On Tuesday in Tokyo, Brazilian open water star Ana Marcela Cunha finally claimed an Olympic medal, taking gold in the women’s 10k marathon swim. Cunha can now add the Olympic gold to her collection of medals after a thrilling race in which she was always in contention, trading places in the lead pack from the very start of the race. Defending champion Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands took silver, Australian Kareena Lee completed the podium to claim bronze.
An early lead by Leonie Beck of Germany was then taken by Ashley Twichell of the United States, who led the pack for much of the race. Throughout, Cunha was in the lead pack, never falling below fifth place. As the seven-lap race reached its final lap the pack strung out, with van Rouwendaal having moved up position during the race to defend her title. Likewise, world champion Xin Xin of China held back for much of the race only to join the front of the pack in the final stages of the race. Twichell’s teammate Haley Anderson was also in contention, but it was Cunha who made a break in the final kilometre to overtake van Rouwendaal. Leading the pack, Cunha made two good final turns to come into the last 500m strait a couple of metres ahead of the rest of the swimmers and was able to hold her lead as they sprinted to the finish funnel. Cunha finished in 1:59:30.8. Team GB’s Alice Dearing, after a steady race in which she kept with the lead pack for much of the race, finished in 19th place.
Full results: https://olympics.com/tokyo-202…
On Wednesday the action moves to the men’s event in what also promises to be an edge-of-your-seat race, with world champion Florian Wellbrock looking to wrestle the Olympic gold from defending champion Ferry Weertman, and Team GB’s Hector Pardoe, first place in last month’s qualifier in Setubal, also hopeful to claim a medal. Race starts 10.30pm UK time.