Another night, another full slate of surprises and triumphs at the Tokyo Olympics.
The biggest stunner came in tennis, where Japan’s Naomi Osaka — who lit the Olympic torch just days ago and was the tournament’s No. 2 seed — was ousted.
The U.S. women’s basketball team began its quest for a seventh consecutive gold medal with a win over Nigeria. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi — who both boast four gold medals to their names — have never lost in Olympic competition. Elsewhere, Team USA grabbed four more medals in the pool across four individual finals, led by Lydia Jacoby’s gold in the 100-meter breaststroke.
From the pool to the basketball court, we’ve got you covered with updates from all of tonight’s action:
Olympics medal tracker | Schedule
Tougher-than-expected opener for U.S. women
The U.S. women’s basketball team kept its Olympic winning streak going — now at 50 in a row — but Tuesday’s 81-72 opening victory against Nigeria wasn’t quite as dominating as the Americans would have liked.
With four-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi back in action — the guard had not played since July 3 with her Phoenix Mercury team — the U.S. team had a slow start and trailed 20-17 after the first quarter. But a 23-0 run put the Americans in charge, even if things got a little tighter than expected in the last quarter.
What won’t sit well with U.S. coach Dawn Staley? Getting outscored 22-11 in that fourth quarter, totaling 25 turnovers and going 5 of 20 from behind the arc. But she has to be pleased to have Taurasi back — she started and scored 10 points — plus Staley’s former South Carolina star A’ja Wilson, last year’s WNBA MVP with Las Vegas, led the U.S. squad with 19 points and 13 rebounds in her first Olympic game.
The interior is expected to be the Americans’ biggest strength; center Brittney Griner also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Breanna Stewart had nine and 11.
Sue Bird, like Taurasi going for her fifth gold medal, had 13 assists. She now has 102 career assists at the Olympics, second behind only Teresa Edwards (143) on Team USA.
Ezinne Kalu led Nigeria with 16 points. The nine-point win over Nigeria is the smallest margin of victory for the United States at the Olympics since a 4-point win over Russia in 2004. How close might the game have been if WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams had been on the Nigerian roster? Considering they are all post players, it would have made things interesting.
In the end, the U.S. chalks up its first win in Tokyo, even if it had some warts, on the road to what it hopes is a seventh consecutive Olympic gold. — Mechelle Voepel
Naomi Osaka out of Olympics
Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the Games by ousting Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-4, just days after the four-time Grand Slam winner thrilled the host nation by lighting the Olympic torch. The second-seeded Osaka joins No. 1 overall seed Ashleigh Barty and No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka on the list of women’s seeds already out of the tournament.
Since tennis returned to the Olympic program in 1988, this is the earliest that both of the top two seeds in women’s singles have been eliminated. In each of the previous instances, at least one of the top two seeds reached the quarterfinals.
Vondrousova was a +475 underdog against Osaka (-650) at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.
Team USA goes gold-bronze in 100m breaststroke
Alaska’s Lydia Jacoby took gold in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.95 and teammate Lilly King joined her on the podium after taking the bronze.
At 17, Jacoby is the youngest U.S. athlete to win gold at these Games so far. The only younger USA swimmers to win an individual gold in the past 20 years are Katie Ledecky (15) and Missy Franklin (17). Jacoby got an Alaskan-sized response from her home state.
Team USA picked up a pair of bronze medals in the 100-meter backstroke. First, it was Regan Smith on the women’s side before Ryan Murphy finished behind a pair of ROC athletes for the men. Russian Evgeny Rylov won the gold, ending a Team USA streak of 12 straight gold-medal finishes in men’s individual back.
Tom Dean of Great Britain won the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:44:22, just fractions of a second ahead of countryman Duncan Scott. Team USA’s Kieran Smith finished sixth.
When you get interviewed by your two triplet brothers — as 400-meter individual medley silver medalist Jay Litherland did — there’s probably going to be a question about your underwear.
Medal first for Team USA in synchronized diving
Jessica Parratto and Delaney Schnell won Team USA’s first ever medal in the women’s 10m synchronized diving as they took silver on Tuesday. They finished second behind the China duo of Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi, and secured their medal with a back 2 ½ somersaults, 1 ½ twists pike effort with a difficulty rating of 3.2. That earned them 78.72 points which secured a historic silver medal behind dominant China, who have now won this discipline six times in a row since it was introduced in the 2000 Olympics. — Tom Hamilton
Triathlon: Bermuda earns first gold ever; U.S. takes bronze
Flora Duffy, who splits her time training between Boulder, Colorado, and South Africa, won the first gold — and only second medal ever — for the island nation of Bermuda. Bermuda’s only other medal was a bronze in boxing by Clarence Hill in 1976.
Duffy crossed the line in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 36 seconds, 1:14 ahead of Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown, who recovered from a flat tire for the silver medal.
Katie Zaferes of the United States took the bronze 1:27 behind Duffy.
USA Volleyball rolling
Celebrating Tom Daley’s gold from afar
Great Britain’s Tom Daley won gold in synchronized diving with partner Matty Lee yesterday in Tokyo, but it’s worth revisiting for the reaction from his husband and mom watching together from afar.
Afterward, Daley talked about winning a gold medal while his son could watch.
Don’t beat the typhoon, be the typhoon
Following the Russian Olympic Committee’s gold medal in men’s gymnastics, gymnast Nikita Nagornyy got a little spicy. From the Olympic pool report:
First medals awarded in surfing
Carissa Moore of the United States reached the gold medal match against South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag in the first surfing finals in Olympic history. Caroline Marks of the United States had a chance for the bronze but lost to Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan.
Australia earned the first surfing medal in Olympic history as Owen Wright defeated Gabriel Medina for the bronze. Italo Ferreira of Brazil defeated Kanoa Igarashi of Japan in the men’s gold medal event.
Where would you skate?
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