Team USA men’s basketball gets a shot at revenge in gold medal game
Day 13 of Tokyo 2020 saw the U.S. expand its total medal lead and cut China’s gold medal lead to just five.
After stumbling out of the gate in its first game of preliminary play at Tokyo 2020 against France, Team USA’s men’s basketball team is now in position to take revenge in the gold medal game.
Back on July 26, the French ended the Americans’ 25-game Olympic win streak in men’s basketball with an 83-76 win. The loss shocked many in the international basketball world, and had Team USA looking far from the power that coasted to the gold medal in Beijing, London and Rio.
It also followed two losses in warm-up games to Nigeria and Australia.
The latter was Team USA’s opponent on Aug. 5, and the Americans trailed after one before outscoring the Aussies 79 to 54 in the next three quarters to move on to the gold medal game, 97-78. All-time Team USA leading scorer Kevin Durant led the way with 23 points.
France was given a much tougher semifinal game by a Luka Doncic-led Slovenia, but eked out a 90-89 win thanks to a last-possession block by Nicolas Batum, which preserved its slim lead. It was also the first loss in international competition for Doncic, who now has a career record of 17 wins and one loss.
The rematch between Team USA and France will take place on Aug. 7, the penultimate day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Another USA team that was a favorite heading into its own tournament was the women’s soccer team, but a 1-0 loss to Canada in the semifinals meant the team would have to settle for a bronze.
It did just that on Aug. 5, as it beat Australia in a thrilling 4-3 game that saw the team led by its two legends, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, who scored two goals apiece. The goals put the team up 4-1, but Australia battled back within a goal to make it nerve-wracking until the final whistle.
In track and field, Team USA took home four medals on the day with two gold and two silvers. The golds came in women’s pole vault from Katie Nageotte and shot put from defending gold medalist Ryan Crouser.
Crouser broke his own world record on his final throw of 23.30 meters to put him over the top once again. After winning, he also dedicated the victory to his grandfather, who passed away a week before the games.
“Grandpa. We did it. 2020 Olympic champion!” read a note Crouser wrote that he stuck to his backpack.
He was followed in shot put by teammate Joe Kovacs, who took home the silver and New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh, who took bronze. It was also the same shot put podium (and order) as the 2016 Rio Games, and Olympic historian Bill Mallon told ESPN it’s the first time that’s ever happened for an individual track and field event.
The final track and field medal for Team USA on the day was from Grant Holloway, who took home silver after being upset in the men’s 110m hurdle final by Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment, who caught and surpassed the American in the final stretch of the race.
“I got a little bit excited towards the end of the race and my form kind of broke down,” Holloway was quoted by USA Today.
In fight sports, Team USA also reigned supreme in men’s 83kg freestyle wrestling as Penn State University’s own David Taylor took down rival Hassan Yazdani of Iran 4-3 in the gold medal match. Yazdani was the defending gold medalist.
Wrestling also brought home bronze medals with victories from Helen Maroulis and Thomas Gilman in women’s and men’s 57kg freestyle.
In the boxing ring, Duke Ragan won the silver medal after losing the gold medal fight at men’s featherweight to Albert Batyrgaziev of the Russian Olympic Committee.
Outside of track and field and fighting, Team USA also won gold in the women’s 200m canoe sprint, with 19-year-old Nevin Harrison taking the first gold medal in the event’s Olympic history and the first U.S. canoe medal since 1964.
History was also made in men’s climbing and men’s part skateboarding, as Americans won the first-ever silver and bronze medals given out in either sport’s Olympic history. Nathaniel Coleman took the silver for Team USA in climbing and Cory Juneau won the bronze in skateboarding.
More medals will be added to Team USA’s tally in the coming days as gold medal matches are set for basketball, baseball, beach volleyball and water polo.
Currently, it sits atop the total medal tally with 91 total medals, 17 ahead of second-place China with 74. However, it is still second in the gold medal tally behind China with 29. The leaders in the gold medal table have 34.
For Latin America, two silver medals came for Colombia and Brazil.
In track and field, Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano finished second in the men’s 400m to take the country’s third-ever athletics medal. He is also the first male to do so. Ximena Restrepo went home with bronze from the women’s 400m at the 1992 Barcelona Games for the country’s first-ever athletics medal. The second was 2016 triple jump gold medalist Caterine Ibargüen, who also took home a silver medal in triple jump at the 2012 London Games.
Brazilian skateboarder Pedro Barros also took home the first-ever silver medal given out in men’s park skate, which debuted at the Tokyo Olympics.
Elsewhere, Brazil will challenge for gold medals in the boxing ring at women’s lightweight with Beatriz Ferreira and men’s middleweight with Hebert Sousa.
In baseball, the Dominican Republic will go for bronze against South Korea.