Justin Bullock, FISM News
The US is maintaining its lead in total number of medals in this year’s games standing at a total of 38 as of this writing. China is in second place with 31 and is followed by the Russian Olympic Committee with 28. Host country Japan is in fourth place at 25 total medals and has already doubled the total number of medals that they won in the last Summer Olympics in 2016.
Drama has continued throughout as Simone Biles withdrew from the individual all-around competition in gymnastics after previously withdrawing from the team competition. Biles was the overwhelming favorite for all the gymnastic events but it is still unknown if she will compete again as she has not yet said if she will compete in the individual event finals. If she continues to withdraw then it will be up to her teammates to bring home the gold for the US.
In a wonderful turn of events Sunisa Lee, one of Biles’s teammates, did win the gold in the individual all-around competition after the US women’s team took silver in the team competition. Lee is an incredible athlete in her own right and represents a strong competitor and bright future for US gymnastics even if Biles decides to not compete further.
In swimming the US also had a wonderful night on Wednesday winning 5 medals. Bobby Finke started off the night for the US winning a gold medal in the Olympics’ first ever men’s 800 meter swim. Finke shocked the world as he was not expected to win and had maintained a 5th position throughout the grueling swim until the last 50 meters when he blew past the field to out-touch the competition and win gold. This came a day after Katie Ledecky demonstrated her dominance as the greatest female swimmer of all time by winning the gold medal in the Olympics’ first ever women’s 1500 meter swim. Ledecky was happily surprised by her teammate Erica Sullivan who claimed silver in the same event with an incredible swim in the last 100 meters.
Emotions continued to run high Wednesday as American Caeleb Dressel cemented himself as the fastest swimmer in the world by winning the gold medal in the men’s 100 meter freestyle race, while setting an Olympic record. Dressel finished 6th in the 2016 Summer Olympics but had made incredible improvement since then, winning the world championships in the men’s 100 meter freestyle in 2019. Dressel was visibly emotional along with his family who were ecstatic about his success. He told NBC afterwards that he was grateful and that 2020 had been a difficult year.
To close out the night of swimming, Katie Ledecky anchored the women’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay. Going into the race the Australians were the heavy favorites. In fact, commentators of the event said that in many ways the race was for silver as Australia had the gold all but locked up. In an amazing performance, the US team were undeterred and Katie Ledecky recovered close to two whole body lengths to take the silver medal ahead of Australia and 4 tenths of a second behind China.
Outside of the pool, the US softball team won the silver medal after losing to Japan in the final game 2-0. The US won the last world championship against Japan but came up short in this year’s Olympics. The American women had trouble with their bats throughout the tournament and the gold medal game was no different.