Allyson Felix became the most decorated American track and field Olympian in history on Saturday as India won their first-ever athletics gold and Kevin Durant’s USA extended their men’s basketball reign.
Elsewhere, with 34 golds up for grabs, Brazil beat Spain 2-1 to become men’s football champions and world number one Nelly Korda gave the Americans the women’s golf title to go with the men’s.
With just a handful of events remaining at the Games in Japan, including the men’s marathon, China lead the way on 38 golds, with the United States second on 36 and Japan on 27.
US sprint queen Felix brought the curtain down on her glittering Olympic career with a seventh gold medal as the Americans stormed to victory in the 4x400m women’s relay, adding gloss with victory in the men’s event.
The 35-year-old’s 11th medal overall – including her bronze in the individual 400m on Friday – takes her past Carl Lewis as the nation’s most-decorated athlete.
“The first (gold) was a very, very long time ago (in Athens 2004) when everything was new,” she said. “ And this one everything is different but in a good way.
“I am so pleased it was running with these amazing women.”
Neeraj Chopra, 23, won the men’s javelin to give India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, their first Olympic athletics gold.
Bollywood music boomed out on the stadium tannoy after Chopra had launched his sixth and final throw, in the knowledge he had won gold. Chopra sprinted the length of the infield, an Indian flag fluttering over his shoulders.
Hundreds of people watched the final on a screen outside Chopra’s house in Panipat in the northern state of Haryana, exploding with joy when Chopra was declared the winner.
“It feels unbelievable,” he said. “It is the first time India has won a gold in athletics, so I feel very good.”
Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan completed a stunning 5,000m-10,000m double to emulate Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s feat at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The Ethiopia-born Hassan was targeting an unprecedented treble in Tokyo but came up short in Friday’s 1500m final, taking home the bronze.
“I am so happy and I cried during the medal ceremony. I actually realised that I am done, the Games are over,” said Hassan after her victory in the 10,000m.
“I am just so thankful, and I don’t think I could have done any better than this. During the medal ceremony I was thinking: ‘It is over. Now you can sleep!’”
Three-time world champion Mariya Lasitskene won the women’s Olympic high jump while Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen became the first European to win the men’s 1500m since 1992.
Earlier, Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir triumphed in the women’s marathon in intense heat in Sapporo in one of the few events where fans were allowed at the Olympics, which have mostly unfolded in front of empty venues because of strict coronavirus restrictions.
- USA basketball dominance -
France handed the United States their first Olympic basketball defeat since 2004 in the group stage of the men’s tournament but could not repeat the feat in the final, narrowly losing 87-82 in Saitama.
Durant poured in a game-high 29 points as the Americans survived some nervous late moments.
“I am bonded with these guys for life, it’s a family for life. I am grateful we all committed to this (Olympics) early and finished it off,” Durant said.
Patty Mills scored 42 points as Australia finally won their first Olympic medal in men’s basketball, with a 107-93 victory over Slovenia in the bronze medal game.
Brazil retained their Olympic men’s football title as substitute Malcom struck the winner in a 2-1 victory over Spain after extra time in Yokohama.
On the golf course, Korda sealed the women’s title, as the daughter of Czech former tennis world number two Petr Korda stayed cool during a late storm delay to finish one stroke clear. Her compatriot Xander Schauffele won the men’s competition last week.
Japan beat the United States 2-0 in the baseball final while France wrested back the men’s handball title from Denmark, winning 25-23.
Chinese diver Cao Yuan won the nation’s seventh gold medal out of eight events to emphasise their dominance in the sport, relegating Britain’s Tom Daley to the bronze medal position in the men’s 10m platform final.
The Games will close on Sunday in the same way they started on July 23 – with a ceremony at the spectator-free, 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
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