‘Yeah, whatever,’ says Australian swimmer after beating US star Katie Ledecky
The women’s 400 meter freestyle final was one of the most hotly anticipated races at these Tokyo Games — and it certainly delivered on the drama.
Ariarne Titmus fought her way back to overtake two-time defending Olympic champion Katie Ledecky and earn Australia’s first gold in this event since 1972.
However, despite the intense pressure the two swimmers must have been feeling, 20-year-old Titmus remained remarkably calm — both during and after the race.
“Coming into the race my mind was very clear,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking about splits or that kind of thing, I just swam intuition — the training that I’ve done, my body just knew what to do. I just tried to stay composed.
“Honestly, I didn’t even look at the time. I just saw ‘one’ against my name, and once I saw that I was just kind of, like, ‘yeah, whatever.’ But it’s a PB so that’s good.
“I do feel pressure, but I feel like I do a good job at kind of eating it all up and using it. I’ve been very relaxed at this meet, more relaxed than I thought I would be. I was way more nervous swimming at trials than I was tonight.
“This is what we work for, I’m at the Olympic Games. I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can. As much as this isn’t a normal Olympics with the Covid protocols, I’m still having great fun. For me, tonight was just being out there in a race, it’s the best part about swimming.
“I was excited that to win this event. I had to beat a great champion [Ledecky] and that makes it even more satisfying. She has done unbelievable things for this sport, and especially middle-distance swimming.
“I feel like if people back home can enjoy this moment like I can, I’m really happy that I’ve brought some joy to the country during a tough time.”
The 24-year-old Ledecky was full of praise for her opponent and said they had “both helped each other” over the past few years.
Despite not taking home the medal she wanted, the US superstar said standing on the Olympic podium is “not something I take for granted.”
“It’s just great for this event, and all the freestyle events, to have had some really great competitors in the field,” she said.
“We’ve only raced a handful of times, I guess probably on average once a year over the last five years. Each race is always a tough race and that’s something that motivates you in training.
“When we meet up it’s always a great race. I hope we have many more great races this week and in the future.
“Of course you always want to hear your national anthem, but I’m proud of how I swam and how I got to that point. It’s not an easy journey, it’s never an easy journey to the podium, and so it’s not something I take for granted, being up there.
“I think I just came into this race very much at peace with the work that I’d put in to get to this point.
“That’s the biggest win of all. I just knew, no matter the outcome, that I was going to put up a fight, and put up a great race, and I’m glad I did. Even if I didn’t I was still going to be happy for whoever won gold.
“I just felt a lot of joy and happiness and love coming into this race, and just kind of carried that with me. That’s the biggest win of all.”
There was chaos at the start of the men’s triathlon when about half of the athletes dived into the water to begin their swim while a boat was still blocking many of the competitors on the platform.
The starting gun seemed to be triggered too early, causing the boat to hastily reverse out of the way while race officials recalled those who had started their swim.
After the restart, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt went on to win gold — his country’s first medal at Toyko 2020 — with a time of 1:45:04.
Great Britain’s Alex Yee claimed the silver medal and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand took the bronze.
“I was caught up in that but it was kind of good but kind of annoying at the same time,” Wilde said about the confusing start.
“I looked to the left and I was like, ‘oh man, I’ve had a great start, this doesn’t happen to me.’ But then I realized that half of the field wasn’t actually there so we turned back.
“It was actually quite good to tick the arms over for 50 plus meters. But still, it kind of got the heart rate up a bit too much.
“It is what it is and you’ve just got to keep composed, and sometimes that happens and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.”
Editor’s note: A version of this post appeared in CNN’s Meanwhile in China newsletter, a three-times-a-week update exploring what you need to know about the country’s rise and how it impacts the world. Sign up here.
The Olympics has long been an occasion for celebrating national pride. And for an increasingly confident China, the Tokyo Games is seen as the latest opportunity to showcase its national strength, as it looks to challenge the United States for top spot on the medal table.
So far, Team China has got off to a strong start, to the cheers of millions of fans online.
On Saturday, Chinese social media exploded in euphoria when shooter Yang Qian won the first gold of the Tokyo Games in the women’s 10-meter air rifle. The 21-year-old also set a new Olympic record with a 251.8 final score.
As of Monday morning in Japan, China has bagged six gold medals — three in weightlifting, one in fencing and one in diving in addition to Yang’s air rifle gold. That’s enough to top the medal table, followed by Japan and the United States.
Nationalist sentiment: On Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of Twitter, the Tokyo Games has been among the top trending topics since Friday evening. While many are rightfully proud of the Chinese team’s achievements, the nationalist sentiment has at times been more aggressive.
“Let the ‘March of the Volunteers’ blast forth in little Japan!” read the top comment under a post from Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily announcing Yang’s win, employing a common derogatory term for the Japanese (“March of the Volunteers” is China’s national anthem).
The comment sections of top state media outlets like the People’s Daily are among the most strictly censored corners of Weibo. The fact that the comment was allowed to receive nearly half a million “likes” and occupy top spot suggests at least official tolerance, if not encouragement of such rhetoric.
In other cases, the nationalist sentiment has gone too far even for Chinese censors. On Saturday, Yang was briefly attacked by some online nationalists and told to “get out of China” for having previously shown off her impressive collection of Nike sneakers on Weibo.
Nike, along with H&M and other big Western apparel brands faced calls for boycott in China in March, owing to their stand against the alleged use of forced labor to produce cotton in Xinjiang.
Basketball superstar Luka Doncic’s Olympic career is off to a tremendous start.
In his first game for Slovenia at the Summer Games, the 22-year-old Dallas Mavericks phenom scored 31 points — just in the first half.
To put that in context, Doncic scored more in a half than any player in last night’s marquee matchup between France and the United States.
Doncic’s Slovenia led Argentina 62-42 going into the half.
Doncic’s heroics should come as no surprise after the stellar season he put together in the NBA last year. In just his third season, he was named to the All-NBA first team and leapfrogged Michael Jordan on the all-time triple-double list.
Teenager Nishiya Momiji of Japan has won the women’s street skateboarding event.
At just 13 years old, she is now one of the youngest gold medal winners in Olympic history.
She is just months older than the current female record-holder, American diver Marjorie Gestring, who was 13 years and 267 days old when she won gold at the Berlin Games in 1936.
Momiji’s win came just a day after fellow Japanese skater Yuto Horigome won the first-ever Olympic gold medal in skateboarding for the men’s street competition.
The silver medalist was another 13-year-old, Brazilian star Rayssa Leal. Japan’s Funa Nakayama, 16, took bronze.
The United States has won the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics with a winning time of 3:08.97.
It’s the fifth gold medal for the US at the Games and 12th medal overall.
Italy finished second for the silver medal with a time of 3:10.11, and Australia claimed bronze with 3:10.22.
The number of Covid-19 cases linked to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has risen to 153, up 16 from the previous day, according to Games organizers.
One of the new cases reported was a resident of the Olympic Village, bringing the total number of infections from the village to 16.
Three of the new cases were identified as athletes but were not residents of the village. The remaining cases are identified as contractors, media, or Games-concerned personnel.
Tokyo 2020 is not revealing the names or nationalities of the Covid-19 cases.
Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten threw her arms up in the air, her face a picture of ecstasy and joy.
That’s what you do when you think you’ve won Olympic gold — except she hadn’t.
That honor went to Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer, who capitalized on her rival’s confusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic women’s road race on Sunday to secure a shock win.
“When I crossed the line, I thought I had won,” said silver medalist Van Vleuten.
Here’s what happened: Kiesenhofer gave the performance of a lifetime to eclipse a field of big names and win the race, finishing in just under four hours.
The 30-year-old Austrian broke away from the leading group more than 40 kilometers from the end, holding her own on a demanding 147-kilometer course in the intense heat to win Austria’s first cycling gold medal since 1896.
Kiesenhofer spent much of the rest of the race so far ahead of the chasing pack that she was out of sight of the other cyclists.
France beat the US men’s basketball team 83-76 at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, ending Team USA’s 25-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to 2004.
Team USA had an eight-point lead with four minutes left in the game, but the French team mounted a 16-2 run, highlighted by leading scorer Evan Fournier’s go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute left to seal the win. It was the opening game for both teams.
The loss is Team USA’s first since the team lost to Argentina in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
US head coach Gregg Popovich said he was “disappointed” in the loss, but not necessarily surprised.
“When you lose a game, you’re not surprised, you’re disappointed. I don’t understand the word surprise. That sort of disses the French team, so to speak, as if we were supposed to beat them by 30 or something,” Popovich said.