Justin Bullock, FISM News
The delayed 2020 Summer Olympics have begun and the US has set records both in competition and out of it. With Japan still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, spectators and tourists, who would normally provide much needed revenue to the host country, are banned from attending events. This alone has worried Japanese citizens as well as the government as they scramble to figure out a way to pay for one of the most expensive Olympics in history.
To make matters worse, television viewership in the US has hit record lows not seen since 1988. Only approximately 16.7 million, watched the opening ceremonies according to NBC analytics, down nearly 10 million from the 2016 opening ceremonies. Many people on Twitter remarked that this may be tied to the political correctness of the broadcast and the anti-American protests that many of the athletes have taken part in going into the games. The opening ceremonies was also a lackluster affair in general with strict COVID-19 distancing policies and a barebones staff producing the event.
In addition, the US failed to medal on the first day of competition for the first time since 1972. However, the US quickly bounced back and earned six medals in the first day of swimming, which is a US Olympic swimming first.
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) July 25, 2021
In fact Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland won gold and silver in the Men’s 400 Individual Medley event giving team USA its first gold and silver medal. These two started off a medaling streak resulting in the US bringing home half of the medals that were up for grabs on the first day of swimming. It is expected that the swim team for the US will bring home many more medals as the rest of the Olympics play out, with all-star swimmer Katie Ledecky leading the charge.
In basketball, the US men’s team lost for the first time since the disastrous 2004 Olympics. Team USA lost to France 83-76, snapping a 25 Olympic game winning streak. Many Americans see this as an embarrassing turn of events given the superstar talent on the US team and their historical dominance on the Olympic stage. Ultimately, the game against France came down to the wire and the French team has three NBA players of their own, including the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. Despite the loss in the group stage, the US still remains the heavy favorite to claim the gold medal this year.
Finally, in gymnastics, the American women led by the legendary Simone Biles started their quest to repeat as gold-medalists. Biles qualified for the finals in every event, but she and her teammates made several uncharacteristic mistakes throughout the day. Team USA trails Russia by one point, which represents the first time since 2010 that the US women’s squad has failed to earn the top cumulative score in the qualifying events. Biles and the rest of her teammates are still expected to dominate the competition in the final events and bring home a wealth of medals for themselves and the USA.
The Olympic events can be found on the NBC network of channels, as well as through a variety of streaming hosts. The world’s top tier athletes will be competing across a wide range of events over the next two weeks, with closing ceremonies taking place on August 8th.