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US Women Take Gold and Silver in 400-Meter Hurdles

Gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin, of the U.S., center, stands with silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad, of the U.S, left, and bronze medalist Femke Bol, of the Netherlands, during the medal ceremony for the women's 400-meter hurdles, Aug. 4, 2021, in Tokyo.

Sydney McLaughlin of the United States edged her compatriot and rival, Dalilah Muhammad, to win the gold medal in the women’s 400-meters hurdles Wednesday at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 21-year-old McLaughlin caught the 31-year-old Muhammad on the final stretch after the runners cleared the hurdles to finish the race at 51.46 seconds, breaking the world record of 51.90 seconds she set at the U.S. Olympic trials back in June. Muhammad crossed the finish line at 51.28 seconds, a personal best, to take the silver medal, while Femke Bol of the Netherlands was the bronze medalist at 52.03 seconds.

McLaughlin’s victory appears to represent a changing of the guard, as she dethroned the woman who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where McLaughlin made her Olympics debut at age 16. Muhammad also won the event at the 2019 World Championships.

In other events, 19-year-old Sakura Yosozumi of host country Japan won the gold medal in the inaugural women’s park skateboarding at Ariake Urban Sports Park with a score of 60.09, just one point better than 12-year-old silver medalist Kokona Hiraki. Britain’s Sky Brown earned a score of 56.47 to finish in third place and win bronze, becoming Britain's youngest Olympic medalist at age 13. Japanese skateboarders have so far won a total of five medals across the men’s and women’s divisions, including three gold.

In the sailing competition, Britain’s Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntir won the women’s 470 class at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour in Fujisawa City, with Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar taking the silver medal and France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz winning bronze. In the men's 470 class, Matthew Belcher and Will Ryan of Australia won the gold, followed by Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom of Sweden and Spain’s Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez Garcia-Paz, who won the bronze medal.

Italy’s men’s cycling team won the gold medal in the pursuit finals at the Izu Velodrome by setting a new world record of 3:42.032 (three hours, 42.032 minutes). Denmark finished a close second with 3:42.198 (three hours, 42.198 minutes). Australia beat New Zealand in the earlier bronze medal race.

Controversy has overshadowed Monday’s medal ceremony for women’s track cycling after gold medal winners Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi wore badges featuring the likeness of the country's late leader Mao Zedong, in an apparent violation of Olympic rules prohibiting athletes from engaging in political demonstrations or displaying “political, religious or racial propaganda."

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said Tuesday the IOC has been in contact with the Chinese Olympic Committee to explain the incident, and said it was assured that “this will not happen again.”

Adams also said the IOC has suspended an investigation into U.S. shot putter Raven Saunders after she announced the death of her mother Clarissa, in Orlando, Florida, where she had traveled to attend an Olympic watch party for her daughter. Saunders formed her arms into an “X” pattern after she was awarded the silver medal Sunday, later explaining that the gesture was in support of the world’s oppressed people.

Meanwhile, the number of positive COVID-19 cases directly related to the Tokyo Olympics now stands at 327 since tracking began July 1, including a record 29 new cases on Wednesday. The new cases include five members of Greece’s artistic swimming team, four swimmers and a team official. Seven members have tested negative, but some of those have been judged as close contacts with the infected people. The outbreak has forced the team to withdraw from the Olympics and move out of the Olympic Village into a quarantine facility.
Some information for this report came from Reuters and AFP