On Friday, the Tokyo Olympics opened with the usual grandeur of the Opening Ceremony, even with no fans in the stadium to see it in person. Now, that's given way to the start of competition and the beginning of the Olympic games in earnest.
On the first day of Olympic competition, the United States found themselves in uncomfortable territory that they have not chartered in quite awhile: For the first time since 1972, American athletes in the Olympics were shut out of winning medals on Day 1. As much of a disappointment as that was, there's still a long way to go for Team USA, and their first victories have now come through other avenues.
The United States improved to 3-0 in softball, scoring a 2-0 victory over Mexico and continuing their spotless record of not allowing a single run. 38-year old Cat Osterman pitched six innings of one-hit ball before Monica Abbott closed things out, striking out the side to preserve another shutout by the Americans.
Team USA was also triumphant in women's water polo with a resounding victory over Japan. After Japan was able to keep things close with a 3-3 score to start the game, the United States went on a 22-1 run, blowing out the host nation by a score of 25-4. According to USA Water Polo, the women's team's performance set multiple Olympic records, including most goals in a game (25), biggest margin of victory (21), and largest halftime total (14). Four players on the team scored at least four goals, with Maggie Steffens leading the team with five.
Later on in the day, the United States Women's National Team scored an important victory in soccer, blowing out New Zealand with a 6-1 victory in their second group match. Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press, and Alex Morgan all scored for the U.S., and the team also took advantage of own goals by Abby Erceg and Catherine Bott of New Zealand. The USWNT's victory was an important one, as it represented a bounce-back from a 3-0 shutout loss to Sweden in their opening group match.
Also scoring a victory for Team USA was the women's 3x3 Basketball team, which upset No. 1 ranked France by a score of 17-10. Stefanie Dotson, a two-time WNBA All-Star who currently plays for the Chicago Sky, led the way in scoring with seven points. The women's team's victory was a welcome boon to the United States' 3x3 Basketball efforts, as the men's team was shockingly eliminated in the Olympic qualifiers.
Next up on Day 2 of the Olympics will be men's volleyball, with the U.S. competing against France. Among the other events at hand for Team USA include women's beach volleyball against China and softball against Australia.
The highlight of the night session on Day 2 will be the beginning of women's gymnastics qualifying with Simone Biles and Team USA taking to the gym for the first time during the late night window.
Here are some of the highlights from the first day of competition, and the schedule of events for Day 2 (All times eastern):
Day 2 - July 24
- Women's beach volleyball - USA vs. China - 8 p.m.
- Women's gymnastics qualification - 9 p.m.
- Softball opening round - USA vs. Australia - 9 p.m.
- Swimming finals - Men's 400m individual medley, Men's 400m freestyle, Women's 400m individual medley, Women's 4 x 100m freestyle relay - 9:30 p.m.