Day four at the Tokyo Olympics will be headlined by one of the most anticipated events of 2021 — the women’s gymnastics team final.
However, an upset win for Alaskan teen Lydia Jacoby in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke provided an early highlight in Tuesday’s action. Jacoby edged U.S. teammate Lilly King, the defending champion in the event from the 2016 Games in Rio. King ended up getting bronze, one of three on the day for American swimmers.
Another upset occurred at the Ariake Tennis Park Centre Court as No. 2 seed and Olympic cauldron lighter Naomi Osaka lost in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-4. Osaka had dominated in the first two round of the Games, but racked up 32 unforced errors in her loss on Tuesday.
After a not-so impressive qualifying round, the Simone Biles-led U.S. women’s gymnastics team will look to reclaim its status as heavy favorites and win a third consecutive team gold medal early Tuesday in the U.S. (6:45 a.m. ET, Peacock).
Team USA can also secure another gold medal in softball after a walk-off win against Japan on Monday — the same team they will face in the gold medal game at 7 a.m. ET. U.S. softball will also look to avenge a gold-medal loss in the 2008 Olympics to Japan, the last time the sport was part of the Summer Games.
Meanwhile, the outdoor events could all face weather implications as tropical storm Nepartak is expected to hit Japan on Tuesday.
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DAY 3 RECAP: US sweeps gold in skeet shooting; gymnastics gold for Russian men
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For the first time in years, a major international meet won’t end with Simone Biles’ routine.
With the Olympic team final set for Tuesday evening here, the United States’ qualifying second means a few things for the order of routines. Here’s a look at how the evening will go.
First, all the gymnasts’ scores count. In qualifying, teams put up four on each apparatus and count the best three. Not here. Team final is three up, three count. So any mistake will count against the final score.
In qualifying Sunday, Russia took first, marking the first time since 2010 that the U.S. team finished anywhere other than first in any phase of Olympic or world championship competition.
With eight teams in the final, two will compete on each apparatus and rotate together. As the top two countries, Russia and the United States will go in Olympic order of events – vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
During each rotation, the countries will alternate. So on vault, Russia will go first, then the USA, then Russia, and so on. Countries order their gymnasts from lowest to highest expected scores, so the best athlete on each apparatus goes last.
Russia’s position as top qualifier means that its best gymnast – in this case, Angelina Melnikova – will close out the meet on floor.
Biles, the defending Olympic and five-time world champion on floor, will go second to last.
The U.S. was defeated by Great Britain, 26-21, in the quarterfinals of the men’s rugby sevens competition at Tokyo Stadium.
The U.S. had built a 21-point lead in the first half only to allow Great Britain to score 26 unanswered points for the win to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals.
The tournament is not over yet for the U.S., which will play Canada in a placing game on Wednesday. The men’s semifinal, bronze- and gold-medal games also all take place Wednesday.
The women’s rugby sevens competition will kick off Thursday, with the U.S. opening against China at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday.
— Jim Reineking
Tokyo reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, four days after the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2,848 new cases announced by government officials Tuesday eclipsed the previous record of 2,520 cases, reported on Jan. 7. Tokyo is under a state of emergency for the remainder of the Games.
Olympic organizers, meanwhile, announced seven new cases among their stakeholders Tuesday — including four residents of the Olympic Village and two athletes. None of the positive cases included Americans, according to a separate announcement by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
— Tom Schad
CHIBA, Japan – American Carissa Moore, the top-ranked women’s surfer in the world, found a new way to validate her spot at the apex of the sport.
She won an Olympic gold medal – the first for women’s surfing.
With the sport making its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, Moore defeated Bianca Buitendag of South Africa on Tuesday in the gold medal match at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach.
— Josh Peter
TOKYO — For the first time in a long time, the U.S. women’s basketball team came to the Olympics dogged by some doubts.
Not about whether it would fall short of a gold medal, which is still in the realm of believe-it-when-you-see-it. But the stress level it might take to get there is an open discussion for Team USA, which has six first-time Olympians, relies heavily on a 40-year-old and a 39-year-old and didn’t exactly look primed for a historically dominant run during its training camp in Las Vegas.
Based on Tuesday’s 81-72 win over Nigeria in its Olympic opener, those questions are still valid.
— Dan Wolken
TOKYO — The U.S. shooting team is having a standout performance at the Olympics.
William Shaner got things started at the Asaka Shooting Range when he won gold in the 10-meter air rifle on Sunday. Shaner’s 251.6 broke an Olympic record.
The record-breaking gold medal shooting performances didn’t stop there.
A day later, Amber English and Vincent Hancock won gold in the women and men’s skeet shooting.
English set an Olympic record with 56 hits. Hancock, who is good friends with English, won gold on the same day, setting a men’s Olympic record with 59 hits.
Three golds and three Olympic records in the matter of two days. No pressure for Mary Tucker and Lucas Kozeniesky who proceeded the three in the 10-meter air rifle mixed team competition on Tuesday.
Tucker and Kozeniesky qualified for the gold match after two stages of competition, finishing the series with a score of 418.0. The American duo only trailed China’s Qian Yang and Haoran Yang, who had a total of 419.7, heading into the gold-medal match.
In the battle for gold, the Chinese shooters were incredibly accurate. The pair didn’t have a single individual shot score below a 9.8. The Chinese team’s accuracy through the rounds was too much for the Americans to overcome, as they defeated the American duo 17-13 to win the gold medal.
Tucker and Kozeniesky were awarded the silver to give U.S. shooting four overall Olympic medals.
“U.S. shooting is improving in all of our aspects and we are becoming a better team,” Tucker said. “We’re winning medals together. I hope this keeps getting people interested in the sport. There isn’t a lot of interest in shooting in the U.S. Hopefully us bringing our medal count to four, and we still got a week to go – hopefully that will help.”
— Tyler Dragon
TOKYO — The American diving duo of Delaney Schnell and Jessica Parratto took silver in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform on Tuesday, marking the first time the U.S. has medaled in the Olympic event.
Schnell, 22, and Parratto, 27, finished with 310.80 total points, which was 52.98 points behind first-place China and 11.1 points ahead of third-place Mexico. Since the event was introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, China has taken gold at each subsequent Summer Games.
— Olivia Reiner
CHIBA, Japan — American Caroline Marks, at 19 the youngest qualifier in the women’s Olympic surfing competition, missed out on a chance to win a bronze medal Tuesday.
Marks, a native of Florida, lost to Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in the bronze medal match.
Earlier in the day, Marks won her quarterfinals heat against Brisa Hennessy of Costa Rica. She then lost to Bianca Buitendag of South Africa, relegating her to the bronze-medal matchup.
— Josh Peter
Canada defeated Mexico, 3-2, in the bronze-medal game in softball to capture the country’s first-ever Olympic medal in the sport.
Canada opened the scoring in the second inning on a two-out, two-run single by Emma Entzminger. After Mexico tied the game in the top of the fifth inning, Canada got the winning run in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Kelsey Harshman that scored Janet Leung.
The United States will face Japan in the gold-medal game Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET (on NBC Sports Network). In 2008, the last time softball was competed at the Olympics, Japan defeated the U.S. in the gold-medal game. Before that setback, the U.S. had won three straight gold medals dating back to the sport’s Olympics debut in 1996.
— Jim Reineking
TOKYO – Two things seemed clear through the first two days of Naomi Osaka’s quest to win an Olympic gold medal. The first was how much it meant to her to be representing Japan, which bestowed her the honor of lighting the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremony. The second was that her tennis seemed up to the occasion.
But that’s the amazing thing about sports. Everything we think we know can change in the blink of an eye.
Just like that, Osaka’s run is over after a shocking 6-1, 6-4 loss to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, continuing the trend of high seeds bowing out early in the women’s singles draw.
Based on nearly every factor imaginable, it would have been hard to see this coming. Vondrousova, a 22-year old lefty, surprisingly made the French Open final in 2019 but has just one WTA title to her name. Her form lately has been inconsistent at best, having fallen to No. 42 after a stint in the top 20.
This was Osaka’s first tournament since withdrawing from the French Open, citing the need to take a break for her mental health. Her focus now will turn to defending her U.S. Open title later this summer, but in many ways, her entire year had been built around trying to win a gold medal in Tokyo.
Now that dream is gone, opening up the field reminiscent of the 2016 Olympics when longshot Monica Puig took gold.
— Dan Wolken
American surfer Carissa Moore will compete for an Olympic gold medal Tuesday after winning her semifinals heat.
Moore, a four-time world champion, defeated Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan by a thin margin.
She will face South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag, who defeated American Caroline Marks in the other semifinals heat.
The top-ranked women’s surfer in the world, Moore, 28, entered the competition as the favorite.
Earlier in the day, she won her quarterfinals heat against Silvana Lima of Brazil.
— Josh Peter
American surfer Caroline Marks will compete for an Olympic bronze medal Tuesday after coming up short in her semifinals heat.
Marks, 19, lost to Bianca Buitendag of South Africa at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach.
Marks, a native of Florida, will face the loser of the semifinals heat between fellow American Carissa Moore, a four-time world champion, and Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan.
Earlier in the day, Marks won her quarterfinals heat against Brisa Hennessy of Costa Rica.
— Josh Peter
SURFING AT THE OLYMPICS:Everything you need to know about new Olympic sport
TOKYO – Alaskan teen Lydia Jacoby pulled off the upset in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, becoming the first American woman to win gold in swimming in these Olympics.
She beat U.S. teammate Lilly King, who was chasing her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the breast.
Jacoby won in 1:04.95 followed by Tatjana Schoenmaker from South Africa and King, who took bronze.
King, 24, brashly predicted at last month’s U.S. Olympic trials that American women could win every individual race at these Olympics.
She also famously called out Russia’s twice-suspended Yulia Efimova, slapping the water in celebration after defeating her in Rio in 2016.
— Christine Brennan
The U.S. men’s rugby team fell to South Africa 17-12 to finish second in Pool C after posting a 2-1 record in round-robin play.
The U.S. will play Great Britain in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 5 a.m. ET (on NBC Sports Network). Great Britain won silver in the 2016 Olympics, which marked the return of rugby sevens to the Olympic docket after 92 years.
The other quarterfinal matches are New Zealand-Canada (4:30 a.m. ET), South Africa-Argentina (5:30 a.m. ET) and Fiji-Australia (6 a.m. ET).
Fiji are the reigning gold medal winners. The U.S. did not qualify for the quarterfinals in 2016.
— Jim Reineking
TOKYO — Ryan Murphy fell short of his goal of repeating as Olympic champion in the men’s 100 meter backstroke as Russian Olympic Committee swimmers Evgeny Rylov (51.98 seconds) and Kliment Koleskinov (52.00) took gold and silver ahead of him on Tuesday.
Murphy swam a 52.19 to claim bronze, despite entering the final with the top time of 52.24, five one-hundredths of a second ahead of Koleskinov.
The University of California-Berkeley graduate also won gold in the 200-meter back and the 4×100 medley relay in Rio, his first Olympics. He can still repeat in the 200-meter backstroke as qualifying heats begin on Wednesday.
— Chris Bumbaca
TOKYO – American Regan Smith, the former world-record holder in the women’s 100 backstroke, won the bronze medal Tuesday morning at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre
Current world-record holder Kaylee McKeown of Australia won gold in 57.47 seconds followed by Canadian Kylie Masse in 57.72. McKeown’s time was an Olympic record.
Smith was third in 58.05.
Smith, 19, one of 11 teenagers on the U.S. Olympic swimming team, the most since 1996, set the Olympic record in qualifying Monday in 57.86 seconds. She was the third swimmer to do it here, following Masse and McKeown. They are the only three swimmers in history to break 58 seconds.
— Christine Brennan
TOKYO – The second-seeded U.S. women’s beach volleyball duo of April Ross and Alix Klineman remain undefeated (2-0) in pool play at the Tokyo Olympics.
The pair easily defeated Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan of Spain in straight sets under rainy and windy conditions at Shiokaze Park.
“When it’s windy you have to play a little lower, there’s just details you have to change. You can’t play the same way you always play, but it’s part of beach volleyball. We’re used to it.” Baquerizo McMillan said.
But the Spaniards’ preparation for the poor weather did not meet their match.
The Americans took the first set 21-13 on a statement ace by Ross, just as the rain was starting to pick up. The drizzle continued through the second set, but the U.S. pair finished off the game with a 21-16 set.
Next up, Ross and Klineman will face Sanne Keizer and Madeleine Meppelink of the Netherlands on Friday.
— Alex Ptachick
TOKYO – Track coach Alberto Salazar has been permanently banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for sexual and emotional misconduct.
Salazar has 10 days to appeal the decision, which was handed down Monday. The SafeSport center does not reveal details of investigations.
In 2019, a handful of runners, including Mary Cain, Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley, revealed that they had been emotionally and physically abused while working with Salazar as part of the Nike Oregon Project team.
In January 2020, SafeSport temporarily banned Salazar. The decision Monday makes it a permanent ban, pending any appeal.
— Associated Press
At the age of 13, Momiji Nishiya made history on Monday as Japan’s youngest Olympic champion when she won the gold medal in the women’s street skateboard competition.
Nishiya edged another 13-year-old, Rayssa Leal from Brazil, at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. USA TODAY Sports looks back on this historic performance with seven memorable photos of Nishiya’s successful quest for gold.
Bermuda smallest country to ever win gold after triathlon win
Flora Duffy made history by winning gold in the women’s triathlon Tuesday as she made Bermuda the least-populated nation to ever win an Olympic gold medal.
The win also made Duffy the first person from Bermuda to win a medal of any kind at the Olympics since Clarence Hill in 1976. Bermuda has an estimated population of 63,903, according to World Bank. For reference, the entire population would be able to fit inside the 65,000 seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Duffy broke the record held by Liechtenstein, who won gold in the 1980 Winter Olympics in alpine skiing.
Duffy held on to the victory with a time of 1:55:36. She beat out silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain, who finished with 1:56:50. Katie Zaferes of the U.S. won bronze with a time of 1:57:03.
Grace McCallum replaces Jordan Chiles in U.S. women’s gymnastics lineup
This is the Olympics of the unexpected, and that includes the U.S. women’s gymnastics lineup for Tuesday’s team final.
Grace McCallum will compete on uneven bars and balance beam rather than Jordan Chiles, despite Chiles scoring higher on both events all year. The surprise move follows Chiles’ struggles in qualifying, as the Americans finished second for the first time since the 2010 world championships.
McCallum and Simone Biles will compete on all four events while Chiles will do vault and floor exercise and Suni Lee will do uneven bars and balance beam. Teams must count all three scores on each event, meaning the choice of McCallum over Chiles is not insignificant.
Chiles had been the most dependable of the U.S. women this year, not counting a single fall in her first four meets. That’s 32 events, for those keeping track. She outscored McCallum on both bars and beam at the U.S. Classic in May, Day 1 of the U.S. championship and both days of Olympic trials.
But Chiles had a rough day in qualifying, falling twice on beam and dragging her feet across the mat during uneven bars. The Americans dropped her score on each of those events.
The lineup decision will put additional scrutiny on national team coordinator Tom Forster, who initially said the selection committee would use scoring potential to choose the Tokyo team. But he went in rank order instead, selecting McCallum over Skinner despite Skinner giving the U.S. a higher-scoring team.
Asked to explain his reasoning, Forster said the gold medal wasn’t going to be decided by tenths of a point.
“Our athletes are so strong that I don’t think it’s going to come down to tenths of a point,” he said last month. “We didn’t feel like it was worth changing the integrity of the process simply for a couple of tenths.”
— Nancy Armour
Surfing finals condensed thanks to typhoon forecast
The first-ever Olympic surfing competition has faced challenges from Mother Nature throughout the qualifying rounds, and the finals are now being condensed due to volatile weather and surf conditions.
Tokyo organizers made the decision to run both the men’s and women’s finals back to back on Tuesday morning rather than running one final Tuesday and one Wednesday,
So far, waves have been few and far between for the Olympians competing in Tsurigasaki, Japan, but an impending typhoon is likely to provide better surf conditions on Tuesday.
According to Kurt Korte, the official forecaster for the Olympic surfing competition, the storm is expected to stir up waves up to seven feet high, but high wind speeds could lead to overly-choppy waters. The surf is expected to die down by Wednesday in Japan, so the surfing competition is taking advantage of the small but promising window to give athletes a competitive final.
— Emily Adams