On the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge will race to close out the Games in style as he aims for consecutive gold medals in the men’s marathon.
The curtain comes down on the pandemic-delayed Games on Sunday, with the men’s marathon (8am AEST), along with cycling, taking centre stage.
The Kenyan world record holder Kipchoge attempts to become only the third man to win consecutive marathon golds to kick off day 16.
Kipchoge, who in 2019 became the first man to break the two-hour mark for the marathon, aims to claim the Tokyo title and ensure his status as the greatest marathon runner of all time.
“My real excitement in Tokyo is no longer about competing at an Olympic Games, it is about making a legacy,” he told the Olympics official website.
The event, which was originally scheduled to take place in Tokyo, was moved to the city of Sapporo after stringent COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.
However, the move has backfired for the Olympic organisers, with severe complaints of heat throughout the Games, forcing an earlier start time to the women’s marathon on Saturday.
And Sunday’s weather is to be without exception, as temperatures are expected to soar above 30 degrees again.
Elsewhere, on the athletics track Allyson Felix knows her way to the Olympic medals podiums better than any runner alive.
She made her record-setting 11th trip there on Saturday, after starring as the headliner on a 4x400m relay win that featured a who’s who of American running.
This took her from being the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic history to the America’s best overall, overtaking Carl Lewis’ haul of ten medals.
“I took a moment just to close my eyes and take it in one last time,” Felix said, after she stood with the gold medal dangling from her neck while the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ rang out in the near-empty stadium.
After the final race of the final Games of the 35-year-old sprinter’s storied career, Felix leaves the stage having won more medals than any track athlete in US history.
She passed Carl Lewis, and now she only trails one person in the Olympic record book – Paavo Nurmi – the Finnish distance runner who won 12 between 1920 and 1928.
The cycling at the Izu Velodrome signs off with finals in the women’s sprint and omnium and men’s keirin.
Coach banned for punching horse
Germany’s modern pentathlon coach Kim Raisner will not be part of the men’s individual competition at the Tokyo Olympics after she hit a horse with her fist and urged rider Annika Schleu to “really hit” the horse when it refused to jump.
The Modern Pentathlon federation (UIPM) said Raisner was disqualified because of her actions during Friday’s showjumping.
Germany’s Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann said the coach was pulled out of the men’s individual competition on Saturday, and urged rapid rule changes from the international federation.
“We also consider that an urgent review of the incident is necessary, especially in terms of animal protection, and that the national and international federations draw their conclusions,” Hoermann said.
Modern pentathletes, who compete in five different sports for a medal, do not use their own horses for the showjumping discipline but instead draw one at random and are given 20 minutes to warm up with it before competing.
Schleu was holding down the top spot with a commanding 24-second edge on the field going into the showjumping when each competitor randomly draws a horse.
There were signs of trouble ahead as Schleu’s horse Saint Boy bucked and misbehaved during the warm-up and soon after was refusing jumps.
With each refusal Schleu’s frustration grew, the German finally exploding with a scream that echoed through the empty stadium as tears poured down her face.
Her coach urged her to hit the horse. Raisner’s orders to “really hit it, hit,” were heard live back in Germany, triggering a wave of criticism.
Raisner herself punched the horse once above the back leg.
– with AAP