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

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

The only question was whether a strong break at the 1,000-meter mark that built a big lead might have been too early. Romanians Marius Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa kept the Croatians within sight, but they could never pull within a half boat length of the lead before taking the silver medal.

Grace Pendergrast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand won gold in the women’s pair. The Kiwi duo became just the third non-European team to win the Olympic event, and the first since Australia in 1996.

Ireland’s duo of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan held off a late charge from Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne of Germany to win gold in the men’s lightweight double sculls.

The Irish came in as the favorite after winning the world championships in 2019 and the European title in 2021. O’Donovan won silver in the same event with brother Gary in Rio in 2016, which was Ireland’s first rowing medal.

Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini of Italy surged over the final 50 meters to snatch the gold medal in the women’s lightweight double sculls as the Dutch team of Marieke Keiser and Ilse Paulis collapsed.

The Dutch boat had led nearly the entire race, only to fall to third in the final 20 meters as the French team of Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove took the silver medal. The Dutch team nearly slipped out of the medals entirely, and it took the podium by only 0.01 seconds ahead of Britain.

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.

SOFTBALL: Engaged couple Amanda Chidester of the United States and Anissa Urtez of Mexico were selected to the all-tournament team.

Chidester was picked as the designated player and Urtez as the shortstop.

Yamato Fujita of Japan was named most valuable player of the tournament. She hit .389 with three homers and seven RBI in six games for Japan, which beat the U.S. 2-0 on Tuesday for its second straight title.

Four Americans were selected for the all-tournament team, with Chidester joined by left-hander Monica Abbott, second baseman Ali Aguilar and center fielder Haylie McCleney.

The team also included right-hander Yukiko Ueno and third baseman Yu Yamamoto of Japan and catcher Kaleigh Rafter and first baseman Jenn Salling of Canada.

Also selected were Italian left fielder Laura Vigna and Mexican right fielder Suzy Brookshire.

Japanese first baseman Minori Naito was picked as the best defensive player.

WEDNESDAY’S EVENTS

WOMEN’s 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL: Their scrapbooks and trophy cases are filled with memories from Final Fours, national titles, All-America honors and even some impressive showings in the pros.

Now, they all have Olympic gold medals to go with all that.

The U.S. team of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young took an early lead against the team from Russia, then held on for an 18-15 victory Wednesday to win the title in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Olympics.

Later on Wednesday, Russia played Latvia for the men’s title. Bronze medals went to China’s women and Serbia’s men.

Much as they did in the final, the Americans dominated through most of the five-day tournament. They played nine games and only lost one. Plum, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, led the way in this one, as well, scoring 55 points over the nine games. She scored all five of her points in the final early to stake the U.S. to a lead it never relinquished.

All four players are in the midst of successful WNBA careers. Of the four, Plum is the only one who didn’t win a national title in college. This seems like much more than a consolation prize.

When it was over, she got in a hug huddle with her teammates, then they made it over to the stands for a visit with IOC President Thomas Bach.

MEN’S GYMNASTICS: Japanese teenager Daiki Hashimoto won the gold medal in men’s all-around.

Hashimoto, 19, used a thrilling high bar routine during the final rotation to edge Xiao Ruoteng of China and reigning world champion Nikita Nagornyy.

Hashimoto’s all-around total of 88.465 points included a 14.933 on high bar. That was good enough for him to surge past Xiao and into the top spot. The gold is the third straight Olympic title for the Japanese gymnast. Kohei Uchimura won in 2012 and 2016.

MEN’S SWIMMING: Britain won the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay for the first time since 1908, but just missed a world record.

With a powerhouse group that included the 1-2 finishers in the 200 freestyle, Britain blew away the field in 6 minutes, 58.58 seconds. That was just off the world record set by the Americans (6:58.55) at the 2009 world championships. It was the first British gold in the event since it made its debut at the first London Games.

Russia claimed the silver in 7:01.81, while Australia took the bronze in 7:01.84.

The four-time defending champion Americans finished fourth – the first time they’ve failed to win a medal in the event other than the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

BASEBALL: Hayato Sakamoto hit a game-ending, bases-loaded single that capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally, lifting host Japan over the Dominican Republic 4-3 in the Olympic baseball opener.

Japan is pursuing its first gold medal in baseball after the sport was restored to the Summer Games for the first time since 2008. Few medals would mean more to the baseball-crazed country, and expectations are high.

While Major League Baseball players aren’t at these Olympics, Japan’s professional league suspended its season to accommodate the Games.

TENNIS: Novak Djokovic moved one step closer to winning the Golden Slam.

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

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.

Officials also moved the start of tennis matches beginning Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time to help protect players amid extreme heat and humidity.

Daniil Medvedev nearly fainted during his win over Fabio Fognini while Paula Badosa left the court in a wheelchair after retiring from her quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova.

WOMEN’S WATER POLO: The U.S. lost at the Olympics for the first time since 2008, falling 10-9 to 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, the Americans still should be able to advance to the knockout round.

It was the United States’ first loss 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.


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