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Aug. 3 Report: U.S. track and field athletes earn medals after record-breaking performances

By Talia Massi, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication | Aug. 03, 2021, 12:13 p.m. (ET)

U.S. runner Athing Mu stays a stride ahead of Jamaica's Natoya Goule and Great Britain's Jemma Reekie en route to gold in the women's 800 meter in Tokyo. 

Team USA track and field athletes earned spots on the podium after some record-breaking performances.

Athing Mu (Texas A&M, track and field) won gold in the women’s 800 meter event. At just 19, she became the first American to win gold in the event since the 1968 Games in Mexico City. 

Her time set a new national record at 1:55.21.

"It feels awesome. I knew it was pretty close, but to do that again feels amazing,” Mu said to reporters. 

In the same event, Raevyn Rogers (Oregon, track and field) came from behind to push a bronze medal finish. 

Rai Benjamin (USC and UCLA, track and field) placed silver in the 400-meter hurdle event. He broke the existing world record by half a second. Benjamin was in shock that despite beating the record, he ended up with only silver, thanks to his competitor from Norway.

"If you would have told me I would run 46.1 and lose...I'd tell you to get out of my room. I saw the 45.9, and I was, 'What the hell?' And I saw 46.1 and was like, 'There's no way I really ran 46 and lost,’” Benjamin said.

Chris Nilsen (South Dakota, track and field) won silver in pole vault and Brittney Reese (Mississippi, Mississippi Gulf Coast, track and field) placed silver in the long jump event. 

Gabby Thomas (Harvard, track and field) won bronze in the women’s 200 meter. 

Tokyo talk

- The U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Spain 95-81 to advance to the semifinals against Australia. 

- Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Wayland Baptist University, wrestling) won gold in the women's freestyle 68kg. She is the second woman to win gold in Team USA wrestling history and the first Black woman to win Olympic gold in wrestling history.

- The U.S. women’s cycling team earned bronze. The team features three collegians: Chloé Dygert (Marian-Indiana, cycling), Megan Jastrab (Milligan, cycling) and Lily Williams (Vanderbilt, cross country). 

- The beach volleyball tandem of April Ross (USC, volleyball) and Alix Klineman (Stanford, volleyball) advanced to the semifinals after beating Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch of Germany in two close sets. They are set to face Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich of Switzerland.

- The U.S. women’s water polo team had a dominating 16-5 win against Canada in the quarterfinals. 

- Andrew Capobianco (Indiana, diving) finished 10th in the 3-meter springboard finals. 

Looking ahead

The U.S. women’s basketball team plays Australia in the quarterfinals at 12:40am EDT. 

Quote of the day

"I always say dream big. You got to have the hope, you got to have the belief, but in order to make that happen it's got to be one step at a time, one stroke at a time, one pass at a time,” - Maggie Steffens (Stanford, water polo) after the team victory against Canada

Talia Massi, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Talia Massi is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.