After a year delay, the Olympics from Tokyo, Japan, are underway. And now that a week has gone by since the opening ceremony, the best runners from around the world are primed for record-setting performances over the span of the next 10 days.
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August 8: Eliud Kipchoge defends his Olympic gold in the men’s marathon
Abdi Nageeye, 32, of the Netherlands took silver in 2:09:58, and Bashir Abdi, 32, of Belgium ran 2:10:00 for bronze.
The men raced in slightly cooler, shadier conditions than the women had the day before—still, the temperature at the start was 78 degrees, with 86 percent humidity. Many who were considered contenders—including 2020 London Marathon winner Shura Kitata of Ethiopia, 2012 Olympic champion Stephan Kiprotich of Uganda and 2019 world champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia—did not finish.
Team USA’s Galen Rupp, 35, who won bronze in Rio in 2016, stayed nearly directly behind Kipchoge through the first half of the race. Near mile 17, Kipchoge turned around and seemed to scold Rupp, then pulled to the side as if to stay clear of the American’s footfalls.
Starting at mile 19, Kipchoge began to squeeze down the pace, creating a significant gap. He ran from 30K to 35K in 14:28, a 4:39 pace, pulling 27 seconds ahead. With his smooth, controlled stride and trademark smile—part love of the sport, part tactic to keep a calm mind—he ran alone to his historic victory. The feat makes him only the third athlete to win more than one Olympic marathon.
Behind him, in the race for silver and bronze, it first appeared as if his compatriot Lawrence Cherono, 33, would prevail. But in the final 200 meters, Nageeye surged, motioning for Abdi to follow him. Cherono couldn’t cover the move, and finished fourth in 2:10:02.
Rupp finished eighth in 2:11:41. His teammate Jake Reilly, 32, placed 29th with a 2:16:26 finish. And American Abdi Abdirahman, 44—whose first Olympics was in Sydney in 2000—was 41st in 2:18:27.
August 7: U.S. bring home gold in women’s and men’s 4x400m relays, Molly Seidel wins bronze in the women’s marathon
Team USA sent out a dream squad in the women’s 4×400-meter relay—and they delivered, winning gold in a dominant 3:16:85, a time less than two seconds off the world record of 3:15.17.
On her 22nd birthday and three days after winning gold in the 400 meter hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin took the first leg and had the fastest time out of the blocks. Allyson Felix, 35, followed her bronze medal in the 400 meters with a 49.38-second second lap to maintain the lead.
Dalilah Muhammad, 31, widened the gap with a 48.94 on the third leg, and Athing Mu, the youngest runner in the race at 19, ran 48.32 to bring the baton home nearly a full three and a half seconds ahead of second-place Poland, who took silver in 3:20.53. Jamaica took bronze in 3:21.24.
Kaylin Whitney, Wadeline Jonathas, Kendall Ellis, and Lynna Irby also win gold for running the first round of the relay, which they did by winning their heat in 3:20.86.
By Saturday night, the U.S. men had one final chance to win gold in Tokyo. Fortunately, the men’s 4×400-meter relay team delivered, winning in 2:55:70. The victory came just minutes after the women’s team won gold, bringing the country’s total medal count in track and field to 26.
Michael Cherry, 26, who finished fourth in the 400 meters, finished the first leg in 44.1 seconds. After the handoff, the U.S. was in second behind Botswana. But when Olympic Track and Field Trials champion Michael Norman, 23, began the second leg, the American men took the lead, and never let it go.
Bryce Deadmon, 24, ran the third leg in 44.1 seconds and made a smooth handoff to Rai Benjamin, also 24. Benjamin was hungry for gold—he won silver in the 400-meter hurdles in a time that would have been a world record, had Karsten Warholm not shattered it in the same race—and ran a swift 43.3 to close not far off the Olympic record of 2:55:39, set by the American squad in Beijing in 2008.
The Netherlands took silver in 2:57.18, and Botswana claimed bronze in 2:57.27. Team USA’s Trevor Stewart, Randolph Ross Jr., and Vernon Norwood—who, with Deadmon, won their heat in round 1 with 2:57:77—also share the gold medal.
The last 12 times Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot have raced, Cheruiyot has come out on top. But in Tokyo, Ingebrigtsen finally turned the tables, winning the men’s 1500 meters in a new Olympic record of 3:28.32.
Cheruiyot took command of the race by the end of the first lap, ensuring the pace would be far faster than the 3:50.00 American Matthew Centrowitz ran to win gold in Rio in 2016. Ingebrigtsen stayed close behind, and kicked past in the final straightaway.
Josh Kerr, 37, of Great Britain, overtook Kenya’s Abel Kipsang in the final 20 meters, winning bronze in a personal best 3:29.05.
American Cole Hocker, 20, also ran a personal best; his 3:31.40 placed him sixth. Centrowitz, 31, was missing from the track—he placed ninth in the semifinal round and didn’t advance.
In the third race of an unprecedented Olympic triple, Sifan Hassan, 28, won gold in the women’s 10,000 meters in 29:55.32. The Dutch runner adds a third medal to her collection—the previous day, she took bronze in the 1500 meters in 3:55.86, four days after winning gold in the 5,000 meters in 14:36.79.
In hot, humid conditions in Tokyo—81 degrees with 89 percent humidity—Japan’s Ririka Hironaka, 20, took the race out at a moderate 3:03 for the first kilometer.
Hassan kicked past Gezahegne in the final meters. Gezahegne finished second in 29:56.18, winning Bahrain’s first medal of the competition. Gidey—whose 29:01.03 victory at the Ethiopian Olympic Trials on June 8 broken Hassan’s world record, set just two days prior—hung on for bronze in 30:01.72.
Molly Seidel first shocked the marathoning world 17 months ago—before the pandemic!—when she finished second in 2:27:46 in her marathon debut at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. On Saturday morning in Sapporo, Japan, the 27-year-old did it again when she ran 2:27:46 to win bronze in the Olympic marathon.
Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, 27, won gold in 2:27:20, and world record-holder Brigid Kosgei, 27, also of Kenya, claimed silver in 2:27:36.
The hot, humid conditions—which caused officials to decide the night before to move the race start time an hour earlier—made the competition one of attrition. After a slow start, the lead pack thinned to about 18 runners by mile 9.
Only 11 runners crossed the halfway point together in 1:15:14, with Seidel and the United States’s Sally Kipyego, 35, still near the front. Not long afterward, Kipyego faded, finishing 17th in 2:32:53.
By mile 22, the lead pack was down to four—Seidel, Jepchirchir, Kosgei, and Israel’s Lonah Salpeter, 32. About a mile and a half later, Seidel dropped back to fourth, placing her medal hopes in jeopardy.
But then the heat caught up to Salpeter, and she began walking. All Seidel had to do to medal was hang on—and she did, crossing the finish line with a roar, nearly a full minute ahead of fourth-place finisher Roza Dereje, 24, of Ethiopia.
The feat makes her only the third American woman to win an Olympic medal in the marathon. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon in Los Angeles in 1984; in 2004, Deena Kastor won bronze in Athens.
August 6: Bronze medals for Americans Allyson Felix and Paul Chelimo
Shaunae Miller-Uibo won her sixth race in five days, taking the women’s 400-meter title in 48.36, a new personal best. She became just the second woman in Olympic history to win back-to-back titles in the 400 meters after Marie-Jose Perec won in 1992 and 1996.
Miller-Uibo defended her Olympic gold medal from Rio with a dominant close around the final turn to beat silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic and bronze medalist Allyson Felix of Team USA, who finished in 49.20 and 49.46, respectively.
The third-place finish in her fifth Olympic Games is Felix’s 10th Olympic medal and makes her the most decorated female Olympian in track and field. With bronze in Tokyo, she passed Merlene Ottey and tied Carl Lewis, who has 10, as the most decorated American athlete in track and field. Felix could earn another medal on Saturday as a member of Team USA’s 4×400-meter relay team.
In one of the tightest finishes of the Games, Italy secured another Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4×100-meter relay. The race came down to the anchor leg with Filippo Tortu passing race-leader Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain just before the finish line. The Italian team, which also included Lorenzo Patta, Olympic 100-meter champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, and Eseosa Fostine Desalu, finished in 37.50 to win gold and set a new national record.
Great Britain took silver in 37.51, just 0.01 seconds behind Italy. Canada earned bronze with a fast close from 200-meter Olympic champion André De Grasse. They finished in 37.70.
Team Jamaica stole the show in the women’s 4×100-meter relay with a team that included three 100-meter medalists. The quartet of Briana Williams, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson broke the national record by winning Olympic gold in 41.02.
The United States team of Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini, and Gabby Thomas took silver in 41.45. Great Britain, which included Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Dina Asher-Smith, and Daryll Neita followed for bronze with an overall time of 41.88.
Faith Kipyegon successfully defended her Olympic title in the women’s 1500 meters with a blistering close in the final on Friday. The Kenyan middle-distance runner, who made a triumphant return to the sport after giving birth to her daughter, Alyn in 2018, shifted gears on the last lap to run 3:53.11, breaking the Olympic record on her way to gold.
Behind Kipyegon, Laura Muir of Great Britain finally earned a medal on the Olympic stage after several years of near-misses at global championships. Muir took silver in 3:54.50, breaking the national record five years after finishing seventh at the Rio games. Since the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, the veterinarian has earned four top six finishes at the world championships (her highest finish was fourth at the 2017 world championships in London).
Four days after winning Olympic gold in the 5,000-meter final, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands was unable to respond to Kipyegon’s kick and Muir’s pass around the final turn. She finished third in 3:55.86. The two-time world champion is also targeting gold in the 10,000 meters on Saturday.
In their first-ever Olympic Games, Americans Elle Purrier St. Pierre (4:01.75) and Cory McGee (4:05.50) finished 10th and 12th, respectively.
The world record-holder is now the Olympic champion in the men’s 5,000 meters. On Friday, Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda made his move with 600 meters remaining and held his lead at a blistering pace all the way into the finish line, winning gold in 12:58.15. Behind Cheptegei, Mo Ahmed of Canada took the silver in 12:58.61, and Paul Chelimo of the United States finishing third, diving at the finish line to beat Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya.
Cheptegei’s victory follows an Olympic silver medal in the men’s 10,000 meters on July 30. The 2019 10,000-meter world champion earned redemption with the gold medal almost one year after shattering world records in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Five years ago, Ahmed was left off the Olympic podium when he finished fourth in the 5,000 meters in Rio. Now he’s an Olympic silver-medalist. The performance marks the Bowerman Track Club runner’s second medal at a global championship; he earned bronze in the 5,000 meters at the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
Friday’s performance was Chelimo’s second Olympic podium finish. The American earned silver in the 5,000 meters at the Rio Games, where he finished second to Olympic champion Mo Farah. He also finished third in the 5,000 meters at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
Fellow Americans Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid finished ninth and 14th, respectively, after competing in the 10,000-meter final on July 30.
August 5: Grant Holloway wins silver in men’s 110-meter hurdles, Americans go 1-2 in the shot put
In one of the biggest upsets of the Tokyo Games on the track so far, Hansle Parchment of Jamaica beat world leader Grant Holloway of the United States to win Olympic gold in the men’s 110-meter hurdles. Holloway took the silver in 13.09, and Ronald Levy of Jamaica earned bronze in 13.10. Devon Allen of the United States narrowly missed a podium finish when he placed fourth in 13.14.
Holloway had the best start among the field, but he was unable to close fast enough over the final two hurdles. With a few meters remaining, Parchment passed Holloway to win his second Olympic medal (he earned bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games).
Holloway came into Tokyo with an undefeated streak in 2021, and he was the gold-medal favorite. At the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Holloway ran 12.81, the second-fastest time ever, during the semifinal round on June 26. But the 2019 world champion was bested by Parchment who finished in a 13.04 season’s best. Holloway earned silver in 13.09, and Ronald Levy of Jamaica took bronze in 13.10. Devon Allen of Team USA narrowly missed a podium finish when he placed fourth in 13.14.
The victory is Parchment’s best ever performance at a global championship. The 31-year-old finished second at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing and eighth at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. He was third at the Jamaican Championships on June 27.
Two years after winning the world title, Steven Gardiner took Olympic gold in the men’s 400-meter final. The Bahamian sprinter ran a patient race, closing on the homestretch for a season’s best of 43.85. Anthony José Zambrano of Colombia battled over the final 50 meters to take silver in 44.08, his first Olympic medal and second global championship medal after earning silver at the 2019 IAAF World Championships. London Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada edged out American Michael Cherry with a time of 44.19 to claim bronze.
Cherry finished fourth in a personal best of 44.21. After a quick start to the race, U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials champion Michael Norman was unable to close for a podium finish. He placed fifth in 44.31.
The men’s 1500-meter semifinal was filled with surprises, including an Olympic record. In the first heat, world champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya set a brisk pace from the beginning and closed in 3:33.95 for a third-place finish. Over the final 150 meters, Jake Wightman of Great Britain (3:33.48) and Cole Hocker of Team USA passed Cheruiyot for first and second place, respectively. Hocker, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, ran a personal best of 3:33.87 to advance. Oliver Hoare of Australia (3:34.35) and Ignacio Fontes of Spain (3:34.49) also moved on by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
The runners in the second heat responded to the performances by shattering the Olympic record. Abel Kipsang of Kenya won the section in 3:31.65, breaking the Olympic record of 3:32.07 set by Noah Ngeny in 2000, according to World Athletics. To earn automatic qualifying spots, Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, Josh Kerr of Great Britain, Adel Mechaal of Spain, and Stewart McSweyn of Australia all finished under 3:32.55. Jake Heyward of Great Britain (3:32.82) ran a personal best and Charles Grethen of Luxembourg (3:32.86) broke the national record to advance on time.
One of the biggest surprises of the Games was watching defending Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz finish ninth and fail to advance from the second heat. The two-time world championship medalist from Team USA was unable to close over the final 150 meters. He ran a season’s best of 3:33.69.
The men’s 1500-meter final will be on August 7 at 8:40 p.m. in Tokyo (7:40 a.m. Eastern).
American Ryan Crouser put up an incredible shot put series, ending with an Olympic record and a gold medal. Five of his six throws broke the previous Olympic record, and his final throw—23.30m—was just seven centimeters off of his world record.
Fellow American Joe Kovacs takes silver with 22.65 meters, and New Zealand’s Tom Walsh throws 22.47 meters for bronze.
Team USA finished sixth in the heats of the men’s 4×100 relay, meaning for yet another year, the U.S. will not medal in the event. The men won gold at the 2000 Olympics, and silver in 2004, when Great Britain edged the U.S. by .01.
The U.S. men have been plagued by issues when handing off the baton for years, and that continued in Tokyo. Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker mistimed the second handoff, and the Americans could not make up the lost time.
August 4: Andre De Grasse finally gets gold, Sydney McLaughlin breaks the world record again
After years of earning silver and bronze medals for Team Canada, André De Grasse upgraded to gold on the Olympic stage. The USC alum pulled ahead of American Noah Lyles with about 50 meters remaining to finish the men’s 200-meter final in 19.62, a new national record. He earned silver in the 200 and bronze in the 100 meters at the Rio Games. He also earned silver in the 200 and bronze in the 100 meters at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“I can’t believe it! I did it, finally,” De Grasse said on the NBC broadcast.
Team USA claimed the remaining Olympic medals. In his first Games, Kenny Bednarek took silver in 19.68, a personal best. World champion Noah Lyles followed in 19.74, which equaled his season’s best. And 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton of the U.S. almost made it on the podium with a fourth-place finish in 19.93.
A Kenyan 1-2 finish was the highlight of the men’s 800-meter final. In a tactical championship, Emmanuel Korir trailed behind leader Peter Bol of Australia until the final turn into the homestretch, where Korir shifted gears and sprinted into the finish. The UTEP alum finished in 1:45.06 for gold, his first medal at a global championships. Coming from fourth place with 100 meters to go, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Ferguson Rotich maneuvered his way to a silver medal in 1:45.23. Patryk Dobek of Poland finished third in a breakthrough bronze medal performance in 1:45.39.
The lone American in the race, Clayton Murphy was unable to match his bronze medal from Rio in 2016. He finished ninth in 1:46.53.
Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, passing American Courtney Frerichs on the backstretch of the last lap. Chemutai finished in 9:01.45, breaking the national record and earning the first Olympic medal of any sort in any sport for a Ugandan woman.
After pushing the pace with four laps to go, Frerichs held to finish second in 9:04.79. The U.S. record-holder’s run is the best Olympic performance by an American woman in the event. Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya, the 2016 Olympic silver-medalist, earned bronze in 9:05.79.
First-time Olympian Val Constien of the U.S. finished 12th in 9:31.61. Olympic bronze medalist Emma Coburn had an uncharacteristically off day when she tripped on a hurdle in the last lap and faded to 14th in 9:41.50. She was later disqualified for stepping on or inside the rail.
To qualify for the women’s 400-meter final in her fifth Olympic Games, Allyson Felix broke another record. In the third and final semifinal heat, the six-time Olympic gold medalist finished second in 49.89, setting a new world W35 best, according to World Athletics. Led by Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson’s 49.34 victory out of the first heat, every sprinter who qualified for the women’s 400-meter final broke 50 seconds. Felix and U.S. Olympic Trials champion Quanera Hayes will be representing Team USA in the podium chase.
The women’s 400-meter final will be on August 6 at 9:50 p.m. in Tokyo (8:35 a.m. Eastern).
Two Americans will be representing Team USA in the women’s 1500-meter final after a nail-biter semifinal round. With less than two laps remaining in the first heat, tussling in the middle of the pack caused Winny Chebet of Kenya and subsequently Cory McGee of the U.S. to fall to the ground. Both runners were unable to catch up to the top group—defending Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon won the heat in 3:56.80, the fastest semifinal performance of any competition in history—but after filing a protest, McGee was advanced to the final. In the same heat, U.S. Olympic Trials champion Elle Purrier St. Pierre also earned her spot in the final based on time after finishing sixth in 4:01.00.
Two days after winning gold in the 5,000-meter final, Sifan Hassan kept her 1500-meter title hopes alive by winning heat 2 in 4:00.23. Great Britain’s Laura Muir finished second in 4:00.73, and Linden Hall of Australia placed third in 4:01.37. Team USA’s Heather Maclean finished 12th in the race and will not advance to the final.
In a stunning performance, Sydney McLaughlin shattered the world record she set in June by winning the women’s 400-meter hurdles final in 51.46. The U.S. national champion won gold by closing hard on fellow Team USA rival and 2016 Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad. Femke Bol of the Netherlands claimed the bronze medal by finishing third in 52.03, a European record.
McLaughlin broke the previous world record set by Muhammad by winning the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 51.90 on June 27. The Tokyo Games marked McLaughlin’s second Olympics. At 17 years old, she competed in the semifinals at the Rio Games in 2016.
Once again, Grant Holloway showed his dominance in the men’s 110-meter hurdles on the world stage. The 2019 world champion ran the fastest time of the semifinal round by breezing through heat 3 in 13.13. Fellow American Devon Allen also secured his spot in the final by winning the second heat in 13.18. Only those two hurdlers from Team USA will be advancing to the final after Daniel Roberts finished fifth in the first heat, which was won by Jamaican medal contender Ronald Levy in 13.23.
The men’s 110-meter hurdles final will be on August 5 at 11:55 a.m. in Tokyo (August 4 at 10:55 p.m. Eastern).
August 3: Elaine Thompson-Herah completes a historic double, Athing Mu adds Olympic gold to her resume
For the second time of the Tokyo Games and the fourth time in five years, Elaine Thompson-Herah snagged Olympic gold. In the women’s 200-meter final, the Jamaican sprint star broke the national record by winning in 21.53.
She is the first woman to successfully defend the 100 and 200-meter sprint double at the Olympic Games, according to World Athletics. After winning the women’s 100-meter title in 10.61 on July 31, she is now the second-fastest woman in history over both distances.
Meanwhile, Christine Mboma of Namibia kicked to finish second in 21.81—breaking the world U20 record—and Team USA’s Gabby Thomas earned the bronze medal with a time of 21.87.
At 19 years old, Athing Mu made history for Team USA in the women’s 800 meters. By controlling the pace from the gun, the first-time Olympian took home the gold in 1:55.21, breaking the American record and becoming the first U.S. runner to win gold in the event since 1968.
Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain, who is also 19 years old, claimed silver by breaking the national record with a time of 1:55.88. And fellow American Raevyn Rogers followed Mu on the podium with a come-from-behind effort to earn the bronze medal in 1:56.81, a personal best.
Mu, a Texas A&M student who turned pro after winning two NCAA titles and shattering the 800-meter collegiate record earlier this year, left nothing to chance in her quest to win on the world stage. She floated to the front, bringing the field through the first 200 meters in 27.4 and 57.9 seconds for the opening 400 meters. While Natoya Goule of Jamaica and Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia attempted to catch her on the backstretch, Mu remained in control of the race and extended her lead on the final turn, reaching the finish line with room to spare.
Mu’s victory brings Team USA its second Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
Andre De Grasse led the men’s 200-meter semifinal with a winning time of 19.73, breaking the Canadian national record in the third heat to set up a highly anticipated final. The first heat featured 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton of Team USA cruising to the line in 20.02. A thrilling top three finish followed in the second heat when reigning world champion Noah Lyles was caught at the line by Aaron Brown of Canada and Joseph Fahnbulleh of Liberia. Lyles advanced to the final based on his time of 19.99. American Kenny Bednarek also moved on by finishing second in heat 3.
The men’s 200-meter final will be on August 4 at 9:55 p.m. in Tokyo (8:55 a.m. Eastern).
Led by a 1-2 finish between Mohamed Katir of Spain (13:30.10) and Paul Chelimo of Team USA (13:30.15), the men’s 5,000-meter semifinal determined the finalists for the upcoming podium chase. Most of the medal contenders advanced—including world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda—with the exception of Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale and Daniel Simiu Ebenyo of Kenya. After competing in the men’s 10,000-meter final, Americans Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid both advanced by finishing eighth in heat 2 and third in heat 1, respectively.
The men’s 5,000-meter final is scheduled for August 6 at 9:00 p.m. in Tokyo (8:00 a.m. Eastern).
Reigning world champion Grant Holloway made a statement early in the first round of the men’s 110-meter hurdles. The gold medal favorite from Team USA won heat 3 in 13.02, the fastest time of the day and a performance that would’ve won gold at the Rio Games, according to World Athletics.
Fellow Americans Devon Allen and Daniel Roberts will be following Holloway into the semifinal after winning heat 5 and finishing second in 2, respectively.
The biggest surprise to come out of the first round was the absence of Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega and 2015 world champion Sergey Shubenkov. Both hurdlers did not start the competition.
The men’s 110-meter semifinal will be on August 4 at 11:00 a.m. in Tokyo (10:00 p.m. Eastern on August 3).
Karsten Warholm predicted that earning Olympic gold in the men’s 400-meter hurdles would require a world record, and the Norwegian was spot-on. Winning an all-out sprint to the finish, Warholm beat American record-holder Rai Benjamin to claim his first Olympic medal and shatter the previous 46.70 world record he set at the Oslo Diamond League meet on July 1.
Warholm finished in 45.94, marking the first time in history that a hurdler has run under the 46-second barrier in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. After seeing his time, the 25-year-old was overcome with emotion and ripped apart his jersey.
Benjamin of Team USA also had a career best performance by earning the silver medal in 46.17. Alison Dos Santos of Brazil claimed bronze by finishing in 46.72. Both times would have improved on the previous world record four weeks ago.
Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands finished fourth in 47.08, a national record. Yasmani Copello of Turkey and Rasmus Magi of Estonia also broke national records for their countries by finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. According to World Athletics, the top eight performances make the Tokyo men’s 400-meter hurdles final the deepest race in history.
Team USA’s medal contenders are all moving on to the semifinal round of the men’s 200 meters. Reigning world champion Noah Lyles controlled the seventh and final heat with a victory in 20.18. Kenny Bednarek won his section in the fastest time of the day, clocking 20.01 in heat 6. At 17 years old, Erriyon Knighton won the first of three rounds in his Olympic debut. The junior record-holder placed first in heat 4 by running into the finish line in 20.55, well ahead of runner-up Alonso Edward of Panama (20.60).
International medal contenders Andre De Grasse of Canada, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Liberia, and Ramil Guliyev of Turkey also advanced. In June, Fahnbulleh won the NCAA 200-meter title as a freshman while competing for the University of Florida.
The men’s 200-meter semifinal will take place on August 3 at 8:50 p.m. in Tokyo (7:50 a.m. Eastern).
All three Americans moved on in the first round of the women’s 400 meters. To kick off her fifth Olympic Games, Allyson Felix advanced with ease by winning heat 3 in 50.84. Olympic Trials champion Quanera Hayes earned her spot in the semifinal by finishing second in heat 2, and Wadeline Jonathas advanced with a runner-up finish in the sixth and final section.
Defending Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas ran the fastest time of the day, winning heat 1 in 50.06. Fellow medal contender Stephenie Ann McPherson of Jamaica also looked strong with a victory in heat 5.
The sprinters will meet again in the women’s 400-meter semifinal, which is scheduled for August 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Tokyo (6:30 a.m. Eastern).
Two Americans advanced to the men’s 1500-meter semifinal after finishing top six in their respective opening heats. In the first heat, Oregon sophomore Cole Hocker secured his spot by finishing fourth in 3:36.16. Defending Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz steered clear of the tussling that took place in the back end of the pack by running near the front of the field in heat 2. Centrowitz moved on by finishing second in 3:41.12. Team USA first-timer Yared Nuguse was scheduled to compete in the third heat, but the Notre Dame graduate student did not start the race.
After the first round, USATF shared that Nuguse withdrew from the men’s 1500 meters due to a right thigh injury. “He attempted to warm up but felt he was unable to race,” the national governing body said in a statement.
The men’s 1500-meter semifinal is scheduled for August 5 at 8:00 p.m. in Tokyo (7 a.m. Eastern).
August 2: Sifan Hassan wins her first Olympic gold medal (of possibly three)
The Netherlands’s Sifan Hassan claimed the first victory of her unprecedented triple at the Tokyo Games. The Dutch runner—who is attempting to win Olympic gold in the women’s 1500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters—earned gold in the 5,000 meters with a dominant kick to the finish, splitting 57.36 seconds for the last lap. Battling brutal humidity in Tokyo (it rained on the track earlier in the evening), Hassan crossed the finish line in 14:36.79, almost two seconds ahead of defending world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya. Obiri earned the silver medal in 14:38.36, and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia claimed bronze in 14:38.87.
Hassan’s next race will be the 1500-meter semifinal on August 4 at 7 p.m. in Tokyo (6 a.m. Eastern).
Representing Team USA, Karissa Schweizer (14:55.80) and Elise Cranny (14:55.98) finished 11th and 13th, respectively, in the Bowerman Track Club runners’ first-ever Olympic Games.
Valarie Allman won Team USA’s first gold medal in Tokyo with a breakthrough performance in the women’s discus. The national champion won the event with a throw of 68.98 meters, beating silver medalist Kristin Pudenz of Germany and bronze medalist Yaimé Pérez of Cuba. Pérez won gold at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar while Allman finished seventh at the championship two years ago.
Five years after just missing the podium in Rio, Soufiane El Bakkali finally earned his Olympic medal with a winning performance in Tokyo. The Moroccan runner earned gold in the men’s steeplechase final by running patiently in the top group until the last lap, coming from behind to pass leaders Lamecha Girma and Getnet Wale of Ethiopia on the backstretch as they approached the last water jump.
El Bakkali reached the finish line in 8:08.90, almost two seconds ahead of Girma, the silver medalist. Kenyan runner Benjamin Kigen passed Wale—who stumbled before the last water jump—to claim bronze in 8:11.45.
Benard Keter, the lone American in the race, finished 11th overall (8:22) after running an 8:17 personal best to advance out of the semifinal round on July 30.
El Bakkali’s victory marks the first time since the 1980 Olympics that someone other than a Kenyan is the Olympic champion in the men’s steeplechase.
As scripted, the women’s 400-meter hurdles final will include a rematch between the reigning Olympic champion and the world record-holder. World record-holder Sydney McLaughlin of Team USA notched the fastest time out of the semifinal by running 53.03 to win heat 2. Defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the U.S. won heat 1 with ease in 53.30. And first-time Olympian Anna Cockrell, a senior at USC representing Team USA, advanced out of heat 3 by finishing second to Dutch hurdler Femke Bol. The women’s 400-meter hurdles final will be on August 4 at 11:30 a.m. in Tokyo (August 3 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern).
After finishing top two in their respective heats, Americans Michael Cherry and Michael Norman advanced to the men’s 400-meter final. Cherry won heat 2 in 44.44 and Norman finished second in 44.52 to Bahamian sprinter Steven Gardiner, earning an automatic spot in the final. The men’s 400-meter final will be on August 5 at 9 p.m. in Tokyo (8:00 a.m. Eastern).
Of the three Americans running in the women’s 200 meters, only Gabby Thomas advanced after finishing third in her heat in 22.01 and advancing on time. Jenna Prandini ran 22.57, good enough for fifth in her heat, and Anavia Battle finished in 23.02, for sixth in her heat. The women’s 200-meter final will be on August 3 at 9:50 p.m. in Tokyo (8:50 a.m. Eastern).
The two top contenders in the women’s 100-meter hurdle final—Keni Harrison of the U.S. and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico—had redemption on their minds for this Olympics, but it was Camacho-Quinn who dominated from the gun to win gold in 12.37. This is Puerto Rico’s second gold medal ever at the Olympics (Monica Puig won gold in women’s tennis in 2016), and first on the track.
Running to Camacho-Quinn’s left in lane 4, Harrison grabbed silver in a time of 12.52. Megan Tapper of Jamaica was third in 12.55, giving her country its first medal in this event.
Harrison’s path to this Olympics started soon after missing the Rio Games in 2016. Team USA swept this event in Rio in 2016, but Harrison, 28, wasn’t a member of the squad after finishing sixth in the U.S. Trials. Harrison made her presence known on the world stage in a different way soon after when broke the world record with a 12.20 at the London Müller Anniversary Games in 2016. She followed that up with a silver medal at the 2019 IAAF World Championships, and her win at the 2021 U.S. Trials in a then season’s best time of 12.47.
Similar to Harrison, Camacho-Quinn, 24, had a lot to prove after falling in the semifinals in Rio. In the semifinals this weekend, she ran a new Olympic record of 12.26 (and new season best) to win her heat by a huge margin. That time put her fourth on the world all-time list and as a huge contender for the podium. She didn’t disappoint Monday morning in Tokyo when claiming first.
The running world let out a collective gasp when Hassan faltered, but quickly recovered, in the first round of the women’s 1500 meters. Just after the bell lap of the second heat, a chain reaction of tussling caused Hassan in the back of the pack to go down. Instead of throwing in the towel and saving herself for the 5,000-meter final in about 12 hours, she went into a full sprint to not only catch the pack, but also win the heat outright in 4:05.17. (You can watch the race on YouTube here.)
Former Oregon standout Jessica Hull (running for her native Australia) and U.S. Trials winner Elle Purrier St. Pierre ran collected the entire way and finished second and third, respectively, in that heat.
The rest of a loaded 1500 field moved on easily, including Rio gold medalist Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Laura Muir of Great Britain. Americans Heather MacLean and Cory McGee also advanced. The semis will get going on Wednesday at 6 a.m. Eastern.
Italy’s first gold in the 100 meters
Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy stunned the running world when he won the first gold medal of his career, running a time of 9.80, a personal best. Jacobs also becomes the first Italian to win gold at the Olympics in the 100 meters.
Fred Kerley of the United States won silver by running a time of 9.84. Andrew De Grasse from Canada took bronze with his time of 9.89. Right after winning, Jacobs ran into the arms of compatriot Gianmarco Tamberi, who had moments before opted to tie with Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar to claim golds in the high jump.
The man with the fastest time in the 100 this year was not be in the final. Trayvon Bromell, who ran a 9.77 in June before winning the U.S. Olympic trials to represent Team USA, barely made it through to the semis following an uncharacteristic 10.05. While he ran better in the second heat of the semis with a 10 flat, he didn’t get a top 2 placement that would auto-qualify him for the final after being outleaned by Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke by .004.
The third heat was the fastest, knocking Bromell out of contention to make the finals on time alone. That left his U.S. teammates Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker to compete for a medal without him. Baker finished 5th in the final in a time of 9.95.
U.S. champion Clayton Murphy’s experience at the Games helped him maneuver his way into the finals of the men’s 800 meters from the second heat. He’ll be the only American advancing, however, as first time Olympians Bryce Hoppel finished 5th in his heat and NCAA champion from USC Isaiah Jewett was clipped by Nijel Amos of Botswana with less than 200 meters to go, causing both to fall hard to the track.
Ferguson Rotich of Kenya continues to look like the favorite, while Australia’s Peter Bol set a new Oceanian record to win the second semi in 1:44.11.
It’s not all flash for Saunders, who competed with colorful hair and Joker and Incredible Hulk masks during competition. She has been outspoken about athletes’ mental health after her own bouts of depression and anxiety following the 2016 Olympics. In her post-event interview with NBC, Saunders also took her spotlight to show love and support for the LGBTQ+ and Black communities.
At her medal ceremony, Saunders crossed her arms briefly. “It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” she told The Associated Press.
Everything is set for what should be a fun final in the women’s steeplechase. All three Americans—2017 world champion and Rio bronze medalist Emma Coburn, American record holder Courtney Frerichs, and unsponsored runner Val Constien—will move on. Bahrain’s Winfred Mutile Yavi ran the fastest ever Olympic qualifying round time with a 9:10.80, and 2019 world champion Beatrice Chepkoech will be a runner to watch. You can catch the women’s 3,000-meter steeple final on Wednesday (7 a.m. Eastern).
July 31: Jamaica goes 1-2-3 in the women’s 100 meters
Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica bested the field, running a 10.61—a new Olympic record and fastest time this year—to win gold in Tokyo and claim the title of fastest woman in the world. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson finished second (10.74) and third (10.76), respectively, completing the Jamaican sweep of the podium. Marie-Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast finished fourth in 10.91.
Teahna Daniels, the only American to reach the final, finished seventh in 11.02; fellow Americans Javianne Oliver and Jenna Prandini did not make it out of the semifinals. (Prandini replaced U.S. Trials winner Sha’Carri Richardson after Richardson tested positive for marijuana earlier this month).
Even before the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters got started, a top medal contender was out of the field, when Nigerian runner Blessing Okagbare was suspended for doping just hours before she was set to run. Okagbare, a 2013 world championships bronze medalist in the 200 meters, tested positive for human growth hormone from a test taken on July 19. The Athletics Integrity Unit told Okagbare of her suspension on Saturday morning.
After the semis, one could make a good argument that Jamaica could sweep the podium in the finals. Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah, and Jackson had three of the four fastest times in round two, all running under 10.80. Fraser-Pryce won gold in Beijing and London, while Thompson-Herah was first in Rio.
The mixed gender 4×400-meter relay made its finals debut on Saturday, with the team from Poland making the record books as the first winners of gold. They ran a European record time of 3:09.87. The squad from the Dominican Republic held back Team USA by 0.01 to take silver in 3:10.21.
The women’s 100-meter hurdles also ran first-round heats, with the most eye-opening time coming from Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. The current world leader in the event popped off with a 12.41, which only three Olympic finals winners (1998, 2004, 2012) running better times.
July 30: First day of track finally kicks off
In the morning session in Tokyo (evening in the United States), there were few surprises in the qualifying round in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase until the third and final heat. With the top three runners in each heat advancing and the next six fastest times moving onto the finals, the third group went out at a surprisingly casual pace early after the first two heats were run at faster paces. That ended up hurting U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials winner Hillary Bor—he was outkicked on the homestretch and his time of 8:19.80 was just outside the next six fastest times, so he will not advance.
There was far less drama in the other morning qualifying rounds in Tokyo. In the women’s 800 meters, the tough U.S. trio of Athing Mu, Raevyn Rogers, and Ajee’ Wilson all moved onto the semis on Saturday (7:50 a.m Eastern). There were also no early exits in the men’s 400-meter hurdles or women’s 100 meters.
The women’s 5,000-meter qualifying rounds kicked off the evening session in Tokyo on the first day. It took a pair of season bests for Americans Karissa Schweizer (14:51.34) and Elise Cranny (14:56.14) to advance, while Rachel Schneider didn’t move into the finals after running a 15:00.07 in the slower second heat. Favorite Sifan Hassan ran the fastest time of the qualifying heats, and other medal contenders like Hellen Obiri of Kenya and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia had no trouble making it to Monday’s final (8:40 a.m. Eastern).
Kendricks is first big name to test positive for COVID-19
“I’m in fine health, don’t worry about me! I’ll weather this predicament and isolation for the love of the game,” Kendricks wrote on his Instagram. In a video he posted to fans, Kendricks also said that he had two negative tests in the U.S. and at the airport when he arrived in Tokyo more than a week ago. NBC News reported that after Kendricks had close contact with members of the Australian track and field team, the 54 person team also went into isolation. Nobody has tested positive for COVID-19 from that team.
Kendricks, 28, is a two time world champion in the pole vault and won the bronze at the 2016 Olympics. Matt Ludwig is the U.S. team’s alternate in the pole vault. According to his Instagram, he is currently on his way to Tokyo to hopefully compete in the men’s pole vault qualifying competition, which begins 8:40 p.m. Eastern on Friday.