A day of firsts for Team USA women winners in 3v3 basketball and in the pool
Swimming phenom Katie Ledecky took home her first gold of Tokyo in the first-ever women’s 1500m at the Olympics. Venezuela and Argentina also won their first medals on day five.
From a viewer’s perspective, it may look like one of Team USA’s brightest stars in the pool over the past two Olympic games in Katie Ledecky is struggling to find her footing in Tokyo.
Over the weekend, the 24-year-old regarded as the greatest female swimmer of all time, took silver in the 400m women’s freestyle, finishing just behind proclaimed Australian rival Ariarne Titmus.
Titmus bested Ledecky again early this morning (U.S. time) in the 200m women’s freestyle, but the latter came back with a vengeance and took home the first-ever gold in a women’s 1500m final at the Olympics.
Her post race interview also touched upon potential fan concerns of her struggles in Tokyo and put them to rest.
“I think people maybe feel bad for me that I’m not winning everything or whatever, but I want people to be more concerned about other things going on in the world, people that are truly suffering,” she was quoted by ESPN. “I’m just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA.”
Another first-time gold medal headed back to the U.S. comes way of women’s 3v3 basketball, which made its debut as an Olympic sport for both men and women at the Tokyo Games.
The halfcourt games are a fast-paced race to 21 or done after 10 minutes of play. There are no breaks after scoring and shots must be taken within a 12-second shot clock.
Team USA only fielded a women’s team in the competition at Tokyo, and the team of four (three playing and one substitute) largely ran the table on their way to a gold-medal game victory against the team from the Russian Olympic Committee.
The team’s only loss came against Japan in the pool play round and the early success gave them a bye into the semifinals of the competition, where it bested France, 18-16 in a nail-biter.
In the final, Team USA won 18-15, and held off a late comeback charge from the ROC team. Stephanie Dolson of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky led the way with seven points, followed by Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum with five. Allisha Gray of the Dallas Wings finished with four points and Jackie Young (also from the Aces) ended with two.
On the men’s side of things, USA Men’s basketball got back on track with a thumping of Iran 120-66 in its second pool play game of the Tokyo 2020 tournament.
The only other medal for the U.S. on the day came from men’s synchronized 3m springboard (diving), where the American duo took the silver.
Team USA still sits atop the medal leaderboard with 31 in total, but fell to third in the gold-medal rankings as Japan and China picked up their 13th and 12th gold medals respectively. The U.S. currently has 11. Behind the U.S. in total medal count is China in second with 27, the ROC in third with 23, Japan in fourth with 22 and, Australia and Great Britain are now tied in fifth with 16 apiece.
Two Latin American giants also got on the board with their first medals in Tokyo.
Argentina bested Great Britain in bronze medal rugby sevens matchup 17-10, after fullback Ignacio Mendy broke through the British line for the decisive try.
Venezuela also got its first medal via weightlifter Julio Mayora, who is taking home the silver medal after his performance in the 73kg weightlifting finals.
In Olympic U-23 soccer, defending gold-medalists Brazil advanced to the knockout stage of the competition alongside Mexico, who won gold in the London 2012 games. Honduras bowed out of the competition after finishing bottom of Group B and Argentina crashed out on goal difference, finishing third in Group C.