RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya sloshed his way to the gold medal in the men’s Olympic marathon Sunday as Rio de Janeiro began its grand goodbye to the 2016 Games in clammy conditions that did nothing to dampen Brazil’s frenzied mood.
The host nation was still basking in Neymar’s kiss and impossible-to-forget penalty kick that secured the gold medal in soccer for Brazil. The nation desperately needed something to celebrate after demoralizing World Cup and Copa America failures and a host of economic, political and heath woes that dominated the lead-up to South America’s first Olympics.
The vibe was festive for the finishing touch as Rio prepared to hand the torch to Tokyo, host of the 2020 Games.
The U.S. men’s basketball team goes for the gold against Serbia, one of four teams that provided the heavily favored Americans with close calls, 94-91 in pool play.
Day 16 also featured medal action in volleyball, boxing and wrestling before the closing ceremonies.
American middleweight Claressa Shields goes for her second straight boxing gold medal, taking on the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn in the first of four gold medal fights.
The main event could produce the other half of an Olympic golden couple. French fighter Tony Yoka faces Britain’s Joe Joyce in the super heavyweight final. Yoka’s fiancee, Estelle Mossely, won gold Friday on her 24th birthday. Yoka cheered her on from the stands.
Kipchoge finally won the marathon after finishing fourth in Athens, third in Beijing and missing the London Games altogether. He finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes and 44 seconds. Feyisa Lelisa of Ethiopia finished second for the silver, and American Galen Rupp took bronze in his second marathon and Olympic debut.
Rupp is the first American to medal in this event since Meb Keflezighi won silver in 2004.
Puddles pooled just in front of the finish line, and Anuradha Cooray of Sri Lanka slipped just a few strides from the finish. He crawled across the line and did some pushups.
Other highlights from Day 15 the Rio de Janeiro Games:
TOUR DE RIO: Defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic, world champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland and former world champ Julien Absalon of France are favorites in the men’s mountain bike race. But the rider everyone will be watching is road race world champion Peter Sagan, who is fresh off the Tour de France. The popular Slovakian star chose to compete off road in Rio because the road race course didn’t suit his style or abilities.
GASOL’S GOODBYE? : Pau Gasol scored 31 points in what might have been his final Olympic game and Spain added a bronze to its collection on Sunday with an 89-88 win over Australia, again denied its first medal inside the rings. Sergio Rodriguez made two free throws with 5.4 seconds left and the Spaniards, who captured silver in 2008 at Beijing and the London Games, got the defensive stop they needed.
CLOSING CEREMONIES: Gymnast Simone Biles carries the U.S. flag Sunday night when the Rio Games officially end with a closing ceremony that starts at 8 p.m. It’s expected to feature mass choreography and a Carnivale parade, with samba legend Martinho da Vila and singers Roberta Sa and Lenine in attendance.
AP Summer Games website: http://summergames.ap.org
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