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US in Basketball Battle, USWNT Wins Bronze: What You May Have Missed in Tokyo

Chicago
Zach Lavine
Zach Lavine
Getty Images

It was another day of must-win battles for Team USA.

The U.S. men’s basketball team made it to the gold-medal match in Tokyo and the U.S. women’s soccer team battled it out on the field to take bronze.

Chicago-area athletes competed for some big finishes and their chance at a podium moment. Plus, medals were awarded in sports climbing and skateboarding.

Here are five things you may have missed Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Team USA Men’s Basketball Advances to the Gold Medal Game

Team USA defeated Australia 97-78 to advance to the gold medal game. While the final score reflects a blowout, that certainly was not the case early in the game.  A 28-4 U.S. run that started late in the second quarter and carried into the third turned what had been a 15-point deficit into a comfortable lead. Kevin Durant led the way with 23 points and nine rebounds, placing him one win away from tying Carmelo Anthony’s Olympic record of three gold medals in basketball. Devin Booker added 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

The United States advanced to the gold medal game on Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET against the winner of France and Slovenia.

Shot Put, Pole Vault Golds Headline Four-Medal Day in Track and Field

The United States continued its domination in Track and Field in Tokyo on Thursday, this time turning in golden performances in the field events.

Katie Nageotte took the gold medal in in the women’s pole vault, and Ryan Crouser dominated the men’s shot put for his second consecutive gold medal. Grant Holloway added a silver in the men’s 110m hurdles, and Joe Kovacs finished second in the shot put, behind Crouser.

 

In all, the U.S. has won 20 medals in track and field in Tokyo. The closest to Team USA? Jamaica, with seven.

In the shot put, Crouser beat his own Olympic record, throwing the shot put 23.30 meters on his final attempt to take the gold. New Zealand’s Tom Walsh won bronze, which he also took in 2016, making it a repeat across the board on the winner’s podium. It is the first time that has happened in a track and field event in Olympic history.

In the pole vault, Nageotte cleared a 4.9-meter vault, beating Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova and Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, who both cleared 4.85 meters. It was the third time the U.S. won gold in the event.

Holloway finished second to claim silver in men’s 110m hurdles, posting a time of 13.09 despite being the overwhelming favorite to win it all. The world champion blazed to the quickest time in the hurdles semifinals, but was unable to hold on to the top spot in the final. Hansle Parchment of Jamaica won gold in the upset, posting a time of 13.04, and handed Holloway his first loss of the year. Jamaica also won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The U.S. advanced in the women’s 4x100m relay, finishing second overall with a time of 41.90. Team USA, which comprised of Javianne Oliver, English Gardner, Teahna Daniels and Aleia Hobbs finished ahead of Team Jamaica. The heats were missing the star power of Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and reigning women’s 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Unfortunately the men did not fare as well. Team USA, which included Trayvon Bromell, Ronnie Baker, Fred Kerley and Cravon Gillespie, finished sixth in Heat 2 (eighth overall) with a time of 38.10.The U.S. men’s team hasn’t medaled in the 4x100m relay since earning silver in 2004.

Vashti Cunningham was the only member of Team USA to advance in women’s high jump. Cunningham automatically qualified after posting a jump of 1.95m on her third and final attempt. She placed 13th in high jump at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and is a favorite to win it all at Tokyo.

Team USA’s Will Claye finished fourth in men’s triple jump. His longest jump was 17.44m on his third attempt. The two-time silver medalist looked to claim gold for the United States with the absence of two-time Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, who did not compete due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Pedro Pablo Pichardo of Portugal won gold with a jump of 17.98m on his third attempt.

The men’s decathlon reached its final event, but the US did not score a medal, with Canada’s Damian Warner taking the gold.

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Beats Australia to Win Bronze

U.S. women’s soccer is back to the Olympic podium.

The team wasn’t standing atop the perch it expected, nor were the medals around the players’ necks the color they hoped, but they made an important return to the podium after failing to get there in 2016 for the first time.

 

It was two of the team’s gold-medal winning veterans who helped get them there Thursday. Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd each scored two goals to lead the U.S. to a 4-3 win over Australia in the bronze medal game at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was the first bronze medal for the USWNT. The U.S. won gold in four of the first five Games since women’s soccer became an Olympic sport in 1996, taking silver during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

That history of sheer dominance is what made the team’s quarterfinal loss to Sweden during the 2016 Rio Olympics so stunning and the return to the medal podium so necessary, even if not for gold.

It was fitting that Lloyd, who became the team’s all-time leading scorer in what could be her final Olympic game, and Rapinoe, who stressed the importance of winning a medal even if its not the color the team wanted or expected, were the two players who found the back of the net.

Nathaniel Coleman Wins Silver in Inaugural Sport Climbing Event; Cory Juneau Earns Bronze Medal in Men’s Park Skateboarding Final

American Nathaniel Coleman took the silver medal in the first ever sport climbing competition in Olympics history.Coleman finished with 30.00 total points to finish second. In sport climbing, the lower the points, the better, so Coleman finished two points behind Alberto Gines Lopez of Spain, whose 28.00 won the gold. Austria’s Jakob Schubert won the bronze with 35.00 points.

Sport Climbing Made Its Olympic Debut. How Is It Scored?

American Colin Duffy, who ranked fourth entering the finals, slipped to seventh, with 60 total points.

Team USA’s Cory Juneau won the bronze medal in the first-ever Olympic men’s park skateboarding final with a score of 84.13.

Australia’s Keegan Palmer took home the gold medal with a score of 95.83, and Brazil’s Pedro Barros won silver.

WATCH: Skateboarder Kieran Woolley Takes Out Cameraman During Run

Wrestler David Taylor Beats Rival For Wrestling Gold

American David Taylor mounted a comeback against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani to win gold in the men’s freestyle 86kg event. 

Down 3-2 with less than 20 seconds remaining, Taylor was able to get on top of Yazdani, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and notch the critical two points to give him the lead, and then let the clock tick away. 

Taylor and Yazdani have a history that dates back to 2017. Taylor, nicknamed the Magic Man, upset Yazdani in their first matchup at the 2017 World Cup, fresh off of Yazdani’s gold in Rio. Their second matchup came at the 2018 world championships, where Taylor came out on top as well. Yazdani had not lost a match since then, but Taylor made it a perfect 3-for-3 against the Iranian with the win in Tokyo.

The gold medal match was back-and-forth throughout. Yazdani earned a point early after Taylor failed to go for a point attempt. Taylor then got a two-point takedown to give him a 2-1 lead.

 

Yazdani secured back-to-back points to regain the lead by forcing Taylor out of bounds before the American was able to get the comeback in the final seconds of the match.

Northwestern Alum Falls Short of Marathon Swimming Medal

OMAHA, NEBRASKA – JUNE 17: Jordan Wilimovsky of the United States competes in the Men’s 800m freestyle final during Day Five of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 17, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Northwestern University graduate Jordan Wilimovsky again failed to medal in the men’s 10km marathon swimming event Wednesday.

Wilimovsky was the U.S.’ only shot at a medal and was looking for redemption after falling just short during his debut during the 2016 Rio Games.

He finished in 10th place of 26 competitors, with a time of 1:51:40.2 which was +3:06.5 behind the gold medal winner, German Florian Wellbrock.

In 2016, Wilimovsky became the first swimmer to represent the U.S. in both swimming and open water swimming at the same Olympic Games. He competed in the 1500m freestyle event in the pool and the 10km open water event at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

He was also the first U.S. swimmer to win multiple medals in the 10km open water event at the world championships, claiming gold in 2015 and silver in 2017.