Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi have the chance to make history for both their team and themselves on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics.
The U.S. plays Japan at 10:30 p.m. ET for a shot at its seventh consecutive gold medal and ninth in 12 games since women’s basketball debuted at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Should the Americans prevail, Bird and Taurasi would become the first basketball players ever – women or men – to win five Olympic golds.
Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, have been mainstays in international women’s basketball since early in their careers. The pair combined for 46 points, 37 assists and 17 rebounds in their first four games in Tokyo, and Bird leads the team in assists.
During the preliminary round, the United States beat Japan 86-69 behind dominant performances by post players Brittney Griner and A’ja Wilson. The U.S. is on a 54-game Olympic winning streak after beating Serbia in the semifinals.
U.S. forward A’Ja Wilson (9) shoots the ball against Japan forward Monica Okoye during a pool-play game at the Tokyo Olympics on July 30.
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Aliphine Tuliamuk finds joy with daughter after dropping out of marathon
Molly Seidel may have finished with bronze in the women’s marathon – making her the highest placing American in the race. But Aliphine Tuliamuk won in other ways, despite not finishing the event.
Tuliamuk was forced to drop out of the marathon due to a hip injury that had been bothering the runner for weeks. That was okay for Tuliamuk, though, who was greeted by her husband and daughter, Zoe, on the side of the course.
The 32-year-old mother was allowed to bring her child to Tokyo because she was still nursing; Zoe was only born in January and Tuliamuk appealed to the Olympic Committee to change their stance on not allowing family to travel to the Games.
Tuliamuk joins a handful of other mothers in the Olympics. Track star Allyson Felix and her adorable daughter took the world by storm when Cammy joined her mom on the track after Olympic qualifiers.
Richard Torrez Jr. wants to avenge viral YouTube knockout
Standing – literally – between U.S. boxer Richard Torrez Jr. and a gold medal will be a competitor the 22-year-old has a history with.
In 2019, Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan knocked Torrez unconscious for over a minute and a half before he was removed from the ring. The knockout, which occurred at the AIBA World Championship, went viral on YouTube with almost a million views. It’s a moment USA Boxing coach Bill Walsh said Torrez was embarrassed by.
Torrez will have a chance to avenge his loss against Jalolov in the super heavyweight boxing final, one of the last events of the Tokyo Olympics, Sunday at 2:15 a.m. ET. While Torrez, the No. 3 seed, had an impressive semifinal performance, No. 1 Jalolov has also wowed.
— Josh Peter
U.S. volleyball vying for first-ever Olympic gold
Currently No. 1 in the world, the United States women’s indoor volleyball team has a chance to win its first Olympic gold medal.
The U.S. plays Brazil – a very famiiliar nemesis – at 12:30 a.m. Sunday in the title match after sweeping Serbia 3-0 in the semifinals. Since volleyball was added to the Olympics in 1964 – the first time Tokyo hosted the Summer Games – the U.S. has earned silver three times and bronze twice. In 2016, it finished third while Serbia took silver and China won gold in Rio.
Brazil has bested the U.S. in its two most recent gold-medal matches in 2008 and 2012, beating the Americans 3-1 in both Beijing and London.
U.S. opposite Andrea Drews spikes the ball during a quarterfinal match at the Tokyo Olympics.
American middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, who sat out the United States’ 2016 semifinal with a knee injury, played her best attacking match of the Olympic tournament against Serbia. This is the 33-year-olds third appearance at the Games, but first as a mother after giving birth in 2019.
Kenyan runner looking to become third man to win back-to-back Olympic golds
Eliud Kipchoge will have a shot at defending his 2016 Rio Olympics marathon title when the men’s marathon begins at 6 p.m. ET Saturday.
Only two other men have successfully won back-to-back Olympic marathons. Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila did so in 1960 and 1964, and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski won in 1976 and 1980.
Kipchoge had claimed 10 consecutive marathon victories, including his Rio gold, in a seven year span before losing the 2020 London marathon. He’s the first man to break the two-hour mark in a marathon (in a non-open competition in 2019), but the world record that he holds – 2:01:39 – was set at the 2018 Berlin marathon.
Galen Rupp, the U.S. men’s marathon champion, will be one of the challengers to 36-year-old Kipchoge. An established American long-distance runner, Rupp won bronze in Rio. Also representing the United States is 44-year-old Abdi Abdirahman, who will become the oldest American man to run an Olympic marathon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2021 Olympics live updates: Women’s basketball, volleyball go for gold