Connecticut Olympic Tracker: How local athletes finished in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Photo of Maggie Vanoni

More than 50 athletes with ties to Connecticut competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Summer Games will ran from July 20 to Aug. 8 and debuted a handful of news sports including skateboarding, surfing and 3x3 basketball, along with the return of baseball and softball first time since 2008.

Here’s how Connecticut athletes (both local and with ties to the state) performed in Tokyo:

Team USA: women’s basketball, 6-0, won gold

For the seventh-consecutive Olympics, Team USA won gold in women’s basketball, tying the record for most consecutive gold medals in a team sport by any country (the U.S. men’s basketball team won seven golds from 1936-1968). UConn legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi also made history Saturday night becoming the only basketball players to ever win five gold medals across both men and women from any country as the U.S. defeated Japan, 90-75, for the gold medal.

Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner lead the U.S. with 30 points — a record for an American in a gold-medal game — as it won its 55th-straight Olympic game. In her final Olympic game of her career, Bird, who turns 41 this fall, recorded seven points, three rebounds and three assists. Taurasi, 39, has yet to officially make a decision about her future in the Olympics despite dealing with ongoing injuries throughout this WNBA season and while in Tokyo. She finished Saturday’s game with seven points, eight assists and six rebounds. Former UConn Standout Breanna Stewart recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds during the gold-medal game.

The U.S. defeated Serbia, 79-59, in Friday morning’s semifinal to advance to Saturday’s Gold-Medal game. Bird and Taurasi each led the team with 4 assists, while Stewart recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds and Olympic rookie Napheesa Collier scored her first Olympic points (5).

For the first time in Tokyo, Team USA came out strong in the first quarter and established a big enough lead to win Wednesday’s quarterfinal, 79-55, against Australia . The U.S.’s opening game surge was all thanks to Stewart, who finished the first 10 minutes with eight points and two blocks as the U.S. led 26-12. At the half, Stewart had 20 points, five rebounds and two blocks to help USA put up a 19-point lead over Australia. The U.S. kept up the momentum and the large lead throughout the final two quarters, allowing Collier to play her first minutes in Tokyo. Stewart led Team USA with 23 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Bird finished with nine points and five assists, while Collier finished with two rebounds in five minutes.

Team USA continued its sweep in prelim pool play with a 93-82 victory over France on Aug. 2. Stewart was second on the U.S. with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Following Stewart was fellow former Husky Tina Charles with 15 points and five assists. On Team France (1-2), former Husky Gabby Williams finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in a team-leading 32 minutes of play.

The U.S. defeated host-country Japan, 86-69, in the early morning of July 30 and advanced to 2-0 in prelim play. Once again Team USA came out slow and lost the first quarter, 30-28, to Japan. But after taking a nine-point lead into halftime, the U.S. found its rhythm and earned the win thanks to five players scoring in double-figures. Stewart finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Husky all-time greats Taurasi and Bird, scored 11 and three points respectively. Bird and Stewart each recorded a team-high six assists in Friday’s game.

Team USA opened the Olympic women’s basketball competition at 12:40 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27. Despite dropping the first quarter and giving up 25 turnovers, the U.S. defeated Nigeria, 81-72 for its first single-digit win the Olympics since 2004. Bird, who said Tokyo will be her final Olympics, led the team with 13 assists, followed by Breanna Stewart with 4. Diana Taurasi (who played in her USA basketball record 33rd game) led all former UConn players with 10 points, followed by Stewart (9) and Tina Charles (6).

Team USA: 3x3 women’s basketball won gold

It was former UConn standout Stefanie Dolson who led Team USA to earn the first Olympic gold medal in 3x3 women’s basketball on July 28. Dolson finished the gold-medal game against the ROC (Russian Olympic Comittmee) with a game-high seven points and nine rebounds as Team USA defeated ROC, 18-15. The ROC claimed the silver medal with the loss, followed by China who won the bronze medal earlier in the day over France.

The No. 1 seeded U.S. advanced to Wednesday’s gold medal game after defeating France, 18-16, in the semifinals behind a team-high eight rebounds from Dolson.

Team USA suffered its first Olympic loss in its final pool play game at 12:30 a.m. on July 27, falling to Japan, 20-18. Japan took over the lead in Tuesday’s game with a minute remaining after the U.S. had led by as much as five. Dolson led Team USA with seven points.

Dolson helped lead Team USA through its first two games of the sport’s Olympic debut on July 24 with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. Team USA defeated France, 17-10, in its Olympic opener before beating Mongolia (21-9) in the later game.

On July 25, Team USA swept both its games and kept its unbeaten record in pool play. First, the U.S. defeated Romania, 22-11, behind 12 points from Kelsey Plum in the early game, before defeating the ROC (the Russian Olympic Committee delegation), 20-16.

Team USA kept its undefeated record after its third day of pool play on Monday, July 26. The U.S. defeated Italy, 17-13, behind six points and six rebounds from Dolson in the morning and then went on to beat China, 21-19, thanks to a long-2-pointer from former University of Washington standout Kelsy Plum in the afternoon.

Team USA: men’s swim, Ridgefield’s Smith won bronze in men’s 400 free

Ridgefield native Kieran Smith won his first Olympic medal during the men’s 400 free final during the evening of July 24. After falling as far back as fourth place with 50 meters remaining, the 21-year-old picked up pace to win the event in third, collecting the bronze medal, in a time of 3:43.97. McLoughlin (Australia) won the silver in 3:43.52, while the gold medal was won by 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui from Tunisia in 3:43.36.

Smith placed third in his heat in the 400-meter free on the morning of July 24 to advance to the event’s final. Smith raced neck-and-neck against the Australian duo of Jack McLoughlin and Elijah Winnington for the majority of the race before finishing in third with a 3:45.25. McLoughlin and Winnington tied at 3:45.20.

Smith qualified for the 200 free semifinals after finishing his opening heat in 1:46.20 in the morning of July 25. Later that same day, he advanced to the event’s final with a 1:45.07, the second-fastest swim of the two semifinals. Smith finished in sixth with a time of 1:45.12 in the event’s final on Monday, July 26.

As the opening leg in Team USA’s men’s 200-meter freestyle relay, Smith led the U.S. to a fourth place finish in the relay final in a time of 7:02.43. Smith’s opening 200 of 1:44.77 was a personal best for the 21-year-old as he led the pool. Team USA kept hold of the lead until the 600-meter mark when it slipped into fourth place. Great Britain won the relay in 6:58.58.

Men’s eight: Old Lyme’s Hack and Corrigan help U.S. finish fourth/ Yale rowers earn gold and bronze

Old Lyme natives Austin Hack and Liam Corrigan helped led Team USA to a fourth-place finish in the men’s eight final on July 29 in a time of 5:26.75. New Zealand, featuring current Yale rower Dan Williamson (’23), won gold in 5:24.64, followed by Germany in second (5:25.60) and Great Britain, featuring former Yale rowers Charlie Elwes (’19) and Ollie Wynne-Griffith (’17) with the bronze in 5:25.73. Former Yale rower Simon Keenan (’15) helped led Australia to a sixth-place finish in 5:36.23.

Team USA finished third in the men’s eight repechage on July 27 to advance to the event’s Final on Thursday, after finishing in 5:23.43, behind New Zealand (5:22.04) and Great Britain (5:23.32). Australia (5:25.07) was the fourth team to advance to the final. While Corrigan is making his Olympic debut, Thursday’s Olympic final was Hack’s second after helping the U.S. to a fourth-place finish in the men’s eight in Rio in 2016.

Team USA finished second during the opening heat of the men’s eight competition on July 23. The U.S. led for the majority of the race, but Team Germany slipped by to pass them with less than 300 meters left to finish in front in 5:28.95. Team USA finished in 5:30.57.

Team USA: women’s street skateboarding, Old Saybrook’s Sablone finished fourth

Old Saybrook’s Alexis Sablone placed eighth out of 20 skaters with a score of 11.77 in the women’s street prelim on July 25 to advance to the event’s final later that evening. In the final, Sablone the oldest competitor in the event at age 34, finished fourth with a score of 13.57. Japan’s Nishiya Momiji and Brazil’s Rayssa Leal (Brazil) were the youngest competitors in the field, both 13, won the gold and silver medals with scores of 15.26 and 14.64.

Team USA: Softball won silver medal

In a rematch of the 2008 Olympics, Team USA again fell to Japan in the Gold-Medal game in Tokyo. Japan defeated the U.S., 2-0, and won the country’s second gold medal, giving Team USA its second consecutive silver on July 27. Former Stratford Brakette Cat Osterman started the game, only to retire in the third inning. Japan’s first run in the fourth inning was the first earned run the U.S. had given up throughout the duration of its Olympic play in Tokyo. Canada won the bronze medal earlier in the day after defeating Mexico 3-2.

In a preview of Tuesday’s gold medal-game match up between Team USA and Japan, the U.S. defeated Japan, 2-1, in the final prelim game of the weekend on July 25 to remain unbeaten and finish opening round games with a 5-0 record. Former University of Florida third baseman Kelsey Stewart secured Team USA the win on Sunday thanks to a walk off solo home run.

The U.S. was awarded a spot in Tuesday’s gold medal game against Japan based off its 4-0 opening round record. Team USA defeated Australia, 2-1, in extra innings July 24 thanks to a run-scoring, walk-off grounder from Amanda Chidester.

The U.S. beat Mexico 2-0 on July 24 thanks to a combined effort in the circle from Osterman and Monica Abbott. Similar to Tuesday’s game against Italy, Osterman started for Team USA and retired the last 15 batters she faced before Abbott took over in the seventh inning. Over the past three games, Osterman and Abbott have a combined 28 strikeouts.

Osterman threw six scoreless innings during the team’s Olympic opener on Tuesday, July 20, against Italy. The U.S. defeated Italy, 2-0, thanks to Osterman’s start in the circle in which she struck out nine and allowed just one hit.

Team USA defeated Canada, 1-0, on Wednesday, July 21, for the team’s second game in Tokyo.

Team USA: women’s soccer, 3-2-1, won bronze

The U.S. defeated Australia, 4-3, on Thursday morning and won the team’s first-ever Olympic Bronze medal. Megan Rapinoe, who shares a residence with her fiance, UConn legend Sue Bird, in Greenwich, scored the first two goals for Team USA at the eight and 21-minute marks in the first half. Carli Loyd then the half also with a goal to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead at the intermission. Loyd scored Team USA’s winning goal at the 51-minute mark in the second half.

Less than 30 minutes into Team USA’s semifinal against Canada on Aug. 2, Stratford native and U.S. starting goalie Alyssa Naeher left the game after suffering an apparent right knee injury . Canada, led by former UConn goalie Stephanie Labbe (’08) with six saves, defeated the U.S., 1-0, during Monday’s semifinal, earning its first victory over the Americans in 20 years and advancing to its first-ever Olympic gold medal match. It was later confirmed on Monday that Naeher suffered a hyperextension and bone contusion of her right knee and will be unavailable for Thursday’s bronze medal match.

Just days prior to her game-ending injury, Naeher extended the USWNT’s stay in Tokyo on July 30 thanks to two clutch saves in an overtime penalty kick shootout against the Netherlands to advance Team USA to the semifinal round.

After finishing regulation tied, 2-2, neither team scored in the first two extra time periods, forcing the overtime penalty kick shootout. Team USA made all four of its penalty kicks, including one by Sue Bird’s fiance Megan Rapinoe. The couple share a residence in Greenwich. Naeher successfully blocked two of the Netherlands attempts, securing the win and advancement for Team USA.

The U.S. played to a scoreless draw against Australia in its final group stage game in the Olympic tournament on July 27. Team USA’s Alex Morgan appeared to score a goal at 33 minutes but a VAR review showed Morgan’s elbow was offside and discounted the goal. Naeher had three saves off Australia’s 10 shots.

Team USA earned its first win in Tokyo on July 24, defeating New Zealand 6-1. Naeher recorded two saves during the game through New Zealand’s five total shots (three on goal).

Naeher started in goal for the USWNT in their Olympic opener on July 21 against Sweden. The U.S. fell to Sweden, 3-0, as Naeher had five saves in the first half alone.

Team Canada: women’s soccer won gold

Former UConn standout goalie Stephanie Labbe (’08) led Canada to win the country’s first gold medal in Olympic soccer Friday, Aug. 6 through two clutch saves in shootout penalty kicks to defeat Sweden. After regulation between the two teams ended, 1-1, and neither scored during the two extra time periods, Labbe saved two of Sweden’s shots on goal during penalty kicks. Sweden made just two goals out of its five attempts, while the Canadians secured the gold medal by successfully making their final and third shot attempt of the penalty kicks. Labbe ended the gold-medal match with three saves during regulation and two during the shootout.

Team Canada: women’s eight won gold

2007 Kent School alumna Christine Roper rowed in seat three for Team Canada in the women’s eight final on July 9. The Canadians won gold in event, finishing in 5:59.13, for the first time since 1992.

Canada earned its spot in the final after finishing the July 27th repechage in third in 5:53.73. In last week’s opening heat, Team USA finished in second to New Zeland in 6:07.97.

Team Serbia: Men’s 3x3 Basketball won bronze medal

University of New Haven 2018 alum Mihailo Vasic helped lead Team Serbia to win the first-ever Olympic bronze medal in men’s 3x3 basketball on July 28. Serbia finished pool play undefeated, but lost, 21-10, in the semifinals to ROC. The team bounced back and defeated Belgium, 21-10, to claim the bronze. Vasic finished his Olympic debut with 44 points (five per game) and 20 rebounds (two per game).

Team USA: women’s double sculls, 5th place finish in A Final

Former Yale standout Kristi Wagner and three-time Olympian Gevvie Stone finished the women’s double sculls A Final in fifth place on July 27 with a time of 6 minutes, 52.98 seconds. Romania won the gold medal setting an Olympic Record of 6:41.03. New Zealand (6:44.82) and Netherlands (6:45.73) won the silver and bronze, respectively.

In her first Olympics, Wagner, along with Stone advanced to Tuesday’s A Final after placing third in the event’s semifinal on July 24 with a time of 7:11.14.

The duo earned their spot in the semifinal by finishing their opening heat on July 22 in second place in 6:55.65.

Team USA: Women’s Rugby Sevens, 3-1 in prelims, finish sixth overall

The U.S. concluded their time in Tokyo on July 30 finishing sixth overall after falling to Australia, 17-7, in the final semifinal.

Team USA earned its spot in the 5th-6th-place semifinal after defeating China, 33-14, in the earlier lower classification semifinal thanks to two trys and 10 points from Quinnipiac 2018 alumna Ilona Maher.

The U.S. suffered its first loss in Tokyo Friday morning, falling 21-12 to Great Britain in the Olympic quarterfinals on July 30. The loss put the U.S. out of contention to medal.

In Friday’s match, the U.S. again used a surge in the final two minutes to put points on the board. After a 21-0 GB lead, Team USA scored two trys in a row on top of a conversion goal, but it wasn’t enough as it lost its perfect record.

After trailing Australia 12-0, Team USA saved its then-perfect record in pool play on July 29 by scoring two trys and two conversion goals in the final three minutes to win its final pool play game, 14-12. With the win, the U.S. secured the top seed in Pool C and will face Fiji in Friday’s quarterfinals with winner advancing to the semifinals.

The U.S. defeated both of its first two pool play opponents on Wednesday, July 28, to earn an automatic spot in Friday’s quarterfinals. Maher started for Team USA in both games on Wednesday as the U.S. defeated China 28-14 to open its Olympic competition. Maher later scored one try and five points during Team USA’s 17-7 defeat of Japan.

Team USA: women’s 49er FX sailing, finish in 11th place

Connecticut College 2011 alumna Maggie Shea and Team USA teammate Stephanie Roble concluded the final day of prelim races on July 30 in the women’s 49er FX in 11th place (101 points), just one spot shy of avdancing to next week’s medal races.

Team USA had its worst day of races in the final prelims after finishing race No. 10 in 14th place (35:07) and getting disqualifed in race No. 11. The pair did however earn a top-five finish in the final prelim race, race No. 12, for five points in 27:16, but it wasn’t enough to bump up their overall score into the top-10 to advance.

Shea and Roble finished the third day of prelim races in sixth place with 62 points on July 30. The U.S. scored its best on the first race of the day, race No. 7, placing fifth in 34:30. Team USA concluded the day placing ninth in race No. 8 (34:49) and 13th in race No. 9 (36:24).

Team USA was in eighth-place with 35 points after the second day of races in the women’s 49er FX on July 28. Battling poor water and weather condiditons throughout the day, the U.S. finished race No. 4 in seventh in 28:45, race No. 5 in ninth in 31:40 and race No. 6 in 16th-place in 34:18 after capsizing near the finish line. Since each team is only allowed to drop one low score, the U.S. had to add its 14th-place, 14-point performance from race No. 3 to its overall score after dropping its 16 points from race No. 6.

Shea and Roble finished day one of the five-day competition of the women’s 49er FX in second place with five points after the event’s first three opening races on July 26. In race No. 1, the U.S. finished third and earned three points with a time of 25:34 behind Spain in second (25:22) and Great Britain in first (24:43). The U.S. led through all but the final leg of race No. 2 and finished in second (30:20) for two points behind first-place finisher Great Britain (29:30). Team USA’s worst race of the day was in race No. 3 in which it finished in 14th place for 14 points in a time of 31:03. Since each team is allowed to exclude its worst race for its total team score, Team USA was only scored on its first two races following day one.

Team Israel: Baseball, finished with a 1-4 record in 7th place

Team Israel was knocked out of the Olympics Tuesday morning, falling to the Dominican Republic, 7-6, in the repechage round.

New Haven Native Josh Zeid pitched for four innings, striking out three before allowing four hits and two runs. While former New Britain Rock Cat Danny Valencia led Israel’s offense once again with one home run and two RBIs.

Israel fell, 11-1, to South Korea on Aug 2, placing itself in the repechage portion of the Olympic tournament. Valencia earned Team Israel’s lone RBI of the game.

Team Israel survived its first Olympic knockout game July 31, defeating Mexio 12-5 to advance and continue its stay to compete in Tokyo. Valencia continued his Olympic success Saturday leading Israel at the plate with two hits, three RBIs and one home run. Former Yard Goat Scott Burcham also contributed an RBI, while New Haven native Josh Zeid started on the mound for Israel, pitching 2.1 innings, striking out two and allowing two hits. Israel will have to win its second knockout game to advance to this week’s semifinals.

Israel concluded pool play on July 30 with a 0-2 record after an 8-1 loss to Team USA. The loss pushes Israel into the kockout stage bracket ahead of next weeks semifinals.

Valencia scored Israel’s lone run in against the U.S. with a home run in the fourth inning. Former Yali Ryan Lavarnway led Israel with two hits while Ben Wanger pitched for one inning and allowed three hits and one run.

In its Olympic baseball debut, Israel dropped its first game in Tokyo, 6-5, to South Korea on July 29. Lavarnway led Israel’s offense with three RBIs and two home runs. Valencia had a hit and scored a run. And Zeid pitched 2.1 innings on the mound, allowing one walk in the seven batters he faced.

Team USA: men’s 470 sailing, finished 9th place with 86 points

Three-time Olympian and 2005 Yale graduate Stuart McNay and Team USA teammate David Hughes finished in fourth place in the men’s 470 medal race on Aug. 4 in a time of 26:56. The pair’s final race placement earned them eight points for an overall ninth place finish in the event.

The duo finished the men’s 470 prelims on Aug. 3 in 10th place with 78 points to grab the final spot in the medal-race lineup. Out of the 19 boats in the prelim races, only the top 10 advance to the medal race scheduled for Aug. 4 at 1:33 a.m. Unlike in the prelims, which consisted of 10 races, the medal race will only include one race where the top three boats will medal.

McNay and Hughes finished race No. 9 in eighth place in 49:40 and race No. 10 in 11th place in 49:33 on Aug. 3.

The fourth day of the men’s 470 prelim races concluded with Team USA in 11th place with 59 points on July 31. The two added seven points to their total thanks to a seventh place finish in race No. 7, coming in 42:11. They added nine points after a ninth-place finish in race No. 8 (54:42). The final prelim races of the men’s 470 will be on Aug. 2 before the top 10 boats advance to the medal race.

McNay and Hughes finished in 11th place after the third day of races on July 30. McNay and Hughes have 43 points after coming in eighth in both race No. 5 and race No. 6 with times of 51:42 and 54:18, respectively.

Team USA concluded day two of the men’s 470 also in 11th place with 27 points on July 28. The pair earned nine points after finishing race No. 3 in ninth in 46:03 and 10 points after a 10th place (41:07) finish in race No. 4.

On the first day, on July 27, McNay and Hughes finished in 11th place with 20 points. The duo opened the Olympics placing eighth in race No. 1 in 37:08 and 12th in race No. 2 in 42:13.

Team USA: rhythmic gymnastics, Hartford’s Zeng finishes 13th

Hartford native and future Yali Laura Zeng placed 13th with 91.400 points following the qualification rounds for rhythmic gymnastics on Aug. 6. Zeng opened the qualification round on Friday with the ball apparatus and scored a 23.700. She followed with a 22.000 score in hoop and a 21.000 in ribbon. Her best score of the day came with the clubs in which she scored a 24.700.