a winning mind-set: On Sunday, the United States won the Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball for the first time by beating Brazil, 3-0.
The team’s run to the Tokyo 2020 final began long before the summer. In the spring, the United States brought its best players to the Volleyball Nations League in Italy, an annual competition among top countries.
Several teams chose to rest their top players this year; Kiraly used it as a kind of tryout, bringing 18 players and then whittling his roster to the top 12 he would take to Tokyo. The United States won the competition and has not let up since.
On Sunday, they completed their journey to their first gold with a sweep of Brazil (25-21, 25-20, 25-14). Andrea Drews had 15 points and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 14.
The United States has won the most medals at the Tokyo Olympics and will be the only country to take home more than 100. But on the last day of competition, the race for the most gold medals was a tight contest between the United States and China.
That race is particularly important to China, which has tried to harness its youth for Olympic glory ever since rejoining the summer Olympic movement in 1984.
With just a few events left, the United States clinched the race on Sunday afternoon by reaching 39 golds.
As the day began in Tokyo, China had 38 gold medals to 36 for the United States. But American teams then won gold medals in women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, and Jennifer Valente won the women’s omnium in track cycling, putting the United States into the lead by one.
Russian Olympic Committee
China had two opportunities for golds, but finished fourth in the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around final and with a silver in women’s middleweight boxing.
By the time Richard Torrez Jr. of the United States was set to take the ring for a super heavyweight final, the Americans had already clinched the most golds.
To establish itself as a sports superpower, China’s government decades ago developed an official “gold medal strategy” that depended on thousands of full-time sports schools, with coaches scouting young talent in villages and cities alike. In addition to traditional strongholds like table tennis and badminton, Chinese officials deliberately targeted sports that were underfunded in the West, such as women’s sports, or less high-profile pursuits with many medals on offer from multiple weight divisions or event categories.
It mattered little whether there was deep public interest in these sports in China. Sports schools started programs from scratch in women’s weight lifting, taekwondo, canoeing and more.
On home turf in 2008, China met its ambitions by topping the gold medal count for the first time. But the country slipped in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, amid public reservations about whether the sports system was worth it. Few children make it to the elite level and even those that do are not guaranteed good jobs after they retire.
Even as government officials stressed that they wanted to encourage mass sports and overall physical fitness, the drive for gold continued.
It paid off in Tokyo. China scored golds in the sports it has dominated in the past, such as weight lifting, diving, gymnastics and table tennis. But it also claimed victories in canoeing, cycling, rowing and athletics, and underscored its growing strength in swimming. The majority of China’s gold medals came from women or from mixed team events.
Eliud Kipchoge, 36, of Kenya won his second consecutive Olympic marathon on Sunday in 2 hours 8 minutes 38 seconds, reaffirming his status as the greatest runner in history over the distance of 26.2 miles.
He finished 80 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, who ran 2:09:58. Bashir Abdi of Belgium took bronze in 2:10:00.
The race was held in Sapporo, Japan, 500 miles north of Tokyo, in an attempt to offer the athletes some reprieve from the severe heat and humidity in the capital. Still, the conditions were oppressive, with a temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity at 86 percent at the start.
Galen Rupp, 35, the American who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, shadowed Kipchoge for the first 17.5 miles. At that point, Kipchoge gestured for Rupp to assist by running at the front. Rupp smiled but did not respond, and a seemingly annoyed Kipchoge began to pull away and took charge of the race, running alone for the final eight-plus miles. Rupp drifted back to eighth place in 2:11:41.
United Republic of Tanzania
Kipchoge did not come close to challenging his world record of 2:01:39 on this brutal day, but he became only the third man to win the Olympic marathon twice in defending his Rio Olympics victory.
Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia took gold at the 1960 Rome Games while running barefoot, and again in Tokyo in 1964, this time in shoes, and famously performed calisthenics in the infield.
Waldemar Cierpinski of the former East Germany won the marathon at the 1976 Montreal Games and the 1980 Moscow Olympics. But his victories, achieved in a country that operated a well-documented and pervasive system of state-sponsored doping, have come under suspicion.
The dominant success of marathon runners from the East African nations of Kenya and Ethiopia has, in an unfortunate way, made them largely nameless, their regular triumphs often viewed as identical, interchangeable. But Kipchoge has stood out for his speed and consistency, his pioneering achievement and his philosophical nature.
“All of us will be in the same frying pan,” he told reporters about the heat and humidity that were expected in Sapporo.
Kipchoge seemed relaxed from the beginning, bouncing lightly in shoes containing Nike’s latest technology, not bothering to wear a hat, occasionally rubbing small bags of crushed ice across the back of his neck and under his arms and pouring water across his shoulders to remain as cool as possible.
At about 11.5 miles, he smiled and fist-bumped the Brazilian runner Daniel do Nascimento. Four miles later, do Nascimento began to struggle and soon stopped running, collapsing in exhaustion on the side of the road. Kipchoge prepared to make his decisive move. Once he did, it quickly became obvious that no one could catch him.
After all, he had become the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, finishing in 1:59:40 (sometimes reported as 1:59:41) at an exhibition in Vienna in 2019. It was a laboratory experiment as much as a race, occurring in controlled conditions with pace-setting methods and the availability of fluids that did not meet the rules for a standard marathon. But Kipchoge still produced a sense of wonderment that a man could run 26.2 miles while sustaining a pace of 4 minutes 34 seconds per mile.
He entered Sunday’s race having won 12 of the 14 official marathons he had entered, including a remarkable 10 in a row over seven years. He set the official world record of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and seemed unflappable when the unexpected occurred. He won the 2015 Berlin Marathon even though the soles had begun coming off his Nike shoes.
TOKYO — The final day of the Tokyo Olympics began early, with the men’s marathon at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Tokyo time (Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern time). The race was held in the northern city of Sapporo in an effort to avoid the worst of Tokyo’s summer heat.
The U.S. women’s basketball team cruised to victory, routing Japan, 90-75, for its seventh consecutive gold medal.
In the afternoon, the U.S. women’s indoor volleyball team will play for gold against Brazil.
Two American boxers will also fight for gold: Keyshawn Davis at lightweight and Richard Torrez Jr. at super heavyweight.
And when it’s all wrapped up, the closing ceremony, again without fans, starts at 8 p.m. in Tokyo, 7 a.m. Eastern time.
India has at last won gold in track and field at the Olympics.
Neeraj Chopra won the men’s javelin on Saturday with a throw of 87.58 meters, nearly a foot farther than the silver medalist, Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic.
“It feels unbelievable,” Chopra said, according to Reuters. “This is our first Olympic medal for a very long time, and in athletics it is the first time we have gold, so it’s a proud moment for me and my country.”
The gold medal is India’s first at the Tokyo Games and only its second ever at a Summer Games. Abhinav Bindra, who won the 10-meter air rifle competition in Beijing in 2008, was India’s only other Olympic gold medalist in an individual competition.
In 2018, Chopra won gold at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, but an elbow injury that required surgery caused him to miss nearly a year of competition. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted his comeback.
“Take a bow, young man! You have fulfilled a nation’s dream. Thank you!” Bindra wrote on Twitter. “Also, welcome to the club — a much needed addition!”
India, the world’s second-most-populous country, has been trying to improve its underwhelming Olympic game, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been keen to use sports to raise its global profile.
Modi has been tweeting congratulations to several Indian athletes during the Games, including Chopra. “History has been scripted at Tokyo!” Modi wrote. “The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit.”
After India’s substandard performance at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro — one silver and one bronze — the government began funneling money to a sports bureaucracy that was underfunded for decades and stained by corruption. Private ventures stepped in, training elite athletes whose upward trajectory they might be able to harness. And state money has started to trickle to grass-roots sports, too.
There has been some jubilation in India during these Games, where it has won seven medals. It defeated Germany to win bronze in men’s field hockey, the team’s first medal in that sport in more than 40 years. The women’s hockey team came close, falling to Britain for bronze.
The badminton star P.V. Sindhu won a bronze medal in women’s singles badminton, becoming the first Indian woman and only the second Indian athlete to win two individual Olympic medals after winning a silver in Rio.
Aditi Ashok narrowly missed a medal in women’s golf, losing out on a bronze by a single shot.
India’s other medals came in weight lifting, wrestling and boxing.
TOKYO — On Sunday night in Tokyo, a stripped-down closing ceremony in Japan’s sprawling national stadium will bring this summer’s extraordinary Games to an end, concluding an Olympics that, in some sense, felt like an illusion — at times convincing and fully welcome, at others jarringly off-key.
Pushing forth in a pandemic, these Games were meant to be, as the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said last year, “the light at the end of this dark tunnel the whole world is going through.” Yet they were often claustrophobic, cut off from society, with capacious venues across Tokyo repurposed into cloistered safe houses.
They were, in this way, paradoxical, uncanny and hard to wholly comprehend. They were a feat of organizational planning and execution, even amid arguments about whether they should be happening in the first place. They were stubbornly called Tokyo 2020, a retrograde name that reminded everyone of the meandering path traveled to this point. They were a made-for-television spectacle, stage-managed at times to the point of absurdity.
For athletes, these were an Olympics of survival, of resilience, of getting by and sometimes, in the end, being OK with falling short of a target. Yet even among medalists, there were feelings of ambivalence about being here, about enduring the alienating circumstances of one of the oddest Olympics in history.
“I can’t wait to get home,” the American sprinter Allyson Felix said after winning a bronze medal on Friday to become the most decorated female track athlete in Olympic history. “I’m counting the days, there are so few now.”
The coronavirus pandemic forced athletes to travel and perform here without the presence of friends or family, to say nothing of fans. They spent their time largely confined to their rooms, specially arranged buses and sports venues.
Though the lasting effects of the Olympics on Japan will be determined only in the weeks to come, early signs showed that the health protocols — the effort to cut off thousands of visitors from Tokyo residents — seemed to work, at least in the short term. At a news conference on Friday, Bach reported that 571,000 screening tests had been performed at the Olympics, returning a positivity rate of just 0.02 percent.
But the path to that point, the means of establishing what an I.O.C. spokesman called a “parallel world” inside the Games, has had an unmistakably estranging effect.
TOKYO — After winning a gold medal at the Summer Olympics, the U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock had big plans for the bonus money that comes with it: buying her mother a $30,000 food truck.
Tamerlan Bashaev, 25, a Russian judoka who claimed a bronze medal, wants to use his money to get married and go on a honeymoon. Andrea Proske, a rower who helped Canada win its first gold medal in the women’s eight since 1992, can’t wait to take her mother on vacation to London.
“I haven’t been able to see her,” said Proske, 35, who will get $20,000 Canadian dollars, roughly $16,000 U.S. dollars. “We’ve all been really in our own bubble. So just to be able to hug my mom for the first time since we return post Covid is going to be special.”
Winning an Olympic medal is often the crowning achievement of an athlete’s career. Most Olympians, though, aren’t multimillionaire athletes like Naomi Osaka, Rory McIlroy or Kevin Durant, so competing at this elite level can be a financial struggle.
But many Olympic medalists are leaving Tokyo with more than just prizes dangling from their necks. They are given an extra behind-the-scenes boost in the form of bonuses. Winning pads the wallet nicely in certain countries — a fact that sparks some awe and even a little envy among the medalists.
Some of the bonuses are substantial: Singapore’s $1 million in local currency (roughly $740,000 in the United States) for a gold medal is the largest known reward. Some are more modest: A United States medalist receives $37,500 for gold, $22,500 for silver and $15,000 for bronze. Other bonuses are nonexistent, such as those for medalists from Britain, New Zealand and Norway.
The first task for Tony Estanguet, the president of the Paris 2024 Olympic organizing committee, is to figure out how to plan an event for which preparations are likely to be affected by a pandemic now well into its second year.
Estanguet brought dozens of staff members to Japan to shadow organizers of the Tokyo Games — perhaps the most complicated, strangest Olympics in history — and to learn how to take a layered plan years in the making and rewrite it on the fly.
“Nobody knows what will happen with this pandemic,” said Estanguet, a three-time Olympic champion in canoe slalom, “so we have to be ready for any kind of scenario.”
At the Tokyo Games, he and his colleagues have visited stadiums and arenas where some of the world’s finest athletes have performed without spectators. He has met with some officials to discuss the finer points of biosecurity, and then sat down with others to learn about the successes — and failures — of bubble environments.
“The learnings of here is that it’s feasible to organize the Games even with this kind of situation,” Estanguet said. “So we are here to learn.”
Estanguet said the Paris officials would remain in Tokyo for further talks after the Games end on Sunday, and then do the same sort of shadowing program with organizers of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where restrictions on movement and health protocols are likely to be even more stringent than they have been in Tokyo.
Yet Estanguet remains hopeful that the pandemic will be something for the history books by the time the Summer Games arrive in France.
“We will look at all the measures they put in place here, but we are still working on our Plan A,” he said. “I want my team first to be at the best level with Plan A.”
That plan is firmly underway. A sponsorship target of one billion euros has just passed the halfway mark, and the keen interest of both France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has already helped clear administrative hurdles.
Estanguet pointed out that the government had adopted a strategy — built around the Olympics — that for the first time requires every primary school in France to set aside 30 minutes a day for physical activity. That, Estanguet said, was an example of the benefits of the Games, already in place three years before the opening ceremony.
Such legacies have been promised by hosts before, of course, only to fizzle out. Instead, the Games have often been followed by recriminations over costs and stories of expensive venues fallen into disuse. Estanguet refused to predict whether Paris would meet its own set of lofty promises, but said the conditions were in place to do so.
“I will not guarantee you,” he said, “but everything is put in place for this new model.”
TOKYO — The United States men’s basketball team lost to France in the group stages, but beat that team when it counted most, on Saturday in the gold medal game, 87-82. Kevin Durant had 29 points.
A third-inning solo shot by Munetaka Murakami of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows was all Japan ended up needing in its 2-0 victory over the U.S. in the baseball gold medal game.
In track, the United States swept the 4×400-meter relays, with Allyson Felix winning medal No. 11, surpassing Carl Lewis for the American record in the sport.
The U.S. men followed suit by winning their 4×400-meter race, two days after they failed to make the final of the 4×100 relay thanks to a flubbed baton pass.
Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands added the 10,000 meters to her earlier victory in the 5,000. Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway won the men’s 1,500.
Nelly Korda, fresh off a win at the Women’s P.G.A. Championship, won the women’s golf event, completing an American sweep of golf at these Games.
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the women’s marathon, with Molly Seidel of the United States getting a bronze.
The U.S. women’s water polo team won its third straight gold medal, defeating Spain.
Gold medals went to Brazil in men’s soccer and to France in men’s handball and men’s volleyball.
Russia won the artistic (formerly synchronized) swimming group gold.
And Jessica Springsteen and the U.S. show jumping team won a silver medal.