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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Olympics

Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez joins elite company with incredible feat

Mijain Lopez

Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez joined some incredibly exclusive company with an impressive feat.

Lopez on Monday won the gold medal in the Greco-Roman 130 kg wrestling event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 38-year-old Cuban giant defeated Iakobi Kajaia 5-0 in the final of the event to win the gold.

What is remarkable is the gold medal marked the fourth straight Olympics in which Lopez has won the same event.

He also won gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The 2008 and 2012 medals were when 125 kg was the highest weight class in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Only four other athletes have ever won four straight gold medals in the same individual event. Those four others are:

– Michael Phelps: 200 m individual medley (2004-2016)
– Carl Lewis: long jump (1984-1996)
– Al Oerter: discus (1956-1968)
– Paul Elvstrom: finn (1948-1960)

That is quite an exclusive list.

Even at 38, Lopez is still going strong and leading his class. He also showed some great sportsmanship after his semifinal win.

Jamaican sprinter Christopher Taylor taken off in wheelchair after race

Christopher Taylor

Jamaican sprinter Christopher Taylor faced a medical situation after qualifying for the finals of the men’s 400 m race at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Taylor finished second in the second semifinal of the 400 m sprint with a time of 44.92. He was one of eight runners to qualify for the final, but he had to be taken away in a wheelchair afterwards.

What was the reason? NBC’s Mike Tirico said that Taylor had an asthma attack after the race.

However, the Jamaica Gleaner’s Andre Lowe says Taylor was taken away as a precaution due to his asthma. He said the sprinter was “fine” after the race.

Taylor said he already felt like a winner just by qualifying for the final.

This is the 21-year-old’s Olympics debut. He said in an Instagram post that he was “doing well” and focusing on the final.

Caeleb Dressel shares what he plans to do after Olympics

Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel has been one of the stars of the Summer Olympics this year, and it’s hard to imagine him doing anything other than swimming when he leaves Tokyo. Believe it or not, the 24-year-old does plan to take some time off.

In an interview with Mike Tirico of NBC Sports on Sunday, Dressel said he and his wife, Meghan Haila Dressel, are finally planning to go on their honeymoon after the Olympics. The two got married in February, but Dressel has obviously been busy training for the past several months.

“Swimming gets in the way of a lot of things. First priority, maybe I should do that on the plane ride back — start planning [our honeymoon],” Dressel said. “I got three weeks and then I’m going off and starting to do some swimming again. So I’ll get my three weeks to do everything but swim, and then we’ll get back in it.”

It’s no surprise that Dressel only wants to take three weeks off, as he has plenty more gold medals to chase. He’ll be the heavy favorite in several events at the 2024 Olympics after what he has accomplished in Tokyo.

Dressel joined elite company on Sunday when he claimed his third individual gold medal and fifth overall. He is only the fifth Olympian ever to win at least five swimming medals in one Olympics.

Dressel is the world record holder in the 100 m fly and holds an Olympic record in the 50 and 100 m freestyle. He was also part of the US’ world record-setting team in the 4×100 medley. Not only that, but he even went viral for something he did outside the pool in Tokyo. Dressel has certainly earned his three weeks of down time.

Megan Rapinoe says USWNT has not had fun at Tokyo Olympics

Megan Rapinoe

The United States Women’s National Team will not be leaving the Tokyo Olympics with a gold medal, and Megan Rapinoe indicated after Monday’s loss that a lack of enjoyment has been one of the biggest issues for the team.

The U.S. lost 1-0 to Canada on Monday in the women’s soccer semifinal. The loss marked the first time in history that the USWNT has lost two matches in a single Olympics, as they also fell 3-0 to Sweden in the group stage. After the match, Rapinoe called losing to Canada “terrible” and had some interesting remarks about team chemistry.

Rapinoe and her teammates seemed to be enjoying themselves when Rapinoe buried a winning penalty kick against the Netherlands (video here). However, it is clear that something has been missing for a team that went a perfect 7-0 and won the World Cup just two years ago.

The USWNT will now play for a bronze medal, and Rapinoe said winning that would be a “huge thing.” It will not, however, erase the disappointment.

Simone Biles to compete in balance beam final

Simone Biles

Simone Biles has withdrawn from several events over the past week to address some mental struggles she has been having, but she is not done competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

USA Gymnastics has announced that Biles will compete in the balance beam final on Tuesday along with Suni Lee.

Biles withdrew from the team all-around last Tuesday. She later revealed that she was “shaking” and could not focus leading up to the event. She then sat out the individual all-around and withdrew from two more events.

On Friday, Biles opened up about her “petrifying” mental block while answering questions from fans on social media. She said she is suffering from the “twisties,” which sounds a lot like a golfer having the yips.

“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles wrote. “Literally can not tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”

Biles also hit back at anyone who says she has quit on her team.

“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” she wrote. “My mind & body are simply not in sync. … Physical health is mental health.”

Biles, 24, is the most decorated US gymnast by far. Her withdrawal from the individual all-around opened the door for Lee to capture her first Olympic gold medal. The 18-year-old’s father had an emotional message for Biles after the event.

All eyes will be on Biles in the balance beam final.

Video: High jumpers go nuts celebrating their shared gold medals

Gianmarco Tamberi Mutaz Barshim

There were two gold medals awarded in the men’s high jump at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, and the two athletes who shared them could not have been more thrilled. In fact, they voluntarily chose that outcome.

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar were both perfect in clearing bars in the high jump final until the height was moved to the Olympic record of 2.39 meters. Neither could clear that height, with each missing three times. They then met with a track official who explained that they could go to a jump-off if they wanted to decide who takes the gold and who takes the silver. Before the official could finish, Barshim interrupted and asked if both he and Tamberi could be awarded a gold medal.

The jumpers had that option, and they chose to go that route. To say they were both ecstatic would be an understatement:

Barshim and Tamberi have competed against one another in the past. Barshim says the two have developed a close friendship over the years, which made sharing the gold that much sweeter.

“He’s one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim said, according to The Associated Press. “We’re always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message. … Appreciate what he’s done, he appreciates what I’ve done. This is amazing.”

Tamberi broke his ankle just before the Rio Olympics in 2016, and he has kept his cast for five years as a reminder of everything he has overcome. You could tell how much the gold medal meant to him with how he reacted. Those are the moments that make the Olympics so special.

IOC looking into Raven Saunders’ gesture on podium

Raven Saunders

U.S. women’s shot-putter Raven Saunders made a gesture with her arms during the photo op at her medal ceremony on Sunday night, and the International Olympic Committee is looking into whether she violated the Olympic rules related to demonstration.

After she was presented with the silver medal in the women’s shot put, Saunders stepped off the podium and formed an “X” with her arms above her head. She later told reporters the gesture represented “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” according to ESPN’s Tom Hamilton. Saunders, who is openly gay, said she wanted to show support for “the LGBTQIA community, the Black community, people who are dealing with mental health issues — I see you, I’m here for you, and I’m standing with you.”

The IOC has long forbidden political, religious and racial demonstrations at the Olympics. That rule was loosened leading up to the Tokyo Olympics to give athletes greater freedom to demonstrate away from the field of play. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee supported Saunders and said her gesture “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.” The IOC is now looking into it.

“As you all know, athletes are free to express themselves, it’s freedom of expression at press conferences, on social media, in the mixed zone. That remains the same,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said Monday. “We created a possibility before sport begins for people to make protest. But one thing we have noted in the survey we did (of) 3,500 athletes, including athletes from the United States, is that in all of the people we asked in that extensive survey we asked, they all wanted to protect the field of play. And that was found when we questioned athletes from all around the world — not just the U.S., but Europe, Asia, China, everywhere.”

The question, then, is whether Saunders made her “X” gesture in the appropriate setting. While she technically stepped off the podium before doing it, demonstrations are still not allowed during play or the medal ceremony.

This video of Rowdy Gaines calling the 4×100 m relay is awesome

Rowdy Gaines

Rowdy Gaines is a fan-favorite during the Olympics thanks to his great color commentary in swimming.

The NBC announcer is so passionate about swimming that his enthusiasm and energy comes through the TV and gets viewers hyped up. So what does Gaines look like when he is calling these swimming meets? Now we know.

NBC shared this great video clip that shows Gaines’ reaction as the US was competing in the men’s 4×100 m medley relay. This was awesome.

You see the way he was jumping up and down and bobbing around? The guy was into it!

The US ended up winning the gold in the event, setting a world record in the process with a time of 3:26.78. And nobody enjoyed it more than Gaines.

Caeleb Dressel even said in an interview with NBC that he could hear Gaines talking after the race, because the analyst is so loud and enthusiastic. As we said before, Gaines and Dan Hicks form an awesome duo.

Look: Wrestler Mijain Lopez had moving gesture after beating rival

<Mijain Lopez Riza Kayaalp/center>

Wrestler Mijain Lopez had a moving gesture for his rival Riza Kayaalp after winning a match between them at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday.

Lopez, a three-time gold medal winner in the Olympics for the highest weight division in Greco-Roman wrestling, was facing Kayaalp in the semifinals of the Greco-Roman wrestling 130kg weight class.

They engaged in a tough match that Lopez won 2-0 to advance to the final.

After the match, Lopez kissed Kayaalp on the top of his head.

That is a nod to the level of respect between them.

Lopez and Kayaalp have now met seven times, with Lopez leading 5-2. He has won all three of their matches at the Olympics, propelling him to gold in 2012 and 2016. Kayaalp has beaten Lopez twice at the World Championships, where he has won gold four times.

This level of love and respect for one’s sport, competition and opponent is what the Olympics are all about. We saw something similar in a UFC fight in June.

Look: Caeleb Dressel goes viral for crazy vertical jump

Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel has already impressed the world with his swimming performance at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But the 24-year-old is also impressing folks outside the swimming world thanks to his crazy vertical jump.

A video of Dressel leaping by the swimming pool went viral. It shows just how high the swimmer can jump.

His vertical leap has been reported as topping out at either 43 or 41 inches, depending on the source.

Dressel’s impressive jumping ability can help propel him to great starts leaping into the pool in competitions. That is especially valuable for short-distance events, like the 50 m freestyle, which he dominates.

Dressel’s vertical leap also compares favorably to many top NBA players.

Dressel is the world record holder in the 100 m fly and holds an Olympic record in the 50 and 100 m freestyle. Dressel was also part of the US’ world record-setting team in the 4×100 medley. He probably would have had plenty of success in basketball or volleyball too. It’s no surprise that his elite athleticism has helped him join elite company.