After a one-year wait, the first medal of the 2020 Olympics went to China, the U.S. women’s water polo team breezed through its opener, and the scenic men’s cycling road race featured a thrilling finish that nearly saw the first U.S. medal of the summer.
The first medal awarded in the Games is in the women’s 10-meter air rifle. Where U.S. teen Ginny Thrasher grabbed the spotlight with her win in 2016, fellow American Mary Tucker shot impressively but did not earn a medal. China’s Yang Qian won a thriller to become the Games’ first gold medalist.
As the sun rose on the East Coast of the United States, Americans were still waiting for their first medal of the Games.
Stephanie Dolson dominated inside as the U.S. women took a bit of time to get accustomed to the physical new Olympic discipline but took a comfortable 17-10 win. The team returns to action later Saturday to face Mongolia, which just missed a buzzer-beater in an opening loss to Italy.
The U.S. failed to qualify for the men’s competition, in which Serbia won its first two games.
Final Scores: Women
ROC def. Japan 21-18
China def. Romania 21-10
ROC def. China 19-9
Japan def. Romania 20-8
Italy def. Mongolia 15-14
USA vs. France 17-10
USA vs. Mongolia, still to play
Italy vs. France, still to play
Final Scores: Men
Latvia def. Poland 21-14
Serbia def. China 22-13
ROC def. China 19-9
Serbia def. Netherlands 16-15
Netherlands-ROC, still to play
Belgium-Japan, still to play
Young American Brandon McNultywon no medal but perhaps an enhanced reputation after hopping into breakaways up and down the slopes of Mount Fuji, literally.
The pro teammate of Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar broke away with his colleague and Canadian Michael Woods on a fearsome climb late in the race, only to be hauled back by a dwindling band of elite riders. On the descent, he and Ecuadorian Richard Caparaz, an accomplished rider in grand tours whose Giro d’Italia triumph was chronicled in a recent Netflix documentary, gained more than 40 seconds on the rest of the field.
Caparaz stayed out in front and won a solo breakaway. McNulty fell back and was just nosed out in a bunch sprint for the silver and bronze.
An eight-cyclist breakaway gained an advantage of 20 minutes early in the men’s road race on the course in the mountains highlighted by Mount Fuji and a few groups of fans who were allowed to gather because the event ventured well outside Tokyo.
Cat Osterman gave up just one hit in six innings, Monica Abbott struck out the side for the save, and Ali Aguilar had drove home two runs in the third inning as the U.S. women beat Mexico 2-0.
Earlier in the day, Canada routed Australia 7-1. Japan will face Italy in the last game of the day.
Two-time men’s all-around champion Kohei Uchimura, specializing on the high bar in his fourth Olympic appearance, lost his grip on the bar and fell, ending his hopes of winning a medal in his home country.
The U.S. men are in the last qualification group later Saturday.
Andy Murray, the 2012 and 2016 men’s singles champion who has struggled with injuries in recent years, teamed with Joe Salisbury to defeat second-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-2.
Novak Djokovic easily won his first men’s singles match.
The heavily favored U.S. women scored 13 unanswered goals in the first half to pull away to a 25-4 win over Japan. The host nation, making its Olympic debut, was level with the U.S. at 3-3 but could get only put one more shot past goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, who stopped 15 of 19 shots.
Maggie Steffensscored five goals to raise her Olympic career total to 42, five shy of the record held by Italy’s Tania Di Mario. Stefania Haralabidis also scored five times.
Archery: The second-seeded U.S. team fell in a tiebreaking shootout to Indonesia in the first round of the mixed team event.
Shooting: After Yang’s win in the women’s air rifle, Iranian Javad Foroughi comfortably won the men’s 10-meter air pistol.
Weighlifting: China’s Hou Zhihui set an Olympic record to win the women’s 49kg class. American Jourdan Delacruz was unable to complete a lift in the clean and jerk.
Handball: Spain scored two late goals and made a last-second defensive stop to beat European rival Germany, while Sweden shook off an upset bid from Bahrain.
Fencing: Men’s sabre fencer Eli Dershwitz fell in the round of 16 as no U.S. fencers reached the medal bouts on the first day of competition.