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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Olympics

Video: Rudy Gobert was crying after France lost to Team USA

Rudy Gobert crying

France shocked many people when they defeated Team USA in the group stage at the Tokyo Olympics, but history did not repeat itself on Saturday. Team USA defeated France in the gold medal game despite their early struggles, and Rudy Gobert was clearly devastated.

Gobert sat with his head down for several moments after Team USA beat France 87-82. Evan Fournier went over to pick Gobert up, and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year appeared to be crying as he shook hands with Kevin Durant and others.

Gobert later congratulated Team USA on Twitter.

The silver medal for France was the team’s third overall at the Olympics. They have never won the gold, so you can understand why Gobert was emotional after coming so close. Of course, many fans took the opportunity to mock Gobert and bring up how he cried after his All-Star snub two years ago.

Team USA captured the gold despite falling to France earlier in the tournament and losing two exhibition games. Durant and Draymond Green were quick to call out their haters after the game.

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green bash critics in video together after winning gold

Kevin Durant Draymond Green

Kevin Durant and Draymond Green have a complicated history, but the two NBA stars were quite pleased to come together in bashing their critics after Team USA won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

Durant, who scored a game-high 29 points in the United States’ 87-72 win over France, got on Instagram live immediately after the game. He expressed disbelief that many analysts ranked Team USA as the fourth-best team in Tokyo. Green joined the video and called out Kendrick Perkins, who has been critical of Team USA in recent weeks like many others.

You can see the video below, but beware that it contains inappropriate language:

“They had some power rankings out, they had us fourth behind Slovenia,” Durant said. “Talking about (how) they’re catching up to us. Are you serious? This skill is unmatched.”

“Kendrick Perkins, you talk a lot of s—, a lot of s—,” Green added. “Act like you American.”

You can understand why the fourth consecutive gold medal for Team USA felt sweet for the players. They struggled early on and lost to France in the group stage, which led to them being ruthlessly mocked with Twitter memes. They also lost two exhibition games prior to the actual tournament, which had many anticipating an early exit in Tokyo.

It was noteworthy that Durant and Green gave the haters a shoutout together. Green and Durant have openly had issues with one another in the past, though Durant has since spoken highly of his former Golden State Warriors teammate. None of that drama mattered after Durant and Green helped Team USA silence the naysayers.

Carli Lloyd was lone USWNT player not to kneel before bronze medal game

Carli Lloyd stand

The US women’s national soccer team has continued its pattern of social justice displays during the Olympics despite the international competition’s rules against the practice. The team has stood for the playing of the national anthem before matches, but has later taken knees over racism.

Prior to the US’ bronze medal game on Thursday against Australia at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Carli Lloyd did not kneel.

Lloyd, along with Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz, were among the few members of the team to stand for the national anthem during friendlies over the fall. Other members kneeled during the national anthem before later deciding in February to begin standing again.

Since the time Megan Rapinoe began kneeling in 2016, Lloyd expressed her opinion on the matter. She said at the time that while she supported Rapinoe, she found the situation to be distracting to the team. She felt the focus switched from the team and its performance to questions and topics about protests.

Lloyd and Rapinoe both scored two goals in the US’ 4-3 win over Australia. The bronze medal finish was a disappointing one for the team. Some feel the team’s core has just aged and it showed. Others feel that much like Lloyd said in the past, the team lacked focused due to an emphasis on political issues.

H/T OutKick

Mr. T congratulates ‘A-Team’ Alix Klineman and April Ross on gold medal

A Team Alix Klineman April Ross

April Ross and Alix Klineman asserted their dominance on the sand in Japan, winning the gold medal in women’s beach volleyball with focus and execution. They went undefeated at the 2020 Summer Olympics, going 3-0 in pool play and 4-0 in the knockout round. They only dropped one set in the entire event.

April and Alix teamed up to form “The A-Team,” and they picked up numerous fans along the way. One of their most notable fans was ’80s pop culture figure “Mr. T.”

Mr. T became well know for his role in the television show “The A-Team.” When he found out about the beach volleyball team having that nickname, he jumped on as a huge supporter.

He first shared support of the team on Tuesday:

Then he watched them play in the semifinals the following day:

And Mr. T cheered them on for the gold medal match, which the women won over an Australian team in straight sets.

Ross and Klineman dominated on the sand like Mr. T dominated all of the fools he beat up on in tough-guy competitions. The women’s team really played more like the A+ team in Japan. Kudos to them on the standout performance.

Reporter details alleged sexual harassment from Olympic athletes

Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee may have to look into the way some athletes have been treating members of the media in Tokyo.

NFL on FOX sideline reporter Laura Okmin shared some troubling information on Twitter this week about messages she has received from female members of the media who are covering the Olympics in Tokyo. Okmin says multiple women have reached out to her for guidance on how to deal with athletes making sexual advances toward them and not being respectful.

Okmin said reporters have been sharing the names of athletes who have harassed them, so it’s possible that information could make its way to Olympic officials. If the allegations are substantiated, there would likely be consequences.

H/T Egotastic Sports

Carl Lewis blasts Team USA for ‘unacceptable’ 4x100m relay

USA baton pass relay

Carl Lewis blasted Team USA for its awful performance in the men’s 4x100m relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Thursday.

The men’s relay team finished sixth in its heat with a time of 38.10 and failed to qualify for the final.

They made some serious blunders, including a botched baton pass between Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker.

Lewis, who won nine gold medals including two in the 4x100m relay, ripped the team over its terrible performance. He criticized their passing system and the order of the relay team. He called the performance a “total embarrassment” and “completely unacceptable.”

Lewis is right. Nothing about that performance was acceptable.

Trayvon Bromell, Kerley, Baker and Cravon Gillespie are all excellent sprinters in the 100m, but they need to put it together for a cleaner relay.

This is the first time since 2008 that the US will not make the final. They had baton pass issues in 2008 and 2016 as well. According to the AP, this is the 10th time since 1995 that the men have botched a relay at a world championships or Olympics.

Noah Lyles shares one issue he had during 200m final

Noah Lyles

Noah Lyles was a contender to win the gold medal in the men’s 200m sprint at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 24-year-old came close to winning but ultimately settled for the bronze for his first career Olympic medal.

Lyles was running in lane 3, while winner Andre de Grasse was in lane 6 and second-place finisher Kenny Bednarek was in lane 7 (lane 1 was not used). De Grasse running adjacent to Bednarek likely helped. He saw Bednarek was in front of him and was able to catch him.

Lyles wasn’t so lucky.

Lyles said after the race that one of his issues was not knowing where he was.

“I knew I was going to have to get out really hard. And I’ve been doing a really good job of that in practice, so I really wanted to show it off. I came off the turn. Unfortunately, I had no idea where I was, so I just felt like I was running for my life,” Lyles said in an interview with NBC after the race.

Having de Grasse and Bednarek in his sights might have given Lyles the extra push he needed to beat them. Unfortunately for him, that didn’t happen.

Some wondered whether Lyles’ blunder in the semifinals would come back to hurt him. It did with a worse lane assignment in the final.

Photos of Andre de Grasse after winning gold in 200m were great

Andre de Grasse

Andre de Grasse took advantage of Usain Bolt’s retirement from competition in the biggest way.

The Canadian sprinter won the gold medal in the men’s 200m at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on Wednesday. He posted a Canadian record time of 19.62 and came from behind to beat Kenny Bednarek and Noah Lyles, who won silver and bronze, respectively.

The win marked de Grasse’s first Olympic gold medal, and his celebration was great, leading to some wonderful photos.

What images.

De Grasse won silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, finishing behind Bolt. He even messed with Bolt in the semifinal of the race, leading to a viral photo.

This time around, there was no Bolt to steal the thunder. De Grasse is now the fastest in the world in the 200m and earned the title with a great effort.

Caeleb Dressel explains why he gave his gold medal to teammate Brooks Curry

Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel drew some headlines for giving his gold medal to a teammate, and he has explained his actions.

Dressel won five gold medals during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. His first gold came in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

After receiving his medal for the event, Dressel was seen giving the gold to teammate Brooks Curry.

So what was the deal? Curry swam on the team in the preliminary round and helped them qualify for the finals. Curry’s 48.84 time was the slowest split, so Dressel replaced him in the final and swam the second-fastest split on the team.

Though he did not swim in the final, Curry still received a medal for being part of the team helping them qualify. However, prelim swimmers did not receive their medals until later. So Dressel thought it would be nice to let his teammate enjoy it for some time until he got his the following day.

“Everyone thought I was just giving my medal away,” Dressel explained in an interview with Mike Tirico. “The prelim swimmers get medals. But I had the easiest job on that relay. Normally the US takes six guys. We only took five this year. So only one guy got the boot — it just so happened to be Brooks. The fast four move on. So I had the easiest job the night before — I got to watch them on TV. They put the work in to get me a lane to be a part of that relay. So I wanted him to have his moment. I wanted him to get his medal a little earlier. I had my fun with it, I had it on the podium, and I thought he deserved to have it for a couple hours.”

Though Dressel, who is a captain on the US swimming team, was being thoughtful and respectful of Curry, Curry graciously turned down the medal.

“[Curry] actually gave it back. He said, ‘you need to take this.’ That just goes to show how Team USA works,” Dressel said.

Curry eventually got his medal. Dressel went on to win four more gold medals, thanks in part to the rest Curry helped provide him. That’s some selflessness from a couple of Team USA teammates.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson refuses help after injury to cross finish line

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson saw her Olympic medal hopes come to a disappointing end when she suffered an injury in the heptathlon 200 meter heat on Wednesday. She was not going to let that stop her from crossing the finish line, however.

Johnson-Thompson was in fifth position overall heading into the race, but she fell to the track in pain during the first 100 meters. Medical staff immediately rushed over to her with a wheelchair and supplies. Johnson-Thompson stayed down for a while and then got to her feet and jogged to the finish line.

Unfortunately, Johnson-Thompson was disqualified for leaving her lane. She would have come in last, anyway. That doesn’t make what she did any less admirable.

Johnson-Thompson suffered a ruptured Achilles before the Olympics and had to work her way through a long recovery to make it to Tokyo. While it’s crushing to see the journey end that way, her toughness was one of the highlights of the Olympics.