Australia’s track cyclists will be out to finish a disappointing campaign on a bright note and add to the country’s bulging medal tally on the final day of the Olympics, after the green and gold’s penultimate success on Saturday night.
It’s the last chance for Australian athletes to leave Tokyo with a medal before Sunday night’s closing ceremony and join their compatriots in what has been a record-setting Games, with 17 gold, seven silver, and 22 bronze.
Nicola McDermott starred for Australia overnight, realising her dream to take home an Olympic medal in the women’s high jump.
McDermott bettered the Australian women’s high jump record for the third time this year in her journey to win the silver medal.
Meanwhile, the Boomers bagged their first Olympic men’s basketball medal in history, with a 107-93 victory over Slovenia in the bronze medal match.
Annette Edmondson will lead the charge for Australia’s last hopes of a medal in the omnium, which involves four different races culminating in a scratch race to end the program.
Matthew Glaetzer and Matthew Richardson both made it through to the Keirin quarter-finals on Sunday in an unconvincing fashion, Glaetzer was forced into a repechage he duly won.
Australia’s track riders have had a forgettable Games to date, with just a bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit to show for their efforts.
Richardson will line up in the first of the quarter-finals alongside Great Britain star Jason Kenny, the reigning Olympic champion with eight gold medals to his name.
Glaetzer will go in the last of the quarter-finals, with the top four riders from each heat progressing to the semi-finals.
Australia will have three runners in the men’s marathon with Brett Robinson, Jack Rayner and Liam Adams taking part in the traditional finale to the athletics program.
It won’t be a comfortable final day for them, however, with sweltering heat expected to push beyond 30 degrees.
Boomers bounce to the podium
Australian flagbearer, Patty Mills, scored a resounding 42 points to lead Australia against NBA All-Star Luka Doncic and defeat the Slovenian basketball team and get their first-ever medal.
Australia led by 14 points early in the final quarter, Luka Doncic (22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) drew Slovenia to within three points.
But Dante Exum, Joe Ingles and Matisse Thybulle all stepped up to slow the Slovenian star and helped create Australian men’s basketball history.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time; it’s taken a lot of ups, a lot of downs for us to get over the hump,” Mills told the Seven Network.
“It’s our culture, Aussie spirit, the boys being able to hang together.
“Now we’ve made it over the hill, this is the standard now for Australian basketball for men.
“I don’t know whether to cry, laugh, smile – a lot of emotions.”
The victory came after four losses in the Olympic bronze playoffs and another in the 2019 World Cup.
McDermott flies high
Nicola McDermott equalled the best-ever performance by an Australian female high jumper at Olympic level, with Michele Brown also finishing second the last time the Games were hosted by Tokyo in 1964.
The NSW jumper became the first Australian to break the 2.00m barrier at the Australian Olympic trials in April and improved the national record to 2.01m at the Stockholm Diamond League meet last month.
Now the national record sits at 2.02m, but with McDermott and Eleanor Patterson – who was fifth in the Olympic final in 1.96m – both in career-best form, it could well be raised even further in the near future.
The Olympic gold went to Russian Mariya Lasitskene, the three-time world champion, with 2.04m.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, that competition,” McDermott told the Seven Network.
“Every height that I attempted, I looked at it, and even though I look at the bar and I see the empty seats, I also see every single person that’s at home in our nation.
“The training that I’ve done in the last 12 months, it’s been like suffering, it really has.
“But every time I thought about this moment it brought love in my heart that I might be able to inspire someone and I might be able to represent our nation in the best way I could possibly do.
“I’m definitely still jumping in Paris (at the 2024 Olympics). I’m going after that gold, but I’m going to keep putting my 100 per cent in.
“Because if this is even like a little bit of encouragement for one person watching that anything is possible if you have faith, then I’ve done my job today.”
McDermott’s silver was the third medal won by the Australian track and field team in Tokyo.
Decathlete Ash Moloney and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber both won bronzes.
– with AAP