TOKYO — The U.S. swim team ended a day-long drought after Americans failed to medal on the first day of Olympic competition for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Chase Kalisz took the first gold medal for the US and Jay Litherland took the first silver on Sunday when they finished one and two in the 400-meter individual medley.
“USA! USA!” a small group of their cheering teammates chanted at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, which was nearly empty as the Covid-19 state of emergency is currently blocking fans from the stands.
When asked which was sweeter, winning his first-ever gold medal or winning the first medal at these Olympics for the US, Kalisz told NBC News, “Both are great!”
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“We are Team USA and ultimately, USA swimming has a strong history of getting it done when it counts,” said Kalisz. “And that’s something we’re really proud of and something we’ve been doing consistently ever since.”
American swimmers Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger completed the number of American medals by winning silver and bronze in the 400-meter individual relay.
And by late afternoon local time, the US was second in the medal tally with eight, behind China with nine, after swimmer Kieran Smith won the bronze in the 400-meter freestyle, the US female swimmers won the bronze in the 100-meter freestyle. battle relay and William Shaner won our second gold in the 10m air rifle competition.
Jagger Eaton also took bronze in the men’s street skateboarding competition.
The hardware catch came a day after the US failed to medal on the first day of Olympic competition for the first time in nearly half a century.
“It last happened at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich,” Olympic historian Bill Mallon tweeted on Saturday.
Team USA also failed to win a medal on day one of the 2018 winter games in South Korea.
America’s best shot at winning a medal on Saturday was the archers, but they came out empty.
“I’m still a little shocked,” Brady Ellison, who won silver and bronze medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, told USA Today. “We got into that stadium and I shot to the left.”
In recent years, the US has dominated the Summer Games. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Team USA won the world’s best 121 medals.
The US has counted the most medals, including the most golds, in any of the last six Summer Olympics dating back to 1996.