China’s Sun Yang arrived in Rio looking to defend his gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle. But yang fell just short of a repeat in the event, with Australia’s Mack Horton holding off the reigning Olympic champion to win Australia’s first gold medal of the Rio Olympics. Horton, who posted the second-fastest time of the qualifying heats, finished the final with a time of 3:41.51 with Yang just 17 one-hundredths of a second behind at 3:41.68.
Winning the bronze medal was Gabriele Detti of Italy, who finished with a time of 3:43.49. He’s the first Italian to medal in this event since Massimiliano Rossolino won the silver medal in Sydney in 2000, and in total three Italians have won a medal in the 400 meter freestyle (Novella Calligaris, 1972). The United States failed to medal in this event, with Conor Dwyer finishing fourth with a time of 3:44.01 and Connor Jaeger settling for fifth place with a time of 3:44.16.
Dwyer posted the fastest qualifying time, earning the spots in lane four as a result, but he was unable to carry that performance over into the final.
Horton’s gold medal is the first in this event for an Australian swimmer since Ian Thorpe won gold in 2004, and his win is the latest development in a rivalry between he and Yang. More importantly the gold could be the start of a resurgence for Australia after they experienced significant disappointment in London four years ago. Australia’s lone swimming gold medal in London came in the women’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay.
MOSCOW (AP) Lina Cheryazova, the first woman to win an Olympic aerials skiing gold medal, has died. She was 50.
Officials in the Russian city of Novosibirsk, where Cheryazova was living for the last two decades, said she died “following a lengthy illness,” without giving further details.
Competing for Uzbekistan, Cheryazova won gold with a triple flip when aerials skiing debuted on the Olympic program in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Shortly after winning, she learned her mother died three weeks before.
Cheryazova’s career was derailed later that year when she suffered a serious head injury while training in the United States, and spent days in a coma. She retired after failing to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics.
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In the final biathlon event of the 2018-19 season, American Clare Egan recorded her first career World Cup podium finish, placing third in the mass start in Oslo, Norway. She hit 19 of 20 targets and crossed the finish line 10.4 seconds behind winner Hanna Oberg of Sweden. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff finished second.
Egan, 31, made her Olympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, but considered retiring from biathlon at the end of the last season. “I decided that I wanted to do one more year, just for fun, just to see how much I could learn and how good a biathlete I could become,” Egan said in a U.S. Biathlon press release.
Her decision to continue has paid off: since the start of the 2018-19 season, Egan has posted the top eight finishes of her career (including three top-10 results). She concludes the season ranked 18th in the overall World Cup standings.
“I skied much faster this year than I have in the past and I think that was due to finally finding a good balance in my training, between working hard and resting. I did not train more, but the quality was much higher. I’m very excited for the next season,” Egan told U.S. Biathlon.