Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 7, 9:47 a.m.
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya broke away late in the race to sprint to the gold medal in the women’s marathon.
Jepchirchir was among a large pack of runners that held together on Saturday morning until the late going. She went on to defeat another Kenyan runner, Brigid Kosgei, the world-record holder, who earned the silver medal, and Molly Seidel of the United States, who claimed the bronze.
Jepchirchir won by 16 seconds, in 2 hours 27 minutes 20 seconds.
Officials moved the race in 2019 to Sapporo, 500 miles north of Tokyo, in a futile attempt to escape the sapping heat and humidity that have smothered the Summer Games.
Seidel, running only her third marathon, won a surprise bronze in 2:27:36. She became the third American woman to win a medal in the Olympic marathon. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the inaugural race at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and Deena Kastor took bronze at the 2004 Athens Games.
Hours before the start, the marathon was moved up an hour to 6 a.m. to slightly moderate the effects of a record heat wave on Hokkaido, the northern Japanese island where Sapporo is. But it was swampy at 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with 82 percent humidity.
The race began with many of the runners wearing hats and sunglasses and trying to find narrow areas of shade at a cautious pace. Fifteen of the 88 entrants dropped out.
The winning time was the second slowest of the 10 women’s Olympic marathons, but time did not matter on Saturday. Survival mattered. Winning mattered.
As every weekend jogger knows, it becomes difficult for distance runners to dissipate body heat in hot, humid conditions.
Ice baths for the Olympic runners were set up in first aid and recovery areas inside Odori Park in Sapporo, where the marathon began and ended, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Fourteen water supply tables were set up along the course, nine of them supplied with bags of crushed ice. Ambulances were to follow the runners during the race, the newspaper reported.
Saturday is a huge day at the Olympics, probably the biggest of the Games. How’s this for a lineup?
The U.S. men’s basketball team goes for the gold medal against France, the team it lost to earlier in the competition, at 11:30 a.m. Tokyo time, 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday.
In baseball, the United States will try to earn only its second gold in the sport when it faces Japan, the only team it has lost to in this Olympics, at 6 a.m. Eastern on Saturday.
The track docket includes both 4×400-meter relays, always a highlight, plus the men’s 1,500 meters (the metric mile) and the women’s 10,000 meters and high jump. Those events all begin in the Tokyo evening, U.S. morning.
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the women’s marathon on Saturday morning in Sapporo, Japan. Molly Seidel of the United States, running only her third marathon, won a surprise bronze.
Also on Saturday, the U.S. women’s water polo team faces off against Spain for gold.
Women’s golf finishes, with Nelly Korda of the United States in the mix for a gold medal. And team events in artistic swimming and rhythmic gymnastics begin in the Tokyo afternoon and evening.
TOKYO — On the track Friday night, Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas powered away from the field in the 400 meters, while Allyson Felix, in third place, won a record 10th Olympic medal.
In the men’s 4×100 relay, Italy ran down Britain in the last stride to win. In the women’s race, the Jamaican team, with all three medalists from the 100 meters, outran the U.S. for the gold.
In the women’s 1,500, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya foiled Sifan Hassan’s bid for a 1,500-5,000-10,000 triple; Hassan finished third. Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda won a physical men’s 5,000 with the American Paul Chelimo in third.
Alix Klineman and April Ross of the United States won the gold medal in beach volleyball, giving Ross a full set of medals in the event.
The U.S. women’s volleyball and basketball teams both rolled past Serbia in semifinal matches. Final volleyball score: 3-0. Final basketball score: 79-59.
Gable Steveson of the U.S. won the heaviest weight class in freestyle wrestling, upending Geno Petriashvili of Georgia with a takedown with only seconds to go.
Canada defeated Sweden in a shootout for its first gold in women’s soccer.
TOKYO — The men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics comes to a close on Saturday with the gold medal game between the United States and France in the morning (10:30 p.m. Friday, Eastern time, on NBC) and a third-place matchup between Australia and Slovenia later in the day (7 a.m. Eastern on USA).
The Americans, who have won three straight gold medals in the event dating to 2008, lost their tournament opener to France, raising questions about the team’s preparedness for these Games. It did not help that they had multiple shaky showings, including two losses, in a run of warm-up games before traveling to Tokyo.
But they have improved in every game since. The question is whether they have improved enough, in this short amount of time, to secure the championship.
Despite their loss in the opener, the Americans are still favored to win their 16th gold medal in men’s basketball.
A big part of their recent surge in confidence has been the play of Kevin Durant, who became the country’s career leading scorer in Olympic play during the tournament and has looked dominant in the team’s last two games. After scoring only 10 points in the loss to France, he is leading the team with 19 points per game. Jayson Tatum, coming off the bench, has added 14.4 points per game, while Jrue Holliday has chipped in 12.
For all the Americans’ scoring prowess, it will be their team defense that could make the difference. France, like essentially every other team the United States has faced, tried to use size and strength to bully the Americans’ smaller lineups. Rebounding on both sides of the ball will be crucial.
The French team — whose best men’s basketball results are silver medals in 1948 and 2000 — narrowly slipped into the championship game with a 90-89 win over Slovenia, needing a last-second block from Nicolas Batum on Klemen Prepelic’s layup attempt to seal the result.
Rudy Gobert, the seven-foot-one center, has been a vital presence for France in the lane. He finished with 9 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in the game against Slovenia, and the French will certainly try to establish his presence early and often in the title game.
Evan Fournier, who signed with the Knicks this week, exploded for 28 points against the United States in the teams’ first meeting. The American players afterward praised the French team’s execution on offense, in part a result of years of continuity in the program. In some sense, the game pits the well-drilled French against the supremely talented Americans.
When Bethany Shriever secured the gold medal in the women’s BMX racing final, it was in an event in which she was not even projected to be a finalist. The win last week was Britain’s first Olympic gold in the event.
But it wasn’t just that Shriever, who was racing against the two-time defending Olympic champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia, was an unlikely contender to make the final, let alone claim gold. It’s that without some help from a GoFundMe page she set up in 2017, Shriever might not have even made it to Tokyo.
“The chances would be very, very, slim,” she said.
Shriever, 22, grew up participating in the British Cycling program, honing her skills in a sport where she was often the only girl at the track — something she took note of almost instantly, she said.
“I would just be training with boys pretty much,” she said. The number of competitors participating in boys’ races, particularly as she joined bigger events, always greatly outnumbered those in the girls’ races.
Shriever’s breakout moment came when she captured the junior world title at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, S. C. But within months, Shriever was questioning her future in BMX. In a budget review after the 2016 Rio Games, UK Sport, the government body that invests in Olympic and Paralympic sports in Britain, cut funding to the women’s BMX program and announced it would finance only the men’s program in its journey to Tokyo.
“It was questioning things like, ‘Why haven’t we got the same chances as the men?’” Shriever recalled feeling at the time. “I wanted to get to the top and be able to earn a living from doing this.”
So Shriever decided to stay home in Essex with her family and take a second job as a teaching assistant helping children. She worked three days a week, and headed straight to the track or the gym afterward. “There were nights when I couldn’t put everything into training because I was just so knackered from work,” she said, adding that her employer was flexible with her schedule, giving her half days or allowing her time off for competitions. Her parents ferried her to races.
As the Olympic cycle began in 2019, Shriever knew that to earn enough points to get to Tokyo, she needed a better solution. She calculated what it might cost to hire a coach and to compete in various races before setting up a GoFundMe page for 50,000 pounds, or just about $70,000. She managed to raise nearly 20,000 pounds, which she said was used up almost immediately because of two events in Australia.
“That decision opened a lot of eyes that I did need help and I did have the potential to compete in the Games,” she said about launching a GoFundMe.
By midsummer 2019, Shriever had rejoined the British Cycling program. She did so with the help of a coach from British Cycling and a push by the program to get UK Sport to reinvest in disciplines whose budgets had been cut.
Shriever won all three of her heats in Tokyo and then the final, screaming on her bike as she crossed the finish line. In two weeks, Shriever will be competing for another first-place finish at the 2021 UCI BMX World Championships in Papendal, Holland.
Shriever is still the only woman on her six-member racing team, which includes Kye Whyte, who won the silver medal in the men’s event and was cheering from the sidelines as she made history. In addition to Shriever’s and Whyte’s medals, Charlotte Worthington won gold in the BMX women’s freestyle, an event that made its debut in Tokyo.
Women have come a long way in BMX, Shriever said, with more getting involved despite the obstacles they have to overcome to get the same opportunities as men. There is still work to do, she said, but she feels hopeful about the future.
“We are going in the right direction, for sure,” Shriever said.
All times are in Eastern.
TRACK AND FIELD The women’s marathon will air at 8 p.m. on NBC. Fans can also catch the women’s 400-meter final, which concluded with Allyson Felix taking the bronze, her 10th Olympic medal. Event coverage also includes the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relay finals, the women’s 1,500-meter final and the men’s 5,000-meter final.
DIVING The men’s 10-meter platform semifinal will air at 8:30 p.m., and the final at 2 a.m., on NBC.
CANOE/KAYAK Catch the semifinals in the men’s and women’s kayak four 500-meter events, followed by the men’s canoe single 1,000-meter and women’s canoe double 500-meter from the Sea Forest Waterway. Heats kick off at 8:30 p.m. on USA Network, and all conclude with the finals starting at 10:30 p.m.
BASKETBALL At 10:30 p.m., Kevin Durant and the U.S. men’s team will play France for the gold medal. The game will air live on NBC.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL The undefeated duo April Ross and Alix Klineman won their first Olympic gold in this match against Australia, which is re-airing at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
SOCCER Canada’s women’s soccer team grabs its first Olympic gold in a final with Sweden; a replay of the match airs at 11:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
BASEBALL In another medal matchup, South Korea takes on the Dominican Republic for the bronze medal. The game begins at 11 p.m. on CNBC. (The U.S. and Japan face off in a gold medal game airing at 6 a.m. on NBC Sports Network.)
Karate made its debut as an official Olympic sport at the Tokyo Games this week as 120 men and women from around the world vied for medals.
The Japanese organizers successfully lobbied for karate to be included as a medal sport, an upgrade from the cameo it made as a demonstration sport at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Two-thirds of the athletes are competing in the kumite portion of the program, where two fighters face off and try to hit and kick their opponents to score points.
The other third will compete in kata, which includes the building blocks of karate performed against an imaginary opponent, traditional aspects of the martial art that purists relish.
Unfortunately for karate fans, karate will not be included in the Paris Games in 2024. But at least for a few days, it will share the biggest stage in global sports.
Canada, a relentless team with an aging star, a sturdy defense and a taste for more after consecutive bronze medals, won its first gold medal in women’s soccer on Friday by defeating Sweden in a penalty shootout, 3-2, after a 1-1 tie in Yokohama.
Julia Grosso clinched Canada’s victory by converting her team’s sixth attempt in a shootout that featured more misses (seven) than makes (five). When her shot went in off Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, her teammates raced forward off the midfield line where they had been watching and buried her in a pile of red at the top of the penalty area.
“I honestly cannot even believe what just happened,” said Sinclair, Canada’s 38-year-old striker and captain. “For the last 40 days, we had a goal to come in here and change the color of the medal and we landed on top of the podium.”
Sweden’s players, who had taken an early lead on a goal by Stina Blackstenius in the 34th minute and created far more chances to score in regulation and extra time, collapsed to the turf, some of them in tears, after the shootout. Sweden, which had won all of its games in Japan until Friday, lost in the final for the second straight Olympics.
“I am trying to not feel it, wake up from this bad dream,” Lindahl said. “Congratulations to Canada, they defended well. That was our gold to lose.”
Canada had been the bronze medalist in the past two Olympic tournaments, but advanced to the final for the first time by beating its neighbor and nemesis, the United States, in the semifinals on Monday.
Trailing at halftime, Canada had tied the score in the 67th minute on a penalty kick by midfielder Jessie Fleming, awarded after a video review confirmed that Sweden defender Amanda Ilestedt had fouled Sinclair.
Sweden pressed hard for the winner before the final whistle and again in extra time, and it even had a chance to win the gold in the shootout, but Caroline Seger shot over the crossbar on her team’s fifth attempt.
That opened the door for Canada, and after Deanne Rose scored and Stephanie Labbe made a save, Grosso strode to the spot and scored the winner.
Fleming’s penalty kick in the second half was her second critical goal for Canada this week; she had also scored a penalty kick for the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the United States in the semifinals. The United States went on to beat Australia for the bronze.
Canada’s victory over Sweden delivered the first major international championship for Sinclair, one of her country’s most decorated and celebrated athletes. But the Olympic title also means that Quinn, who started the final, became the first openly transgender and nonbinary athlete to win an Olympic medal.
In the men’s competition, Mexico beat host Japan, 3-1, to win the bronze medal. Brazil and Spain will meet in the men’s gold medal match on Saturday.
Another 29 people connected to the Games tested positive for the coronavirus, Tokyo 2020 organizers reported on Friday, as Japan reached the milestone of one million coronavirus cases.
At least 387 people with Olympic credentials have tested positive in Tokyo since July 1, including 32 athletes, according to organizers. Most of the infections have occurred among Japanese nationals, including contractors and others working at Olympic venues.
While a tightly controlled bubble has kept the virus from derailing the Games, infections are spiraling across Japan. Health officials reported 5,042 new cases in Tokyo and 14,211 nationwide on Thursday, both daily records.