Justine Wong-Orantes Helps Lead Team USA to First Olympic Gold in Women’s Volleyball at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It’s the golden hour for Justine WongOrantes

The 25-year-old half-Mexican American professional volleyball player, widely regarded as one of the world’s best female return specialists (libero), and her Team USA mates defeated Brazil in the women’s volleyball competition to claim historic gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Justine Wong-Orantes

The Americans dispatched their rivals 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 to win Olympics gold for the USA women’s volleyball for the first time.

Wong-Orantes was named Best Libero at this year’s Games.

Wong-Orantes and Jordan Larson were stars for the American team as they ripped through the tournament in Tokyo, saving their best for last, with Larson finishing it off with 12 kills against Brazil, which had stood in America’s way on past attempts to stand atop the medal stand.

Team USA Volleyball

Larson had won silver at the 2012 London Games and bronze at the 2016 Rio Games. Now she has the complete set, while it’s a first gold for Wong-Orantes in her Olympic debut.

On June 7, 2021, US National Team head coach Karch Kiraly announced Wong-Orantes would be part of the 12-player Olympic roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

With very minimal international Team USA experience, Wong-Orantes would lead the Olympics in serve reception percentage, on the way to helping the USA capture a first-ever gold medal in dominating fashion.

Hebert Conceição Notches Rare Olympic Knockout to Claim Gold in Men’s Middleweight Boxing at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It’s a knockout Olympic performance for Hebert Conceição

The 23-year-old Brazilian boxer became the fifth men’s middleweight boxer all-time to win Olympic gold via a knockout during his men’s middleweight middleweight boxing match at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Hebert Conceição

In an exciting bout, Conceição knocked down Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the third round after losing each of the first two rounds to his opponent.

Hebert Conceição

The other four men’s middleweight boxers to win a gold medal via a knockout were Charles Mayer of the United States at the 1904 St. Louis Games, Floyd Patterson of the United States at the 1952 Helsinki Games, Gennadi Schatkov of the Soviet Union at the 1956 Melbourne Games, and Vyacheslav Lemeshev of the Soviet Union at the 1972 Munich Games.

Hebert Conceição

Conceicao became the second Brazilian boxer all-time to win Olympic gold. The first was Robson Conceição, who won the gold medal in the men’s lightweight division at the 2016 Rio Games.

Dani Alves Helps Lead Brazil to Gold in Men’s Soccer at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

He may be 38, but Dani Alves has managed to collect a new title… Olympic champion.

The Brazilian soccer star helped lead his country to the gold medal in men’s soccer at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Dani Alves

Draped in the Brazilian flag, Alves – the captain of the team – cherished the 43rd winners’ medal of a career that shows no sign of winding down.

All that’s missing from the set of major honors after this 2-1 victory over Spain — secured in extra time by Malcolm — is World Cup glory.

Don’t write off the game’s most decorated player trying to make it to Qatar next year. He’s keen.

“I’m a dreamer, a small dreamer, and more than a dreamer, somebody who executes their dreams,” Alves said. “The most important thing is to fight, and that’s what I know what to do. I have the drive of a 23-year-old. I still want to do big things in football.”

The right back was determined to come to the Tokyo Games after not being part of the 2016 Olympic gold on home soil at the 2016 Rio Games.

“I fought to be in three Olympic Games,” he said. “I am grateful to all the people who worked with me, that believed in me, and I want them to know that all the hard work has paid off.”

He managed to play all of Brazil’s six games in Japan — 600 minutes in 16 days.

“This is a dream coming true, to be on the top of the Olympic podium,” he said. “No matter how much history you have, how much experience you have. I came here for the first time and to come back with the biggest prize … I am lost for words.”

It was Alves who set up the opener, keeping alive Claudinho’s cross and hooking the ball back into the area for Matheus Cunha to strike into first-half stoppage time.

“My captain Dani, he’s unbelievable, he helps everyone,” Cunha said. “I think this feeling, he comes to the group and the feeling goes up.”

He was one of only three permitted overage players in a youthful squad that idolized him growing up as he collected trophies at Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

“You know the difference in age is a little bit (big),” the 22-year-old Cunha said. “I’m like a little boy when I saw Barcelona, the Brazil national team, and now we were together, we take one gold medal for Brazil.”

They had to work for it against a Spain side featuring six players coming straight from the run to the European Championship.

Spain tied it in the 61st minute when Mikel Oyarzabal volleyed in from Carlos Soler’s cross. Spain hit the crossbar twice late in regulation time — from Oscar Gil and Bryan Gil.

The inability to find the target meant Spain ended up with silver — and no repeat of the 1992 Barcelona Games gold — after Malcom’s winner in the 108th minute.

The forward, who came off the bench for extra time, held off Jesus Vallejo before racing forward and seeing his shot from a tight angle deflect off goalkeeper Unai Simon’s left boot and fly into the net.

Saúl Craviotto Claims Fifth Career Medal with Silver in Men’s K-4 500 M Canoeing at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Saúl Craviotto is celebrating a fifth Olympics medal…

The 36-year-old Spanish sprint kayaker and his teammates – Marcus Walz, Carlos Arevalo and Rodrigo Germade – claimed the silver medal in the men’s K-4 500-meter canoeing event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Saúl Craviotto, Marcus Walz, Carlos Arevalo & Rodrigo Germade

With his latest medal, Craviotto is now tied with fellow canoeist David Cal as the Spaniard with the most-ever Olympic medals.

In a close race, Germany won the gold with a time of 1:22.219, while Spain ended the race with a time of 1:22.445.

Saúl Craviotto, Marcus Walz, Carlos Arevalo & Rodrigo Germade

Slovakia took home the bronze with a time of 1:23.534.

Craviotto had previously won the gold medal in the men’s K-2 500-meter race at the 2008 Beijing Games, the gold in the men’s K-2 200-meter race at the 2016 Rio Games, the silver in the K-1 200-meter race at the 2012 London Games, and the bronze in the K-1 200-meter race at the 2016 Rio Games.

It’s Walz’s second Olympic medal, while it’s Arevalo and Germade’s first.

Mariafe Artacho del Solar Takes Home Silver in Women’s Beach Volleyball at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It may not be the color she’d aimed for, but Mariafe Artacho del Solar is officially an Olympic medalist…

The 27-year-old Peruvian Australian beach volleyball player and her partner Taliqua Clancy claimed the silver medal in women’s beach volleyball at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Mariafe Artacho del Solar i

Artacho del Solar and Clancy, who upset the World No. 1 and reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada, in the quarterfinals, lost their gold medal match to Team USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman in straight sets (15-21, 16-21).

According to volleyballmag.com, the teams played against each other five times before meeting at the Olympics with the Australians holding a 3-2 edge. Artacho del Solar and Clancy won the most recent match on May 1 in the semifinals of the FIVB Cancun four-star tournament.

This is Artacho del Solar’s first Olympic medal. She made her Games debut at the 2016 Rio Games with then-partner Nicole Laird, where they finished in 19th place.

Cuba’s Arlen López Claims Gold in Men’s Light Heavyweight Division at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

He may have changed divisions, but the result was still the same for Arlen López

The 28-year-old Cuban boxer defeated Great Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker to claim boxing gold in the men’s light heavyweight division at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Arlen López

Lopez outclassed the defense-minded Whittaker to win the fight on four of the five judges’ scorecards.

Cuba had never won gold at light heavyweight in its decorated Olympic boxing history until Julio Cesar La Cruz claimed the title at the 2016 Rio Games.

Lopez is the second Cuban boxer in two days to win a second gold medal in a different weight class by beating a British fighter after Roniel Iglesias achieved the same feat Tuesday.

Lopez previously won the middleweight division at the 2016 Rio Games.

Cuban-born Loren Alfonso of Azerbaijan won the light heavyweight bronze medals after losing to Lopez in the semifinals.

Russian athlete Imam Khataev claimed the second gold.

Ana Marcela Cunha Earns Brazil’s First-Ever Open Water Swimming Olympic Gold at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It’s the golden hour for Ana Marcela Cunha.

The 29-year-old Brazilian swimmer, considered one of the best open water swimmers in history, claimed the gold medal in the women’s open-water swimming marathon 10km race at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Ana Marcela Cunha

Cunha finished well clear of her primary threats with a time of one hour, 59 minutes and 30.8 seconds.

Silver medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal, who claimed gold for the Netherlands at the 2016 Rio Games, fell just short of repeating as Olympic champ, by less than a second.

Ana Marcela Cunha

Kareena Lee of Australia was less than two seconds back of the winner to earn bronze.

It’s the second ever Olympic medal ever for Brazil in open water, and the country’s first gold medals in the sport.

Poliana Okimoto took bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

Cuba’s Fernando Jorge & Serguey Torres Claim Surprise Gold in Canoeing at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo GamesFernando Jorge and Serguey Torres have ended a 20+ year Olympic medal drought…

The 22-year-old Cuban canoeist and his 34-year-old compatriot/partner won a surprise gold medal in the men’s canoe double 1,000 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Fernando Jorge & Serguey Torres

Jorge and Torres ended the race with a time of 3:24.995, just ahead of the Chinese team, who had a time of 3:25.198.

Germany, which had won the event at five of the last seven Olympic games, won the bronze with a score of 3:25.615.

Fernando Jorge & Serguey Torres

Sebastian Brendel had been in the German boat for gold medals in the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games.

But the race developed into a battle between Cuba and China over the final 500 meters.

The Cuban duo had won silver at the world championships in 2019, but Cuba hadn’t medaled in this event at the Olympics since 2000.

Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias Wins Gold Medal in Men’s Welterweight Boxing at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo GamesRoniel Iglesias is golden yet again…

The 32-year-old Cuban amateur boxer claimed the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games after defeating Great Britain’s Pat McCormack by a score of 5-0 in the men’s welterweight competition.

Roniel Iglesias

Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in favor of Iglesias, who delivered a masterclass performance Tuesday evening at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

Iglesias has previously won a gold medal at the 2012 London Games in the light welterweight category.

He also claimed a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games after losing his semifinal bout to defending champion Manus Boonjumnong in the light welterweight category.

Iglesias moved to the welterweight prior to the 2016 Rio Games, where he competed but failed to medal.

The four-time Cuban Olympian with three medals can now add ‘two-time Olympic Gold medalist’ to his resume.

Roniel Iglesias

“This puts me straight up there in the highest ranking, in the highest order,” he said. “I think this speaks for itself and shows how much I love the sport. … Those who always doubted that I could achieve the Olympic pinnacle, that was an extra push from me to get up every morning and give it that extra bit of effort and achieve this result,” said Iglesias of his Olympic career.

Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze Repeat as Women’s 49erFX Sailing Champions at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo GamesIt’s a repeat performance for Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze

The 30-year-old Brazilian sailor and her 30-year-old compatriot/partner have repeated as the winner’s of the women’s 49erFX sailing competition at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze

Grael and Kunze won the gold at the inaugural women’s 49erFX sailing competition at the 2016 Rio Games.

The duo won competition by finishing third in the final. That added 6 points to their net score for a final total of 76.

Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze

The silver went to Germany, while the bronze went to the Netherlands.

After the win, Grael and Kunze went to celebrate and wound up capsizing their boat in the process.

“It’s just good to be around friends,” Grael said after the win and subsequent capsize. “It’s always good to be around friends.”

“And then we capsized the boat in a place where we didn’t know if there were any rocks,” Kunze joked. “It was a little bit shallow,” Grael agreed.

“And we broke the mast, but it’s okay,” Kunze concluded. “It’s a nice moment. It’s going to stay in our mind forever.”