Olympics-Gymnastics-U.S. women top Russians, China in medal chances

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Yahoo Sports 26 July, 2021 - 05:03pm 63 views

Did Simone Biles qualify for the Olympics?

Simone Biles has qualified for every single women's gymnastics medal event at the Tokyo Olympics. She managed the incredible feat despite an uncharacteristically weak performance at qualifying. Despite errors on all but one apparatus, Biles finished first in the individual all-around. INSIDERSimone Biles qualified for every Tokyo gymnastics medal event — but it was a far cry from her usual dominance

Who made the Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team 2021?

Simone Biles will be the leader alongside five first-team Olympians for the U.S. women in Tokyo. Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum will compete in the team competition, and Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner will compete as individuals. NBC ConnecticutGymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics: What to Know for 2021

Does Simone Biles qualify for all around?

Biles (57.731) and teammate Sunisa Lee (57.166) qualified first and third, respectively, for the all-around final, with Brazil's Rebecca Andrade second (57.399). Biles also qualified for the final in vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Los Angeles TimesU.S. women's gymnastics shows it isn't invincible during qualifying

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

You Pod to Win the Game

(Reuters) - Although the start of the women’s artistic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics was disappointing for the usually dominant U.S. team, the Americans still have the most medal opportunities of any country.

The Russians, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) as part of sanctions due to several doping scandals, qualified for Tuesday’s team final ahead of the Americans after an off day for U.S. star Simone Biles.

But the U.S. women’s qualifying efforts earned them 11 medal attempts at the Tokyo Games, the maximum possible. That includes the team event, two in the all-around and two in each of the four apparatus finals.

ROC could earn at most 10 medals since they qualified only one gymnast to the balance beam finals, and China have the next highest medal chances at seven.

The top eight of 12 squads in qualifications advanced to the team finals, and the top 24 all-around gymnasts and top eight on each apparatus advanced to those respective finals.

However, there is a two-per-country rule meaning only two athletes per delegation can advance to an apparatus or all-around final and try for a medal.

Biles is the only gymnast, male or female, who has a shot at leaving Tokyo with a medal in every possible discipline. But a medal on asymmetric bars is her biggest challenge, even with a nearly flawless routine.

Her bars difficulty rating falls short of the world’s best, including team mate Sunisa Lee and Belgium's Nina Derwael, the top two qualifiers for Sunday’s final. Derwael is a twice world champion in the event.

Beam gold will also be a test for Biles up against top qualifier Guan Chenchen of China, who has a higher maximum score. Biles did not do her more difficult, eponymous dismount in qualifications, but doing so in the finals would increase her chances.

Biles was the top qualifier in the all-around and vault, though she will have a fresh shot at everything since the qualifying scores do not carry through to the finals.

If Biles misses golds or the podium, she feels better prepared to cope with public disappointment than she was in Rio 2016, where she finished third on balance beam after an error.

“I was so happy with my bronze, but I couldn’t be happy, because nobody else was happy for me,” she said earlier this year in her Facebook Watch docuseries, “Simone vs Herself.”

“This time is really for me. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody, and that feels nice.”

(Reporting by Karen Braun in Fort Collins, Colo.; Editing by Ken Ferris)

The greatest gymnast of all time must rally Team USA for the Americans to win their third consecutive gold medal. Simone Biles and her squad trail the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee heading into Tuesday's women's gymnastics team final. Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel return to the pool and the U.S. women’s soccer team plays its final match in group stage play in Day 4 of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.

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When Sunisa "Suni" Lee steps up to the mat at the Tokyo Olympics, she'll be thinking of her father's pep talks even as he watches from thousands of miles away. The big picture: The 18-year-old made history this year when she became the first Hmong American to be named to a U.S. Olympic team. Even more special was her dad's presence in the crowd at the Olympic trials — it was only the second time he watched her compete in person since a 2019 accident paralyzed him from the chest down. Stay on top

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Read full article at Yahoo Sports

How's Team USA doing in the Tokyo Olympics?

WPTV News - FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast 26 July, 2021 - 10:10pm

Simone Biles Opens Up About Olympics Pressure

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Simone Biles is owning her G.O.A.T. status heading into the Tokyo Olympics

She would become the first woman in more than a half-century to repeat as the Olympic all-around champion. Golds on vault, beam and floor would give her a share of the record for most golds by any female athlete, in any sport.

And, of course, Biles would lead the American women to their third consecutive Olympic team title, the final Tuesday a coronation as much as a competition.

All of that is still possible despite Biles and the U.S. women face planting in qualifying, where they finished second, to Russia, for the first time in more than a decade. But this was the second consecutive meet where Biles struggled, and a closer look at the numbers shows she is more vulnerable than anyone could have imagined.

“We had great performances and some not-so-great ones,” national team coordinator Tom Forster said after qualifying Sunday. “But the errors we made, I think, are mental.”

At first glance, any handwringing about Biles seems like much ado about nothing.

Despite nearly bouncing off the podium on floor exercise, going out of bounds on vault and staggering several steps back on her balance beam dismount, she still finished atop the all-around standings.

By more than three-tenths of a point.

She also made all four event finals, the first woman to do so at an Olympics since 1992. Clean up her errors, and add the upgrades she can do on vault and beam, and the gap between Biles and the rest of the world returns to its usual chasm.

But Biles was only a botched pirouette on uneven bars by Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade from being bumped to second in the all-around standings. She was second to Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari on floor exercise, an event Biles has owned, with five world titles and an Olympic gold medal since 2013. She only made the balance beam final because China had three gymnasts in the top five and there’s a limit of two per country.

And had she fallen on beam, as she did the second night of Olympic trials, Biles might very well have been two-per-countried out of the all-around final.

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It’s a staggering thought – that exhale you heard was from NBC executives – and, given that scoring starts anew in finals, one that is maybe a tad bit hysterical. But this is now two meets in a row where Biles has gotten what can be considered wake-up calls, after Suni Lee finished ahead of her the second night of Olympic trials.

Biles and the rest of the U.S. women appeared nonchalant about their performance, laughing and making faces. They breezed past media afterward, just as they'd done after podium training. 

But in an Instagram post Monday, Biles said she is well aware of what's at stake. Maybe too aware. 

"It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it,” she wrote. “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The Olympics is no joke!”

If qualifying showed the Americans anything, it’s how much they rely on Biles. She might still be able to win when she has a less-than-perfect day but they cannot.

Back in April, there was much eye rolling at Russia coach Valentina Rodionenko’s declaration that the Russians would “easily beat” the U.S. women if not for Biles.

“She’s 70 percent of the American team,” Rodionenko said, according to the Gymnovosti website’s translation of her interview with MatchTV.

Well, the Americans did beat Russia by almost six points at the 2019 world championships, and by almost nine points the year before that. That’s more than just #SimoneThings. The Americans were considered so deep, in fact, it was often said they could send a second team and even that one would challenge the Russians for silver.

As it turns out, though, Rodionenko was on to something.

The U.S. women did not have to count a fall in qualifying. Aside from Grace McCallum on balance beam, the difficulty in the routines they counted was not markedly different from the Olympic trials. They got dinged on their execution scores, but this was hardly a surprise. (This is not a problem unique to the United States, but warm-and-fuzzy judging at domestic competitions does no one any favors.)

No doubt the Americans were expecting to count Jordan Chiles’ scores on balance beam and, maybe, uneven bars. But they finished more than a point behind Russia. Even if Chiles hadn’t fallen twice on beam and dragged her feet on bars, that was unlikely to erase the Russian advantage or, if it did, it was going to be by a razor-thin margin.

No, if the Americans are to win the gold they’ve long assumed to be theirs, they’re going to need Biles to get back to being the greatest gymnast the sport has ever seen. Or at least closer to it than she was in qualifying.

“We’ll just focus on fixing the mistakes,” Forster said. “Staying in bounds would help. Simone took three big steps on her beam dismount. I’ve never seen her do that before. So those are all fixable. They’re fixable.”

Ten days from now, this all might seem like looking for trouble where there was none. Or it might be a warning of the disappointments there were to come.

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Olympics-Gymnastics-U.S. women top Russians, China in medal chances

NBC Sports 26 July, 2021 - 05:03pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

You Pod to Win the Game

(Reuters) - Although the start of the women’s artistic gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics was disappointing for the usually dominant U.S. team, the Americans still have the most medal opportunities of any country.

The Russians, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) as part of sanctions due to several doping scandals, qualified for Tuesday’s team final ahead of the Americans after an off day for U.S. star Simone Biles.

But the U.S. women’s qualifying efforts earned them 11 medal attempts at the Tokyo Games, the maximum possible. That includes the team event, two in the all-around and two in each of the four apparatus finals.

ROC could earn at most 10 medals since they qualified only one gymnast to the balance beam finals, and China have the next highest medal chances at seven.

The top eight of 12 squads in qualifications advanced to the team finals, and the top 24 all-around gymnasts and top eight on each apparatus advanced to those respective finals.

However, there is a two-per-country rule meaning only two athletes per delegation can advance to an apparatus or all-around final and try for a medal.

Biles is the only gymnast, male or female, who has a shot at leaving Tokyo with a medal in every possible discipline. But a medal on asymmetric bars is her biggest challenge, even with a nearly flawless routine.

Her bars difficulty rating falls short of the world’s best, including team mate Sunisa Lee and Belgium's Nina Derwael, the top two qualifiers for Sunday’s final. Derwael is a twice world champion in the event.

Beam gold will also be a test for Biles up against top qualifier Guan Chenchen of China, who has a higher maximum score. Biles did not do her more difficult, eponymous dismount in qualifications, but doing so in the finals would increase her chances.

Biles was the top qualifier in the all-around and vault, though she will have a fresh shot at everything since the qualifying scores do not carry through to the finals.

If Biles misses golds or the podium, she feels better prepared to cope with public disappointment than she was in Rio 2016, where she finished third on balance beam after an error.

“I was so happy with my bronze, but I couldn’t be happy, because nobody else was happy for me,” she said earlier this year in her Facebook Watch docuseries, “Simone vs Herself.”

“This time is really for me. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody, and that feels nice.”

(Reporting by Karen Braun in Fort Collins, Colo.; Editing by Ken Ferris)

The greatest gymnast of all time must rally Team USA for the Americans to win their third consecutive gold medal. Simone Biles and her squad trail the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee heading into Tuesday's women's gymnastics team final. Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel return to the pool and the U.S. women’s soccer team plays its final match in group stage play in Day 4 of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympics since 1924

The 18-year-old Luciana Alvarado is the first Costa Rican gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.

Alaska's Lydia Jacoby pulled off the biggest upset of the Olympics so far.

Former Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer was "assaulted" in Oakland, California, on Monday.

Beauty YouTuber Patricia Bright has apologized in a series of Instagram stories after she was called out for "laughing at" a woman that wanted food.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would "absolutely" grant interviews only to journalists of color again after she drew waves of backlash earlier in the year when she announced the policy.

Across the country, GOP lawmakers are rallying around the cause of individual freedom to counter community-based disease mitigation methods, moves experts say leave the country ill-equipped to counter the resurgent coronavirus and a future, unknown outbreak. In some states, anger at perceived overreach by health officials has prompted legislative attempts to limit their authority, including new state laws that prevent the closure of businesses or allow lawmakers to rescind mask mandates. Some st

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) would deport every last Chinese whose loyalty lies with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), if she had the power to do so. Her plans: Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, made her comments last Wednesday on Steve Bannon’s show, “War Room: Pandemic.” “The Chinese understand one thing and that is money,” Greene told Bannon, who served as chief strategist for former President Donald Trump.

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When Sunisa "Suni" Lee steps up to the mat at the Tokyo Olympics, she'll be thinking of her father's pep talks even as he watches from thousands of miles away. The big picture: The 18-year-old made history this year when she became the first Hmong American to be named to a U.S. Olympic team. Even more special was her dad's presence in the crowd at the Olympic trials — it was only the second time he watched her compete in person since a 2019 accident paralyzed him from the chest down. Stay on top

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is injecting huge sums into some crucial 2022 midterm contests — and drawing fire from Republicans eager to tie their rivals to the GOP's Silicon Valley bogeymen.Why it matters: Whether he's backing a candidate or being attacked by one, Thiel embodies the present GOP zeitgeist. His brand of nationalist conservatism mimics the party's Trump-era shift. Yet the fortune he's using to bankroll like-minded candidates derives from an industry reviled by much of that base.St

You can order the exact one from Reformation.

5 to Watch: The ‘GOAT', US Softball Go for Gold; USWNT, Lloyd Look to Advance

USA TODAY 26 July, 2021 - 11:50am

The women of Team USA take center stage Monday night into Tuesday morning at the Tokyo Olympics.

The GOAT herself, Simone Biles, will look to lead U.S. women's gymnastics to another all-around team gold. The U.S. women find themselves in a strange place heading into the final, second place.

The U.S. women's softball team is guaranteed a medal, but will it be gold as they face Japan?

The U.S. Women's National Team, led by Megan Rapinoe and New Jersey's Carli Lloyd, will look to ensure that they advance as they play Australia in soccer.

Plus, a triathlete with ties to the Philadelphia region tries for her first gold.

Here are 5 to watch in Tokyo, and how to watch all the action.

The GOAT of gymnastics will have her first chance to earn a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and add to her collection of Olympic hardware.

Simone Biles earned the top all-around score in qualifying, but there’s work to be done if she wants to come out on top in the women’s team final, which begins at 6:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Team USA finished with an overall score of 170.562 in qualifying, good for second place behind the Russian Olympic Committee’s 171.629. China, France and Belgium finished qualifying in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Biles will be joined by 20-year-old Jordan Chiles, 18-year-old Suni Lee and 18-year-old Grace McCallum in the team event. Lee finished third in qualifying with an all-around score of 57.166, while McCallum and Chiles finished 13th and 40th, respectively. While the U.S. owns two of the top three spots for all-around scores, ROC has the fourth, fifth and sixth-highest scores on its team.

The U.S. women’s national soccer team got a much-needed victory over New Zealand on Saturday following a stunning defeat against Sweden to begin the tournament. Now, New Jersey native Carli Lloyd, fellow Garden Stater Tobin Heath, Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Co. will take on Australia at 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday looking to clinch an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.

The USWNT and Australia both have three points in the Group G table through two games. Sweden, with wins over the USWNT and Australia, already clinched one of the two automatic quarterfinal spots. Two third-place teams will also make it to the quarterfinals, so there is a chance the loser of this match will advance anyways.

The USWNT is looking to return to the podium in Tokyo after missing it for the first time in the event’s history at the Rio Games.

After a walk-off win against Japan on Sunday, Team USA will once again face the host nation in the softball gold medal game at 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Both teams were 4-0 entering Sunday’s matchup and had clinched their spots in the gold medal game before facing one another in the final game of round-robin play.

The Americans have been led by outstanding pitching from Cat Osterman and Monica Abbott. Neither pitcher conceded a run over the first three games of the tournament. The team has also seen some timely hitting, as Amanda Chidester walked it off with a two-run single in the eighth inning against Australia on Saturday and Kelsey Stewart hit a walk-off home run against Japan on Sunday.

The game is a rematch of the 2008 gold medal game at the Beijing Olympics, where Japan became the first and only team to keep Team USA off the top of the podium in softball.

Keep an eye on the weather as rain could impact the matchup.

American Lydia Jacoby pulled a huge upset over the highly favored Lilly King in the 100m breaststroke. Jacoby won the gold in 1:04.95. King, the defending Olympic champion, was half a second behind. Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa captured the silver.

Ryan Murphy finished third in the men’s 100m backstroke, not able to follow up his gold medal in Rio. His time was 52.19.

“Being third in the world is no shame, but obviously you want to go out and win, Murphy said. "That was the best I had today. Hats off to the Russian guys, who did great.”

ROC swimmers Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov came in first and second.

Regan Smith came in third in the women’s 100m backstroke with a time of 58.05. Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the gold and set a new Olympic record of 57.47.

The other American, Rhyan White, finished fourth.

After winning the bronze in the 400m freestyle, Kieran Smith couldn’t follow it up with another medal, finishing sixth in 1:45.12. British swimmers Dean Thomas and Duncan Scott finished 1-2, and Fernando Scheffer of Brazil won the bronze.

Summer Rappaport's journey to the Tokyo Olympics included an impressive collegiate career at Villanova University where she swam and did cross-country. She has since added biking to resume to round out her triathlon skills.

The Colorado native competed in her first Games Monday night as the women dove in for a 1,500m swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run.

She ended up finishing in 14th. Fellow American Katie Zaferes finished in third to earn a Bronze medal while Taylor Knibb finished in 16th.

Suddenly, the Women’s Gymnastics Competition Is a Toss-Up

Slate 25 July, 2021 - 02:23pm

There were so few certainties leading up to this creepy, haunted Olympics: How many athletes would get infected with COVID and miss their own events? Who would fail a drug test, and for what? Would there even be an Olympics? The one thing we all took for granted—largely because everyone, including yours truly, has spent the past four (sorry, five) years telling you to take it for granted—was that the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team, led by the greatest gymnast the world has ever seen, was all but a lock for the team gold medal.

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Have these uncertain times taught us anything about the relentlessness of uncertainty? Apparently not, because along with every other “gymnastics person,” I expected to witness Simone Biles and the U.S. squad decimate Sunday morning’s qualifying meet, where the matchups for all the medal-winning competitions are determined but luckily the scores don’t carry over. Instead, I watched the Russian Olympic Committee have a banner day. And then I kept watching as, on event after event, the Americans—including Biles, these Games’ biggest star by a considerable measure—did not. As for our predictions, well … our bad! The U.S. finished a previously unthinkable second by more than a point to the athletes from the ROC. This is now no longer the Americans’ gold to lose.

The U.S. started the meet on floor, one of Biles’ signature events, where she’s got two skills named after her, including the most difficult tumbling pass a woman has ever landed in competition. Most gymnasts worry about cranking around enough flips and twists to land a skill on their feet, but Biles’ problem here has always been that her phenomenal power is hard to control. And nowhere was this more apparent than when she not only went out of bounds on her third pass, but bounded straight off the apparatus entirely.

As such, Biles took a huge hit to her normally stellar execution score. While most international elite gymnasts would be delighted with a 14.133, Biles was disappointed, and the vibe of the meet—already not great from three teammates hovering around 13.5, including Jordan Chiles, who had trouble with her third pass on floor—was set.

Unfortunately, things did not improve much for Biles on vault—her other signature event, where again she has two skills named after her, one of which, again, is the most difficult move ever competed by a woman. She eschewed her death-defying Yurchenko double pike for a “safer” Cheng—only the third most difficult vault in the world behind the two eponymous Biles skills, i.e., the most difficult vault competed at the meet—which was uncharacteristically off alignment and which again ended in Biles stepping off the landing mat. She still finished qualifying in first place because, well, she is the GOAT.

There’s more: This event’s mood was extra painful because of the intra-specialist showdown between MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey for the non-Biles American spot in the vault final. Neither of their scores counted for the team total, and their scores could only propel one between them to the final, because of the rule that only allows two gymnasts per country to compete in any final competition. In the end it was Carey who landed cleaner, and that means that Skinner did not qualify for any finals as an individual. It also means that the Olympics into which Skinner clawed herself against great odds, with sheer relentless work and tenacity, are over for her. (And because she’s polarizing, that means that half the “gymternet” is mourning and the other half is awash in Schadenfreude.)

Speaking of Schadenfreude: It was at this point that beleaguered fans of other countries’ teams started to understand what was happening. The infallible United States was, well, falling all over the place. And lo, the mood leading from the “power events,” vault and floor, to the “balance and rhythm events,” bars and beam (in which the mental game is crucial) was even more fraught than it usually is. Suni Lee had a beautiful bar set that qualified her into the final in second place behind Belgium’s legendary Nina Derwael, but Chiles got off-rhythm and tapped the floor, an uncharacteristic break that likely contributed to her full-on meltdown that occurred on the next and final event, beam, where the rising American star fell twice. Biles, meanwhile, was nothing if not consistent, again landing her dismount with too much power and again stumbling so far that she almost left the podium entirely.

What happened was extraordinary precisely because it was what happens in normal elite gymnastics all the time: The favored team had a bad meet and didn’t end up on top—though, again, the qualifying scores don’t carry over, so Tuesday’s team competition is now anyone’s to win. And I mean anyone. The ROC? Sure, if they repeat their qualifying performance, absolutely. China? Definitely. Japan? Sure. Germany? Great Britain? Italy? Before this qualifying meet, I used to take everything for granted; now I take nothing.

The U.S. victory no longer being a foregone conclusion has snapped me out of what I now realize was the hypnotic state I’ve been in since Rio. It’s like I just remembered that that’s not how gymnastics works. Athletes are humans, and humans—especially humans who are living through fear and grief and compound global trauma, which among other things threw their training schedule off—occasionally ass things up. Gymnastics superfans will likely be cursing USA Gymnastics’ Tom Forster for choosing the squad he did; Skinner would have helped the team on vault and floor, and Riley McCusker might have qualified for a final as a bars specialist. Everyone is big mad and will be forever. But the fact is that this is a stellar squad that had a bad meet—because shit happens.

Yes, on paper and historically, this U.S. squad is better than all the other ones. But “better” in athletics is not a static state; even well-deserved superstardom will not keep you in bounds or on your feet. The American women’s gymnastics team can in fact lose—although, come on, are we truly so jingoistically victory-obsessed that an Olympic silver medal would count as a “loss”? For some deranged Americans, the answer may unfortunately be maybe. But they should recall how far the U.S. has come. In my own gymnastics days, we were ecstatic when Phoebe Mills got on the medal podium at all in Seoul in 1988, the first time an American woman ever truly had. (And no, the USSR-boycotted 1984 Games do not count; Mary Lou Retton would have maybe been a blip with the Soviet Union present. Today is all about hard truths.)

But look: The U.S. team hasn’t “lost” yet. And they can absolutely still win because, as you’ve maybe heard, qualifying scores don’t carry over to the final. Sure, unlike in qualifying, only three athletes from the team will compete on each apparatus, and all three of those scores will count toward the team total—even if someone, God forbid, falls twice (shudder). However, there is still time for the Americans to summon the focus and block out the noise and return to that ghostly arena with their head game intact. It is still very much anyone’s gold medal to win, including theirs. But the fact that it is now more so someone else’s gold medal to win may be the biggest shock of the entire Games.

This piece has been updated since it was originally published.

Correction, July 26, 2021: Due to a photo provider error, the caption originally misspelled Grace McCallum’s last name.

Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company.

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