Olympics 2021 — Pool party for Team USA, skateboarding debuts, plus other Tokyo updates

Early Sunday at the Olympic GamesSimone Biles and the U.S. gymnastics team competed for the first time in a long evening of gymnastics qualifications.

Also, the first Olympic gold medal in skateboarding has been awarded. Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and her new partner Alix Klineman won their first match in beach volleyball, and the United States broke its one-day medal drought with six medals in the pool. (Here’s the lowdown on the Team USA athletes to watch there.)

We’ve got you covered with live updates throughout:

A wobbly day for U.S. women’s gymnastics

Simone Biles notched the highest score of the U.S. women on the floor routine during the women’s gymnastics qualification at the Tokyo Olympics. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team’s hold on the gold in the team event might be in trouble. Having won the title in the previous three Olympics, the Simone Biles-led squad has appeared all but unbeatable.

But the team showed signs of vulnerability during qualifying. With a score of 170.562, the Americans are in second place, 1.067 points behind the Russians (competing under the Russian Olympic Committee flag). Eight teams advance to Tuesday’s team final.

It was an uncharacteristically sloppy day for Biles, who stepped out of bounds during her floor routine and her first vault. Still, she has the best all-around score (57.731) as well as on vault (15.183) after three subdivisions. Teammate Sunisa Lee currently has the second-best all-around tally and the highest score on bars at 15.200.

Despite Sunday’s results and occasional struggles, the Americans remain the favorite to win the team title on Tuesday, and Biles is still expected to defend her all around title, as well as her titles on vault and floor. Lee could also come home with multiple medals. Jade Carey, one of the country’s two individual competitors, will likely earn spots in both vault and floor finals. — D’Arcy Maine

Kalisz the first American gold medalist

Chase Kalisz took one step up the podium from his silver-medal Olympic finish in 2016, winning gold in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:09.42. His dominating performance was the first overall medal for the United States in these Olympic Games, but only by fractions of a second. Teammate Jay Litherland took the silver in the event, as well.

And Kalisz’s family went wild watching.

Kalisz became the only swimmer (male or female) to win both gold and silver medals in the 400-meter individual medley. The United States has won nine of the 15 gold medals in the men’s 400-meter individual medley. Team USA goes 1-2 at the event for the first time since Athens 2004, when Michael Phelps, who called Sunday’s race for NBC, won gold and Erik Vendt took silver.

Later in the pool, Kieran Smith earned a bronze medal for Team USA in the 400-meter freestyle.

Team USA got another 400-meter individual medley double when Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger took the silver and bronze medal. Japan’s Yui Ohashi won the gold.

Australia set the world record in the women’s 4×100 meters (3:29.69), but the Americans added another medal with a bronze medal in the event to give them six on the night.

Huston off the podium as skateboarding makes its debut

In one of the biggest surprises of the Games so far, six-time world champion street skateboarder Nyjah Huston of Team USA, the hands-down favorite to win his sport’s Olympic debut, finished off the medal podium in seventh place. Instead, Jagger Eaton, 20, of Mesa, Arizona, became the first U.S. skateboarder to earn an Olympic medal. Eaton finished third behind current street skate world champion Yuto Horigome of Tokyo, Japan, and Kelvin Hoefler of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

In a final filled with multiple bails and tough slams, Eaton skated loose throughout, grooving to whatever he was rocking in his ear pods.

Eaton has been a contest staple since making his X Games debut in 2013 as the youngest competitor in the history of the event (his record was beaten last week), but he has skated in Huston’s shadow in the lead-up to the Olympics. Eaton’s consistency in the event landed him on the Olympic podium. Huston, unwilling to play it safe despite falling behind early in the contest, attempted one of his toughest tricks three times during the best trick portion of the final but failed to land it. With the seventh and final round in the books, headlines about Eaton’s medal wrote themselves. — Alyssa Roenigk

Elsewhere, skateboarding royalty was on hand with a face of the future.

Plus, that’s gotta hurt.

World No. 1 in women’s tennis out

Just two weeks after winning Wimbledon, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty has been knocked out of the Olympic singles tournament in her first-round match. Since tennis returned to the Olympic program in 1988, the top seed has won the women’s singles tournament just twice: Steffi Graf in 1988 and Justine Henin in 2004.

Naomi Osaka also started her Olympic competition with a win.

And on the men’s side, former Olympic champion Andy Murray has withdrawn from singles competition because of a thigh strain.

USA softball to the gold-medal game

Amanda Chidester’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning kept Team USA undefeated in these Olympics at 4-0 and sent them to the gold-medal game, where they will meet host Japan on Monday. The U.S. got 13 strikeouts from Monica Abbott in the 2-1 victory over Australia.

French president, U.S. first lady at 3×3

Dr. Jill Biden enjoyed a tour of sports, watching Team USA, Saturday.

Team USA’s A-Team off to winning start

Teammates Alix Klineman and April Ross — nicknamed the A-Team — started off right with a Pool B beach volleyball win over China’s Wang Xinxin and Xue Chen, 21-17, 21-19. Ross is in her third Olympics after pairing with Jennifer Kessy in 2012 and winning silver, before winning bronze with Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2016. Ross is seeking to join Jennings and Misty May-Treanor as the only players to win at least three medals in women’s beach volleyball.

For Klineman, it was her first Olympic experience. “I was a little nervous but really excited for this match,” she said.

Quick turnaround for Middleton, Holiday, Booker

Just days after competing in the NBA Finals, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns were again working on their game, in Tokyo.

And the Olympic men’s basketball tournament got underway with Team USA set to tip off later.

Germany got off to a fast start against Italy.

The Italians came all the way back to win 92-82.

Men’s gymnastics reaches team final

The U.S. men’s gymnastics team advanced to the team final with a fourth-place finish in qualifications.

Forever an Olympian

While Simone Biles and her U.S. teammates were competing across the gym during women’s gymnastics qualifying, Jamaica’s Danusia Francis was just thrilled to make her Olympic dream come true.

Despite sustaining a serious left knee injury this week during training, she was determined to be an Olympian and briefly competed on bars with a few skills on the low bar. She received a 3.033 for her efforts but earned the loudest ovation of the day – including from the American team.

After narrowly missing out on making Great Britain’s Olympic team in 2012 and Jamaica’s in 2016, Francis stepped away from the elite scene to compete for UCLA but never gave up on her lifelong ambition. She retired from the sport after graduating but came back in 2018 with her focus squarely on Tokyo.

While the circumstances were far from ideal, the 27-year-old finally made her dream come true on Sunday. — D’Arcy Maine

Watch the birdie

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