Olympics Latest: USOPC calls Saunders' gesture 'respectful'

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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says shot putter Raven Saunders’ gesture during her medals ceremony “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.“

After receiving her silver medal at the Olympics on Sunday, and after the Chinese national anthem played for winner Gong Lijiao, Saunders lifted her arms above her head and formed an “X” with her wrists.

Asked by The Associated Press what that meant, she explained: ”It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”

During the International Olympic Committee’s press briefing Monday morning, spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC was in contact with the USOPC regarding the episode.

The USOPC confirmed that it was “in discussion” with the IOC and World Athletics, which governs the sport. World Athletics President Seb Coe has previously said he didn’t anticipate sanctioning demonstrations if the decision were left up to the federation.

The USOPC has stated it will not sanction athletes who demonstrate on the podium. The IOC reviewed its long-standing policy but kept the rule in place that bars demonstrations on the medals stand.

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The U.S. women’s soccer team was hurt early in its semifinal game against Canada when goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher came down awkwardly trying to go up for the ball.

Naeher was attended to by trainers for some five minutes while backup Adrianna Franch warmed up.

Naeher tried to stay in the game but struggled. She was replaced by Franch, making her Olympic debut, in the 30th minute.

Naeher was key for the U.S. against the Netherands in the quarterfinals, with a penalty save during regulation and two more in a shootout. The U.S. advanced 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

The game was scoreless at the half in Kashima.

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China has taken the top two spots in the preliminaries of the men’s 3-meter springboard diving.

Wang Zongyuan totaled the highest score over six dives with 531.30 points. Teammate Xie Siyi ranked second at 520.90. The pair already teamed up to win the 3-meter synchro title in Tokyo.

The Chinese have won four of the first five Olympic diving events. They took silver in men’s 10-meter platform synchro.

Rommel Pacheco Marrufo of Mexico was third at 479.25.

Japan’s Ken Terauchi qualified in 10th. He’s competing in his sixth Olympics at age 40 and is trying to win the host country’s first diving medal.

Andrew Capobianco of the United States advanced in 17th. The other American, Tyler Downs, finished 23rd. Only the top 18 moved on to the semifinals on Tuesday.

Germany’s Patrick Hausing, a three-time Olympic medalist, was in contention after two dives, but fell out over his last four and finished 21st. He and partner Lars Rudiger had already earned bronze in 3-meter synchro.

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MEDAL ALERT

Liu Yang of China edged teammate You Hao to capture gold in men’s still rings.

The 26-year-old put together a spectacular routine to post a score of 15.500, just ahead of You’s 15.300. Liu’s 9.0 execution score from the judges was the highest of the eight men in a tight event final.

The win was an upset of sorts for Liu, who finished fourth in Rio de Janeiro five years ago. He captured gold in the event at the 2014 world championships but had never finished higher than third at any major competition until Monday.

Defending Olympic champion Elftherios Petrounias of Greece took bronze. The 30-year-old Petrounias, a five-time world champion, didn’t even secure a spot in Tokyo until winning a World Cup event in June.

Samir Ait Said of France, who broke his left leg while competing on the vault at the 2016 Olympics, finished fourth.

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MEDAL ALERT

Wang Zhouyu has won China’s sixth weightlifting gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a commanding victory in the 87-kilogram category.

Wang lifted 120 kilograms in the snatch and 150kg in the clean and jerk for a total 270kg.

Tamara Salazar won the silver for Ecuador with a total 263kg. She is Ecuador’s second ever female medalist, one day after teammate Neisi Dajomes became the first with a gold in the 76kg event.

Crismery Santana took the bronze with 256kg for the Dominican Republic.

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Simone Biles is returning to competition in Tokyo.

The 2016 Olympic champion will compete in the balance beam finals on Tuesday, a little over a week after stepping away from the meet to focus on her mental health.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.

The 24-year-old Biles won bronze on beam in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and qualified for the eight-woman final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on the first weekend of the Games.

She removed herself from the team final on July 27 after a shaky performance on vault during the first rotation. She watched from the sidelines as her three American teammates completed the meet without her; the U.S. took silver behind the team known as the Russian Olympic Committee.

Biles later said she was dealing with issues surrounding air awareness, referred to as “the twisties” in her sport.

Biles qualified for all five individual event finals but took herself out of four of them: the all-around, vault, floor exercise and uneven bars. Lee earned the gold in the all-around, becoming the fifth straight American to claim the sport’s marquee title.

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China's Zhong Tianshi and Bao Shanju broke the world record in the women's team sprint with a time of 31.804 seconds to advance to the medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.

Zhong and Bao nearly bettered the mark of 31.928 seconds set by China at the Rio Games during qualifying. But they merely had to wait about an hour before getting another crack at it in the first round.

China could have been going for three straight Olympic golds, but its team was relegated to the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Games in London.

Germany also set a record earlier in the day in the women’s team pursuit on a fast track in the Izu Velodrome.

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Germany qualified first in the women’s team pursuit at the Tokyo Olympics, shattering Britain’s five-year-old record with a time of 4:07.307 on the first day of track cycling at the Izu Velodrome.

Britain qualified second in 4:09.022, which also bettered its mark of 4:10.236 set at the Rio Games. The two-time and reigning Olympic champions were followed by the U.S. in 4:10.118 and Italy in 4:11.666.

That means the Germans will face Italy and Britain will face the U.S. in the medal rounds Tuesday. The winning teams will race for gold.

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The four-woman team from Germany has shattered the world record in qualifying at the Tokyo Olympics, stopping the clock in 4:07.307 on the first day of the track cycling program at the Izu Velodrome.

The team of Franziska Brausse, Lisa Brennauer, Lisa Klein and Mieke Koreger was the third to post a time in the team pursuit, where riders race against the clock over 4 kilometers. Four women start but only the first three that cross the finish line count for the time.

The Germans, who didn’t even make the medal stand at the Rio Games, beat the record of 4:10.236 that the reigning gold medalists from Britain set in Brazil. But the British and the reigning world champion Americans were still to go in their qualifying rides Monday.

The top four teams will race Tuesday for the medals.

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MEDAL ALERT

Jean Quiquampoix of France has earned the gold medal that eluded him five years ago in Rio, matching an Olympic record to win men’s 25-meter rapid-fire pistol at the Tokyo Games.

Quiquampoix took silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics after Germany’s Christian Reitz hit his final five shots to claim gold.

Quiquampoix left no doubt at Asaka Shooting Range, hitting 34 of 40 shots to beat Cuba’s Leuris Pupo by five shots. The 25-year-old member of the French armed forces matches the Olympic record Pupo set while winning gold at the 2012 London Games.

Pupo earned his second medal in his sixth Olympics.

China’s Lie Yuehong won bronze for the second straight Olympics.

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UPSET ALERT

Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia have upset China’s Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan, 2-0, for gold in women’s doubles badminton.

The unseeded Indonesians won the first game 21-19 and the second 21-15 against an overwhelmingly favored Chinese team.

Emotions ran high in the match, with both teams screaming after won points and several times disputing their opponent’s requests to change shuttles. At one point, Polii ran off the court after breaking her racket, got a new one, and joined the point in progress. Indonesia won the point.

The match extends Chinese struggles in women’s doubles, after years of domination. The Chinese team lost at the 2016 Rio Games to a Japanese pair. Before that, China had won a remarkable five straight golds.

Earlier Monday, Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong won the bronze medal in women’s doubles, beating countrywomen Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan, 2-0.

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The U.S. women’s volleyball team has lost a second player to a rolled right ankle after setter Jordyn Poulter landed on a teammate’s foot.

Poulter went down in the third set of a pool-play match against Italy and is being treated by trainers on the sideline. The injury comes two days after star Jordan Thompson went down with the same injury against the Russian Olympic Committee.

Thompson is watching the Italy game from the stands but is hopeful of returning before the end of the Olympics.

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MEDAL ALERT

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico has won gold in the women's 100-meter hurdles, powering ahead of American Keni Harrison.

That kept the United States out of the win column at the Olympic track meet for yet another session.

Camacho-Quinn finished in 12.37 seconds for a .15 second win over the world-record holder, Harrison. Jamaica’s Megan Tapper finished third.

Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that competes under its own flag at the Olympics, has one more track gold medal than the deepest team at the Games, as the meet approaches its halfway point.

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MEDAL ALERT

Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece has edged Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria for the men’s long jump gold medal with a winning jump on the last attempt.

Tentoglou’s 8.41 meters in the last round equaled Echevarria’s best mark but he won on a countback because he had the better of the next-best jumps.

Echevarria, jumping last, lost rhythm in his run-up and stopped before the board, kneeled on the ground and hit the runway with his hands.

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U.S. women’s volleyball star Jordan Thompson is sitting out the final pool play match against Italy after rolling her right ankle earlier in the tournament.

Thompson left Saturday’s match against Russia early after stepping on a teammate’s foot. She missed practice on Sunday to get treatment but USA Volleyball says she is expected to be able to return before the end of the Olympics.

The U.S. is already assured of a spot in the quarterfinals and the match against Italy is to determine seeding only.

Thompson came into the day tied for the third most points in the tournament with 66. Annie Drews started in her place.

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World champion Sifan Hassan has made an incredible recovery from a fall at the final bell to win her 1,500-meter heat at the Olympics on Monday.

Hassan picked herself up after getting in a tangle with Kenyan runner Edinah Jebitok at the start of the last lap. She sped around the outside of the pack on the back straight and ended up crossing the line first in 4 minutes, 5.17 seconds to qualify for the semifinals.

It kept alive the Dutch runner’s bid for a rare distance-running treble at the Tokyo Games.

Hassan has qualified to run in the 5,000-meter final later Monday at the Olympic Stadium, when the energy she expended on that last-lap scramble in the 1,500 heats might catch up with her.

She’s expected to battle with two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya for the 5,000 gold.

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April Ross and Alix Klineman have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

The American “A-Team” beat Cuba 21-17, 21-15 on Monday. The win came a day after two other U.S. teams were ousted in the first knockout round.

After taking the first set, Ross and Klineman lost the first four points in the second. Cuba’s Lidy Echeverria and Leila Martinez led 9-7 when Echeverria was slow to get up after a collision at the net. The Americans took the point, and went on to win the second set as well.

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— More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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