United States’ Damian Lillard (6) shoots over Iran’s Mohammadsina Vahedi (3) during a men’s basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via AP)

By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO

The United States men’s basketball team rebounded from an upset loss to France in the Olympic opener and obliterated Iran, 120-66, on Wednesday morning.

Guard Damian Lillard scored a game-high 21 points as Team USA totaled 34 assists as a team and forced 23 turnovers. Devin Booker poured in 16 points and three steals while Jayson Tatum had 14 points to help put the U.S. back on track to being the favorites in the Olympics. Hamed Haddadi recorded 15 points and six rebounds for Iran.

Swimmer Katie Ledecky avenged two disheartening losses earlier in Olympic competition by
winning the first-ever gold medal in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle event, recording a time of 15 minutes and 37 seconds.

Olympic featherweight boxer Duke Ragan defeated Kazakhstan’s Serik Temirzhanov by a win on points, 5-0, in a Round of 16 match on Tuesday.

The 5-foot-5 orthodox fighter from Cincinnati is undefeated as a professional (4-0) and is in the running to become the first American featherweight medalist since Rocky Juarez, who won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

In men’s volleyball, Team USA defeated Tunisia in a Pool B contest 3-1, with set scores of 25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23. Torey DeFalco recorded 21 kills, two blocks and an ace to help the Americans sail to the big win.

Perhaps the biggest story surrounding the Tokyo Olympics is Simone Biles’ decision to
withdraw from the final all-around competition to “focus on her mental health” after further
medical evaluation, according to USA Gymnastics. She will be replaced by Jade Carey.

“Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement released early Wednesday. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

Medal count as of Wednesday: U.S. leads with 30 (10 gold, 11 silver, nine bronze); China is
second with 24 (11 gold, five silver, eight bronze) and Japan has 21, but ranks first with 12 gold medals to go with four silver and five bronze.

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