Each day of the Tokyo Games, NBC Olympics will provide a roundup of news from a variety of sports. Catch up here on all the storylines and must-see highlights you may have missed while you were sleeping. You can also take a peek ahead and plan your viewing with the Day 6 preview.
Katie Ledecky had to smile when the 1,500m freestyle was added to the Olympic program. She already had the 12 best times in history and was used to winning by great margins.
So the finish was no surprise. Ledecky wasn’t near her world record of 15:20.48 but won by a comfortable 4.07 seconds over fellow American Erica Sullivan on Wednesday. Her time of 15:35.35 is an Olympic record by default.
The win took a bit of the sting out of a second loss to Australia’s Ariane Titmus earlier in the morning. The 200m freestyle has never been the best race for Ledecky, who gets better as the distance gets longer even though she took gold in the event in Rio, and she wound up in fifth.
Ledecky will race at least once more in the 800m freestyle, where she once again is nearly automatic.
Still to come this evening: the men's gymnastics all-around final, the individual dressage finals and the medal games of 3x3 basketball, the latter featuring the U.S. women playing for gold against the ROC.
Fencing: South Korea routed Italy to win the men's team sabre event. Germany had the misfortune of losing a close one to South Korea in the semifinals and another close one to favorite Italy in the bronze medal bout. It was a rough day for the U.S. men, who lost two fencers to injuries and had to forfeit the seventh-place match.
Judo: Arai Chizuru won the women's 70kg class for Japan's eighth judo medal in these Olympics. The record for medals in one year is 12, set in 2016 by, of course, Japan.
Equestrian: Germany's Isabell Werth, age 52, finished in the top two in dressage for the sixth time, taking her fifth silver to to with her gold in 1996. It was a 1-2 for Germany, with the relatively young 35-year-old Jessica von Bredow-Werndl taking gold. American Sabine Schut-Kery, also 52 years old and also a native of Germany, finished fifth.
In the 200m freestyle, Titmus once again rallied to beat a former U.S. college swimmer. But it wasn’t Ledecky. It was Siobhan Haughey, who took silver to win the first medal in swimming for Hong Kong and matched her best NCAA Championship finish for Michigan. Ledecky was never in contention and finished fifth, 1.71 seconds behind Titmus’ time of 1:53.50.
Titmus took the Olympic record that had been held by U.S. swimmer Allison Schmitt since 2012. Schmitt is in Tokyo for her fourth straight Olympics, and while she didn’t qualify for the final in this event this time around, she swam in the 4x100m freestyle relay and earned her ninth Olympic medal when the U.S. won silver.
Speaking of swimmers who just keep going, Italian Federica Pellegrini, who finished seventh in her fifth straight final in the 200m freestyle, still holds the world record of 1:52.98.
Hungary’s Kristof Milak also took down an American’s Olympic record in the men’s 200m butterfly, with his time of 1:51.25 besting the record of Michael Phelps, who wasn’t competing in this event for the first time in 21 years.
The women’s 200m individual medley turned into a showcase for the University of Virginia, with teammates Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass taking silver and bronze behind Japan’s Ohashi Yui, who also won the 400m medley.
The down note for the U.S. swim team was the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. The U.S. had won four straight times and won a medal all 24 times they’ve been in the event. Not this time. Great Britain took a convincing win by 3.23 seconds over the ROC, with Australia taking bronze ahead of the Americans.
In semifinal action, Caeleb Dressel qualified with ease for the 100m freestyle final, but Zach Apple, a few days removed from his emphatic anchor leg in the 4x100m free relay, missed out.
BIG DAY FOR DUTCH
It was a big day for the Netherlands in sports that involve modes of transportation. Dutch rowers came up with two silver medals in thrilling finishes, making a late charge against France and missing gold by inches, then finishing just behind Australia in the women’s four. They capped a four-medal day with gold in the men’s quadruple sculls.
A bit later, Annemiek van Vleuten finally got the gold medal that she thought she had twice already in her Olympic career. In Rio, she was leading the road race until she had a horrific crash that left her with spinal fractures and a severe concussion. In the road race in Tokyo, she crossed the line thinking she had won until she discovered that someone had already finished. In the women’s time trial, she left no doubt, finishing 56.47 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser. The Netherlands took yet another medal in the event, with Anna van der Breggen earning silver.
A few hours after that, fellow cyclist Tom Dumoulin added to the tally with a silver in the time trial behind Slovenia's Primoz Roglic in a showdown of familiar faces from the Tour de France.
The Netherlands’ powerhouse women’s field hockey team also beat South Africa 5-0. Two Dutch archers advanced to the Round of 16 but could go no further. Two Dutch judokas reached the bronze medal bouts. Later in the day, the field hockey team edged Spain for its first win of the Games.
The population of the Netherlands is a little over 17 million, smaller than the New York City metro area.
AROUND THE GAMES
Basketball: The U.S. men routed Iran 120-66, avenging the U.S. men's team sabre loss to Iran earlier in the day. Damian Lillard hit seven 3-pointers and Zach Lavine had eight assists.
Rugby: Fiji won its second straight gold in men's rugby with a 27-12 win over New Zealand. Argentina beat Great Britain to take bronze.
Archery: Reigning world champion and 2016 bronze medalist Brady Ellison plowed his way to the quarterfinals with two 6-0 shutout wins. Mackenzie Brown also reached the quarterfinals with ease, winning 6-2 and 6-0. Casey Kaufhold won her opener but fell in the Round of 16. Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez also won her opener and put up a good fight against top-ranked Deepika Kumari of India before losing 6-4. Jack Williams lost in the first round.
Canoe/kayak: Two-event paddler Evy Leibfarth had a clean second run in canoe slalom to place seventh in qualifying and advance to the final. Michael Smolen made it through in 19th in kayak slalom.
Baseball: The sport's return to the Olympics had a dramatic start, with Japan scoring three in the bottom of the ninth to take a 4-3 win over the Dominican Republic.
Judo: Colton Brown won his first bout but lost in the Round of 16 to Turkey’s Mihael Zgank.
Tennis: Andy Murray’s comeback from hip injuries ended in the men’s doubles quarterfinals when he and Joe Salisbury lost to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig. The U.S. women's doubles pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jessica Pegula bowed out in the quarterfinals.
Volleyball: The U.S. men gave up the second set to Tunisia but otherwise cruised in a 25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23 win. Torey DeFalco had 21 kills, a pair of blocks and an ace.
Boxing: U.S. featherweight Duke Ragan so frustrated Serik Temirzhanov that the Kazakh fighter started to charge at him a few seconds after the bell. They were nicer to each other after Ragan’s unanimous decision win was announced. In the fight immediately before that, Ireland’s Kurt Walker upset featherweight world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan. Another world champion, light heavyweight Bekzad Nurdauletov of Kazakhstan, lost to the ROC’s Iman Khataev. In women's boxing, Russian boxer Zenfira Magomedalieva, a former world champion at heavyweight and light heavyweight fighting down at middleweight, was too much for U.S. boxer Naomi Graham.
Badminton: U.S. player Beiwen Zhang won her second and final match in group play to advance to the Round of 16. There were no surprises in mixed doubles, as both Chinese pairs advanced to the semifinals.
Cycling: U.S. riders Amber Neben and Chloe Dygert took fifth and seventh in the women’s road time trial.
Rugby: The U.S. men can claim to be the top team in North America, beating Canada 21-14 behind two tries by speedster Carlin Isles in the games to determine places fifth through eighth. South Africa beat the U.S. in the fifth-place game.
Basketball: The Nigerian team that beat the U.S. in exhibition play stuck with Germany for much of the game but folded late for a 99-92 loss. With Australia's close win over Italy, the Group B standings are Australia 2-0, Italy 1-1, Germany 1-1 and Nigeria 0-2.
Rowing: Great Britain’s streak of five straight wins in the men’s four screeched to a halt with a fourth-place finish. The Netherlands and Australia each finished with four medals.
Rowing: Thirteen years after missing his heat through a schedule misunderstanding, Zhang Liang won China’s first medal in men’s rowing, taking bronze with Liu Zhiyu in the men’s double sculls.
Rowing: Gevvie Stone and Kristi Wagner finished fifth in women’s double sculls, the best-ever finish for the U.S. in the event. Stone will now return to her day job — an emergency medicine resident in Boston.
Beach volleyball: If you wrote off Jake Gibb after his partner, Taylor Crabb, was ruled out of action with a positive COVID-19 test, think again. Gibb and replacement Tri Bourne swept a Swiss pair to move to 2-0.
3x3 basketball, women’s: tba
3x3 basketball, men’s: tba
Cycling, women’s road time trial: Gold - Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), Silver - Marlen Reusser (SUI), Bronze - Anna van der Breggen (NED)
Cycling, men’s road time trial: Gold - Primoz Roglic (SLO), Silver - Tom Dumoulin (NED), Bronze - Rohan Dennis (AUS)
Diving, men's synchronized springboard: Gold - Wang/Xie (CHN), Silver - Capobianco/Hixon (USA), Bronze - Hausding/Rudiger (GER)
Equestrian, individual dressage: Gold - Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER), Silver - Isabell Werth (GER), Bronze - Charlotte Dujardin (GBR)
Fencing, men’s team sabre: Gold - South Korea, Silver - Italy, Bronze - Hungary
Gymnastics, men’s all-around: tba
Judo, women’s middleweight: Gold - Arai Chizuru (JPN), Silver - Michaela Polleres (AUT), Bronze - Sanne van Dijke (NED), Bronze - Madina Taimazova (ROC)
Judo, men’s middleweight: Gold - Lasha Bekauri (GEO), Silver - Eduard Trippel (GER), Bronze - Krisztian Toth (HUN), Bronze - Davlat Bobonov (UZB)
Rowing, women’s double sculls: Gold - Bodnar/Radis (ROU), Silver - Donoghue/Osborne (NZL), Bronze - de Jong/Scheenaard (NED)
Rowing, men’s double sculls: Gold - Boucheron/Androdias (FRA), Silver - Twellaar/Broenink (NED), Bronze - Liu/Zhang (CHN)
Rowing, women’s four: Gold - Australia, Silver - Netherlands, Bronze - Ireland
Rowing, men’s four: Gold - Australia, Silver - Romania, Bronze - Italy
Rowing, men’s quadruple sculls: Gold - Netherlands, Silver - Great Britain, Bronze - Australia
Rowing, women’s quadruple sculls: Gold - China, Silver - Poland, Bronze - Australia
Rugby, men’s: Gold - Fiji, Silver - New Zealand, Bronze - Argentina
Swimming, women’s 200m freestyle: Gold - Ariarne Titmus (AUS), Silver - Siobhan Haughey (HKG), Bronze - Penny Oleksiak (CAN)
Swimming, men’s 200m butterfly: Gold - Kristof Milak (HUN), Silver - Honda Tomoru (JPN), Bronze - Federico Burdisso (ITA)
Swimming, women's 200m individual medley: Gold - Ohashi Yui (JPN), Silver - Alex Walsh (USA), Bronze - Kate Douglass (USA)
Swimming, women’s 1,500m freestyle: Gold - Katie Ledecky (USA), Silver - Erica Sullivan (USA), Bronze - Sarah Kohler (GER)
Swimming, men's 4x200m freestyle relay: Gold - Great Britain, Silver - ROC, Bronze - Australia
Weightlifting, men’s 73kg: Gold - Shi Zhiyong (CHN), Silver - Julio Ruben Mayora (VEN), Bronze - Rahmat Abdullah (INA)
3x3 basketball, women’s semifinals: United States def. France 18-16, ROC def. China 21-14
3x3 basketball, men’s semifinals: ROC def. Serbia 21-10, Latvia def. Belgium 21-8
3x3 basketball, women’s medal games: Gold - United States vs. ROC, Bronze - China def. France 16-14
3x3 basketball, men’s medal games: Gold - ROC vs. Latvia, Bronze - Serbia vs. Belgium
Baseball: Japan def. Dominican Republic 4-3
Basketball, men: Germany def. Nigeria 99-92, United States def. Iran 120-66, Australia def. Italy 86-83, Czech Republic vs. France
Field hockey, women: Netherlands def. South Africa 5-0, Spain def. New Zealand 2-1, Great Britain def. India 4-1, Germany def. Ireland 4-2, Japan vs. Australia, Argentina vs. China
Field hockey, men: Japan vs. Spain, Australia vs. New Zealand
Handball, men: Denmark def. Bahrain 31-21, Sweden def. Portugal 29-28, Egypt def. Japan 33-29, Norway def. Argentina 27-23, Brazil vs. Spain, France vs. Germany
Rugby, men's placement games: Japan def. South Korea 31-19 for 11th, Kenya def. Ireland 22-0 for 9th. United States def. Canada 21-14, South Africa def. Australia 22-19, Australia def. Canada 26-7 for 7th, South Africa def. United States 28-7 for 5th.
Rugby, semifinals and medal games: New Zealand def. Great Britain 29-7, Fiji def. Argentina 26-14, Bronze - Argentina def. Great Britain 17-12, Gold - Fiji def. New Zealand 27-12
Soccer, men: Germany tied Cote d’Ivoire 1-1, Brazil def. Saudi Arabia 3-1, South Korea def. Honduras 6-0, New Zealand tied Romania 0-0, Australia vs. Egypt, Spain vs. Argentina, France vs. Japan, South Africa vs. Mexico
Volleyball, men: Canada def. Iran 3-0, United States def. Tunisia 3-1, Argentina def. France 3-2, Poland def. Venezuela 3-1, Japan vs. Italy, Brazil vs. ROC
Water polo, women: Hungary def. United States 10-9, Canada def. South Africa 21-1, China def. Japan 16-11, Netherlands vs. Spain