Team GB win two more golds including remarkable fourth in swimming - everything you missed on day eight of Tokyo 2020

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·45-min read
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tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - JONATHAN NACKSTRAND /AFP
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - JONATHAN NACKSTRAND /AFP

When Great Britain’s swimmers were last competing with such distinction on a global stage, the Olympic Games had not yet evolved to the point where the women were even invited to race.

That would wait until 1912 but, after six men’s medals this week, the women shared top billing on Saturday morning and, in the space of 3 min 37.58 sec, Team GB had doubled the number of post-war female gold medallists.

To an elite list that had comprised only Judith Grinham, Anita Lonsborough and Rebecca Adlington went the names Kathleen Dawson, Anna Hopkin and Freya Anderson. All were competing in their first Olympics.

Hopkin especially starred, brilliantly seeing off the challenge of China, Australia and the United States to anchor Team GB to a sensational world record. The Americans had Caeleb Dressel on their final leg but Hopkin, all 5ft 4ins of her, swam magnificently to resist the 6ft 3ins fastest man in the world.

“To know that Dressel was coming is a little bit intimidating but I just was not going to let that lead go,” said Hopkin. “It’s pretty cool to say I’ve beaten Caeleb Dressel.”

Hopkin trains in Loughborough with Adam Peaty, who calls her the “pocket rocket” and her 100m split was a scorching 52 seconds, only 0.04 sec slower than Emma McKeown had gone to win the individual 100m freestyle. With Anderson also swimming superbly on Friday to help Team GB qualify fastest and Dawson, Molly Renshaw, Abbie Wood, Alys Thomas, Alicia Wilson and Aimee Wilmott all reaching individual finals, the hope is that the women will have developed by Paris 2024 into the sort of collective medal-winning force that the men have become.

“The girls’ team is really, really strong,” said Hopkin, a sports science student. “We’ve had so many people in the final from the girls’ side fourth, so close to medals and we’re just building year-on-year and our time will come by the next Olympics.

Dawson said that it was “incredible” to become the first British women to win a relay medal since 1912 and, describing swimming as “a male dominated sport”, expressed hope that it would inspire girls and women into a pool.

tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH 
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH

There had earlier been two almost costly mishaps. Dawson had slipped at the start and admitted that the race had turned into a test of composure as she handed over to Peaty in sixth, albeit behind four teams who had put men on the first leg.

Peaty is at his best when he has a target to chase and he then swam an extraordinary 56.78sec second leg split – 0.10 sec faster than his official world breaststroke record – to pull Team GB right back into contention. “If I see somebody ahead of me, I just want to go – I see red mist,” said Peaty.

Next came another near disaster. James Guy, giving up his hopes of an individual medal in the men’s individual event, was swimming butterfly on the third leg but thought that he had dived too early. “I thought I’d screwed it up – I was just panicking and panicking – saying, ‘Please, please, please, please…’” The timing technology was marginally on his side and, having delivered Hopkin her lead, the victory was achieved with consummate assurance.

Peaty beat his chest on the podium and then looked up at Guy. “I said to him that we have got heritage, we have brotherhood – I’ve been racing with these boys for seven years – no other team has got that,” he said. “That’s my 14th world record – it’s more inspiring to be part of this team than anything.”

Peaty has clearly never doubted that Great Britain would one day find itself up with the United States and Australia as the dominant swimming nation at an Olympics and his confidence is infectious. “He’s changed British swimming,” said Guy, who was in floods of tears at every British victory earlier this week but noticeably dry-eyed in collecting his second gold.

In the space of four days, it had evidently gone from being his wildest dream to something almost expected. Peaty, though, did have another explanation. “There’s no more tissues left in Tokyo,” said the new treble Olympic champion.

Triathlon mixed relay gold for Team GB

Britain made history on Saturday as they won the first-ever Olympic gold in the triathlon mixed relay in 1:23:41, adding a third medal to their triathlon haul at Tokyo's Odaiba Marine Park, as the United States took silver and France finished third.

Jessica Learmonth got Britain off to a roaring start as she led out of the swim on the first leg, and Rio silver and London bronze individual medallist Jonny Brownlee expanded their lead to nine seconds after the second leg with a superb transition off the bike.

Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee, who each won silver in the individual events earlier in the week, held on for Britain in the final half of the event under searing and sunny conditions, as competitors throughout the race collapsed on the blue carpet from exhaustion after completing their legs.

The race format features teams of two men and two women, who each complete a short-course race of 300 metres swim, 6.8km bike and 2km run before tagging their team mate to take over.

Brownlee finally joined the family gold rush in his last Olympic race.

Jessica Learmonth, Jonathon Brownlee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee of Team Great Britain celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony following the Mixed Relay Triathlon on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan -  Getty Images 
Jessica Learmonth, Jonathon Brownlee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee of Team Great Britain celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony following the Mixed Relay Triathlon on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan - Getty Images

Having claimed bronze in London nine years ago and silver in Rio behind his brother Alistair, Brownlee finished fifth in the individual race on Monday but he played a key role in Britain's third triathlon medal of the week.

After an excellent first leg from Jess Learmonth, Brownlee broke away from his rivals, and individual silver medallists Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee maintained the advantage to claim Britain's seventh gold of the Games.

"The Olympics, I've completed it," said an excited Brownlee to the BBC immediately afterwards.

Having been in the shadow of his brother for his entire career, Brownlee now finally has his gold - the third for the Yorkshire siblings in a remarkable family haul.

The 31-year-old said: "It's about time. I keep on trying to get gold medals, Alistair's won two so far, and to go home with one and get towards matching him is super special.

"And it's also the first ever (Olympic) mixed team relay in triathlon so we've made history in that. I feel like I've been a part of a lot of history in my career and that's just another one. It's capped off my Olympic career amazingly."

Oliver Dustin to take lessons from difficult Olympic experience

Oliver Dustin admitted he had struggled to cope with the “massive injustice” of being named in a doping case in the build-up to these Olympics after unexpectedly crashing out of the 800 metres heats on Saturday morning.

Reports emerged earlier this month that Dustin, 20, was facing a potential ban after cocaine was found during an in-competition test in France.

However, the French authorities dropped the case and it is understood Dustin’s legal team argued the sample was subject to cross-contamination. Dustin said he had never taken cocaine and had not broken any rules.

Competing in the first round of the Olympic 800m on Saturday, Dustin, who burst onto the global stage last month when he broke Sebastian Coe’s British under-23 record in Nice, France, could only finish sixth.

Asked whether the build-up had affected his performance, he told the Telegraph: “It was hard to process something that was so wrong. I can’t say so much but it is a massive injustice against me.

“As an athlete that’s the last thing you expect to happen, something to come out like that.

tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Matthias Hangst /Getty Images AsiaPac 
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Matthias Hangst /Getty Images AsiaPac

“It was difficult to be at such an emotional low point and then think we’re coming up to the Olympic Games. But I’m much stronger for it and it’s taught me a lot about the sport.

“I’m going to be here for a long time. It’s made me much stronger as a person and an athlete.”

On his unexpected early exit in the heats, he added: “That wasn’t what I wanted today. That’s pretty evident. I just didn’t have it today, it wasn’t there.”

Elliot Giles and Daniel Rowden, Britain’s other two 800m runners in Tokyo, both progressed to the semi-finals.

Asked about Dustin, Giles told the Telegraph: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Oli because he’s out here. He showed the true power of his character.

“I think he’s a hell of an athlete and I think there’s a lot more to come. I’ve got a lot of respect for him because he had to endure some pretty dark times, some pretty scary moments.

“I think it will make him a better athlete because nothing he will face in his career will ever even come close to that. When you think your career is almost over before it’s started I dread to think what it’s like.”

Great Britain women's sevens aiming for bronze after defeat by impressive France in semi-final

Great Britain women's sevens players will aim to put a "difficult few years" to one side and finish with bronze in Tokyo - although it will be a tough challenge against an impressive Fiji side.

British hopes of fighting for gold were dashed on Saturday morning when France deservedly won their semi-final 26-19 at the Tokyo Stadium. Britain will now face a Fiji side, who suffered an agonising golden try defeat to New Zealand in the first semi-final, for bronze.

"We don’t want to focus too much on it because we’ve gone out there and put everything we could out there and now we’ve just got to refocus - focus on the next game," said Emma Uren afterwards. "This competition is not over. We’ve still got a medal on the line. Okay, we didn’t play the way we wanted to play but as much as it’s hard, it drives us now to get that medal."

tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Shuji Kajiyama /AP
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Shuji Kajiyama /AP

Simply getting to the medal matches will be seen by many as an achievement after the women's team, like their British male counterparts, had their central contracts ripped up in August last year as the Rugby Football Union cut costs amid a Covid funding squeeze.

Converted tries from Anne-Cecile Ciofani and Seraphine Okemba moved the French 14 points ahead before a breakaway try from Welsh wonder Jasmine Joyce kept Britain in touch. Coralie Bertrand claimed a third French touchdown before the break, but Joyce then sprinted clear for her second try making it 21-12 at half-time.

Another early try for France, a second for Ciofani, made the mountain to climb that bit higher before a Hannah Smith score converted by Natasha Hunt set up a tense finale, but France held on.

Simone Biles pulls out of two more events to throw her Olympic Games into doubt

Simone Biles has pulled out of a further two Olympic events at the Tokyo Games, with the United States announcing on Saturday morning that she will miss Sunday’s vault and uneven bars finals.

The 24-year-old four-time Olympic champion from Rio de Janeiro had performed well enough six days ago to qualify for five finals, but caused a sensation earlier in the week when she pulled out of both the team and all-around finals. She had said that she needed to put her “mental health first” and had admitted on Friday that her “mind and body are not in sync”. A statement from USA Gymnastics said that, after further consultation with medical staff, the decision had been taken to withdraw her from both the vault and the uneven bars.

Biles's participation in the two remaining events, the floor and the balance beam respectively, on Monday and Tuesday, must also be in serious doubt but the door has been left open. “She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam,” said the statement.

Biles, who is one of the greatest gymnasts in history and was expected to be the global star of these Olympics, had been open about her mental health difficulties while in Tokyo and continued to support her US team-mates from the sidelines.

During a social media Q&A on Friday, she expanded further on the challenge that she was facing. The gymnast said she had experienced the “twisties” before - a kind of mental block that has been compared to the Yips in golf, but never on all four pieces of apparatus. "It's never transferred to bars and beam before for me,” she said. “It strictly likes vault and floor - the hardest two. But this time it's literally on every event. Which sucks. Really bad."

Peaty: Put swimming at heart of Covid recovery plan

Adam Peaty, Britain’s greatest ever swimmer, has called on the country to use Team GB’s extraordinary Olympic aquatic success as a springboard for a new generation to take up swimming following the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swim England has revealed that two million children have missed out on regular swimming since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020 and have warned that almost 250,000 more children will be unable to swim a length unaided following the mass cancellation of school swimming lessons.

Numerous swimming pools have also been forced to close and Peaty who, on Saturday, inspired Team GB to a gold medal in the 4x100m mixed medley relay and the nation’s greatest aquatic medal haul, now wants this elite success to act as a grassroots catalyst.

“There's no point doing any of this if we're not inspiring people,” said Peaty. “Hopefully the kids back home, where they haven't had access to pools and a lot of people have quit, this gives them a kickstart to secure the next generation. That's what the Olympics is about - to do better and chase dreams.

“Hopefully people are looking at this saying, ‘You know what, pools have closed, we’ve had a tough time, we haven’t access to everything but if you’ve got head and heart you can literally achieve anything’.”

Peaty was 17 and swimming at the City of Derby club during the London Olympics and, even with Team GB enduring a disappointing Games in swimming, said that the personal impact was huge. “I remember watching the opening ceremony and how inspiring that was - people don’t realise how powerful sport is,” he said.

Peaty - Paul Grover for the Telegraph
Peaty - Paul Grover for the Telegraph

Jane Nickerson, the chief executive of Swim England, has repeatedly warned of her fears of a “lost generation” of swimmers in the UK following the various Covid-19 lockdown. As well as the closure of swimming pools, restricted numbers and lost revenues have placed a particularly acute strain on public facilities.

There were 4.7 million regular swimmers prior to lockdown, with Swim England quantifying the collective health saving to the NHS and social care budget at £357 million.

It is also a sport that is particularly effective at reaching demographics - the elderly, people with mobility limitations and conditions like dementia - for whom running, walking or cycling during lockdown was not an option.

It all follows the publication this week of a new parliamentary report which revealed that 100,000 fewer children had met the recommended activity levels in 2020 compared with 2019. The digital, culture, media and sport select committee has called on the Government to launch a major campaign, equivalent to the five-a-day initiative, to educate children on the recommended 60 minutes of activity per day.

Anna Hopkin, who anchored Team GB’s 4x100m mixed medley swimmers to victory on Saturday, said that it had been a torrid 18 months for grassroots swimming clubs. “It has been a really tough year for everyone, especially at club level, they've barely been in the water,” she said. “I know that must be really tough for them, and they're probably just dying to get back into full training and competing. Hopefully seeing this will give them motivation to keep going and propel forward, knowing that their time will come and they've got many more years of swimming ahead of them.”

Duncan Goodhew, the 100m breaststroke champion at the 1980 Olympics, said that Government needed to invest in facilities that, even before Covid-19, were already badly oversubscribed in many areas. “It is win, win, win,” he said. “Swimming is a lifelong pursuit that blends all of the things - mind, body and soul - that you need for great health.”

Strop-ovic! Novak loses his cool and bronze medal match

Novak Djokovic vowed to come back stronger as he faced up to more Olympic heartbreak in Tokyo.

The world number one will leave the Japanese capital without a medal after losing out to Pablo Carreno Busta in a hard-fought battle for singles bronze and then pulling out of his mixed doubles clash with Nina Stojanovic with the same prize on the line citing a left shoulder injury.

Djokovic had been bidding to become the first man to win a Golden Slam of all four major titles and Olympic singles gold in the same year before a shock loss to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday.

Rousing himself to go for bronze was always likely to be tough and he lost his cool early in the third set against Spain's Carreno Busta when he failed to break serve, hurling one racket into the empty stands and then smashing another against the net post, as he fell to a 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 defeat.

Djokovic seemed ratted, hurling one racquet into the stands and smashing another.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic smashes his racket d - AFP
Serbia's Novak Djokovic smashes his racket d - AFP

"It was an emotional outburst and it happens. It's tense on the court. In the heat of the battle. It's not the first time and not the last time probably," the World No 1 said.

Dina Asher-Smith's solo Olympic campaign ends in heartbreak

In one of the shocks of the Games, Dina Asher-Smith failed to qualify for the women's 100m final before revealing she was struggling with a torn hamstring.

Asher-Smith intends to try and run in the 4x100m relay, but in a tearful post-race interview with BBC she confirmed the injury would rule her out of the 200m.

She finished third in her 100m semi-final, recording a time of 11.05 seconds.

"It's been a journey but I'm really proud to have got here and done 11.05secs after a week's worth of sprint training, because I spent four weeks just to run again," Asher-Smith told reporter and close friend Jeanette Kwakye.

"I am going to pull out of the 200, and that's the one [that hurts so much] - as the reigning world champion, and I was in such good shape, you know that [becoming] Olympic champion is not that much of a further step to take.

"Yes this has come at the most inconvenient time, but there's plenty more championships for me to come out and kill."

Asher-Smith also paid tribute to her team-mate Daryll Neita, who became the first British woman since Kwakye to qualify for a 100m Olympic final.

"I'm really proud of Daryll. She's had a fantastic championships - we thought 10.9 was on the cards for her and she's done it and absolutely deserves it."

In the women's 100m final, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah led home a Jamaican clean sweep, posting an amazing 10.61 seconds to become the second-fastest woman in history.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who had been seeking a third gold in the event, took silver in 10.74 with Shericka Jackson third in 10.76.

Thompson-Herah's Olympic record time has been beaten only by Florence Griffith-Joyner's 1988 world record of 10.49 - though the American also ran a 10.61.

Women's sevens team denied bronze by impressive Fiji

Great Britain women came up just short of a medal for a second successive Games after being beaten 21-12 by Fiji in their bronze medal match.

Although much improved from their disappointing semi-final defeat to the French, Scott Forrest's team could not get the better of the resolute Fijians, who were undoubtedly still smarting from a golden try loss in their own semi-final to New Zealand.

Alowesi Nakoci did the damage early on with her third and fourth tries of the tournament - the latter an unstoppable run from her own 22 - but Britain were not without their own pressure and Megan Jones' try in the right corner was reward for continual pressing long after the initial first-half seven minutes was elapsed. A missed conversion left the score at 14-5.

Great Britain (R) and Fiji (L) players react after the Rugby Sevens Women's Bronze Medal - Shutterstock
Great Britain (R) and Fiji (L) players react after the Rugby Sevens Women's Bronze Medal - Shutterstock

The second half was initially a cagey affair, the majority of the first few minutes played in the middle third of the field. Fiji's Reapi Ulunisau burst through the middle and outsprinted the chasing Helena Rowland for 14-5 with a little over three minutes left.

But the determined Jones then added a second, this time the conversion made by Natasha Hunt, to trail by nine points with 1:09 left on the clock.

Great Britain were certainly not going to die wondering but in the end time was not their friend and Lavena Cavuru eventually ran the ball out to seal Fiji's victory.

Where the medal table stands - Team GB add to their tally
Day eight morning session - as it happened:

05:29 AM

That's all from me today

Good morning to you and enjoy your weekend. It's been another banner night for Team GB with fgold's in the pool and in the triathlon.

That's all from me today, but my colleague Daniel Zeqiri is on hand to take you through this fine Saturday!

05:14 AM

Athletics - Post-Bolt era in 100m begins in Tokyo

Reuters.

The post-Usain Bolt era in the men's Olympic 100 metres began on Saturday in Tokyo with Dorian Keletela, who is competing as part of the Olympic Refugee team, advancing to the next round with a personal best 10.33 seconds.

Bolt won three straight titles from Beijing in 2008 and his retirement in 2017 has left something of a vacuum in the showpiece athletics event, with no one stepping up to fill the Jamaican's shoes.

On Saturday, amid stifling temperatures that hovered above 30 degrees Celsius, sprinters took the track as they began their attempts to succeed world-record holder Bolt. Keletela, 22, is one of those athletes.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he moved to Portugal in 2016 following the death of his parents due to conflict in his homeland and ran a personal best 10.33 to advance to the next round later on Saturday.

"I am very, very proud of this and I am very, very proud of this team. It gives me a lot of strength to go on," Keletela said after the race. "You can do ... anything, whether you are a refugee or not."

05:00 AM

Transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard thanks IOC for 'inclusivity and accessibility' as weightlifting set to begin

Reuters.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has thanked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the inclusive policies that will allow her to be the first openly transgender woman to compete at the Games on Monday in Tokyo.

The 43-year-old New Zealander, who competed as a man before transitioning in 2013, has qualified under International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) rules to take part in the 87+kg category.

Her qualification has been divisive, however, with some questioning the fairness of transgender athletes who have been through male puberty competing against women, especially in power sports.

Hubbard has not spoken to the media since her place on the New Zealand team was confirmed and on Friday a statement was read out on her behalf at an IOC briefing on inclusion.

"I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible," she said.

The IOC cleared the way for transgender athletes to compete in Olympic women's events without gender reassignment surgery in 2015, issuing guidelines that required their testosterone levels be below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.

04:49 AM

What you missed overnight in pictures

Good morning! If you're an early riser on a Saturday, here's the best of the action from overnight....

tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Clive Rose /Getty Images AsiaPac
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Clive Rose /Getty Images AsiaPac
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Mike Egerton /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Mike Egerton /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Danny Lawson /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Danny Lawson /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Martin Rickett /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Martin Rickett /PA
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - LUIS ROBAYO /AFP
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - LUIS ROBAYO /AFP
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Shuji Kajiyama /AP
tokyo olympics 2020 live news triathlon golf swimming 2021 - Shuji Kajiyama /AP

04:37 AM

'British rowing needs to remember that if you treat people like schoolkids they will behave like them'

British rowing lacks the leaders to get the sport back on track after a poor Olympics, says James Cracknell.

The fallout from Great Britain’s disappointing medal haul in rowing has led to a lot of discussion about cultures. Is it possible to succeed in this sport without being regularly beasted by your coaches? And do we need to be more sensitive in our treatment of athletes?

For me, this debate is heading up the wrong road. There is no issue with the rowers’ commitment. This is a hugely motivated group. They will continue to drain themselves physically and mentally on the ergometers, and in their twice-daily sessions on the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake at Caversham, whether they are being shouted at or not. But what does concern me is how well – or badly – our rowers have handled a weird and disrupted Olympics which has been affected by Covid and all sorts of unfamiliar factors.

I do not see as many leaders in this group as in some previous Olympics. I do not see enough people thinking for themselves and taking ownership of their crew’s training, which is ultimately the basis for the boat’s performance. And I wonder if that is because athletes have been institutionalised by being stationed in Caversham for the whole of their careers after coming through Talent ID.

You can read James' thoughts in full here.

04:21 AM

Boxing - Lauren Price into semi-finals of 69-75kg

Excellent fight from the Brit, she negated Atheyna Bylon's lengthier reach and has guaranteed herself a medal.

04:14 AM

Lauren Price fighting in 69-75kg quarter-final

The Brit is hoping to continue her excellent run as she takes on Atheyna Bylon of Panama

04:11 AM

Judo - Shohei Ono loses first judo bout since 2015

AP.

Japanese judo gold medalist Shohei Ono has lost his first bout since 2015 in the quarterfinals of the Olympic debut of the mixed team competition.

Ono was stunned by Germany's Igor Wandtke in the second bout of the six-match quarterfinal. Wandtke fought very defensively and incurred two penalties, but then threw Ono for a stunning waza ari with 16 seconds left.

Ono's loss occurred immediately after fellow gold medalist Uta Abe lost her own opening bout to Theresa Stoll, putting Japan down 2-0 in the best-of-six mixed team round.

But Japan's lineup contained five gold medalists, and the next four players won their bouts to send Japan into the semifinals. Aaron Wolf finished Johannes Frey early in golden score for the clinching fourth victory.

03:56 AM

Cindy Sember qualifies in 100m hurdle heat

Not the best run from Cindy Sember but a strong last 10m gives her 4th place and into the semi-final. She'll need to improve if she wants to challenge for a medal

03:54 AM

Dina Asher-Smith rival, Blessing Okagbare, provisionally suspended for use of human growth hormone

Okagbare, 32, won her 100m heat with ease on Friday night and was due to line up in the same semi-final as Asher-Smith on Saturday evening, reports Ben Bloom from Tokyo.

The Olympics suffered its first major doping case on Saturday morning when Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare - a big contender for 100 metres and 200m medals - was provisionally suspended for using a human growth hormone, 12 hours after starting her podium quest in Tokyo.

Okagbare, 32, won her 100m heat with ease on Friday night and was due to line up in the same semi-final as Dina Asher-Smith on Saturday evening. She will now take no further part in the Olympics.

The drugs sample was collected from Okagbare in an out-of-competition test on July 19, but the laboratory that analysed it only informed the Athletics Integrity Unit of the positive result after Okagbare’s first-round triumph on Friday. She was told about it on Saturday morning.

You can read the full story here.

03:35 AM

Britain's world record holders speak

James Guy: "We knew coming into this relay we could do something really cool...All of our guys stuck to their own thing - process, process, process. Do your own thing you can't control what anyone else is doing,"

Adam Peaty: "I want to say a massive thanks to all the people behind the scenes, to be part of such an incredible team."

03:26 AM

Cycling - Fields suffered brain bleed in crash, out of ICU, says mother

Reuters.

American BMX racer Connor Fields suffered a brain bleed during a horror crash in Friday's Olympic event but has been moved out of intensive care, according to his mother Lisa.

A message posted on Facebook on Saturday said the 28-year-old, who crashed in the third run of his semi-final heat, was "cogent and communicative when awakened."

Thanking followers for their "companionship and concern and prayers for Connor", Lisa Fields updated a previous message in which she said surgery was a possibility.

"Latest CT scan shows no additional brain injury and no additional bleeding so he has been transferred from ICU critical care to high level care and does not require surgery at this time," she wrote.

Lisa had written in the earlier message that tests showed Connor did not have internal bleeding or a spinal injury.

"Brain function evaluation is ongoing and I will continue to update as I know more and after I get to speak with him," she said in the post.

Fields was the reigning Olympic champion heading to Tokyo after his victory at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

He had already qualified for the final before suffering a horrible fall in the first corner of his third run.

Fields underwent a CT scan on his brain Saturday morning, his father Mike Fields told USA TODAY Sports, adding Connor also had CT scans on his spine and abdomen.

"Cognitively, he's doing well," Mike Fields said. "He knows where he is. He knows his birthday. He recognizes people."

02:53 AM

Swimming - Team GB set world record in winning gold in mixed 100m relay

Team GB won the mixed 100m relay in a world record time of 3.37.58 in an immense, inspiring performance.

Kathleen Dawson slipped on the wall to start and lost ground early. However, she fought back well to hold her ground against the four other women who swam in the early legs. Adam Peaty then thundered into the water, eating up the ground, reeling in his American rival.

Then, Anna Hopkin was handed the lead to bring home. In the front crawl anchor she had a brilliant turn, being chased immensely by Caeleb Dressel. But Dawson did not care. The world record was in sight and she took it along with the gold.

02:44 AM

Swiming - GB up in mixed 4x100m medley relay

Real chance for a medal for Team GB, who are in lane 4, as they're about to take part in the debut event mixed medley relay. China another team to watch here in lane 5.

02:36 AM

Katie Ledecky becomes most successful female swimmer ever

AP.

Katie Ledecky has closed out her Tokyo Olympics with another gold medal.

Ledecky became the first female swimmer to capture six individual gold medals in her career with a victory in the 800-meter freestyle.

Ledecky led all the way in a race she hasn't lost since 2010. But she was pushed hard by Australian rival Ariarne Titmus, who claimed the silver in 8:13.83.

The bronze went to Italy's Simona Quadarella in 8:18.35.

Ledecky finished the Tokyo Games with two golds, two silvers and a fifth-place finish in the 200 free. She lost her first two individual matchups with Titmus, but finally beat her in the 800.

02:20 AM

Benjamin Proud qualifies for 50m freestyle final

The Brit has finished third in his semi-final so he qualifies automatically for the final.

02:18 AM

BBC admit sacrificing Olympics coverage over fears ITV could gain rights

A deal saw the BBC give up full coverage of 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo 2020 in exchange for free-to-air rights to 2022 and 2024 editions, reports Ben Rumsby

The BBC under Lord Hall surrendered the full television rights to this summer’s Olympics to avoid losing future Games to ITV, the corporation has admitted.

Coverage of Tokyo 2020, the first Summer Games to be shared by the BBC and Discovery-owned Eurosport, has been widely criticised amid a lack of free-to-air live action and a series of pay-TV blunders.

The BBC was forced to apologise again on Friday after failing to show Kye Whyte claiming a BMX silver medal on BBC One, instead broadcasting pre-recorded action from the boxing.

You can read the full report here.

02:05 AM

Simone Biles withdraws from vault and the uneven bars

02:00 AM

American Caeleb Dressel sets world record in men’s 100m butterfly

by Jeremy Wilson in Tokyo

Caeleb Dressel had set a new world record in the men’s 100m butterfly to win his third straight gold medal of these Olympics and fifth in total. He touched in 49.45sec.

Team GB are going for their fourth swimming gold of these Games at 3.43am in the 100m mixed medley race, when Adam Peaty will be racing the breaststroke leg. The swimming will conclude tomorrow when Peaty and Dressel's GB and US teams go head to head in the men's 4x100m relay

01:42 AM

Jamie Cudmore sacked after offensive tweets about Canada women’s sevens team

Cudmore came under fire for his comments on Twitter and apologised later, reports Ben Rumsby.

Jamie Cudmore was sacked as Canada’s assistant coach on Friday night after he celebrated the failure of his country’s women’s sevens team to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympics.

Cudmore, the former Canada captain who played in four World Cups before retiring four years ago, had written a string of offensive posts in apparent response to the team having made complaints that led to the departure of their head coach in the build-up to the Games.

They also spoke up before the Olympics about racial and cultural inclusion and the historical treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

“Karma is a b----! #Survivorsmyass,” Cudmore initially tweeted before sharing an image flagged by Twitter as “potentially sensitive content”.

You can read the story in full here.

01:28 AM

'Soft-centred Bitish Rowing are reaping what they have sown – a brutal honesty is now needed'

After Jurgen Grobler's departure, they seem to have succumbed to the same delusion that cultural change is the only answer, says our Chief Sports Writer Oliver Brown.

Of all the excuses to offer for British Rowing’s wretched failure at these Tokyo Games, Andy Anson’s took some beating. Not unreasonably, after the most threadbare medal return at an Olympic regatta since 1976, searching questions are being asked of a sport that, over five years, has managed to spend £24.6 million of Lottery money on the grand total of a silver and a bronze. But the chief executive of the British Olympic Association simply shrugged it off, insisting: “We shouldn’t worry about it. They may not be at their absolute best at these Games, but they’re heading towards Paris.”

Since when have the Olympics, the most august stage in all sport, been treated as a mere staging post to the next time? For 70 per cent of the 11,000 athletes here in Tokyo, there are no second chances. For rowers especially, the Games are all that matter, the only truly international platform they ever experience, not some halfway house to a distant future in which they might not play any part. Even for the best of them, the road runs out far sooner than they would like. Moe Sbihi, drowning in dejection at his bronze in the men’s eight, was asked whether he would still be around to chase gold at Paris 2024. Knowing he could give no such assurance, he turned away in tears.

You can read Oliver's thoughts in full here.

01:13 AM

Daniel Rowden qualified in men's 800m heat

The Brit ran well and was in danger of running out of gas but he was caught up the inside by American Daniel Rowden and settles for a photofinish second.

There was a lengthy check on the result as Chiengjiek of the Refugee team was tripped by Spaniard Ordonez and the judges were checking for a disqualification but nothing happened on that front

01:00 AM

Oliver Dustin 6th in men's 800m heat

It looks like Ollie Dustin ran out of guess about 200m and the Brit can only come home in sixth. He was labouring at one point but he pushed back through. It won't be enough to qualify sadly

12:55 AM

Elliot Giles third in the men's 800m

Elliot Giles with a strong run, he jogs in in 3rd. He started well and stayed in with the pack and came home in 1:44:49

12:47 AM

Jessica Turner qualifies

Good run from Jessica Turner, she holds on to 4th and qualifies for the semi-final automatically. She is the only Brit safely into the next round in the women's 4x400m hurdles

12:45 AM

Jessica Turner up next

Here's Team GB's next big hope...

12:42 AM

Jessie Knight falls at first hurdle

Disaster for British debutant Jessie Knight as she falls at the first hurdle in the inside lane in her 4x400m heat. Her spike got caught in the track as she's about to take off and slips, crashing head first into the hurdle.

12:39 AM

Meghan Beesley finishes 7th in 4x400m heat

The first Brit in the athletics today is Meghan Beesley and she finishes 7th. She started strongly down the back straight but fades at the end as she ran out of gas

12:35 AM

Athletics - U.S. 4x400 mixed relay team reinstated to final

Reuters.

The United States' mixed 4x400m relay team has been reinstated into Saturday's final after they were disqualified on Friday for exchanging the baton outside the changeover zone.

The American team, comprising Elija Godwin, Lynna Irby, Taylor Manson and Bryce Deadmon, were reinstated by jury decision, Tokyo 2020 organisers said on Saturday.

The quartet had posted the fastest time in their heat on Friday.

USA Track & Field did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the circumstances around their reinstatement.

Olympic organisers had not added the U.S. on the start list for the medal race by Saturday morning.

The U.S. won gold when the mixed relay featured at the world championships for the first time in Doha in 2019 and are favourites to capture the maiden Olympic gold for the event.

12:26 AM

Clash of cultures: Inside story of the week when British rowing tore itself apart

Clash of cultures: Inside story of the week when British rowing tore itself apart, reports Oliver Brown.

The schisms within British Rowing were unmasked so mercilessly that you could even spot them in the same boat. Take the moment when a bedraggled men’s eight staggered out on to the pontoon at Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway, having claimed the bronze to conclude an Olympic regatta like no other.

Seven of the crew, all making their Games debuts, looked relieved to have secured a medal of any colour. But off to the side was Moe Sbihi, the one man with experience of what it meant to win gold. He was down on his haunches in desolation. Sbihi’s mood was still thunderous as he arrived for his post-race interview.

The subtext to his anguish was self-evident: he had not given up five years of his life to trail home third. For somebody who had savoured the addictive rush of victory with the four in Rio, this was a bitter encore that underlined the feeling that British rowers’ winning mindset had gone horribly astray. “We’re a highly-funded sport within Team GB,” he said. “We should be doing better."

You can read the full report of British rowing's disaster here.

12:08 AM

Team GB speak after their win

Jess Learmonth: "I was slightly nervous being in a team with so many Olympic medalists and I'm so glad we've won a brilliant race"

Jonny Brownlee: "Olympics, I've completed it!....I felt good today but I think that's probably it for my Olympics career. I've got all the medals I need"

Georgia Taylor-Brown: "I just tried to not panic, Jonny gave me such a big lead so I knew I had time to not stress about it. I wanted a comfortable swim and stay composed on the boke, then give it everything on the run."

Alex Yee: "I was pretty scared taking over, these guys had done a perfect race up to that point and I just wanted to do it justice. My run's my strength so I went for it and it's amazing to be here."

11:54 PM

Gold for Team GB!!!

An outstanding run from Alex Yee, he charges home in a time of 1:23:41. All four member of the team were just flawless today and Team GB's magnificent haul of medal continues to grow. Jonny Brownlee finally gets his hands on a much coveted gold.

11:51 PM

Yee builds huge lead on foot

Entering the final km, Alex Yee has absolutely gassed Luis and Pearson. He's 11 seconds ahead now, an absolute mountain to climb for those two to catch Yee. Surely it will be gold for GB...

11:48 PM

Yee holds razor thin lead entering the final sprint

Yee completes the final transition perfectly and here we go! The final two km on his feet, he's off at 1:18:13 but Frenchman Vincent Luis is just 3 seconds behind. It'll be a nail biting finish!

11:44 PM

Alex Yee neck-and-neck halfway though the cycle

Vincent Luis has closed the gap significantly on Alex Yee, and he's overtaken! But Alex Yee responds magnificently through the transition and holds a 1 second lead. Remember Yee is lightning fast his feet...

11:38 PM

Alex Yee leading getting on his bike

The Brit is out in 1:07:21, 12 seconds over the American and 19 seconds over the French. 2 laps of 8.6km to go before the final 2km run. Team GB looking good for an early gold today

11:34 PM

Alex Yee looks to bring gold home

Alex Yee is off! Georgia Taylor-Brown gives him a lead of 21 seconds over his American rival Morgan Pearson. She comes in at 1:03:13.

Tremendous from Taylor-Brown by the way, she ends up lapping Canada and Mexico on the run.

11:27 PM

Taylor-Brown holds lead as Alex Yee prepares to anchor

It's an advantage for Britain here as Georgia Taylor-Brown hops off the bike with an 11 second advantage over American Taylor Knibb. Alex Yee will be off on the anchor leg in about five minutes. It's a time of 57:07 for the Brit

11:17 PM

Taylor-Brown builds on the lead

The individual silver medalist came out 45:42, with a 23 second lead over her rival American. France have climbed up to third, but are still 26 seconds back on Taylor Brown getting on the bikes.

11:12 PM

Brownlee pulls away to hand Team GB the advantage

Outstanding run from Jonny Brownlee as his finishes his Olympics career in style. He thundered away from everyone to hand over to Georgia Taylor-Brown at 42:20, 20 seconds ahead of the United States in second. The Dutch in third are 22 seconds back. France are 30 seconds off the pace

11:07 PM

Brownlee leads entering the run

Brownlee with another excellent transition after a powerful bike race, he has a two second lead over McDowell the America. The Dutch and Germans are right there with McDowell. 35:54 the leading time.

10:56 PM

Brownlee uses slipstream, third out of the water

Nothing between the four swimmers coming into the transition on to the bikes, going to be a tight race this

10:52 PM

Jonny Brownlee off for his leg

Excellent effort from Jess Learmonth, she hung tight with Katie Zafares, the stronger runner. She was marginally caught by Lauran Liendemann with the sprint and it's still a four-horse race heading into leg two after a time of 21:14 from Zafares.

10:46 PM

Jess Learmonth still leading entering 2km run

It's still a four horse-race heading into the run, Team GB's Jess Learmonth was in and out in a flash and has the lead after a swift transition at a time of 15:03.

The trailing pack are at least 26 seconds plus back.

10:43 PM

Two Trinidad and Tobago competitors, coach test positive for Covid-19

Reuters.

Trinidad and Tobago long jumper Andwuelle Wright and 400 metres hurdler Sparkle Ann McKnight have been withdrawn from the Tokyo Games after they tested positive for Covid-19, the country's Olympic committee said on Friday.

The duo, along with athletics coach Wendell Williams who also tested positive for the coronavirus, have been moved into a quarantine facility, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago did not immediately respond to questions over whether other members of the team have been impacted as close contacts - or moved into isolation - as a result.

The announcement comes after two pole vaulters -- double world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and Argentina's German Chiaraviglio -- were also ruled out of the Olympics earlier in the week after they tested positive for the virus.

10:39 PM

Four-nation peloton half way through the first cycle

Jess Learmonth is part of the leading pack, along with Katie Zaferes of the USA, Maya Kingma of the Netherlands and Lauran Liendemann of Germany. It's a four nation peloton, they cross at 9:25, with fellow pre-race favourites France a way back.

10:34 PM

Team GB lead out of the water

At the 300m stage, Jess Learmonth of Team GB is leading as expected. Team GB are first out of the water and she's on to the bike quickly. Quick swim for her, 3:32 on the clock.

10:32 PM

Mixed team triathlon under way

Good night or early morning in Tokyo! The first ever mixed team triathlon is under way as Alex Yee, Jonny Brownlee, Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown go for Team GB. Each leg is expected to take just 20 minutes per athlete.

10:20 PM

American Xander Schauffele fires 63, takes second-round lead at Olympics

Field Level Media.

Xander Schauffele shot a second-round 63 to move into the lead entering the third round at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics tournament at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, Japan.

Despite a 90-minute lightning delay that threatened to shift the momentum for the 27-year-old American, Schauffele kept his late-round push intact.

Schauffele was 8-under in the second round, thanks to a fiery finish that included three birdies and an eagle over the final five holes. At 11-under for the tournament, Schauffele holds a one-shot lead over Mexico's Carlos Ortiz entering Saturday's third round.

Ortiz put together rounds of 65 and 67, and the former University of North Texas golfer said he's thriving in the Olympic environment even with more familiar names on his heels.

Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) was part of a four-way tie for third and Rory McIlroy (Ireland) is a shot back along with fellow countryman Shane Lowry in a grouping sitting at 7-under at the midway point.

"I just wanted to get in contention going into the weekend and still feel I was part of the tournament," McIlroy said after shooting a 66.

The eagle on No. 14 was Schauffele's second of the round, a par-5 on which he left himself around 40 feet to the pin after a dart of a second shot.

"I've been pressing really hard for a long period of time to win a golf tournament to be completely honest," said Schauffele, who last won on the PGA Tour in 2019. "There was a point today where I started to get a little impatient, and I kind of had to remind myself back to the times where I did win."

Schauffele capped his round with a 12-foot putt on the 18th, just before the third weather delay of the Olympics hit the course.

Matsuyama was one of several golfers unable to finish their second 18 of the tournament due to weather. They will return early to complete play Saturday.

Collin Morikawa and Patrick Reed are 3-under and eight shots back of Schauffele, who admitted it will be challenging not to be thinking about gold over the next two days.

"I'm just going to try to stay as patient as possible coming through to the finish line. If you represent your country to the best of your ability and you're very proud of your country, I think it's an honor to win a medal. It doesn't matter what color," he said. "Obviously we're all shooting for gold."

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