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Tokyo Olympics live updates: Katie Ledecky chases history, Team USA goes for 3x3 basketball gold, latest on Biles

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 7/28/2021 USA TODAY Sports
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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. 

a man sitting next to a body of water: Katie Ledecky finished the women's 200m freestyle final in fifth place, then had to regroup for the 1500 free final later in the day. © Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports Katie Ledecky finished the women's 200m freestyle final in fifth place, then had to regroup for the 1500 free final later in the day.

Another gold medal first will come in the finals of 3x3 basketball. Team USA will face France in the women's semifinal, and a win would put them in the gold-medal match later on in the night.

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

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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LIVE Q&A WITH REPORTER RACHEL AXON: Get your women's gymnastics questions answered

DAY 4 RECAP: US women's gymnastics team wins silver after Simone Biles withdraws

US women looking strong heading into 200 butterfly final

TOKYO – The U.S. failed to medal in the men's 200-meter butterfly Wednesday for the first time since 1988. 

But the women's event is shaping up to be a completely different story.

Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith cruised to the top two spots in their semifinal heat Wednesday, each besting the rest of the field by roughly 2 seconds. Flickinger clocked the second-fastest time in the semifinals at 2:06.23, behind China's Yufei Zhang, who won the other semifinal heat in 2:04.89.

Flickinger and Smith will return to the pool for Thursday's final with hopes of adding to the individual medals they've already won in Tokyo. Flickinger won bronze in the 400-meter individual medley Sunday, while Smith followed with a bronze of her own in the 100-meter backstroke Tuesday.

-- Tom Schad

No medals in rowing for US crews

TOKYO – On the first day of finals at the Olympic regatta, the American crews failed to place on the podium.

The U.S. women’s double sculls duo of Gevvie Stone and Kristi Wagner took fifth in the Olympic regatta at Sea Forest Waterway. Stone, 36, and Wagner, 28, crossed the finish with a time of 6:52.98, 11.95 seconds behind the winner Romania. A U.S. boat has never won a medal in the women’s event at the Olympics.

A three-time Olympian, Stone won the silver medal in the women’s single at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Newton, Massachusetts, native also raced the single at the 2012 London Olympics, placing first in the B final and seventh overall. Her father, Gregg Stone, coaches the women’s double. Wagner is competing on her first Olympic and senior national team.

The U.S. men’s four of Clark Dean, Michael Grady, Anders Weiss and Andrew Reed took fifth in in their race. With a time of 5:48.85, the four crossed the finish line 6.09 seconds behind first-place Australia.

Just one member of the boat had previous Olympic experience – Weiss raced the men’s pair at the 2016 Rio Olympics and placed fifth in the B final. Dean and Reed were members of the men’s four that qualified the boat for Tokyo by finishing fifth at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

Despite a lack of American medals, there were a plethora of exciting races on Wednesday. In the first four A finals, the first-place boats set Olympic bests – Romania in the women’s double sculls, France in the men’s double sculls and Australia in the women’s and men’s four. In the men’s quadruple sculls, the Netherlands set a world record. And in the women’s quad, China also set a world record.

Four more U.S. boats remain in the hunt for a medal – the women’s single, pair, eight and the men’s eight.

-- Olivia Reiner

Ledecky misses out on medal in women's 200 freestyle

TOKYO — Katie Ledecky, the most versatile swimmer at these Olympic Games, disappointingly did not win a medal, finishing fifth, Wednesday morning in the women’s 200-meter freestyle.

Ledecky swam the 200 in 1:55.21, finishing 1.71 seconds behind Australian Ariarne Titmus, who won in an Olympic record 1:53.50, and claimed her second gold medal of these Games.


Video: Simone Biles withdraws from all-around competition, Katie Ledecky wins her first gold of Tokyo 2020, Team USA Men's Basketball rolls on Iran | What You Missed (Yahoo! Sports)

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Siobhan Haughey took silver followed by Penny Oleksiak of Canada. 

Ledecky had a little more than an hour before her 1,500 final later Wednesday.

Ledecky, already the most decorated female swimmer in history, won the silver medal in the 400 freestyle Monday with her second-best time ever, beaten only by the swim of a lifetime by Titmus.

This was just the beginning of an extraordinary morning for the 24-year-old from Bethesda, Maryland. It is the first time women have been allowed to swim the 1,500 at the Olympic Games. Ledecky was the strong favorite for the gold medal in that event.

-- Christine Brennan

US 3x3 basketball guided by veteran coach

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 

56-year-old U.S. equestrian wins medal, best finish in over 70 years

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.

a group of people riding on the back of a cow: Silver medalists Adrienne Lyle, Steffen Peters and Sabine Schut-Kery of the United States ride together after the medal ceremony of the Equestrian Dressage team final. © Alkis Konstantinidis, AP Silver medalists Adrienne Lyle, Steffen Peters and Sabine Schut-Kery of the United States ride together after the medal ceremony of the Equestrian Dressage team final.

Biles discusses decision to pull out of gymnastics team final

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

Four hours to forget for US Olympic women mainstays

TOKYO — USA women’s gymnastics loses Simone Biles, then loses to Russia

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

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tokyo Olympics live updates: Katie Ledecky chases history, Team USA goes for 3x3 basketball gold, latest on Biles

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