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Friday October 22nd, 2021 4:02PM

Olympic Latest: US women win 7th straight gold in hoops

By The Associated Press
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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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MEDAL ALERT

Brittney Griner scored 30 points, and the United States won its seventh straight gold medal in women’s basketball, beating Japan 90-75.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi have been part of five of those gold medals. Nobody has played more Olympic games for the U.S. than Taurasi with 38. Bird is second with 36 in her final Olympics.

This golden streak started in 1996 in Atlanta with Dawn Staley a player. Staley joins the late Anne Donovan as the only Americans to help the U.S. win gold as players, assistants and then head coaches.

A’ja Wilson added 19 points and Breanna Stewart scored 14 as the Americans dominated inside again. The U.S. extended its Olympic winning streak to 55 consecutive games dating to the 1992 bronze medal game.

Japan finished with the silver in the host nation’s first appearance in the medal round. Japan finished eighth at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says it’s “inevitable” that questions will be asked about the integrity of breakthrough track and field results at the Tokyo Olympics.

Coe was asked at a news conference if it was frustrating that some doubted whether the surprise win by men’s 100-meter champion Marcell Jacobs had been clean.

Italian and British media reported that Jacobs cut ties this year with a nutritionist who was linked to a police investigation of steroid distribution.

Coe said he would not speak about a specific case, though he acknowledged that after “performances that are outstanding, it is inevitable people will always ask questions.”

The two-time 1,500-meter gold medalist says: “Am I surprised about anything in athletics? Not really.”

He suggests people doubted his own rapid career progress from a “relatively modest athlete” in 1978 to an Olympic champion two years later.

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Megan Rapinoe says she’s enjoying the greatest gift she doesn’t deserve: being able to stick around and watch fiancee Sue Bird play for a fifth Olympic gold medal.

Rapinoe finished up her Olympic commitment Thursday night when the U.S. won bronze in women’s soccer, with Rapinoe scoring twice in the win. Athletes return home quickly after their final competition under coronavirus pandemic protocols at the Tokyo Games.

Rapinoe says she’s thankful that someone arranged for her to be a few rows off courtside, able to support and watch Bird, knowing this will be her last Olympics. Rapinoe says she feels “super lucky” to be able to attend the game because of all the restrictions.

The U.S. men and their coach, Gregg Popovich, also are in the stands watching the American women play for their seventh consecutive gold medal. The U.S. men won gold Saturday. The teams are flying home on the same plane.

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MEDAL ALERT

Jason Kenny has become Britain’s most decorated Olympian by defending his gold medal in the keirin. That gave Kenny seven golds to break a tie with cyclist Chris Hoy and nine overall to break a tie with Bradley Wiggins.

Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia outsprinted Dutch rider Harrie Lavreysen for the silver medal.

Kenny slotted in behind the motorized pacing bike for the first three laps, then began sprinting the moment it ducked off the track. Nobody reacted to his audacious flyer, and that allowed Kenny to build nearly a quarter-lap lead.

He held it all the way to the finish, raising his arms in triumph after crossing the line.

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MEDAL ALERT

Kelsey Mitchell of Canada has won gold in the women's sprint event in track cycling, sweeping past Olena Starikova of Ukraine at the Izu Velodrome.

Mitchell upset reigning world champion Emma Hinze of Germany in the semifinals before facing off with Starikova, who likewise had upset 2019 world champion Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong in her semifinal match.

Mitchell led wire-to-wire against Starikova in the first of their best-of-three final. Then, she held Starikova off in a drag race to the finish to win Canada’s second gold in the event after Lori-Ann Muenzer’s at the 2004 Athens Games.

Lee easily swept past Hinze to win the bronze medal.

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An on-track official has been removed from the track inside the Izu Velodrome on a stretcher after he was knocked over by a rider during a massive crash near the end of the scratch race in the women’s omnium.

The official, who has not been identified, was standing on the track apron near the first turn when Elisa Balsamo of Italy hit Emily Kay of Ireland as they took the bell for the final lap. Both went down, and that set off a chain reaction that took down five more riders, including two-time defending champion Laura Kenny.

The rider from Egypt, Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed, rode right over Balsamo and into the track official.

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Serbia is going home with an Olympic medal in women’s volleyball for the second straight Games.

The Serbians beat South Korea in straight sets to win the bronze medal in Tokyo. Serbia won its first medal in the sport five years ago, a silver in Rio de Janeiro.

South Korea fell short in its quest for a second women’s volleyball medal after winning bronze in 1976.

The United States is taking on Brazil for the gold medal.

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MEDAL ALERT

Eliud Kipchoge pulled away late and no one could come close to catching him as the 36-year-old from Kenya defended his Olympic marathon title.

Kipchoge finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds on a breezy and humid Sunday along the streets of Sapporo. It was more than 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Bashir Abdi of Belgium earned bronze to close out the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games.

On a day with plenty of cloud cover, Kipchoge cruised. The temperature was around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) at the start and climbed to 84 (29). The men’s race kept with its original start time a day after the women’s race was moved up an hour to avoid the heat.

Humidity was at 81% as the runners wound their way through Sapporo, which is located about 500 miles (about 830 kilometers) north of Tokyo. The race was moved to escape the extreme heat, but it was about the same temperature Sunday in Tokyo — and rainy.

Kipchoge smiled along the way and even fist-bumped a fellow racer. Kipchoge becomes the third athlete to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon, joining Abebe Bikila (1960, ’64) and Waldemar Cierpinski (’76, ’80).

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics

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