WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Park life

For pure theatre the format of the park skateboarding is tremendous, and it delivered in spades – and ollies and kickflips and 540s – on Wednesday as Team GB’s 13-year-old Sky Brown took home a brilliant bronze behind Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi, 19, and 12-year-old Kokona Hiraki.
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That makes for a combined age of 44 on the first-ever women’s park podium at the Olympics, and to get there the three skateboarders held their nerve in a thrilling day of competition.
Each skater gets three 45-second runs, but only your best single score counts, meaning mistakes can be rectified so long as you go on to produce the goods thereafter.

Sky Brown

Image credit: Getty Images

In the final it was Yosozumi who set the benchmark with a score of 60.09 in her first run, and it was only Hiraki who really came close in the opening two runs as Brown and 15-year-old world champion Misugu Okamoto both stumbled when trying to land kickflip indy’s.
Going into the final run, Brown was fourth behind a Japanese 1-2-3, but she shouldered the pressure having been hyped up ever since she was announced as GB’s youngest ever summer Olympian, landing the trick at the third time of asking to post 56.47 and move into third.

Sky Brown of Team Great Britain reacts after winning the Bronze medal during the Women's Skateboarding Park Finals on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Image credit: Getty Images

The pressure was then on Okamoto, but her campaign agonisingly ended in tears as the world No 1 fell for a third time.
It is only natural for there to be highs and lows in Olympics finals such as this - and we don’t just mean the actual skateboarding - with Okamoto’s errors resulting in history for Brown, who becomes the youngest ever medallist at a summer Games for Team GB. What a moment.

‘It wasn’t pressure’ – Team GB's Brown on her final skateboarding run

Another 400m hurdles WR smashed

The 400m hurdlers have now given us two races for the ages, for 24 hours after a stunning men’s final the women’s final saw another world record obliterated.
Karsten Warholm yesterday, Sydney McLaughlin today, with the American smashing her own WR when running a time of 51.46 seconds – 0.44 seconds faster than her previous best.

‘The world record has been blown away!’ - McLaughlin storms to 400m hurdle gold

In total there were five personal bests, and like the men’s final the medallists posted three of the top four times ever, with silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad also going under the previous world record with 51.58.
Sensational.

KJT looking good

An Achilles injury can typically be a career-ender, so said Eurosport’s Greg Rutherford, who marvelled at the fact Katarina Johnson-Thompson ran her second fastest-ever time in the 100m hurdles to kickstart her heptathlon campaign in style.
The 2019 world champion is chasing a first Olympic medal, and after two disciplines she is third overall after posting 1.86m in the high jump.
On the way later for KJT and co – the shot put and 200m.

‘She won’t be thrilled but…’ – Rutherford after KJT showing in high jump

STILL TO COME

In the athletics there are four golds on offer in the session that begins at 10.30am BST. There’s the women’s 3000m steeplechase (10am), the men’s hammer throw from 10.15am, the men’s 800m final at 1.05pm and the action concluding with the men’s 200m final.
Meanwhile, if you’re reading this on what is hopefully a fine Wednesday morning UK time then there’s probably track cycling on right now – get involved, well, by watching, with Jason Kenny among the Brits in action.
Sailing is either on the way, under way, or just finished too as GB go for more golds.
Make sure you watch the sport climbing too, a truly fascinating event with three very different disciplines and GB’s Shauna Coxsey hoping to do well in qualification today. Speed is from 9am, bouldering from 10am and lead at 1.10pm.

‘Oh my word! No!’ - Injury sees Van der Plaetsen plummet head first into long jump pit

HEROES AND MORE HEROES

When you swim for two hours basically everyone deserves a medal, but in the women’s marathon swimming it was Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha who slapped the finish-line wall just ahead of Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal and Australia’s Kareena Lee.
AliceDearing made history as the first black women to represent GB in the swimming, and she hopes to inspires to get involved in the sport after finishing 19th in the marathon swim.
“I just want people to know that it’s open and available to you, regardless of your race or your background,” Dearing said.
“If you don’t know how to swim, get in and learn to swim. If you want to go to the Olympics, go and give it your best shot, don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be you. Go and chase your dreams if that’s what you want to do.”
Finally, the skateboarders are all heroes in our eyes, and here they are on a historic day singing along to ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ as Bryce Wettstein plays the guitar. This is not your typical Olympic sport, and that is exactly why it is now an Olympic sport, bringing a fresh injection of energy and vibes to the programme – as well as stunning performances.

OLYMPIC SPIRIT

“A round of applause from the officials and the referees,” commentator James Parrack said as Souad Nefissa Cherouati finished the Marathon Swim. “It is nice to see. It makes her feel she is not on her own. She will be able to see and hear the encouragement.”
This is the very nature of Olympic spirit, with Algeria’s Cherouati finishing more than 18 minutes behind Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, but receiving some well-deserved adulation for completing a gruelling 10km swim.

RETRO CORNER

Now this is retro. It’s a remarkable 85 years to the day since Jesse Owens won gold in the long jump at Berlin 1936, his second of four historic wins in Germany.
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