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Wednesday's Olympics: Canton's Allison Schmitt wins 10th Olympic medal, Lazor advances

Associated Press

China surprised the U.S. and Australia with a world-record performance in the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

Katie Ledecky took the anchor leg for the Americans in third place, nearly 2 seconds behind the Chinese and also trailing the Aussies. Canton's Allison Schmitt swam leadoff for the Americans.

While silver wasn't the medal they came for, the second-place finish did move Ledecky and Schmitt moved up the leaderboard for most Olympic medals of all time for U.S. women.

China's women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team reacts at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Schmitt's was her 10th, moving her past track star Allyson Felix and into fourth place all time amongst American female Olympians, and a tie for ninth amongst all female Olympians all time. Ledecky tied Felix with her ninth. Jenny Thompson, Dara Torris and Natalie Coughlin are tied for the American lead with 12.

“It’s [my] fourth Olympics, and getting to the Olympics is hard, winning an Olympic medal is even harder," said Schmitt, 31. "To have this type of medal with these three other girls, I can’t even put it into words. I know, for the world, this past year has been extremely hard, and to be here, to be diving in for an Olympic final and then coming back and bringing that silver medal back to the U.S., it is something I’ll never take for granted.”

Ledecky passed Australia’s Leah Neale and closed the gap significant on China’s Li Bingjie, but couldn’t quite catch her at the end.

Li touched in 7 minutes, 40.33 seconds, denying both Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus another gold medal. After winning both the 200 and 400 free individual titles, Titmus led off for Australia in the relay.

The Americans claimed silver in 7:40.73, while Australia took the bronze in 7:41.29. It was the first swimming world record of the Tokyo Games -- in fact, all three medalists broke the previous mark of 7:41.50 set by the Aussies at the 2019 world championships.

Beverly Hills native and Birmingham Groves grad Annie Lazor made her way into the women's 200m breaststroke final on Thursday after posting the third-fastest time in Wednesday night's semifinals. 

“It doesn’t get better than this," said Lazor, 26, whose father, Dave, passed away in April, two months before she qualified for Tokyo. "I think every swimmer dreams of going to the Olympics, so for this to finally happen to me, it’s incredible.”

China claimed its first gold medal at the Olympic pool when Zhang Yufei turned in a dominating performance to win the women’s 200-meter butterfly with an Olympic-record time of 2 minutes, 3.86 seconds. She was more than a body length ahead of the pair of Americans, Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger.

The U.S. swimmers dueled back and forth for the silver, with Smith pulling ahead at the end to touch in 2:05.30. Flickinger earned the bronze in 2:05.65.

3-on-3 basketball

The U.S. team of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young won the first women’s gold medal in the new Olympic sport of 3-on-3 basketball.

Plum scored all five of her points early to help the Americans take the lead and they held on for an 18-15 win over the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee.

Plum led all scorers in this tournament. She finished with 55 points over the course of the five-day event in which the U.S. played nine games and only lost one.

China beat France 16-14 for the bronze medal and Serbia defeated Belgium 21-10 in the men’s third-place game.

Latvia’s Karlis Lasmanis drained a shot from behind the arc to close the game and seal a men's gold-medal-winning 21-18 victory over the Russians in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Olympics.

Lasmanis spotted up and swished the shot and then was dogpiled by his three Latvian teammates. They will bring home the country’s first medal of the Tokyo Games.

Beach volleyball

Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are moving on in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

The Americans beat Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso of Argentina 21-19, 18-21, 15-6 to improve to 2-1 in the round-robin. That’s good for at least one more match in Tokyo.

In all, the American teams are 8-1 in the preliminary stage. Three other teams still have one match to play.

American beach volleyball players Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil dispatched Kenya in just 25 minutes, the fastest women’s match since the Olympics adopted their current format.

The U.S. pair beat Brackcides Khadambi and Gaudencia Makokha 21-8, 21-6 to improve to 2-0 and almost certainly clinch a spot in the knockout round of 16. They have one match remaining, against Brazil on Saturday.

The match was the fastest since the international volleyball federation adopted the rally scoring and best-of-three sets format in 2002.

Equestrian

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl of Germany has unseated Charlotte Dujardin of Britain for gold in the individual dressage competition.

German teammate Isabell Werth finished second with a score of 89.657%. She trailed Von Bredow-Werndl’s 91.732% in her Olympic debut. Dujardin came in third at 88.543% after winning the title in 2012 and 2016.

Von Bredow-Werndl also helped Germany win the team competition Tuesday for the country’s ninth title in 10 Olympics. She beat Werth for the best individual score then as well.

Werth earned her equestrian-record 12th medal but again came up short of the podium’s top spot. The longtime German rider has five silver medals in the individual competition but only one gold from the the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Rowing

New Zealand’s Grace Pendergrast and Kerri Gowler have won gold in the rowing women’s pair.

The Kiwi duo won the world championship in 2019 and were favored to grab victory in Tokyo. They are just the third non-European team to win the Olympic event and the first since 1996.

Russia’s Vasilisia Stepanova and Elena Oriabinskaia surged past Canada’s Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens over the final 300 meters to take the silver medal. Canada won bronze.

Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic have dominated the men’s pair in Olympic rowing, cruising to victory in a race they led from the start.

The Croatians were the heavy favorites. They won double sculls in 2016, then switched boat disciplines and won two world championships before claiming another Olympic gold medal. They are the first men to win Olympic gold in both double sculls and the sweep pairs.

Romania’s duo of Marius Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosas won silver. Denmark’s Frederic Vystavel and Joachim Sutton won bronze.

Pole vault

American world-champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks will miss the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

Kendricks’ dad posted on social media that his son had no symptoms but was informed while in Tokyo that he tested positive and was out of the competition.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed the news and said Kendricks has been placed in isolation at a hotel. He is being supported by the USOPC and USA Track and Field.

Kendricks won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and took gold at the last two world championships. He holds the American record at 19 feet, 10 ½ inches (6.06 meters).

Rugby sevens

Fiji has beaten New Zealand 27-12 to successfully defend the title it won when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The gold in Rio was Fiji’s first Olympic medal in any sport. Now the Pacific island nation has two.

Jerry Tuwai was in the squad five years ago and he led Fiji in its title defense in Tokyo, where they continued their unbeaten streak in Olympic games.

The silver medal was a vast improvement for New Zealand, which missed the podium in 2016 after an upset loss to Japan in its opening game and a quarterfinal loss to Fiji.

All the medals went to the southern hemisphere, with Argentina beating 2016 finalist Britain 17-12 for the bronze.

South Africa, the bronze medalist in Rio, beat the United States 28-7 in the playoff for fifth place.

Tennis

Tennis player Novak Djokovic’s Golden Slam bid is alive and well.

The top-ranked Serb beat training partner Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Games.

Djokovic is attempting to become the first man to achieve a Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same calendar year.

He has already won the Australian and French Opens plus Wimbledon this year. So now he needs the Tokyo Games title and the U.S. Open trophy to complete the unique collection.

Djokovic is scheduled to play again later with Serbian partner Nina Stojanovic against Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani of Brazil in the opening round of the mixed doubles competition.

Djokovic’s quarterfinal opponent in singles will be Kei Nishikori of Japan.

Nishikori reached his third straight Olympic quarterfinal by beating Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.

Water polo

The U.S. women’s water polo team lost at the Olympics for the first time since 2008, falling 10-9 to Rebecca Parkes and Hungary in group play.

The U.S. was a big favorite to win its third straight gold medal coming into Tokyo, but it was pushed hard by China during a rugged 12-7 victory Monday and then it struggled against Hungary. Even with the loss, it still should be able to advance to the knockout round.

Hungary trailed 9-8 with 2:28 left, but captain Rita Keszthelyi scored from deep and Parkes got the game-winner when she connected on a no-look goal with 45 seconds left. Parkes finished with a team-high three goals.

The U.S. had the ball in the final seconds but turned it over.

It was the United States’ first loss at the Olympics since the 2008 final against the Netherlands. It had a draw in London, but it went 6-0 on the way to the title in Rio.