Tokyo Day 16: Australia closes out Olympics with record-equaling haul

Sadly, the 2020 Tokyo Games draw to a close today, with just a few events wrapping up before the closing ceremony later tonight.

The men's marathon has been run and won through Sapporo this morning, while at the velodrome the few remaining medals have been decided.

Find the full Olympics schedule here

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Read on for rolling coverage of Australia's efforts at the Olympics:


How our Aussie legends lifted for a unique Olympics

Was it the extra year, the relative absence of expectation, friendly hosts and a friendlier time zone, thoughts of a captive and crestfallen audience in lockdown, the vagaries of COVID-19, the whiff of teammates' triumphs or Brisbane 2032 tailwinds?

"It's such a complicated answer," Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman admitted, adding to that list a more holistic approach to Games village life.

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Australia hit 41-year low in track cycling

Annette Edmondson concedes Australia damningly lacked the legs as they were left lamenting their lowest Olympic track cycling medal haul in 41 years.

Edmondson probably has raced at her last Games and Matthew Glaetzer will take an extended break after the three-time Olympians fell short on the final day in Tokyo.

The only medal for the track team was bronze in the men's team pursuit and in terms of podium finishes, it is their worst performance since Australia won no cycling medals at the 1980 Moscow Games.

"I believe I earned my position, but I don't think we had the legs as a team that we thought we had," Edmondson said after finishing 12th in the omnium on Sunday at the Izu Velodrome. "So it's a shame, but we're going to have to look back and see what we could have done differently."

Glaetzer showed guts to overcome his ill health this week and reach Sunday's keirin final, but he and the rest of the field were left gobsmacked by a stunning ride from British legend Jason Kenny.


Glaetzer finishes fifth, Kenny blitzes Keirin

British star Jason Kenny has won a record seventh Olympic track cycling gold medal with an astonishing ride in the men's keirin final.

The four-time Olympian achieved the feat two days after his wife Laura became the first woman to win five gold medals in the sport.

As the derny pulled off with three laps left in Sunday's final at Izu Velodrome, Kenny was the lead rider and Australian Matthew Glaetzer was second in the six-rider paceline.

But as Glaetzer kept watch for attacks behind him and no-one came through, the gap to Kenny grew too large and the British ace pounced.

He launched a blistering long-range attack and finished well clear, with Australian-coached Malaysian Aziz Awang outsprinting Dutch rider Harrie Lavreysen for silver.

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Edmonson finishes 12th in omnium

Australian Annette Edmondson was well-placed initially in the omnium after a mass pileup took Laura Kenny out of the first of four races.

But after Edmondson finished third in the scratch race, she lost a lap in the tempo event.

Edmondson then had a disastrous elimination race when she was the second rider to be caught at the rear of the field.

It left the Australian 11th overall with the points race to decide the medals.

In the points race, USA's Jennifer Valente did enough, despite a crash, to take out the gold medal. Japan's Yumi Kajhara managed to win the silver after playing the destroyer in the elimination race, while the Netherlands' Kirsten Wild collected enough points in the final race to take home the bronze.

Edmondson finished the gruelling track event in 12h place overall.

- AAP


Marathon legend Kipchoge defends title

Kenyan running legend Eliud Kipchoge says he's fulfilled his legacy by winning back-to-back Olympic marathon gold medals after defying brutally hot conditions in Sapporo which prevented many from finishing.

The 36-year-old made his move at the 30km mark of Sunday's race, incredibly increasing his pace to drop his rivals with sub-15 minute 5km efforts as he edged closer to the finish line.

He finished in two hours eight minutes 38 seconds, well clear of Dutch runner Abdi Nageeye (2:09:58) and Belgium's Bashir Abdim (2:10:00).

Kipchoge's triumph follows his Rio marathon gold and comes after track bronze and silver in the 5000m at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 respectively.

He turned his attention to the longer distance after missing selection for London 2012 and has dominated over the 42.2km distance ever since, breaking the world record in 2018 then running the first sub-two hour marathon a year later in Vienna.

The Kenyan became the third runner to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles, a feat only achieved previously by 1960 and 1964 champion Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia and East German Waldemar Cierpinski, who won in 1976 and 1980.

"I was really happy, I can't describe it," Kipchoge said of his feelings as he crossed the finish line holding up two fingers to signify his two golds.

"I think I fulfilled the legacy by winning the marathon for the second time. That's my total happiness, my inspiration for the next generation."

In an interesting sub-plot, the Somalian-born minor medallists worked together to outsprint Kenyan Lawrence Cherono, Nageeye urging Abdim into third when it looked as if he had nothing left to give.

Despite being raced in Sapporo on the country's northern island there was no escaping the heat as temperatures soared above 30 degrees for the 7am start.

It took just 30 minutes to take its toll, with contenders Stephen Kiprotich, Alemu Bekele and Shuru Kitata joining Australian Jack Rayner in being reduced to a walk or retiring completely. Some 29 runners - over one quarter of the starters - did not finish the race.

Rayner's countryman Liam Adams (2:15:51) finished impressively, making up ground to finish 24th, while teammate Brett Robinson (2:24:04) was 66th.

At the 25km mark a smiling Kipchoge was fist-bumping his rivals, but 11 had already withdrawn from the race and 30 never made it to the finish line.

- AAP