Tokyo Olympics Recap: Lewis lays into Team USA's relay failure, Spain clinch historic golds

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Nine-time Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis did not hold back in his criticism of the United States' performance in the men's 4x100 metres relay at Tokyo 2020.

Team USA have not won the event in 21 years and though they entered Thursday's heat as one of the favourites, they failed to qualify for the final.

It is the first time Team USA have failed to reach the Olympic final since 2008, though they have hardly had much fortune in the event since their success in Sydney.

Indeed, they have only once made it to the finish line cleanly, without any mistakes, when they claimed silver at London 2012. That medal, however, was conceded in the wake of Tyson Gay's doping ban.

This time around, a team including three of the fastest men in the world over 100m in 2021, fared little better.

Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie finished sixth in the heat with a time of 38.10 seconds.

"We just didn't get the job done today," Kerley said. "That's all."

Sprinting great Lewis, who won two golds in the 4x100m relay, hit out at what he labelled a "clown show".

"The USA team did everything wrong in the men’s relay," Lewis wrote on Twitter. "The passing system is wrong, athletes running the wrong legs, and it was clear that there was no leadership. It was a total embarrassment, and completely unacceptable for a USA team to look worse than the AAU kids I saw."

He then expanded on his criticism in an interview with USA Today.

"This was a football coach taking a team to the Super Bowl and losing 99-0 because they were completely ill-prepared," Lewis said.

"It's unacceptable. It's so disheartening to see this because it’s people's lives. We're just playing games with people's lives. That's why I’m so upset. It's totally avoidable.

"America is sitting there rooting for the United States and then they have this clown show. I can't take it anymore. It's just unacceptable. It is not hard to do the relay."

HISTORY MADE BY SPAIN

Sport climbing and karate were two of the sports introduced for the Tokyo Games, and the first medals in each were won by Spanish athletes.

At the age of 39 years and 323 days, Sandra Sanchez became Spain's oldest Olympic champion as she triumphed in the women's kata, breaking the record set by Joan Llaneras in the velodrome in 2008.

Sanchez also became the first Spanish woman to clinch gold in martial arts since judoka Isabel Fernandez did so in 2000.

Her triumph was followed up by golds for France's Steven da Costa and Bulgaria's Ivet Goranova in the men's and women's kumite respectively.

At the opposite end of the spectrum to Sanchez, 18-year-old Alberto Gines Lopez became the youngest male Spanish athlete to strike gold at the Games as he pipped Nathaniel Coleman and Jakob Schubert in the sport climbing men's combined final.

"I think it will help the sport to grow, and for it to get more support. We need good installations in order to help the sport, and I think this will bring more support to the sport," the teenager said, before revealing his plans of celebration: "I'm going to break my diet. And then call my family and friends."

FOURNIER PREPPED FOR 'THE MOST COMPLICATED MATCH'

Team USA and France will meet in the final of the men's basketball competition, as the two favourites go head-to-head for gold.

Luka Doncic's shooting was off as Slovenia fell to an agonising 90-89 defeat to France, who beat the USA in the pool stage.

The European Champions, who also defeated the USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, now face a rematch against a side that has scored over 90 points in the last four games.

Evan Fournier, whose 23 points was second behind only team-mate Nando de Colo, knows what is in store.

"It represents a real step towards a dream, and the dream is to win the Olympics against the United States," said Fournier, who has just swapped the Boston Celtics for the New York Knicks.

"We have to rest and not let our minds wander, and prepare as much as possible, because there's a team waiting for us. They've prepared for us for two years, apparently, and because we beat them in the pool it will be worse, so it will be the most complicated match of the competition for us without any doubt."

SHOOT-OUT GLORY FOR BELGIUM

Beaten finalists in 2016, Belgium claimed their first hockey gold, and only their second in an Olympic team sport, after their men beat Australia 3-2 in a shoot-out.

Goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was the hero in dramatic circumstances.

He made two saves before then denying Jacob Whetton, only for Belgium's celebrations to be cut short by a referral. However, Vanasch stood firm for a second time.

The shoot-out drama followed a 1-1 draw, with Tom Wickham having cancelled out Florent van Aubel's opener.

"What a feeling. You become Olympic champion, but twice [because of the referral] It's unusual," Vanasch said. "We had to calm down and go again. We knew that.

"I'm like a musician, it's a rehearsal and then you come to the concert and it comes naturally. That's how I come on the pitch. I'm composed, but also I trust myself, I trust my reflexes."

Australia have now won seven men's hockey medals across the last eight Games, while Belgium won their first gold in a team event since the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, when their men's football team triumphed.

Related items

  • Referees send people off for nothing – Koeman unhappy with red card in Barca's 0-0 draw with Cadiz Referees send people off for nothing – Koeman unhappy with red card in Barca's 0-0 draw with Cadiz

    Ronald Koeman says referees in Spain send people off "for nothing" after both he and midfielder Frenkie de Jong were dismissed in Barcelona's dire 0-0 draw with Cadiz on Thursday.

    Barca's hopes of leaving Andalusia with a much-needed win were dealt a blow when De Jong received a second yellow card in the 65th minute for following through on Alfonso Espino after initially winning the ball. 

    The Catalan giants' woes were compounded deep into stoppage time when Koeman was also ejected for his protestations towards referee Carlos del Cerro Grande.

    The stalemate means Barca have now drawn three of their opening five LaLiga games this season to sit seven points adrift of leaders Real Madrid, although Carlo Ancelotti's side have played a game more. 

    Koeman's dismissal followed a frantic period that saw two balls in play at the same time, with the Dutchman claiming he was given his marching orders by Cerro Grande for alerting him to the situation. Sergio Busquets was booked for kicking the rogue ball towards the Cadiz player in possession.

    "It was not because of nervousness, it was because I told the fourth official that there was a second ball on the field and the referee had to stop the game. Everyone except the referee saw it," he told Movistar.

    "They expel you for nothing, in this country they expel you for nothing. I have asked the referee as normal. Attitude? We leave it because it is not my problem."

    The goalless draw means Barca have failed to scored in two of their past three games across all competitions – as many as in their previous 41 matches. 

    Meanwhile, their tally of eight goals scored at this stage of the season is their worst since the 2003-04 season when they scored just five in their opening five matches. 

    Koeman's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks and the Dutchman is aware that is unlikely to subside in the coming days.

    "I do not talk about my personal situation," he added. "It seems that if I win I continue and if I lose the club has to find another coach. It is for you [to talk about].

    "The president [Joan Laporta] was at the hotel, and we greeted each other shortly before leaving. Surely there will be more days to talk about this issue if the club wants to talk."

    Barca are next in action against Levante at Camp Nou on Sunday. 

  • La Russa on 'Fantasy Island' after returning to lead White Sox to AL Central title La Russa on 'Fantasy Island' after returning to lead White Sox to AL Central title

    The Chicago White Sox clinched their sixth division title with victory over nearest American League Central challengers the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.

    In the first game of a double-header at Progressive Field, the White Sox prevailed 7-2 to become the first team in MLB to clinch a division this season.

    It is the fourth time they have won the AL Central – but first since 2008 – to go with two prior AL West triumphs.

    In-form shortstop Tim Anderson was hugely influential in the decisive win, with three hits, two runs and four RBIs. It was his seventh straight game with a hit since returning from a hamstring injury.

    But manager Tony La Russa was the centre of attention, having only returned to the major leagues with the White Sox this season after 10 years away.

    Having served as White Sox manager between 1979 and 1986, earning their first division championship in 1983, La Russa went on to win the World Series with both the Oakland Athletics (in 1989) and the St Louis Cardinals (in 2006 and 2011).

    The 76-year-old retired as a champion with the Cardinals but was brought back to Chicago to have an immediate impact, even if he credits the team.

    "The whole thing for me is Fantasy Island," he said. "Coming back like this.

    "We all know the truth. The first three jobs, the clubs were struggling when I took over. Managers don't walk into a situation like this, with a team so ready to win.

    "So, I'm very, very fortunate."

    The White Sox had a .383 win percentage as recently as 2018 but had improved rapidly prior to La Russa's arrival. The .136 increase between 2019 and 2020 was the ninth-largest year-to-year improvement in team history.

    But La Russa's players have certainly noted his impact, as Anderson said: "He came in and allowed us to be ourselves.

    "He always says players first. He allowed us to play the game the way we would want to and allowed us to have some fun."

  • Mourinho praises Roma's fighting spirit after matching Allegri's record home run Mourinho praises Roma's fighting spirit after matching Allegri's record home run

    Jose Mourinho praised his Roma players for holding on with 10 men to claim a 1-0 win against Udinese that saw the Portuguese equal Massimiliano Allegri's record unbeaten home run in Serie A.

    Tammy Abraham scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in Thursday's clash at Stadio Olimpico with a flicked finish nine minutes before half-time.

    Roma struggled in the second half as they saw less of the ball than Udinese (47.4 per cent) and were out-shot seven to two, with Rui Patricio forced into a couple of saves.

    The Giallorossi had to play the final stages a man light after Lorenzo Pellegrini was issued a second yellow card for catching Lazar Samardzic with his elbow, but they saw out their fourth victory in five league games this term.

    That includes three successive wins at Stadio Olimpico under Mourinho, who is now 41 without defeat on home soil in the Italian top flight going back to his hugely successful tenure at Inter.

    He is one short of taking the outright record in the three-points-per-win era (since 1994-95), with Allegri's previous benchmark set between September 2015 and September 2017 during his first spell in charge of Juventus.

    Mourinho was pleased to pick up all three points against Udinese and move up to fourth in the standings, but he acknowledged his side dropped off in the second half of the contest.

    "We played well for about 35 minutes," he said at his post-match news conference. "We had total control of the game, 1-0 is little for what we did. In the second half we struggled a bit more, and they reacted.

    "We had to suffer a bit. But we did so as a team. We played about six or seven minutes with a man less and fought hard for the three points."

    Pellegrini's contentious dismissal means that he is set to miss Sunday's Derby della Capitale showdown with bitter rivals Lazio, but Mourinho suggested he intends to appeal against the decision.

    "It was ridiculous. We had an educational meeting with the referee chiefs and the rules were explained for two hours," Mourinho said. "Then we get to the game and see a red like this.

    "I can't say anything except that it was ridiculous. Football is and always will be football. You cannot change it into a non-contact sport."

    Mourinho added to DAZN: "I don't know the legal mechanisms in Italian football, but if we can appeal, then we must try. I have many doubts that anyone could say that was a deserved second yellow card. 

    "If there's a way of appealing this card, then we must do that and allow him to play on Sunday."

    Roma have now scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, a tally that is bettered by only Bayern Munich (38), Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund (both 23) among clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

    Abraham has been responsible for three of those and, with his strike against Udinese, became the first English striker to score a home goal in Serie A since Jay Bothroyd against Ancona with Perugia back in May 2004.

    The recent signing from Chelsea has made a massive impact since joining, having also chipped in with a couple of assists, and he is grateful to have been made to feel so welcome in his new surroundings.

    "I knew there was a lot of pressure with me coming in, but I love the fans, the staff, they make me feel like family from the first day and I need to repay them," he told DAZN.

    "I came here to win, I love to win, the boys look to me, I have to give them confidence, and hopefully we'll continue getting results."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.