New track record, Belarusian sprinter heads to Poland
TOKYO, Aug.4 (Reuters) – Another athletics world record was erased at the Olympics on Wednesday, as athletes faced the heat of political and diplomatic controversy as well as the scorching summer weather in Tokyo .
American Sydney McLaughlin broke her own record in the 400-meter hurdles as a Belarusian athlete left for Poland three days after refusing an order to return home against her will and seeking diplomatic protection.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was investigating the case of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, while questioning China about athletes who wore Mao Zedong badges on the medal podium but suspended an investigation into US shot putter Raven Saunders after the death of his mother.
McLaughlin was behind teammate Dalilah Muhammad after the final hurdle but passed her in the sprint to win gold in 51.46 seconds in a thrilling finish that slashed her own June record by nearly half a second. Read more
“I saw Dalilah in front of me with one to go. I was just like, ‘Do your race’,” McLaughlin said. “The race doesn’t really start until the seventh hurdle. I just wanted to go and give it my all.”
Muhammad was also ahead of McLaughlin’s previous record, recalling Tuesday’s stunning men’s final in the same event, when Norway’s Karsten Warholm and silver medalist Rai Benjamin both broke Warholm’s previous record. Read more
Tsimanouskaya, who had taken refuge at the Polish embassy, left in the morning, escorted by officials and wearing a mask, blue jeans, a blue blouse and sunglasses with the inscription “I RUN CLEAN” . Read more
She left on a flight to Vienna, but a Belarusian opposition politician said she would travel to Warsaw later today, and a Polish official said the athlete was in her country’s custody.
The IOC said it was investigating the case, which began after the sprinter publicly criticized her coaches.
The IOC also said it was awaiting a formal explanation from Chinese Olympic officials on why two gold medalists wore badges representing Mao, the founding leader of the People’s Republic of China, as Olympic rules prohibit statements. policies on the podium. Read more
At the same time, the IOC expressed its condolences to silver medalist Saunders after learning of her mother’s death.
“You will understand that given these circumstances the process is totally on hold for the moment,” said spokesperson Mark Adams.
Saunders had her arms crossed in an “X” above her head on the podium on Sunday, a gesture which she said represented “the intersection of where all oppressed people meet.” She said that she hoped to inspire her LGBT and Black colleagues, and those with mental health issues.
BILES LEAVES ITS MARK
Away from politics, the brutal Japanese summer has continued to roast outdoor athletes and officials at the Games, which end on Sunday.
As temperatures at the edge of the track at the athletics stadium reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and an archer collapsed, Sweden and Canada called on organizers to postpone the start of the game. women’s football for Friday’s gold medal, which is now scheduled for 11 a.m. (0200 GMT) read more
“It is first and foremost a question of the health of the players,” said Marika Domanski Lyfors, Sweden’s women’s team manager. “There’s a pretty big difference between playing in the afternoon or in the evening.”
Even cooler were Japanese and British teenage skateboarders, who shredded and soared through the preliminaries in the heated Olympic debut of the women’s park competition. Read more
In the pool, Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha won gold in the women’s 10km swimming marathon, edging out the peloton including Rio 2016 winner Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands. Read more
“I didn’t expect it to happen this way, but I’m extremely happy,” said Cunha, sporting a tuft of fluorescent green and yellow hair perfectly coordinated with her Brazilian uniform.
Wednesday was also a day to reflect on the dramatic outing of Simone Biles, considered by many to be the greatest gymnast of all time. The American did not rewrite the Olympic record books as intended, but left an indelible mark, shifting the narrative of the Medal Games to championing the mental health and well-being of athletes. Read more
She introduced into the general lexicon the term “twisties”, a type of mental blockage where gymnasts are confused during their gravity defying skills. Biles retired from the events after her first jump but returned on Tuesday to claim bronze on beam.
Even the crowning of the Japanese Daiki Hashimoto, winner of the all-around gold and the men’s high bar, plus a silver medal in the men’s team event, as successor to the great “King” of gymnastics from his country Kohei Uchimura, could not get Biles out of the Olympic spotlight.
Reporting by Amy Tennery and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Additional reporting by Antoni Slodkowski, Karolos Grohmann, Philip O’Connor, Mari Saito, Sakura Murakami and Steve Keating in Tokyo and Alan Charlish in Warsaw; Written by William Mallard, edited by Ed Osmond
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