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Olympic athletics review: Five major talking points

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As the Tokyo Olympics comes to an end, five key takeaways from the athletics events.

Eliud Kipchoge's second consecutive gold medal for Kenya in the men's marathon marked the end of an enthralling track and field competition at the Tokyo Olympics. Xinhua looks at some of the major talking points:

U.S. LEAD MEDAL TALLY

The United States headed the athletics medals table with seven gold, 12 silver and seven bronze medals. Five of Team USA's gold medals were won by women.

The team's triumphs included victories in the men's and women's 4x400m relay events. The men's team consisted of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin, while the women's team comprised Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu.

There were also golds in the men's shot put (Ryan Crouser), women's 400m hurdles (Sydney McLaughlin), women's 800m (Athing Mu), women's discuss throw (Valarie Allman) and women's pole vault (Katie Nageotte).

Gold medalists Team USA react on the awarding ceremony of the women

ITALIAN GOLD RUSH

Italy was the surprise package of the track and field events with five medals, all of which were gold. The haul included Lamont Marcell Jacob's victory in the men's 100m, Italy's first Olympic gold medal in the event.

Jacobs, who was born in Texas to an African American father and Italian mother, also guided Italy to the 4x100m relay title alongside Lorenzo Patta, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu.

When asked about the secret to Italy's track success, Jacobs told reporters: "Work hard, dream big. We believed for real that we could [win]."

 Lamont Marcell Jacobs (L) of Italy finishes strong in the men

JAMAICA'S HERO

Elaine Thompson-Herah cemented her place in the pantheon of Olympic greats by successfully defending her 100m and 200m titles. The 29-year-old is the first woman in history to win the 100 and 200m in back-to-back Olympics.

"I'm happy. I'm overwhelmed. I'm lost for words. I never imagined this day, even though the work was put in already. But the ups and downs ... to win a double at the Olympics, it's amazing," she said after taking the 200m title in a personal best time of 21.53 seconds.

Thompson-Herah suggested she might compete again at the Paris 2024 Games in a bid equal the record of compatriot Usain Bolt of 100 and 200m gold medals at three successive Olympics. "There's more that I'm looking forward to accomplishing," she said.

Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica celebrates after winning the women

FELIX'S RECORD

Thompson-Herah's great rival Allyson Felix became the most decorated U.S. athlete in Olympic history when she was a part of the team that won the 4x400m women's relay.

It was her 11th medal, surpassing the mark previously held by sprint and long-jump legend Carl Lewis. Just 24 hours earlier, the 35-year-old took bronze in the individual 400m race in 49.46 seconds, the second-fastest time of her career.

"This one is very different, and it's very special. And it just took a lot to get here," Felix said after clinching her seventh Olympic gold medal.

Allyson Felix of the United States competes during the women

DOWN BUT NOT OUT

Sifan Hassan's hopes of securing a medal in the women's 1,500m event looked over when she fell to the ground after tripping in the final lap of her heat. But the 28-year-old quickly rose to her feet and overtook 11 rivals to win the heat.

"Believe me, it was horrible, but sometimes I think bad things happen for good," she said afterwards. "When I fell down I said to myself, OK life doesn't always go the way that you want. After the [race] I felt like somebody who drank 20 cups of coffee. I couldn't calm myself down."

Hassan went on to claim bronze in the event but won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands crosses the finishing line in the women

Published : August 09, 2021

By : xinhua