Swimmer Emma McKeon has set an Olympic record to start her quest for a fifth medal at the Tokyo Games, as Kaylee McKeown and Ariarne Titmus prepare to deliver more gold for Australia in the pool.
McKeon’s stunning 50m freestyle heat on Friday night came just hours after winning 100m freestyle gold, her fourth medal of the Games.
She clocked 24.02 seconds to comfortably win her heat and be quickest into the semi-finals.
Denmark’s Pernille Blume was next best in 24.12 with Australia’s Cate Campbell third fastest in 24.15.
McKeon and Campbell were back in action after their gold-bronze double in the 100m freestyle final earlier on Friday.
“I’ve never actually won at Olympics or worlds (gold) individually, so to see that one next to my name,” McKeon said after her gold-medal swim.
“I didn’t even look at my time, I just went for the place because that’s what Olympics is about. It’s getting your hand on the wall and you want that gold medal.”
Meanwhile, McKeown is tipped as Australia’s best chance for gold on day eight in the 200m backstroke, while Ariarne Titmus challenges American megastar Katie Ledecky for the third time in 800m final.
Despite being 200m and 400m freestyle champion, Titmus is a long-shot in Ledecky’s feature event.
Elsewhere for Australia, with nine gold, two silver and 11 bronze, tennis golden girl Ash Barty has suffered Olympic heartbreak, losing a cliffhanger of a mixed doubles semi-final with Davis Cup stalwart John Peers.
Barty and Peers must settle for a bronze-medal playoff after falling 5-7 6-4 13-11 to Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova after letting a match point slip against the Russians in a tension-filled deciding super tiebreak.
“This one hurts but we still have an opportunity to play another match and try to win a medal for Australia,” Barty said.
“We pick ourselves up pretty quickly, move on and know that we will give it our all and keep fighting right until the end.”
Australian distance runner Patrick Tiernan caught international attention in the Olympic 10,000m race, collapsing twice on the final lap.
Tiernan, in considerable distress, crashed to the floor twice, including a heavy fall in the final straight of the 25th lap, after he hit the wall on a humid Tokyo Friday night – yet, somehow, he still managed to drag himself over the finishing line.
“It’s the Olympics and I’ve been waiting for five years for it,” Tiernan said after being given the all-clear following medical attention at the Olympic Stadium.
“It was about 180 to go that I collapsed the first time. You don’t stop when you’ve got 180m to go.
“I didn’t think I was completely done at that point, so I got up.”
Tiernan was hailed as a hero by Aussie fans back home on social media after completing the race in 19th place in a season’s best 28 minutes 35.06 seconds.
— Who (@spillthebeans10) July 30, 2021
Discus thrower Matthew Denny is well placed to challenge for the nation’s first track and field medal in Tokyo after finishing fourth in the qualifying round.
Daniel Stahl is the deserved gold-medal favourite but apart from the big Swede, the event looks wide open.
Denny’s best effort of 65.13m in the qualifying round was just one-metre shy of his personal best and he is confident of producing something even bigger in the final.
“It’s a stacked comp, it’s going to be tough,” said the 25-year-old Queenslander.
“I’m in really good form when it counts to get the actual distance I need.
“If there’s a PB there then sweet and if we go further than that then I’m laughing.”
In the men’s 50m freestyle heats on Friday, Australia’s Cam McEvoy (22.31) bowed out, well off the pace set by quickest qualifier Caeleb Dressel (21.32), the American 100m freestyle champion.
The Sam Kerr-inspired Matildas have delivered one of Australian football’s great victories, defeating Great Britain 4-3 in a super-charged half-hour of extra time to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals.
Australia took the lead against the run of play through Alanna Kennedy’s brilliant header in the 35th minute on Friday night, only to fall behind 2-1 to two Ellen White goals.
But, yet again, superstar skipper Kerr struck in the 89th minute to save Australia and send the gripping quarter-final to overtime.
Mary Fowler put the Matildas in front in the 103rd minute before Kerr sealed the deal with a signature header in the 106th to give the “Tillies” a two-goal buffer.
Australia’s women’s 4x100m medley team of Emily Seebohm, Chelsea Hodges, Brianna Throssell and Mollie O’Callaghan won their heat.
The Australians were third-fastest into the final behind Canada and the United States.
But their line-up will be overhauled for the medal race with individual gold medallists Emma McKeon and Kaylee McKeown and stalwart Cate Campbell expected inclusions.
In the men’s 400m medley relay heats, Australia’s Mitch Larkin, Zac Stubblety-Cook, David Morgan and Kyle Chalmers finished third to advance to the final as sixth-best.
In the men’s 1500 freestyle heats, Australia’s 400m freestyle silver medallist Jack McLoughlin and teammate Thomas Neill missed the final.
The Opals’ Tokyo Olympics campaign is on life support after Australia’s women’s basketball team stumbled to a heartbreaking 76-74 loss to China.
– with AAP