The United States collected a handful of medals on Tuesday, highlighted by 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby winning the women’s 100-meter breaststroke.
Wednesday could once again be another big day in the pool for Team USA, as Katie Ledecky will attempt to be the first woman to win Olympic gold in the 1,500-meter freestyle as the race makes its women’s Olympic debut. Ledecky enters the race as the world record holder with a time of 15:20.48.
In men’s basketball, the U.S. team of NBA stars will look to regroup from their disappointing opening-game loss to France when they take on Iran.
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TOKYO — Kara Lawson has spent five years in coaching, a profession that has taken to her to an NBA bench and presently the helm of the Duke Blue Devils’ women’s basketball program. Her name has also been floated in the NBA head-coaching rumor mill.
But the former WNBA All-Star actually started her coaching career in the 3-on-3 format.
“As my 3-on-3 responsibilities grew,” Lawson told USA TODAY Sports via video call. “I also became a 5-on-5 coach at the same time.”
It was in her first year coaching 3-on-3, 2017, Lawson helped lead the U-18 3-on-3 team to gold at the World Cup in China. USA Basketball then asked her to coach the U-18 men’s side. More success followed, and she began working with G League and WNBA players in her first exposure to the senior squads.
Eventually, Lawson became the official “adviser” – 3-on-3 teams don’t have official coaches like 5-on-5 teams do – for the women’s 3-on-3 Olympic team.
At the Tokyo Olympics, the team has been a bright spot for Team USA. The roster of four won their first six games before losing to host Japan. By then, they’d secured the best record in group play and a bye into the semifinals against France, which will take place Wednesday at 4 a.m. EDT. The gold- or bronze-medal contest will take place later that day.
“I feel like we’ve gotten better throughout the tournament and we’ve put ourselves in position to win, just like three other teams,” Lawson said.
The mentality heading into medal day?
Win two, win gold.
— Chris Bumbaca
Steffen Peters, a 56-year-old equestrian rider, becomes the oldest U.S. Olympic medalist since 1952. U.S. gets silver behind Germany in team dressage. Peters has participated in four Olympic, winning a team bronze medal on two occasions (in 1996 and 2016).
For the U.S., it was the best finish in team dressage since the 1948 London Games, when the country also won silver.
TOKYO – A distraught Simone Biles pulled out of the Olympic team final on Tuesday, leaving in the middle of the competition after struggling to land a vault.
“After the performance that I did, I didn’t want to go into any of the other events second guessing myself, so I thought it was better if I took a step back and let these girls go out there and do the job and they did just that,” Biles said.
She said she has been trying to cope with the stress of competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I was still struggling with some things,” Biles said of competing Tuesday night.
“Therapy has helped a lot as well as medicine. That’s all been going really well. Whenever you get in high-stress situations, you kind of freak out and don’t know really know how to handle all of those emotions especially at the Olympic Games.”
Biles left the competition floor moments after she struggled to land a vault that is second nature for her. On the team’s first event, she shockingly bailed on an Amanar – one of her more difficult vaults – and just barely landed a one-and-a-half.
A visibly upset Biles talked with one of her personal coaches, Cecile Landi, and the team doctor, Marcia Faustin. Though she put on her grips to prepare for uneven bars next, she left the competition floor.
When she returned, she took off her grips and put on her warm-ups.
“This Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself,” Biles said fighting back tears. “I came in and felt like I was still doing it for other people. That just hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people.”
— Rachel Axon
USA softball loses the gold medal to Japan, just as it did the last time softball was in the Olympics 13 years ago.
USA women’s soccer plays Australia to an unimpressive scoreless tie, moving on in the Olympics but not looking very good in the process.
All of that bad news happened within less than four hours Tuesday evening at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Three of the mainstays of the American Olympic effort, three of the most reliable U.S. success stories, all struggled at the same time.
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Women’s sports are the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team, particularly women’s team sports. Women make up a majority of the U.S. Olympic team for the third consecutive time. Women usually are the biggest stars of Team USA, thanks to Title IX, the 49-year-old law that opened the floodgates for women and girls to play sports just like their brothers had for generations. It’s not a surprise then that the Olympics are the Super Bowl for female athletes.
Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, American women’s team sports have mostly thrived at the Olympic Games. But in Tokyo, it turns out that for some of the nation’s best women athletes, it was just that kind of a day.
— Christine Brennan