Olympic Latest: Gymnastics all-around underway without Biles

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TOKYO  | 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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The women’s all-around gymnastics final is underway without reigning champion Simone Biles.

Biles pulled out of the competition on Wednesday to focus on her mental health. That leaves the bid for the gold medal wide open.

American Sunisa Lee, Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, and Russian athletes Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova were separated but mere tenths during qualifying. Biles’ withdrawal opened the door for American Jade Carey to also compete in the event.

The top six gymnasts from qualifying will start on vault before making their way to uneven bars, balance beam and floor.

An American has won each of the last four Olympic titles. The last non-American to win was Simona Amanar of Romania in Sydney in 2000.

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Novak Djokovic is into the medal rounds of the Olympic tennis tournament.

The top-ranked Serb rolled past home favorite Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2, 6-0 to reach the semifinals and extend his bid for a Golden Slam.

Steffi Graf in 1988 is the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same calendar year.

Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year and needs the Tokyo Games title and the U.S. Open trophy to complete the Golden Slam.

Djokovic’s semifinal opponent will be either Alexander Zverev of Germany or Jeremy Chardy of France.

Djokovic was to play again later with Serbian partner Nina Stojanovic against the German pair of Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz in the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

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MEDAL ALERT

Aaron Wolf has won Japan’s eighth gold medal in judo at the Tokyo Olympics, defeating South Korea’s Cho Gu-ham 5:35 into golden score for his first Olympic title in the men’s 100-kilogram division.

Wolf, whose father is American, won the draining final bout by ippon with an o-uchi-gari throw. Wolf beat Georgian veteran Varlam Liparteliani in the semifinals to reach his first Olympic final.

Japan has won eight golds, one silver and one bronze from the first 12 judo weight classes, adding to their record total of gold medals and total medals in the nation’s homegrown martial art. Wolf and Shori Hamada (women’s 78 kilogram) swept both golds available Thursday at the Budokan.

Portugal’s two-time world champion Jorge Fonseca and Russian athlete Niiaz Iliasov won bronze. Cho upset Fonseca in the semifinals.

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Allison Schmitt has entered rare territory with her swim in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Schmitt became only the fourth American female swimmer to win 10 Olympic medals in her career. She earned a silver for her leadoff leg at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 31-year-old Schmitt is a team captain as she takes part in her fourth Olympics. She’s earned a pair of relay medals in Tokyo, also picking up a bronze for swimming in the preliminaries of the 4×100 free relay.

Schmitt now has four golds, three silvers and three bronzes in her career. The only other American female swimmers to win more are Jenny Thompson, Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, each of whom had 12 career medals.

Asked about her milestone, Schmitt broke down in tears. She says “getting to the Olympics is hard. Winning an Olympic medal is even harder.”

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MEDAL ALERT

Shori Hamada has won Japan’s seventh gold medal in judo at the Tokyo Olympics, beating French former world champion Madeleine Malonga by ippon just 1:08 into the women’s 78-kilogram final.

The result was a reversal of the two players’ bout in the 2019 world championship final, which was also held in Tokyo. Hamada pinned Malonga early and held on for the ippon to win her first Olympic medal at the Budokan.

Hamada, who won the 2018 world title, is the third Japanese woman to win gold in the past week. The home nation is dominating its homegrown martial art with nine medals from the first 11 weight classes.

Germany’s Anna-Maria Wagner — the current world champion — and Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar won bronze.

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MEDAL ALERT

Australia’s Jessica Fox has made Olympic history at the Tokyo Games as the first gold medalist in women’s canoe slalom.

Fox made the last run of the final and crushed it, beating rival and silver-medalist Mallory Franklin of Britain with a winning run of 105.04 seconds through the rapids of of the Kasai Canoe Slalom Center.

It was a clean run without the mistakes and penalty seconds that prevented her from winning gold in the kayak slalom two days earlier, when she won bronze.

The women’s canoe slalom is one of 18 new events introduced to the Olympics this year in a push for gender equity. It replaced the men’s double canoe slalom.

Andrea Herzog of Germany took bronze.

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MEDAL ALERT

Czech shooter Jiri Liptak has outlasted teammate David Kostelecky in a shoot-off to win men’s trap gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

Liptak and Kostelecky tied after 50 shots, hitting 43 targets to set an Olympic record. Both shooters hit the first six targets in the shoot-off before Kostelecky missed on the seventh.

Great Britain’s Matthew Coward-Holley took bronze.

Liptak finished 18th at the 2012 London Games, but did not compete in Rio five years ago. Kostelecky earned his second medal in his sixth Olympics with the gold he won at the 2008 Beijing Games.

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More than 50 athletes and officials with the Australian track and field team were briefly isolated in their rooms at the Olympics after American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19.

Kendricks, the two-time world champion, is out of the Games.

The Australian Olympic committee said three of its athletes were still being kept isolated after “a brief casual contact with a U.S. track and field athlete who had tested positive.” Those three can still train, but away from other team members.

The Australian Olympic committee said the three returned negative tests and would be tested daily. All three were vaccinated. The committee did not name them.

Another 41 Aussie athletes and 13 officials who were also initially isolated were allowed to return to their regular routines after about two hours. The committee says all athletes are expected to compete as planned. The track and field events begin Friday.

Kendricks was a strong contender for gold in Tokyo. His dad posted on social media that his son had no symptoms but was informed while in Tokyo that he tested positive for the virus and was out of the Olympics. He has been placed in isolation at a hotel.

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The German Olympic team says a cycling official will be sent home a day after he used a racist slur during the men’s time trial.

Patrick Moster is the sports director for the German cycling federation and was overseeing the cycling squad at the Tokyo Olympics.

He used the slur to describe a rider from Algeria while urging a German rider to catch up. It was heard on TV broadcasts.

German national Olympic committee president Alfons Hörmann says he considers Moster’s subsequent apology to be “sincere” but that “fair play, respect and tolerance … are non-negotiable” for the German team.

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MEDAL ALERT

Slovakia’s Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova has set an Olympic record in women’s trap to deny the United States a third-straight shotgun gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Rehak Stefecekova hit 43 of 50 targets on a breezy day at Asaka Shooting Range, beating American Kayle Browning.

Alessandro Perilli took bronze to earn the first medal in San Marino’s 61-year Olympic history.

Americans Vincent Hancock and Amber English opened the shotgun events by sweeping skeet on Tuesday.

A 37-year-old police officer, Rehak Stefecekova took silver at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, and missed Rio in 2016 due to the birth of her son.

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The IOC’s medical director says COVID-19 cases at the Tokyo Games are not burdening the city’s medical system.

Officials say that from July 1 through Wednesday, 198 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive for COVID-19, including 23 athletes. Three of the new cases from Wednesday were athletes staying in the Olympic Village.

Olympic organizers say two people among the 198 are receiving hospital treatment. Neither of those two cases is severe.

Medical Director Richard Budgett says care for athletes is being provided by their own team medical staff and a polyclinic at the village.

He says he’s confident “the Olympics are being run without actually affecting that essential secondary care and hospital provision” for residents of Japan.

Tokyo, meanwhile, reported 3,177 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, setting an all-time high and exceeding 3,000 for the first time.

Experts say Tokyo’s surge is being propelled by the new, more contagious delta variant of the virus. There is no evidence of the disease being transmitted from Olympics participants to the general public.

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American world-champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will miss the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

Kendricks’ dad posted on social media that his son had no symptoms but was informed while in Tokyo that he tested positive and was out of the competition.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed the news and said Kendricks has been placed in isolation at a hotel. He is being supported by the USOPC and USA Track and Field.

Kendricks won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and took gold at the last two world championships. He holds the American record at 19 feet, 10 ½ inches (6.06 meters).

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UPSET ALERT

China has surprised the U.S. and Australia with a world-record performance in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Katie Ledecky took the anchor leg for the Americans in third place, nearly 2 seconds behind the Chinese and also trailing the Aussies.

Ledecky passed Australia’s Leah Neale and closed the gap significant on China’s Li Bingjie, but couldn’t quite catch her at the end.

Li touched in 7 minutes, 40.33 seconds, denying both Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus another gold medal. After winning both the 200 and 400 free individual titles, Titmus led off for Australia in the relay.

The Americans claimed silver in 7:40.73, while Australia took the bronze in 7:41.29. It was the second swimming world record of the Tokyo Games — in fact, all three medalists broke the previous mark of 7:41.50 set by the Aussies at the 2019 world championships.

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Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are moving on in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

The Americans beat Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso of Argentina 21-19, 18-21, 15-6 to improve to 2-1 in the round-robin. That’s good for at least one more match in Tokyo.

In all, the American teams are 8-1 in the preliminary stage. Three other teams still have one match to play.

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USA Climbing head coach Josh Larsen has returned to the United States due to the death of his father.

Meg Coyne, national teams manager and assistant coach, will temporarily step into Larson’s role.

Sport climbing is making its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. Qualification rounds begin on Aug. 3 with the men. The women qualifying the following day.

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Reigning BMX racing gold medalists Mariana Pajon of Columbia and Connor Fields of the United States have moved on to the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Pajon is the only BMX rider to earn two Olympic gold medals. She won all three of her qualifying rounds to finish with three points. Her top challenger, American Alise Willoughby, also won her three qualifying runs.

Fields, gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won two qualifying heats and finished second in another. France’s Joris Daudet and Sylvain Andre won all three of their heats.

Former world champion Niek Kimmann of the Netherlands won two heats to qualify after colliding with a race steward who had wandered onto the course during a training run on Monday.

The top four riders from each of two semifinals will move on to Friday’s finals.

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Simone Biles has expressed her gratitude on social media for the support she has received since dropping out of the women’s team gymnastics final at the Tokyo Olympics.

She withdrew after the first rotation, vault, because she said wasn’t in the right headspace to compete.

A day later, she gave up her chance to defend her all-around title.

The most decorated gymnast ever said in a tweet, “the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

Biles still has not decided if she will compete in the individual events.

The women’s all-around competition is Thursday night Tokyo time, while individual events start Sunday.

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MEDAL ALERT

Living up to the hype, American swimmer Caeleb Dressel has claimed the first individual Olympic gold medal of his career.

Dressel held off the defending Olympic champion, Australia’s Kyle Chalmers, with a furious sprint to the wall. The winning time was an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds.

Dressel beat Chalmers by a mere six-hundredths of a second, leaving the 2016 winner with a silver medal this time. The bronze was claimed by Russia’s Kliment Kolesenikov.

The first three gold medals of Dressel’s career were all in the relays.

Now, he’s got one earned all by himself.

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MEDAL ALERT

China has claimed its first gold medal at the Olympic pool.

Zhang Yufei turned in a dominating performance to win the women’s 200-meter butterfly with an Olympic-record time of 2 minutes, 3.86 seconds. She was more than a body length ahead of the pair of Americans, Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger.

The U.S. swimmers dueled back and forth for the silver, with Smith pulling ahead at the end to touch in 2:05.30. Flickinger earned the bronze in 2:05.65.

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Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini has apologized for yelling at himself with a homophobic slur during a loss at the Tokyo Games.

Fognini used the offensive Italian word repeatedly during the three-set defeat to Russian athlete Daniil Medvedev in the third round on Wednesday.

Fognini writes in an Instagram story that the extremely hot conditions “affected his head” and that he “used a really stupid expression toward myself.”

He adds that “obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s feelings” and that “I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that I let out.”

The Instagram story was written on a rainbow background.

The often volatile Fognini was kicked out of the U.S. Open doubles tournament in 2017 for vulgarly insulting the chair umpire during his first-round loss in singles.

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MEDAL ALERT

Izaac Stubblety-Cook of Australia has won the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic pool in Tokyo.

Stubblety-Cook rallied on the final lap to pass Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands, who went out fast and tried to hold on. The winning time was an Olympic record of 2 minutes, 6.38 seconds as the Aussies captured their fifth gold of the swimming competition, matching the powerful American team.

Kamminga was under world-record pace through the first 150 meters, but he faded to the silver in 2:07.01. The bronze went to Finland’s Matti Mattsson in 2:07.24.

American Nic Fink finished fifth.

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MEDAL ALERT

Bobby Finke of the United States has captured gold in the debut of the men’s 800-meter swimming freestyle event at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri grabbed the silver after leading most of the race, while the bronze went to Mykhailo Romachuk of Ukraine.

It was a thrilling finish. Germany’s Florian Wellbrock grabbed the lead from Paltrinieri on the final flip, with Finke lurking back in fourth. But the American turned on a dazzling burst of speed at the end of the 16-lap race, passing all three swimmers ahead of him to take the gold.

Finke’s winning time was 7 minutes, 41.87 seconds, just 0.24 ahead of Paltrinieri. Romachuk finished in 7:42.33, knocking Wellbrock back to fourth.

The men’s 800 freestyle was added to the Olympic program for the Tokyo Games, marking the first time that approximate distance was contested by the men since there was an 880-yard race at the 1904 St. Louis Games.

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MEDAL ALERT

Italy’s Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini have surged over the final 50 meters to snatch the gold medal in the women’s lightweight double sculls.

The Dutch team of Marieke Keiser and Ilse Paulis had led nearly the entire race but collapsed to the bronze medal in the final 20 meters as the French team of Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove won silver.

The Dutch team nearly slipped out of the medals entirely, and only took the podium by 0.01 seconds ahead of Great Britain.

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American beach volleyball players Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil dispatched Kenya in just 25 minutes, the fastest women’s match since the Olympics adopted their current format.

The U.S. pair beat Brackcides Khadambi and Gaudencia Makokha 21-8, 21-6 to improve to 2-0 and almost certainly clinch a spot in the knockout round of 16. They have one match remaining, against Brazil on Saturday.

The match was the fastest since the international volleyball federation adopted the rally scoring and best-of-three sets format in 2002.

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MEDAL ALERT

Ireland’s duo of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan held off a late charge from Germany’s Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne to win the gold medal in men’s lightweight double sculls.

The Irish boat looked secure through the first 1,000 meters before the Germans closed the gap with 500 to go and threatened to pull even.

A late surge over the final 200 meters sent the Irish to the win by 0.86 seconds.

Italy’s Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta won bronze.

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MEDAL ALERT

New Zealand’s Grace Pendergrast and Kerri Gowler have won gold in the rowing women’s pair.

The Kiwi duo won the world championship in 2019 and were favored to grab victory in Tokyo. They are just the third non-European team to win the Olympic event and the first since 1996.

Russia’s Vasilisia Stepanova and Elena Oriabinskaia surged past Canada’s Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens over the final 300 meters to take the silver medal. Canada won bronze.

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MEDAL ALERT

Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic have dominated the men’s pair in Olympic rowing, cruising to victory in a race they led from the start.

The Croatians were the heavy favorites. They won double sculls in 2016, then switched boat disciplines and won two world championships before claiming another Olympic gold medal. They are the first men to win Olympic gold in both double sculls and the sweep pairs.

Romania’s duo of Marius Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosas won silver. Denmark’s Frederic Vystavel and Joachim Sutton won bronze.

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(The item on the women’s 4x200m relay has been corrected to show that it was the second swimming world record of the Games, not the first.)

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— More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

 

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