While Neeraj Chopra’s success in getting India their first-ever Olympic medal in athletics, and that too a gold, was the highlight of the Tokyo 2020 Games for Indian fans, there were other achievements that also made news. Here’s a look at them:
Eliud Kipchoge won second consecutive gold medal for Kenya in the men’s marathon to mark the end of an enthralling track and field competition. Kipchoge timed 2:08:38 and was finished 80 seconds ahead of Abdi Nageeye (of the Netherlands) and Bashir Abdi (of Belgium), who got bronze medal with 2:10:00. The 36-year-old Kipchoge was six seconds quicker than what he timed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games for his first Olympic gold.
U.S. LEAD MEDAL TALLY
The United States headed the athletics medals table with seven gold, 12 silver and seven bronze medals. Five of Team USA’s gold medals were won by women, Xinhua reports.
The team’s triumphs included victories in the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay events. The men’s team consisted of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin, while the women’s team comprised Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu.
There were also golds in the men’s shot put (Ryan Crouser), women’s 400m hurdles (Sydney McLaughlin), women’s 800m (Athing Mu), women’s discuss throw (Valarie Allman) and women’s pole vault (Katie Nageotte).
ITALIAN GOLD RUSH
Italy was the surprise package of the track and field events with five medals, all of which were gold. The haul included Lamont Marcell Jacob’s victory in the men’s 100m, Italy’s first Olympic gold medal in the event.
Jacobs, who was born in Texas to an African American father and Italian mother, also guided Italy to the 4x100m relay title alongside Lorenzo Patta, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu.
When asked about the secret to Italy’s track success, Jacobs told reporters: “Work hard, dream big. We believed for real that we could [win].”
Elaine Thompson-Herah cemented her place in the pantheon of Olympic greats by successfully defending her 100m and 200m titles. The 29-year-old is the first woman in history to win the 100 and 200m in back-to-back Olympics.
Elaine suggested she might compete again at the Paris 2024 Games in a bid to equal the record of compatriot Usain Bolt of 100 and 200m gold medals at three successive Olympics. “There’s more that I’m looking forward to accomplishing,” she said.
Elaine’s great rival Allyson Felix became the most decorated U.S. athlete in Olympic history when she was a part of the team that won the 4x400m women’s relay.
It was her 11th medal, which helped her surpass the mark previously held by sprint and long-jump legend Carl Lewis. Just 24 hours earlier, the 35-year-old took bronze in the individual 400m race in 49.46 seconds, the second-fastest time of her career.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Sifan Hassan’s hopes of securing a medal in the women’s 1,500m event looked over when she fell to the ground after tripping in the final lap of her heat. But the 28-year-old quickly rose to her feet and overtook 11 rivals to win the heat.
“When I fell down I said to myself, OK life doesn’t always go the way that you want. After the [race] I felt like somebody who drank 20 cups of coffee. I couldn’t calm myself down,” said the Dutch athlete.
Sifan went on to claim bronze in the event but won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.