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Live updates from Summer Olympics 2021: Swimmers eye more medals in Tokyo

  • July 26, 2021

The third day of official competition at the Tokyo Olympics features more action in the pool as U.S. swimmers look to build on their record-breaking opening day performance on Sunday.

After being shut out of any medals on Day 1, Team USA bounced back in a big way with 10 medals, including four golds.

Highlighting Monday’s action are the men’s team competitions in gymnastics and archery, as well as medal events in men’s and women’s fencing. Meanwhile, Olympic organizers are keeping a close watch on the weather as a tropical storm by the name of Nepartak is heading Japan’s way and could impact several events. 

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Katie Ledecky takes silver in women’s 400 free

TOKYO — In one of the most anticipated events of the Tokyo Olympics, American swimming standout Katie Ledecky lost to her Australian rival Ariarne Titmus by .67 of a second in the women’s 400-meter freestyle.

The loss for the 24-year-old Ledecky was not entirely unexpected, as Titmus, 20, has been gaining on her the past few years. With five Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship titles, Ledecky remains the most decorated female swimmer of all-time. 

Ledecky still has the 200, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events remaining, and the U.S. women’s 4×200 relay. She is heavily favored to win gold in the 800 and 1,500.

— Christine Brennan

US nets ‘nerve-wracking’ beach volleyball win

The U.S. women’s beach volleyball duo of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil defeated Latvia in their first match of the pool round 2-1 on Monday.

The match between the two nations ended in dramatic fashion. After trading leads back and forth in the third set, Claes and Sponcil went on a 6-0 run to beat Latvia 15-11. Claes put up a couple of key block points to help secure the victory for the U.S.

“It was exciting, a little bit nerve-wracking, going into that first set,” Sponcil said. “But I think it was really back and forth. We have similar play styles. They were beating us on defense and I really think it came down to that third set. I think we did a good job of just sticking one point at a time, being really present and it came down to some really good blocks by Kel. Couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Claes, 25, and Sponcil, 24, made U.S. history as the youngest beach volleyball pair to compete at the Olympics. Two other U.S. beach volleyball teams are currently undefeated – the duos of Alix Klineman/April Ross and Tri Bourne/Jake Gibb both won their first matches. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena lost their opener.

Claes and Sponcil will play their next match of the pool round against Argentina at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 28.

— Olivia Reiner

USA’s Huske falls agonizingly short of medal in 100 butterfly

TOKYO — Torri Huske, the 18-year-old American record holder, finished fourth, just .01 of a second out of the medals, in a packed final in the women’s 100-meter butterfly Monday morning at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. 

Canada’s Margaret Macneil won gold in 55.59 seconds followed by China’s Zhang Yufei  (55.64) and Australia’s Emma McKeon (55.72).

Huske was second at the turn but finished in 55.73 seconds, .14 of a second behind Macneil. 

Huske, who graduated last month from Yorktown High in Arlington, Virginia, and is headed to Stanford in the fall, is the only child of a Chinese-American immigrant mother and an American father. As a little girl, she disliked swimming in cold water so much that she wore a wetsuit until she was told she couldn’t swim in it in one of her earliest swim meets.

— Christine Brennan

McDowell, a cancer survivor, sets American triathlon record

TOKYO — Ten years ago, Kevin McDowell beat cancer.

On Monday at Odaiba Marine Park, he competed against 43 fellow triathletes and finish sixth (1:45:54)  — the best ever result for an American man in an Olympic triathlon.

McDowell overcame a slow start in the 1,500-meter swim to start the race, and was in 47th place after the swim. He made up the lost ground in the biking portion (40 kilometers), when he stuck with the group and executed smooth transition to enter the final leg, a 10-kilometer run, in fourth.

By the third running lap, the 28-year-old had moved into second – and also displayed quality sportsmanship, sharing a water bottle with a Belgian competitor while in stride. He dropped to fifth place over the next 2.5-kilometer lap, and ultimately finished sixth in the event won by Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt. Great Britain’s Alex Yee took silver and New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde bronze.  Fellow American Morgan Pearson finished 42nd (1:52:05).

–Chris Bumbaca

Broadcast boat delays start of triathlon

The men’s individual triathlon got off to a chaotic start when half the field entered the water before the other half was able to as a broadcast boat blocked their entry into Tokyo Bay (water temperature around 29 degrees Celsius Monday morning).

The triathletes already in the water for the 1,500-meter swim believed the race of their lives had been underway. They swam with vigor until organizers in speedboats and kayaks caught up to them and impeded their paths. Upon their return to the starting pontoon, the race began without a hitch. No athletes were injured by the boat.

–Chris Bumbaca

Reed has busy testing, travel schedule before competing in Tokyo

BLAINE, Minn. – Patrick Reed had finished Saturday’s third round of the 3M Open when he learned he would represent the U.S. in the men’s golf competition at the Summer Games in Tokyo after Bryson DeChambeau tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw.

Per COVID protocols, Reed began testing Saturday night and needs to pass tests on Sunday and then at least 24 hours later on Monday to be able to play. Reed said he was flying home to Texas and will test there on Sunday and Monday.

If the two tests come up negative, he will fly from Houston to San Francisco on Tuesday morning and then fly from the Golden City to Tokyo, arriving Wednesday afternoon. Reed, who tied for 11th in the 2016 Rio Summer Games, would join Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele on the U.S. team.

— Steve DiMeglio, Golfweek

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