Tokyo Olympics Recap: Japan get breakthrough baseball gold, Cao and Yang complete Chinese diving dominance

By Sports Desk August 07, 2021

There was home joy at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on Saturday as Japan beat the United States to the baseball gold medal.

Elsewhere, the diving board brought further Chinese success, and Sifan Hassan was among the familiar winners on the track.

Stats Perform breaks down the best of the action from Tokyo.

JAPAN JOY AGAIN AGAINST USA

Japan's women had beaten the United States 2-0 in the softball final and it was the turn of the men to achieve an identical result against the same opposition in the baseball.

The sport will not return for the 2024 Games, but the hosts seized their opportunity.

Japan stopped their major league season to make a number of leading players available and were rewarded with a first baseball gold medal.

Munetaka Murakami's third-inning home run put the hosts in control, before Tetsuto Yamada profited on an error in the eighth to complete the win.

USA manager Mike Scioscia said: "This tournament has been as intense as anything I've been a part of.

"Nineteen years managing the [Anaheim/Los Angeles] Angels, World Series and I don't know how many playoff games with the [Los Angeles] Dodgers. There's an intensity here. There's a focus."

CHINA DOMINATE BUT DALEY DELIGHTED

Cao Yuan's gold and Yang Jian's silver in the men's individual 10m platform completed a remarkable Games in the diving for China.

Cao became the first Olympic diver to win gold in three different disciplines (3m, 10m synchronised and 10m individual), while the one-two incredibly meant China won both gold and silver in every individual diving event.

Yang joined his team-mate on the podium after registering the highest score in Olympic history, with a forward four and a half somersaults in a pike position earning 112.75 points.

That performance left Tom Daley in third, but he was in awe of the dive.

"Honestly, Yang Jian is almost superhuman; he does the hardest dives in the world," Daley said. "I think if lots of other people tried to do that dive, you'd see quite a few catastrophes, so it's very impressive to see him do that dive."

Daley, who took gold in the 10m synchronised, was delighted all the same, telling BBC Sport: "I am so happy this Olympics has gone the way it has.

"I feel I am a different athlete and to finally get here... I always dreamed I would but if someone told me I was going to win a gold and a bronze I would have laughed in their faces."

HASSAN 'NEEDED' BRONZE HEARTBREAK

Hassan was going for an outstanding hat-trick at these Games, aiming to triumph in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m.

The Dutchwoman made a fine start in the 5000 but then had to settle for bronze in the 1500 on Friday, meaning she was determined to top the charts in her last outing.

A time of 29:55.32 ensured Hassan did just that, and she said: "Today I'm grateful for [the bronze], because yesterday I was number three. That was not what I wanted, but what I needed.

"If I had won yesterday – if I raced smart and won the race – today I [could not have finished]. It was so hot. From the beginning I was really tired. I felt like I was sprinting.

"I was thinking about yesterday the whole race, and I've never gone deep like I did today."

BOWING OUT ON A HIGH

Allyson Felix was asked whether she had passed the torch after her Olympic career wound down in typical fashion with victory as part of a star-studded United States 4x400m team, their time of 3:16.85 the quickest since 1993.

"I just came out really at peace and wanting to soak it all in," she said after a record-extending 11th medal. "Obviously, I had complete confidence in the team.

"I think that is a really special team because we're not 400-metre runners – I don't see myself as a 400-metre specialist.

"We all do different things and it was really cool to come together, to get to close out the Olympic Games and, for me, my Olympic career."

Sydney McLaughlin added: "I think we were excited. An amazing group of women right here, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I think we all just knew going in it's going to be fast and just have fun."

BOOMERS BREAK THE BARRIER

After the United States won yet another gold earlier in the day, it was time for a new medallist in the men's basketball.

Olympic debutants Slovenia, led by Luka Doncic (22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, eight turnovers), went down 107-93 to Australia, who have had far more experience of this stage.

The Boomers reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in Tokyo but only now collected a medal.

Dante Exum said: "We're just ecstatic to get that one out of the way. Getting on the podium is not only huge for us as a team but for Australian basketball.

"We're definitely going to set this standard, that that's where we've got to be, and we're expected to be there every time."

Patty Mills contributed an outstanding 42 points to conclude his fourth Games, and Exum added: "Patty, I mean what do you say about Patty Mills?

"It's unbelievable what he brings on the court, off the court, to the culture of the Boomers. I hope that I can just carry that on when he steps down."

Related items

  • World Series 2021: Braves replace Morton with Davidson after leg break World Series 2021: Braves replace Morton with Davidson after leg break

    The Atlanta Braves have replaced injured pitcher Charlie Morton with left-hander Tucker Davidson on their World Series roster.

    Morton was forced out of the 6-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 1 on Tuesday after he was struck in the lower right leg by Yuli Gurriel's comebacker in the second inning.

    The 37-year-old right-hander initially stayed in the game, but was withdrawn in the third inning, with X-rays later revealing a series-ending broken right fibula.

    Davidson had a 3.60 ERA with 18 strikeouts in four big league starts this season, occurring back in May and June.

    The 25-year-old has not appeared in postseason games and missed much of the regular season with left forearm inflammation.

    Morton had a 3.34 ERA, with 216 strikeouts with a 14-6 record across the 2021 MLB season.

  • Ancelotti on Koeman: Getting sacked is part of the job Ancelotti on Koeman: Getting sacked is part of the job

    Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti says getting sacked is part of the job after his counterpart Ronald Koeman was dismissed by Barcelona on Wednesday.

    Koeman was axed by the Blaugrana following their dismal start to the new season, capped by Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano, leaving them ninth in LaLiga.

    Intense speculation and pressure had mounted about the Dutchman's future for the past month and former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss Ancelotti weighed in.

    "I've been sacked several times and I'm still here, alive and happy," Ancelotti told reporters after Madrid's 0-0 home draw with Osasuna.

    "Getting sacked is part of the job and you have to give it everything you've got until the day you're sacked.

    "You have to look forward while keeping a clear conscience. He’s giving everything he has to give."

    Madrid's draw with Osasuna moved them into top spot in LaLiga but left them with only four points collected from their past four league games.

    Ancelotti's side are also winless from their past three home games, including a 2-1 home defeat to Sheriff in the Champions League.

    The stalemate with Osasuna follows a goalless draw with Villarreal in LaLiga, meaning Madrid have recorded back-to-back 0-0 draws in home games in the league for the fourth time, and first since November 1996 under Fabio Capello.

    "Of the three games, we deserved to win two of them," Ancelotti said. "We have to understand that they are difficult games for this squad, because in this game we lacked presence in the box.

    "But do you want the truth? You can call me crazy, but I liked the performance. Especially in the second half. My players have given everything and we have to keep going."

    Ancelotti bemoaned a first-half incident where Los Blancos were denied a penalty after Vinicius Junior was stamped inside the box by Osasuna's Lucas Torro. The Madrid boss also felt aggrieved at a lack of stoppage time in the second half.

    "The penalty is a complicated issue. All I saw, was Vinicius asking the referee to take a look at VAR and he didn't get why," Ancelotti said.

    "Then I understood why, he stamps on him and I think it's a penalty. Why VAR did not intervene I don't know.

    "I told the referee I felt he hadn't added enough injury time given how the game had gone. I asked him for an explanation but it wasn't very convincing."

    Vinicius Junior was busy throughout, attempting 71 passes (64 completed), which was his highest in a single game for Madrid in all competitions.

  • J.J. Watt ruled out of Cardinals' primetime clash with Packers J.J. Watt ruled out of Cardinals' primetime clash with Packers

    J.J. Watt has been ruled out of the Arizona Cardinals' Thursday night game against NFC rivals the Green Bay Packers with a shoulder injury.

    The 7-0 Cards face a significant test against the 6-1 Packers at State Farm Stadium and will be without their star defensive end.

    Watt, who joined Arizona ahead of this season after securing his release from the Houston Texans, has started all seven games so far in 2021.

    He has 10 tackles, including five for a loss, one sack and 10 quarterback hits, helping the Cardinals to tie their best start to a season.

    But Watt did not participate in the team's only practice of this week before taking on Green Bay and will not be involved.

    The Arizona defense is at least boosted by the return of Chandler Jones from the COVID list.

    Jones ranks fifth for QB hits this year with 14; Watt is tied 14th on the same list.

    In Watt's absence, Jones will aim to disrupt Aaron Rodgers, who is missing two top offensive weapons in Davante Adams (52 catches, 744 yards, three touchdowns) and Allen Lazard (15 catches, 184 yards, two TDs), both due to COVID.

    Arizona do have their own issues in the receiver room, however. DeAndre Hopkins (33 catches, 420 yards, seven TDs) is listed as questionable.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.