Tokyo 2020 Olympics briefing: Biles beaming and the double-double | Olympic Games

Today in a nutshell: There were eight medals for Team GB, records and crashes galore on the cycling track, a bronze medal comeback for Simone Biles, we watched the fastest men’s 400m hurdles in history, and then Elaine Thompson-Herah stole the show.

Tomorrow’s key moments: We can look forward to the women’s 10km swimming marathon, the women’s hockey semi-finals, 13-year-old Sky Brown goes in the skateboarding, and it is the men’s turn to race for gold in the 800m and the 200m on the track.

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Team GB had a “terrific Tuesday” as they won two golds in the sailing, five silvers across athletics, boxing, cycling and sailing, and a bronze in the diving. But we’ll get to all that in a minute, because today belonged to Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah races to victory in the 200m Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

The 29-year-old Jamaican won the women’s 200m to complete an historic 100m-200m double to add to her Rio 100m-200m double – the first woman to retain the Olympic sprint double. The double-double. Incredible. And Thompson-Herah was so far clear at the end of the race she would have had time to slow down and wave to the crowd, had there been one.

Afterwards she said: “Oh my god, it’s amazing that I have ever seen this day. That I could complete another double. I can’t believe it. It feels amazing to win two golds again. I have had a rough week. I haven’t slept after the 100m final. I really had to pull it out to win the 200m. I am so, so happy.”

In a shock behind her, silver went to Namibia’s Christine Mboma, who entered this distance only because a late ruling on her naturally elevated testosterone level barred her from her favoured 400m. Bronze went to Gabby Thomas of the US, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce missed out completely.

Karsten Warholm of Norway staged his own Superman moment in the Olympic Stadium, ripping open his shirt as he blew his own world record away in the men’s 400m hurdles final with a 45.94sec run. The American Rai Benjamin took silver and the Brazilian Alison dos Santos took bronze. “I can’t believe the time, it’s so fast,” Warholm said. “A lot of the time I am asked about the perfect race. I said it didn’t exist but this is the closest I’ve ever come.” He then criticised Nike’s super spikes as “bullshit”. A busy day for the lad.

Karsten Warholm is on it.
Karsten Warholm is on it. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

There were an unprecedented three British women in the 800m final, and 19-year-old Kelly Hodgkinson ran a British record to take silver. Athing Mu of the US took gold, with her compatriot Raevyn Rogers taking bronze. Agonisingly for Britain’s Jemma Reekie, she finished nine hundredths of a second behind Rogers in fourth after tying up in the final moments on the home straight.

Athing Mu of the United States crosses the line to win gold.
Athing Mu of the United States crosses the line to win gold. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Germany’s Malaika Mihambo won a gripping women’s long jump with her last leap of 7.00m, the American Brittney Reese took the silver ahead of the bronze medallist Ese Brume of Nigeria. “It was, I think, the most exciting women’s long jump competition in history,” said Mihambo.

Malaika Mihambo of Germany celebrates winning the gold medal.
Malaika Mihambo of Germany celebrates winning the gold medal. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

It was a bronze medal comeback for Simone Biles in the gymnastics. She finished behind a one-two for China on the balance beam, with 16-year-old Guan Chenchen winning gold and Tang Xijing in silver.

“It wasn’t easy pulling out of all those competitions,” Biles said. “I physically and mentally was not in the right head space and I didn’t want to jeopardise my health and my safety because at the end of the day, it’s not worth it. My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win.”

Gold medallist Guan Chenchen of China celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, Tang Xijing of China and bronze medallist, Simone Biles of the US.
Gold medallist Guan Chenchen of China celebrates on the podium with silver medallist, Tang Xijing of China and bronze medallist, Simone Biles of the US. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

There was a golden sailing morning for Team GB. In an extremely tight finish to the 49er FX Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell beat the German pair of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel by two hundredths of a second, and that was enough to secure overall gold.

An hour later, a last-gasp fourth-place finish allowed Giles Scott to retain his title and claim GB’s sixth consecutive gold in the Finn class. They won’t be able to make it seven – it is being dropped for Paris 2024. As if that wasn’t enough for Britain’s sailors, John Gimson and Ana Burnet then claimed silver in the mixed Nacra 17.

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell compete on their way to winning gold in the men’s skiff 49er class.
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell compete on their way to winning gold in the men’s skiff 49er class. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

On the cycling track the German women’s team pursuit team broke the world record three times in 24 hours as they took gold, blowing Team GB completely away in the final and taking their title – although that still meant a silver medal for Laura Kenny to add to her four previous Olympic golds. In the men’s team sprint the Netherlands took gold, with Laura’s other half Jason Kenny earning silver. That makes him Britain’s most decorated Olympian.

Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny with today’s silver medals.
Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny with today’s silver medals. Photograph: Alex Broadway/

Denmark’s Frederik Madsen lived up to his name by ploughing straight into the back of Team GB’s Charlie Tanfield in the men’s team pursuit, then standing over him angrily bellowing about … what exactly? It wasn’t really clear what Tanfield had done wrong. After a delay of half-an-hour, the UCI eventually decided that Denmark progressed.

Frederik Madsen losing it with Charlie Tanfield.
Frederik Madsen losing it with Charlie Tanfield. Photograph: Christopher Jue/EPA

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The briefing’s picture of the day

Sweden’s world record-holder Armand Duplantis went over at 6.02m to take the men’s pole vault from Christopher Nilsen of the US on 5.97m and Brazil’s Thiago Braz on 5.87m.

Sweden’s Armand Duplantis lands.
Sweden’s Armand Duplantis lands. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

You can find the best images from the 11th day of action in Tokyo in our gallery.

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 Team GB update

There were eight medals in total today – including a bronze for Jack Laugher in the 3m springboard, who put his synchro disappointment behind him. He finished third behind a near-flawless series of unimaginably difficult dives that delivered China’s 25-year-old Xie Siyi the gold. Wang Zongyuan was second.

Jack Laugher of Great Britain competes during the men’s 3m springboard final.
Jack Laugher of Great Britain competes during the men’s 3m springboard final. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

Pat McCormack ended his boxing campaign with a well-deserved silver, after being finally defeated by Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias in the welterweight gold medal bout.

Pat McCormack in red with Roniel Iglesias in blue.
Pat McCormack in red with Roniel Iglesias in blue. Photograph: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

There is a guaranteed boxing bronze for Galal Yafai later in the Games too, after he won his quarter-final in the flyweight. There will be no medal for Caroline Dubois, though. She lost her lightweight quarter-final to Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand.

There were two silvers on the track, but William Fotheringham has this assessment of the day’s cycling for Britain: a crash-packed day that marks the moment the world slipped past GB on the track.

On the downside, a catastrophic Games for the British sprinters got worse as Adam Gemili tore a hamstring on the warmup track – and then took nearly two minutes to hobble around his 200m heat.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Team USA update

Speaking after securing her bronze in the beam, Simone Biles said athletes are “not just entertainers, we’re human.” You can watch the clip here.

The trio of Noah Lyles, Kenneth Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton easily advanced in the men’s 200m, with Bednarek posting the fastest overall time in 20.01.

The clash of the top two men’s teams in Fiba’s rankings saw Team USA eclipse Spain 95-81 to reach the semi-finals. They will face Australia. Slovenia v France will be the other pairing.

Kevin Durant of the USA shoots from the free-throw line during the quarter final with Spain.
Kevin Durant of the USA shoots from the free-throw line during the quarter final with Spain. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Tom Dart has had a look for us today at Team USA’s Olympic highs and lows so far.

🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺 Australia update

As well as the men’s basketball team setting up a semi-final date with the US, Australia’s men’s hockey team beat Germany 3-1 to book a hockey final spot on Thursday against Belgium, who triumphed 5-2 against India.

Australia celebrate taking a 1-0 lead during the hockey.
Australia celebrate taking a 1-0 lead during the hockey. Photograph: Fazry Ismail/EPA

It’s not been a great day off the field, though. Some athletes have apologised after leaving their rooms in the Olympic village in an “unacceptable condition”. Their chef de mission, Ian Chesterman, said team members had damaged beds and put a hole in a wall, but he said no disciplinary action will be taken, putting it down to youthful exuberance. Also “unacceptable” – the men’s rugby sevens and football team are under investigation for their behaviour on the flight home.

Peter Bol, the first Australian man in 53 years to make an 800m final, is challenging stereotypes in Tokyo and says people should “get to know the person, instead of the assumptions”.

Samantha Lewis writes for us that Tony Gustavsson’s fiery edge gives belief that the Matildas can win a bronze against the USWNT.

And the cycling team has promised a full investigation after that snapped handlebar yesterday left Alex Porter lucky he only had minor injuries on the cycle track.

🇯🇵🇯🇵🇯🇵 The hosts and beyond

New Zealand’s women dominated the finals in the canoe sprint. Lisa Carrington took the kayak single 200m, and then she added the women’s kayak double 500m title to that alongside Caitlin Regal. There was a one-two for Hungary in the men’s 1,000m, Balint Kopasz with gold and Adam Varga in silver. Cuba took the men’s double 1,000m.

Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Regal celebrate at the end of the gold medal race.
Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Regal celebrate at the end of the gold medal race. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Poland took two medals in the women’s hammer, with China’s Wang Zheng sandwiched in silver between the winner, Anita Wlodarczyk, and third-placed Malwina Kopron.

In the men’s gymnastics there was another gold for the hosts in the horizontal bars for Daiki Hashimoto, while the parallel bars gold went to China’s Zou Jingyuan.

The men’s football final will be contested on Saturday between Brazil and Spain. Brazil edged out Mexico 4-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. The hosts forced Spain to extra-time before conceding a heartbreaking goal from Marco Asensio in the 115th minute of the other semi-final. Japan will play Mexico for the bronze on Friday.

Kosei Tani watches Asensio’s shot go past him for the only goal of the game.
Kosei Tani watches Asensio’s shot go past him for the only goal of the game. Photograph: François Nel/Getty Images

The 20-year old university student Sena Irie won Japan’s first ever women’s gold in boxing, upsetting the featherweight world champion Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines. “I’m really not good at sports, so I feel like I could kind of show kids who also aren’t athletic that they can accomplish something if they don’t give up. Before I knew it I was on the podium and the national anthem was playing. Somehow I had become world No 1 and I became a little tearful,” Irie said. Bless.

Sena Irie finds out she’s won gold.
Sena Irie finds out she’s won gold. Photograph: Yutaka/Alfo/Rex/Shutterstock

Did you know?

Over recent years the IOC has relaxed the rules on how close together events have to be held. Paris 2024 is taking full advantage. The sailing regatta will take place in Marseille, some 775km away from France’s capital. But they’ve really pushed the boat out for the surfing – the competition will be held in Teahupoʻo, in Tahiti, the largest island of French Polynesia. It’s not even in the same hemisphere.

Key events for Wednesday 4 August

All events are listed here in local Tokyo time. Add an hour for Sydney, subtract eight hours for Hastings, 13 hours for New York and 16 hours for San Francisco.

🌟If you only watch one thing: 6.30am Marathon swimming – 10km in the open water, that’s roughly two hours worth of swimming, easy-peasy. This is one of those incredibly early starts in Tokyo which makes it very TV-friendly in the UK. Settle down at 10.30pm and stay dry as you watch the 25 women thrash it out for the medal 🥇

  • 7.30am Golf – the women’s strokeplay starts today. Early tee times mean this will be on the TV in the UK at 11.30pm tonight. So you can watch the first couple of holes before bed. Along with the swimming. It could be a late one.

  • 9am-12.25pm and 6.30pm-10pm Athletics – a lot of the day is taken up with decathlon and heptathlon. There are semi-finals in the men’s 110m hurdles, women’s 400m and 1500m. The medals will come in the women’s 400m hurdles final (11.30am), women’s 3000m steeplechase (8pm), men’s hammer throw final (8.15pm), men’s 800m final (9.05pm) and the last race of the day at 9.55pm is the men’s 200m final 🥇

  • 9am-12.30pm Skateboarding – it’s the women’s park event, there are four rounds of prelims and then the final starts at 12.30pm, and 13-year-old Sky Brown is involved 🥇

  • 10.30am and 7pm Hockey – the women’s competition reaches the semi-final stage. After the dramatic shootout with Spain, next for Team GB is the Netherlands in the morning match. Argentina face India in the evening game.

  • 1.50pm and 7.50pm Weightlifting – it is the final day of weightlifting at the Tokyo International Forum, with the men’s +109kg 🥇

  • 2pm-4.10pm Boxing – it is semi-final bouts all-day, including Team GB’s Frazer Clarke at 3.03pm. The last fight of the day is scheduled for 3.35pm, and will be the men’s light heavy final featuring Ben Whittaker of Great Britain against Cuba’s Arlen López 🥇

  • 2.33pm and 3.33pm Sailing – conditions permitting, it is the final day of sailing and the Olympics end at Enoshima with first the men’s and then the women’s two-person dinghy – 470 finals 🥇

  • 3.30pm-7pm Track cycling – absolutely packed programme featuring men’s sprint, women’s keirin and then at 5.59pm there’s the bronze and gold medal races in the men’s team pursuit 🥇

  • 5pm, 6pm and 9.10pm Sport climbing – admit it, you were absolutely gripped by this yesterday, weren’t you? It’s qualification day for the women.

  • 7pm Equestrian – it is the individual jumping final 🐴🥇

  • 7.30pm Artistic swimming – it is the duet free routine final 🥇

You can find our full interactive events schedule here, and I’ve been finding it absolutely essential, because as well as telling you what is coming up next, it also tells you what is in play with live scores throughout the day.

As it stands

Here’s how the emoji table looks:

1 🇨🇳 China 🥇 32 🥈 21 🥉 16 total: 69
2 🇺🇸 USA 🥇 24 🥈 28 🥉 21 total: 73
3 🇯🇵 Japan 🥇 19 🥈 6 🥉 11 total: 36
4 🇦🇺 Australia 🥇 14 🥈 4 🥉 15 total: 33
5 ◽️ Not Russia 🥇 13 🥈 21 🥉 18 total: 52
6 🇬🇧 Great Britain 🥇 13 🥈 17 🥉 13 total: 43
7 🇩🇪 Germany 🥇 8 🥈 8 🥉 14 total: 30
8 🇫🇷 France 🥇 6 🥈 10 🥉 8 total: 24
9 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🥇 6 🥈 7 🥉 7 total: 20
10 🇰🇷 South Korea 🥇 6 🥈 4 🥉 9 total: 19

Get in touch

I’ve had lots of messages about the medal table, by the way. Edward Monfred went completely off piste, suggesting it should just be done in alphabetical order. I make that Argentina and Armenia tied at the top with one bronze. Unless it is in alphabetical order in Japanese, like the opening ceremony parade was, which I think places Ireland top.

Dave Blackshaw had a different veiw, and said: “On balance, I think just counting golds is too blunt a measure. And yet counting all medals doesn’t do justice to the different performances. So, I think weighting is the fairest way to go.” He went over and above the call of duty and sent me a spreadsheet to calculate the weighted table based on three points for a gold, two for a silver and one for a bronze.

Steve Smith ran with a similar idea, but also thinks we need to take into account “the pool of talent available to each nation” by then factoring in population. I’m not sure that would be popular in China, but it would certainly do wonders in the medal table this year for San Marino and Bermuda.

On the other hand, Joseph Lapinski said we should just do away with the whole thing and focus on the individual performances. Fine, but where does that leave my precious flag emojis? Get in touch with me about this, or anything else Olympic-related, at [email protected]

The last word

Rai Benjamin reacts after winning the 400m hurdles silver medal.
Rai Benjamin reacts after winning the 400m hurdles silver medal. Photograph: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

If you would have told me I would run 46.1 and lose, I would probably beat you up. I’d tell you to get out of my room. – Rai Benjamin, silver medallist in the men’s 400m hurdles.

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