Katie Ledecky has finally won her first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, clinching first place at the 1,500-metre freestyle, which made its Games debut for women this year.
The American superstar’s typical dominating performance came just an hour after being well-beaten in the final of the 200-metre freestyle, where she finished fifth.
Ledecky led from beginning to end, finishing in 15 minutes 37.34 seconds to claim her sixth Olympic gold medal overall.
Erica Sullivan, of the US, claimed the silver in 15:41.41, while Germany’s Sarah Kohler grabbed the bronze in 15:42.91.
Britain, meanwhile, won the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the Olympics for the first time since 1908, but just missed a world record.
With a powerhouse group that included the 1-2 finishers in the 200 freestyle, Britain blew away the field in 6 minutes, 58.58 seconds. That was just off the world record set by the Americans (6:58.55) at the 2009 world championships.
The 200-metre gold medallist, Tom Dean, led off for the British. James Guy and Matthew Richards took the middle legs before 200-metre silver medallist Duncan Scott swam the anchor leg. It was the first British gold in the event since it made its debut at the first London Games.
Russia claimed the silver in 7:01.81, while Australia took the bronze in 7:01.84.
Japanese swimmer Yui Ohashi swept the women’s individual medley. Ohashi rallied to win the 200-metre medley, beating Americans Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass. She had previously won the 400-metre individual medley.
Kristof Milak of Hungary romped to a dominating victory in the men’s 200-metre butterfly at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Milak won the gold by about two body lengths, backing up his status as one of the biggest favourites at the Olympic pool. He touched in 1 minute, 51.25 seconds – some 2.5 seconds ahead of the silver medallist, Japan’s Tomoru Honda, who finished in 1:53.73. The bronze went to Italy’s Federico Burdisso in 1:54.45.
Quarantined Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs said she had to take action to be allowed to get fresh air in an isolation hotel in Japan.
The Dutch athlete was removed from the Olympic Village after testing positive for COVID-19 a week ago and was put in a quarantine facility for people at the Tokyo Games infected with coronavirus. On her seventh day of isolation, she said she had to force officials to allow her a supervised 15-minute break for some fresh air away from her room, where the window does not open.
“Not having any outside air is so inhuman,” she said in a video message posted on Instagram. “It’s mentally super draining … definitely more than a lot of humans can handle.”
Jacobs said “having that first breath of outside air was the saddest and best moment in my life.”
The 31-year-old missed the street event in the sport’s Olympic debut but watched it on television, saying it was “a super-cool distraction” from quarantine.
Two world champions were knocked out of the Tokyo Olympic boxing tournament in the round of 16.
Irish featherweight Kurt Walker on Wednesday pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, with a 4-1 win over Uzbek world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.
Two hours later, Russian light heavyweight Imam Khataev surprised Kazakh world champ Bekzad Nurdauletov with a 4-1 victory. The 26-year-old Khataev has nearly a decade of high-level amateur experience, but no victories to compare to this upset.
Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines and Italy’s Irma Testa also clinched their nations’ first Olympic women’s boxing medals by advancing to the semifinals at featherweight.
The US men’s volleyball team improved to 2-1 in pool play by beating Tunisia 3-1.
Bouncing back from a loss to the Russians, they knocked off the lowest-ranked team in their group 25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23.
The victory keeps the US in a good position to advance to the quarterfinals as one of the top four teams in Pool B. Tunisia has lost all three matches so far in Tokyo.
Annemiek van Vleuten roared to an emphatic victory in the women’s time trial.
The Dutch rider led by more than six seconds at the first time check, then pushed it to an astonishing 28 seconds before she put the hammer down to finish in 30 minutes, 13.49 seconds at Fuji International Speedway.
Marlen Reusser of Switzerland finished more than 56 seconds back to earn the silver medal and van Vleuten’s teammate Anna van der Breggen earned bronze.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh attended the opener of the Olympic baseball tournament and were on the field for the ceremonial first pitch in Fukushima.
They were joined by Tokyo Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto and World Baseball Softball Confederation President Riccardo Fraccari as a high school baseball player from the region threw the first pitch.
It is the only Olympic baseball game being held in Fukushima, which was devastated by an earthquake and an ensuing tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011. The rest of the tournament will be held at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Tokyo.
Baseball was restored to the Olympic slate this year for the first time since 2008. The sport will be dropped again for the 2024 Games in Paris but is expected to again be played in Los Angeles in 2028.
China has wrapped a record-setting first day of rowing finals by smashing the world record in women’s quadruple sculls and winning gold.
The Chinese boat finished in 6 minutes, 0.13 seconds and shaved nearly two seconds off the previous mark set by the Netherlands in 2014. The race was never close. Poland won silver more than 6 seconds behind the Chinese. Australia won bronze for that country’s fourth medal of the day.
Windy conditions produced a strong tailwind for the rowers at Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway, and new world or Olympic records were set in each of Wednesday’s six medal races.
The Netherlands set a new world record in men’s quadruple sculls with a sprint over the final 500 metres to win the gold medal.
Their time of 5 minutes, 32.03 seconds beat the previous mark of 5:32.26 set by Ukraine at the 2014 world championships.
The Dutch boat was fourth after the first 500 metres but had closed to second by the next marker. A late push overtook Great Britain for the lead.
Great Britain then held off a late charge by Australia to win silver. Australia’s bronze was the country’s third medal of the day after winning gold in men’s and women’s four.
Romania’s Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis won the first rowing gold medal of the Tokyo Games, in women’s double sculls.
The rowing medal events had been delayed for a day because of bad weather forecasts amid a tropical storm.
Once back on the water, the Romanians were never challenged and led by two boat lengths with just 500 meters to go. Bodnar and Radis are both just 22. Their sprint to victory left the only fight for the silver medal, where New Zealand’s Brooke Donohue and Hannah Osborne edged the Dutch boat of Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard.