Kevin Durant admitted Team USA were caught with "a nice haymaker" from Australia before clambering to their feet and reaching another Olympic final.

The Americans scored a 97-78 victory at the Saitama Super Arena, putting a fourth successive gold medal at the Games within reach.

But at one stage in the second quarter Durant and co trailed 41-26, with the Australian Boomers making a fast and purposeful start to the semi-final that they could not maintain.

It was at the point the USA side fell 15 points behind that they took a timeout, and from that stage onwards they dominated, Durant leading the team with 23 points and nine rebounds.

Australia shot just 25 of 61 – 41 per cent – from the field, whereas USA managed 38 of 74 and dominated the boards 44-29 in what became a convincing victory.

"We've been down 15 in games before and came back," Durant said. "It doesn't matter what level it was at, or where it's at. A lot of guys have been in that position before. We know how to handle ourselves.

"We kept our composure and we knew that we could get back into the game pretty fast, if we got stops and got out and ran. So we've got to give credit to Australia because they came out and hit us with a nice haymaker, but we were able to get back up and get that lead back."

 

It came as no surprise to Durant that Australia began as they did.

"We knew Australia would come out fast and hit us with a nice punch. We know that teams want to get us down early, see how we respond," said the Brooklyn Nets star.

"A lot of these guys got continuity for years and years, so they know how to play with each other. I feel like a lot of teams are expecting us to fold early.

"We stuck with it, stuck with our principles, made a couple of switches on defence, and we were able to get some momentum going into the half. Guys came out with that intensity, making shots as well."

The 32-year-old Durant is chasing a third gold medal of his Olympic career, having played on the London 2012 and Rio 2016 teams.

For Jrue Holiday, who is coming off an NBA championship-winning season with the Milwaukee Bucks, this is a first Olympic experience.

Like Durant, he saw no need for panic after Australia began Thursday's semi-final so strongly.

By half-time, Australia's lead had been cut to just 45-42, and a 32-10 third quarter for the USA showed their firepower.

"I think we played the game long enough to know that there's always a chance," Holiday said. "So we took that six minutes in the second quarter and kind of ramped it up, and went into half-time in the position that we liked."

Australia have finished fourth in Olympic men's basketball four times, never going further and claiming a medal.

They will have a bronze-medal game to come in Tokyo and must pick themselves up to go again.

Jock Landale scored 11 points against the USA, and the Melbourne United star accepted it was tough for Australia to keep up their early high level.

"It's hard. It's really hard. They're great basketball players, they're smart basketball players," Landale said.

"They figure out what you're doing and they just find ways to exploit it. I think we started turning the ball over in that third quarter and they were just living in transition, and that's tough to beat. They're the most athletic guys in the world, so I think that's probably where we lost them."

Favourite Grant Holloway said nerves got the better of him after finishing second to Jamaica's Hansle Parchment in the men's 110 metres hurdles Olympic final.

The American led at the halfway mark but faded over the final 20 metres as he was beaten by his 31-year-old rival.

Parchment triumphed with a season-best time of 13.04 seconds, ahead of Holloway in 13.09, lucky to scrape ahead of Jamaican Ronald Levy who took bronze with 13.10.

Holloway and Parchment had run in the same heat and semi-final prior to the final, with the American winning both, before falling short in the all-important race.

"I think the anxiousness and the nerves got the better of me towards the end and I got sloppy with my form," Holloway said. "He got me this time but I'll make sure I get him in the next."

He added: "Hats off to Hansle for an amazing race. I was watching him when I was in high school. He's a hell of a competitor. He has an amazing race plan, he executed to the best of his ability."

Parchment admitted he learned from losing to Holloway in the previous two runs.

"I made some changes to my start, because I knew if I was going to catch up, I had to be closer in the first half," Parchment said. "I think I ran through pretty well. I maintained composure. It was a great race."

Portugal's Pedro Pichardo earned gold medal glory with a national record 17.98m in the men's triple jump.

Pichardo's triumphant effort came with his third attempt, while China's Zhu Yaming claimed silver with a personal best of 17.57m. Burkina Faso's Hugues Fabrice Zango took the bronze with 17.47m.

USA's defending champion Ryan Crouser threw an Olympic record 23.30m to win the men's shot put gold.

Crouser bettered the Olympic mark he set five years ago in Rio de Janeiro to win from countryman Joe Kovacs (22.65m), while New Zealand's Tomas Walsh (22.47m) claimed bronze.

EARLY SCARE AS USA REACH FINAL

The United States trailed by 15 points in the second quarter against Australia but rallied to qualify for the men's basketball gold medal match.

USA won 97-78 over Australia, who have never won an Olympic medal in men's basketball having finished fourth four times.

The Boomers had raced to a commanding position early on as Team USA struggled from beyond the arc.

Yet the reigning Olympic champions reduced the margin to three points by half-time and went up several gears with a 32-10 third quarter.

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant top-scored again with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Devin Booker had 20 points.

USA will face either France or Slovenia in the final as they chase a fourth straight gold medal.

CARRINGTON MAKES NEW ZEALAND HISTORY

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington added a third Tokyo 2020 gold medal to her haul, landing the title in the women's kayak single 500m final.

Carrington claimed her fifth-ever Olympic gold with a strong victory in 1:51.216, from Hungary's Tamara Csipes and Denmark's Emma Jorgensen.

She becomes the first athlete from New Zealand to win five Olympic gold medals, surpassing the four of Ian Ferguson, also in canoe sprint between 1984 and 1988.

Carrington is the fourth woman at Tokyo 2020 to win three gold medals, after Australian swimmers Emma McKeon (four) and Kaylee McKeown (three) and South Korean archer An San (three).

GERMAN ADDS GOLD IN OPEN WATER

After winning bronze in the 1,500m in the pool, Germany's Florian Wellbrock won the men's marathon swimming in open water.

Wellbrock won in one hour, 48 minutes and 33.7 seconds across 10 kilometres, finishing 25.3 seconds ahead of Hungary's Kristof Rasovszky for silver, with Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri earning bronze.

The size of the German's victory was the biggest margin in Olympic marathon swimming history.

“It’s a little bit unreal," Wellbrock said. "The first seven (kilometres) of this race felt really easy."

AUSSIE SKATEBOARDING WINNER

Keegan Palmer won Australia's first-ever skateboarding gold medal with two amazing runs in the men's park final.

The 18-year-old's first run scored 94.04 before a throwaway second round. Palmer backed it up on his final run with a staggering top score of 95.83.

Brazilian Pedro Barros was next best with 86.14 for silver, while Cory Juneau claimed bronze with 84.13.

The event was the final skateboarding medal opportunity from the sport in its debut Olympics.

Team USA shook off a slow start to overwhelm Australia 97-78 and reach the gold medal game as Gregg Popovich saw the best and worst of his team in Thursday's semi-final.

A fourth successive men's basketball title for the US is now within sight, but coach Popovich will know another shaky opening might be asking for trouble.

Here, as in the quarter-final against Spain, the American team went through the gears and eventually piled on the points.

They had trailed 41-26 with 5:23 to go in the second quarter, which was when Popovich called a timeout, having seen enough of his team being pulled this way and that by Patty Mills and the lively Boomers.

Dante Exum's dunk from Jock Landale's delicious assist gave Australia that 15-point cushion, but that was as good as it got for them.

From that point on, the game flipped, the US team going on a 48-14 run through to the end of the third quarter as they built a 74-55 lead, with Australia unable to get close enough to worry their opponents.

Kevin Durant led the USA with 23 points and nine rebounds, albeit making just one of seven three-point shots, while Devin Booker backed him up with a 20-point game.

The clash of France and Slovenia in the second semi-final later on Thursday would dictate whom Popovich must prepare his side to face next.

As well as four in a row, the USA are targeting a seventh men's basketball gold medal in the last eight Olympic Games, going back to the 1992 'Dream Team' triumph in Barcelona.

Tokyo Olympic organisers have apologised after Ukraine's artistic swimming medallists were misidentified as being Russian by a venue announcer.

The Ukraine pair of Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk won bronze in their duet free routine event on Wednesday, finishing behind pairs from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and China.

However, Fiedina and Savchuk were named as ROC competitors by a French-language announcer, causing embarrassment for Tokyo 2020 chiefs.

It was a particularly unfortunate mistake given the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Tokyo 2020 organising committee spokesperson Masa Takaya said: "I would like to apologise to the team Ukraine.

"During the victory ceremony yesterday for the artistic swimming duet, there was mistakenly announced a different country and region's name for the team Ukraine who claimed the bronze medal.

"It was purely an operational mistake, so we would like to apologise for that."

Takaya did not immediately clarify that the mistake was to confuse the Ukrainians as belonging to the Russian team.

Asked for more detail, Takaya said: "French, English and Japanese, these three languages are used. The French language [should] have said team Ukraine; however, it said the ROC instead.

"Of course, people noticed that and the person in charge of the announcement apologised and there was an announcement of apology at the same time, so this was a purely operational mistake."

Tokyo Olympic organisers have apologised after Ukraine's artistic swimming medallists were misidentified as being Russian by a venue announcer.

The Ukraine pair of Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk won bronze in their duet free routine event on Wednesday, finishing behind pairs from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and China.

However, Fiedina and Savchuk were named as ROC competitors by a French-language announcer, causing embarrassment for Tokyo 2020 chiefs.

It was a particularly unfortunate mistake given the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Tokyo 2020 organising committee spokesperson Masa Takaya said: "I would like to apologise to the team Ukraine.

"During the victory ceremony yesterday for the artistic swimming duet, there was mistakenly announced a different country and region's name for the team Ukraine who claimed the bronze medal.

"It was purely an operational mistake, so we would like to apologise for that."

Takaya did not immediately clarify that the mistake was to confuse the Ukrainians as belonging to the Russian team.

Asked for more detail, Takaya said: "French, English and Japanese, these three languages are used. The French language [should] have said team Ukraine; however, it said the ROC instead.

"Of course, people noticed that and the person in charge of the announcement apologised and there was an announcement of apology at the same time, so this was a purely operational mistake."

Jamaica's Hansle Parchment shocked favourite Grant Holloway to win the men's 110 metres hurdles gold medal at Tokyo 2020 on Thursday.

Parchment triumphed in 13.04 seconds, ahead of American Holloway in 13.09, with Ronald Levy claiming another medal for Jamaica with bronze at 13.10.

The 31-year-old Parchment becomes the oldest male athlete to win the 110m hurdles in Olympic history, with the gold arriving nine years after Parchment took bronze at London 2012.

Holloway had led at the halfway mark and appeared on track to challenge Aries Merritt's world record of 12.80 from 2012.

The American lost his stride and subsequent momentum, however, allowing Parchment to swoop with an emphatic final 20m.

Another of the pre-race contenders, USA's Devon Allen, missed out on the medals, clipping a hurdle on his way to fourth spot in 13.14.

China failed to top the podium on day 12 at Tokyo 2020 but still hold a seven-gold buffer over the second-place United States in the medal table.

The leaders endured a rare quiet outing on Wednesday, with Rio silver medal pairing Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan providing the sole silver of the day for China in the artistic swimming.

The USA failed to significantly dent the eight-gold gap from Tuesday, collecting just one gold in the women's 400m hurdles, where Sydney McLaughlin obliterated her own world record as part of an American one-two with defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad.

Muhammad's silver was one of three – all on the athletics track – for the USA as Courtney Frerichs and Kenny Bednarek boosted the medal count – the latter finishing second to North American rival Andre de Grasse in the men's 200m final.

Japan, who led the early gold count in Tokyo, remain in third and added golds through Yukako Kawai in the women's wrestling and Sakura Yosozumi in the women's skateboarding – Japan's third of four possible golds in the debuting event.

Great Britain leaped up from sixth to fourth as Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntrye secured gold in the women's sailing and Ben Maher became Team GB's second successive showjumping champion, backing up Nick Skelton's win at the previous Olympics.

Australia are tied with Team GB on 15 golds after Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan sailed to victory in the men's 470 to go one better than their runners-up finish at Rio in 2016.

The Russian Olympic Committee make up the top six after Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina overcame China's Xuechen and Wenyan in the first of two artistic swimming events to win the Russians' 14th gold of the Games.

Meanwhile, Peruth Chemutai became the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic medal as she claimed gold in the women's 3,000m steeplechase.

 

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse ended his long wait for an Olympic gold medal in the 200 metres final, while Italy smashed the world record in the men's team pursuit final on Wednesday.

De Grasse took silver behind the great Usain Bolt in this event five years ago, while he claimed a bronze in the 100m and 4x100m relay.

But there was no stopping the 26-year-old, who was also a bronze medallist in the 100m earlier this week. 

De Grasse registered a national record of 19.62 seconds; finishing 0.06s ahead of America's Kenny Bednarek, whose compatriot Noah Lyles completed the podium.

He also became the third Canadian champion of the men's 200m at the Olympic Games – and first since Percy Williams in 1928.

"I finally did it. I always felt like I came up short, winning bronze and silver, so it is good to have this gold medal," he said.

"No one can take that away from me. I lived for this moment. This is what dreams are made of. I did this for my kids.

"I am proud of this moment and I want everybody to know. I shocked the world and that is what I came to do. 

"Everyone was saying that the Americans were going to win, but this was my moment and I knew I had it in me.”


FORZA AZZURRI

Italy smashed the world record as they beat Denmark to glory in the men's team pursuit final.

Filippo Ganna – the reigning world time trial champion – produced the goods in the final 1,000m as the Italians edged their noses in front before crossing the line in 3:42.032 – almost eight seconds faster than Great Britain's winning time in Rio five years ago.

"We knew that we were fighting against a really good team, so we were off to a very good start and we were able to overtake," Ganna said.

"We knew that after 2.5 kilometres, we had people who were much stronger, so we wanted to attack them in the last kilometre. We thought that was where we would make the difference.

"I think we can really enjoy the moment now. It's really wonderful to have this medal around our necks and I want to thank all those who have encouraged us day after day to do better."


SWEET SIX FOR SVETLANA

Svetlana Romashina became the most decorated artistic swimmer in Olympic history after claiming her sixth gold medal in the women’s duet.

Alongside Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Romashina scored 98.800 after a wonderful routine in the final to land gold in this event for a third successive Olympic Games.

"I don't think about the sixth medal, I just think about our work which we have done," she said.

"We are very happy. I think we are happy of our work, of our team.

"I don't count the medals, I just want to feel this moment."


LASHA’S RELENTLESS STREAK CONTINUES

Georgia's Lasha Talakhadze resumed his domination of the super heavyweight division, lifting a total of 488kg on the way to glory in the men's +109kg event.

Talakhadze established three world records along the way in snatch, clean and jerk, and total, while finishing 47kg ahead of Iran's Ali Davoudi.

He has now won all 26 available gold medals in major international competitions since the 2016 Olympic Games.

"I feel quite well. I have just gained for a second time an Olympic gold medal and, of course, I have also set a new world record," Talakhadze said.

"When I was standing on the podium, hearing my country's national anthem, it was most exciting because we were for a long time looking forward to this Olympic Games and winning this gold."

Japan squeezed through to the women's basketball semi-finals following a dramatic 86-85 victory over Belgium at the Tokyo Olympics.

Targeting a first medal in the event, the host nation almost suffered last-gasp heartbreak after recovering from 70-61 behind in the final quarter.

Saki Hayashi’s three-pointer put them in front by one with 16 seconds remaining, but there was still time for Belgium’s Kim Mestdagh to take aim right at the death.

However, her last-second jump shot bounced off the rim, meaning Japan go through to a last-four clash with France.

"There were so many peaks and valleys. We were hanging on to the cliff by a fingernail in the fourth quarter," coach Tom Hovasse said.

"We just came up with plays and towards the middle of the fourth quarter, we ramped up our defence and that took them out of their comfort zone.

"We believe in ourselves, and I am hoping more people outside our locker room believe in us.

"I think it is safe to say it is the biggest win in Japan basketball history."

 

FRANCE FEND OFF SPAIN FIGHTBACK

Japan's next opponents are France, who beat Spain 67-64 after another epic encounter.

Despite dominating most of the contest – Marine Johannes leading the way with 18 points – France appeared in danger of throwing it all away as they fell 61-60 behind.

However, they recovered to snatch victory and secure a third consecutive appearance in the last four.

Astou Ndour had 16 points in a losing cause for Spain, runners up from the Rio Games who will not be taking home a medal this time around.

 

SERBIA STUN CHINA

Serbia were another team to produce an inspired turnaround as they defeated China 77-70.

Bronze medallists on their debut in Rio, the European champions recovered from 58-50 down to reach their second successive semi-final at the Games.

"How many times have we done this, 20, 30 times?" said shooting guard Ana Dabovic, who claimed six assists during the game to go alongside her 13 points.

"We never quit, and we play the hardest when we are down. We showed today we can find energy.

"This is a great success for a small country. Second time at the Olympics for Serbia; second time in the semi-finals. This is great."

Jelena Brooks top-scored with 18 points for Serbia, while Sonja Vasic had 16.


SEVEN IN A ROW STILL ON

The United States remain on course for a seventh straight Olympic gold after easing to a 79-55 win over three-time silver medallists Australia.

Breanna Stewart led the way with 20 first-half points – she would finish the contest with 23 overall - as USA ran out 79-55 winners.

"I thought we came out and played inspired basketball on both sides of the ball," said coach Dawn Staley.

"We played with an incredible desire to advance and it was just contagious.

"I thought our team was focused on keeping the heat on Australia and not let them back in the game."

Team USA have not failed to win the women’s tournament at an Olympics since Barcelona in 1992.

A prophecy was fulfilled at Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday.

With the legendary Usain Bolt bowing out of the Olympics for good after another golden Games at Rio 2016, the desperate hunt for his sprint successor began.

One man stood out among the pack in the form of Canadian star Andre De Grasse, who had pushed Bolt all the way in a thrilling 200 metres final.

Injuries in the intervening years quelled the momentum somewhat but at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, five years on from having the tag of Bolt's heir apparent thrust upon him, De Grasse ultimately lived up to the billing.

Here is his journey from Rio to Tokyo.

PUSHING BOLT TO THE LIMIT

Having already shown his mettle with a pair of bronze medals in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships a year previously, De Grasse arrived in Rio with a reputation as a rising star. In Brazil, De Grasse had competed well with Bolt in the 100m semi-finals then earned a first Olympic medal with bronze in the final behind the Jamaican legend and Justin Gatlin. In the 200m, there was further cause for excitement with De Grasse clocking the quickest time in the heats. When it came to the semi-final, De Grasse emerged on Bolt's shoulder and the two exchanged smiles in a lasting image of the Games. Though Bolt went on to triumph in the final, he said of silver medallist De Grasse: "He's going to be good. He runs just like me, he's really slow out of the blocks but when he gets going, he gets going."

INJURY WOE IN LONDON

De Grasse had picked up Diamond League wins in Oslo, Stockholm, Rome and Rabat over the 100m and 200m prior to the 2017 World Championships. With a retiring Bolt not running the 200m in London, De Grasse was a strong favourite, while many were hopeful of seeing the popular duo face off in the shorter race one last time before Bolt hung up the spikes. Sadly, De Grasse would not even make it to the English capital due to a pulled hamstring. More hamstring injury problems occurred a year later, which forced De Grasse to miss out on the Commonwealth Games.

 

BOUNCING BACK IN 2019

After a couple of injury-hit years, De Grasse worked himself back into form in 2019 and made the podium in five of seven races over 100m and six of six over 200m before the World Championships that year. In Doha, De Grasse was back on the podium in the shorter sprint behind champion Christian Coleman and silver medallist Gatlin. In the 200, he lost out to Noah Lyles and settled for silver but was philosophical about the result saying: "I'm not disappointed, I didn't think I'd be here a year ago."

PROPHECY FULFILLED

With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the majority of the 2020 season and postponing the Games by a year, the focus for all athletes turned to 2021. De Grasse enjoyed particular success in the 200 in the build-up to Tokyo, finishing in the top three at three Diamond League meetings including a win in Oslo. At the Games, De Grasse placed third in a wide-open 100m final that was won by surprise package Marcell Jacobs of Italy, before reaching the pinnacle with his triumph in the 200m, where he clocked a Canadian record 19.62s.

Andre De Grasse succeeded Usain Bolt as the men's 200 metres Olympic champion on a day Sydney McLaughlin broke new ground at Tokyo 2020.

Five years on from being tipped as the Jamaican legend's heir apparent after claiming silver over the same distance at Rio 2016, De Grasse went one better to clinch a first Olympic gold of his career.

Elsewhere there was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m final, while Wojciech Nowicki celebrated success in the hammer.

Here's a round-up of the action from the athletics on Wednesday.

DE GRASSE MAKES GOOD ON RIO PROMISE

After pushing Bolt all the way in the 200m at Rio 2016, big things were expected of De Grasse but several injury woes in the intervening years stifled his progress a little.

But he has peaked at just the right time and has ultimately lived up to the billing. World champion Noah Lyles was electric out of the blocks, yet it was De Grasse who was lightning quick driving out of the bend.

With a time of 19.62 seconds, De Grasse ultimately held off the charge of Kenny Bednarek, who took silver for the United States ahead of countryman Lyles.

At the finish line there was a nice message from De Grasse, who told Lyles: "You push me man, you motivate me."

MCLAUGHLIN FOLLOWS WARHOLM LED

Just a day on from Karsten Warholm sensationally smashing the men's 400m hurdles world record, McLaughlin followed suit in the women's race.

Defending champion Dalilah Muhammad, who also ran under the previous WR time, was leading but was overtaken by McLaughlin on the finish straight – the American clocking a hugely impressive 51.46s.

"I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought 'run your race'. The race doesn't really start until hurdle seven," she said.

In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Uganda's Peruth Chemutai claimed gold in a time of 9:01.45.

Courtney Frerichs had opened up a sizeable lead but Chemutai was closing by the final lap and passed her American rival on the back straight, safely negotiated the final obstacle and coasted over the line unchallenged with Frerichs taking second.

KORIR TAKES 800M GLORY, NOWICKI'S LIFETIME BEST DELIVERS GOLD

It was a Kenya one-two in the men's 800m, with Emmanuel Korir coming home in a time of 1:45.06 ahead of countryman Ferguson Rotich.

Peter Bol had taken on the pace but Korir made his move around the final bend. Bol ended up outside of the medal places with Poland's Patryk Dobek third.

In the men's hammer, Nowicki threw a whopping 82.52m to win the men's hammer. He followed up with three more throws over 81m.

The Pole had won bronze at the past four global championships and was third place at Rio 2016.

His compatriot Pawel Fajdek – a four-time world champion – finished third in his first Olympic final with an 81.53, with Norwegian Eivind Henriksen throwing a national record 81.58m to earn silver.

ELSEWHERE…

Grant Holloway, the overwhelming favourite in the men's 110m hurdles, qualified fastest for the final in 13.13, while Sifan Hassan – aiming to complete a 1500, 5000 and 10,000m treble at Tokyo 2020 – qualified for the final of the former event, having already won 5000m gold.

Dutchwoman Anouk Vetter leads the women's heptathlon through four events, although world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson had to withdraw after injuring her calf when running the 200m, and in the men's decathlon Canada's Damian Warner is in the gold-medal position after five.

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse finally got his hands on an Olympic gold medal in Wednesday's 200 metres final in Tokyo.

De Grasse took silver behind the great Usain Bolt five years ago in Rio and came through an open field this time ahead of a trio of American rivals.

His time of 19.62 seconds broke his own national record set in the semi-final to lead Kenny Bednarek (19.68) and world champion Noah Lyles (19.74), with 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton – the youngest male 200m finalist in Olympic history – just missing out on a medal in fourth as five athletes went under 20 seconds.

Bednarek posted a personal best, while Lyles' time was his fastest this season, but neither could match De Grasse, who enjoyed a smooth run from lane six.

For the 26-year-old, victory ended a long wait for Games glory, having also taken bronze in the 100m in both Rio and Tokyo, with a further third-placed finish in the 4x100m last time out.

He was in control throughout this time, though, getting off to a strong start and running smoothly through the bend to hold off Bednarek in the next lane and Lyles on the inside.

Filippo Ganna came up with the goods for Italy when it mattered most with a stunning display of power in the final laps of the men's team pursuit final.

Italy clinched their sixth gold of the Tokyo Olympics by overcoming favourites Denmark in a thrilling race at the Izu Cycling Centre on Wednesday.

Ganna, the reigning world time trial champion, proved decisive as he hit the front in the final 1,000 metres, with Italy gaining a second on Denmark to cross the line in 3:42.032 and claim their eighth Olympic title in the event.

It marks a new world record and clocked in at almost eight seconds faster than Great Britain's winning time in Rio five years ago.

Denmark had looked well set to prove their favourites credentials after a superb opening three kilometres, but they failed to replicate the power shown by Ganna in the final laps and lost by 0.166s.

The Danes had overcome Team GB on Tuesday to make the final, albeit in contentious fashion, with lead rider Frederik Madsen crashing into the back of Charlie Tanfield.


FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH

Team GB had ultimately fallen foul of a somewhat controversial judging call, which meant they had to face off against Switzerland for a seventh-place finish.

However, the outgoing champions recovered to cruise to victory, setting the fastest Olympic time by a British quartet in the process.

"I wouldn't say a point to prove, we just wanted to go out on a positive note, not be disappointed because we had disappointment over the last few days and we wanted to overcome that, go out on a high and look forward to Paris," Oliver Wood told BBC Sport.

There was drama in the bronze medal race too, as Australia triumphed in a trans-Tasman tussle with New Zealand, who had to forfeit when one of their riders fell as a consequence of an overlapping wheel.

Australia have now won eight medals in the last 10 Olympic Games in the men's team pursuit, more than any other nation.


SPRINTING THROUGH

Team GB were able to get over their team disappointment with some fine individual showings from Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny in the men's sprint.

Carlin set a new Olympic record in his first heat, only to qualify as the third fastest, and though he had to survive a wobble in his second race, he progressed safely through to the quarter-finals.

He will be joined by Kenny, who showed typical tactical nous to surprise Yuta Wakimoto on the inside. World record holder Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago also progressed.

The women's Keirin heats also took place, with the major favourites all making it through.

Katy Marchant – a bronze medallist in Rio – had to do it the hard way, however, after she was relegated for an infringement in her first heat. The 28-year-old atoned in the repechage to take her place in the quarter-finals.

Great Britain's Ben Whittaker was left in tears after Arlen Lopez denied him a gold medal in the men's light heavyweight final.

A bronze medallist at the 2019 World Championship, Whittaker went one better in Tokyo. However, his gold medal hopes were dashed after a 4-1 defeat to the Cuban, who claimed his second Olympic gold in the process.

The 24-year-old looked dejected as he took to the podium, while opting not to wear the silver medal and placing it in his tracksuit pocket.

"Every boxer does not go in there to receive a silver medal. Every boxer in my weight class wanted the gold and I was one of those," he said.

"I truly woke up this morning and believed it was my time. 

"I had the whole of the west Midlands behind me, Great Britain, and I just felt like a failure, so I couldn't celebrate the silver at that time.

"I still can't just yet. When I look back in a few years it will probably be a great achievement, but I was just so upset as I wanted that gold, not the silver."


NO COMPLAINTS FROM WHITTAKER

Despite his disappointment, Whittaker was full of praise for his opponent.

Lopez became the eighth boxer to win Olympic gold medals in two events, having also won when competing at middleweight in Rio five years ago.

"The right man won. I didn't have the right gameplan and he was a lot better than I thought," Whittaker admitted.

"He's a two-time gold medallist for a reason. It showed what level he is at.

"He is a fantastic boxer and hopefully I get to see him again and try and right that wrong."
 

CLARKE BID CUT SHORT

A cut above his right eye denied Frazer Clarke a place in the men's super-heavyweight final.

The Team GB boxing captain sustained the blow during his bout with top seed Bakhodir Jalolov, who subsequently advanced through to fight for the gold medal.

But despite his disappointment, Clarke was thrilled to secure a bronze medal.

"It's not the fairy tale that I wanted, but I'm proud of myself," Clarke told BBC Sport.

"The last six months of my life, I've made more sacrifices than I've made in the last 18 years when it comes to boxing. 

"To get in there with one of the best, it's a pleasure for me, an honour for me. I'm an Olympic bronze medallist; never could I see that for myself."


TORREZ THROUGH

Jalolov will face America's Richard Torrez Jr in the battle to claim gold.

Torrez impressively stopped Kamshybek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan in round two of their semi-final bout and the 22-year-old believes that winning a gold medal is his destiny.

"I feel like I'm supposed to be here. I feel like it's meant to be," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing all I can to be on that gold medal podium."

No American has fought in the final at the weight limit since Riddick Bowe back in 1988. He lost out to Lennox Lewis, who was representing Canada.

Adam Peaty hailed the achievement of 13-year-old Sky Brown, who claimed bronze for Team GB in the women's park skateboarding event at Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday.

Peaty enjoyed a stellar time in the pool in Japan, winning two gold medals and a silver, becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title in the process thanks to his victory in the men's 100m breaststroke.

The 26-year-old has now returned home to Britain, having confirmed he will take a break from the pool ahead of a gruelling schedule in 2022.

He is still keeping close tabs on Team GB's progress in Tokyo, however, and was thrilled to see youngster Brown clinch bronze in the debut Olympic sport.

Brown became Britain's youngest ever medallist as she nailed a final run at the Ariake Urban Sports Park to finish third behind Japanese duo Sakura Yosozumi and Kokona Hiraki.

Thirteen years Brown's senior, Peaty put her feat into perspective by admitting when he was her age his main focus was gaming.

"When I was 13 I was in my room all day playing RuneScape (with a bit of swimming)," Peaty tweeted.

"This is a crazy achievement, well done @skyandocean_".

Remarkably, Brown, who suffered a skull fracture in a crash in California last year, was not the youngest on the podium, with silver medallist Hiraki becoming the first athlete to win an Olympic medal prior to her 13th birthday.

Brown hopes her efforts havd inspired other prospective athletes to believe in themselves from a young age.

"I really hope I inspire some girls. I feel like people think I'm too young and I can't do it but, if you believe in yourself, you can do anything," she said.

"I believed in myself and I'm here.

"I honestly feel that accident made me stronger. That accident was pretty bad. It was a hard time for my parents and a hard time for a lot of people and coming back and getting the bronze is really cool.

"I'm really happy. It's really made me stronger."

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