Stanford grad Alix Klineman's run through the Tokyo Olympics resulted in a gold medal Friday (Thursday night Pacific) when she and teammate April Ross beat Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy 21-15, 21-16 in the beach volleyball final at Shiokaze Park.
Ross, who teamed with Stanford alum Kerri Walsh Jennings to win a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, earned her third Olympic medal bit her first gold.
One of the top outside hitters to ever play for Stanford, Klineman was also known for her solid back row play and serving.
Klineman becomes the third Stanford grad to earn a gold medal in the 2020 Games, joining Katie Ledecky (swimming) and Valarie Allman (track and field). Stanford athletes have also won seven silver medals and eight bronze medals.
"The U.S. has such a legacy in beach volleyball and just to be able to join that legacy is a huge honor," Klineman told Volleyball World. "The field was so deep here, at the Olympics, with so many teams playing so well. We knew that anything could happen and we're so grateful that things worked out. We put in a lot out there and this has just been such a fairy tale ending, a dream experience for us."
Klineman collected 10 kills and two blocks while Ross recorded nine kills in the final.
Ross and Klineman played seven matches in 18 days and recorded a 14-1 advantage in sets.
The American duo has finished fifth or better 18 times on the FIVB World Tour since 2018, including five championships and a second-place showing (in Tokyo).
"It means a lot to uphold the tradition that USA has in beach volleyball," Ross said. "The world is so good at beach volleyball now. So many different countries are putting a lot of resources into their beach volleyball teams and the level is ridiculously high. We are just really grateful that we were able to pull this off."
Stanford grad Albane Valenzuela, competing for Switzerland, jumped 11 spots in the third round of the Olympic tournament at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Friday.
Valenzuela shot a 4-under 67 and rose to 16th with a total score of 207, a stroke out of a 10th place tie.
She recorded five birdies and a bogey in firing the third-best round of the day.
USA's Nelly Korda takes a three-stroke lead into Saturday's final round. She's at 198, with India's Aditi Ashok second at 201.
The United States will be playing for a gold medal after beating Serbia 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 on Friday at Ariake Arena.
Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo recorded eight points on five kills (.625 hitting percentage) and three blocks for the Americans, who will play either Brazil or Korea for the gold medal on Sunday.
Purdue grad Andrea Drews, in for the injured Jordan Thompson, had 17 points on 12 kills, two blocks and three aces to lead the U.S.
Men's water polo
Johnny Hooper scored with 1:35 remaining to play and the United States made it stand up for a 7-6 victory over Italy on Friday in a classification game at the Tatsumi Water Polo Center.
Stanford grad Alex Bowen gave the Americans a 6-5 lead early in the fourth period with his team-leading third goal of the match. Italy tied it two minutes later, setting up Hooper's power-play score.
Former Cardinal All-American Drew Holland made a key save with 1:06 left, preserving the narrow margin of victory. Italy had another chance to tie with 16 seconds remaining but the attempt missed.
The U.S. will play Croatia for fifth place on Sunday. Greece and Serbia meet for the gold medal. Spain and Hungary play for the bronze.
Holland made nine saves for the Americans, recording a save percentage of .600. Stanford grad Dylan Woodhead also scored for the U.S.
Track and field
Stanford grad Grant Fisher raced 13:08.40 in the final of the men's 5,000 meters and placed ninth overall. He was ranked 15th entering the race.
World record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda won the gold medal with a time of 12:58.15. American Paul Chelimo (12:59.05) earned the bronze.
In the women's javelin, Stanford alum Mackenzie Little, competing for Australia, threw 59.96 meters (196-7 feet) on her first try and that stood up as her best mark, resulting in an eighth-place finish.
Stanford alum Nayal Nassar helped Egypt finish 11th in the team jumping event, one spot away from qualifying for Saturday's final.