Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Dressel and Ledecky rule the pool, again

Posted at 4:59 AM, Jul 31, 2021

Don't call them "the next Michael Phelps." 

Caeleb Dressel is Caeleb Dressel, and Katie Ledecky is Katie Ledecky. And while they don't compete in as many events as Phelps did, they're just as dominant.

Dressel started his Saturday by confirming the chatter that he would break his own world record in the 100m butterfly, beating his 2019 mark of 49.50 seconds by 0.05 seconds. (STORY)

He returned to the pool for the 50m freestyle semifinals, where he posted the fastest time. A short time later, he was back for the 4x100m mixed medley relay, where he didn't have much of a shot to do anything after inheriting a huge deficit while Great Britain set a world record. (STORY)

Ledecky first burst onto the scene in the London Olympics nine years ago with a win in the 800m freestyle. She won it again, along with 200m, 400m and the 4x200 relay, in Rio. She has also won four straight world championships at 800m.

She almost left an opportunity for Australia's Ariarne Titmus to score another victory over Ledecky in what would be by far the biggest upset between the two. Ledecky's time of 8:12.57 was nearly eight seconds off her world and Olympic record of 8:04.79. But it was enough to hold off Titmus by 1.26 seconds, even as Titmus set an Oceania record.

The other big U.S. performance of the day belonged to lighweight boxer Keyshawn Davis, who staggered No. 1 seed Sofiane Oumiha in the Round of 16, prompting the referee to stop the contest. (STORY

And we got a preview of Sunday's BMX freestyle event, with Hannah Roberts and Perris Benegas posting the top two scores in the seeding runs Saturday while appearing to hold something back for the final.

SEE MORE: Americans finish 1-2 in women's BMX freestyle seeding round

Track and field

Jamaica swept the women's 100m, with defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah setting an Olympic record to defend her title and deny Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce a third gold medal in the event. Shericka Jackson took bronze.

Already, the Jamaican trio had the top 25 times of the year other than three by Cote d'Ivoire's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who finished fourth, and five by U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson, who isn't competing in Tokyo. Richardson's best time of 10.72 would have been good for second here behind Thompson-Herah, whose winning time of 10.61 shaved one-hundredth of a second off the record Florence Griffith-Joyner set in 1988. (STORY

Poland won the mixed 4x400m relay. Yes, Poland. The Dominican Republic took silver. Yes, the Dominican Republic. The U.S. team, which was reinstated on appeal after the prelims, took bronze. Vernon Norwood made a late charge into second for the U.S., but Dominican Republic anchor Alexander Ogando fought back and outleaned Norwood for silver. 

Sweden's Daniel Stahl won the men's discus and made sure the moment would go viral by yelling "I'M A SWEDISH VIKING!" in English.

Qualifying went according to form for U.S. favorites, with 100m hurdler Keni Harrison, 800m runner Clayton Murphy and 400m hurdlers Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin all winning their heats. The only drama was when Murphy was briefly boxed in during the 800, but he broke through and blew away the field to advance.

SEE MORE: 'Pressure's an illusion': McLaughlin destroys 400m hurdles heat, advances

U.S. teams in action

The worst news for the U.S. in team sports this morning was the injury to volleyball player Jordan Thompson in a loss to the ROC. (STORY)

Hungary beat the U.S. men's water polo team in group play (STORY), and the U.S. women's rugby team finished sixth.

But it was a good day for smaller U.S. teams. The new mixed relay triathlon saw the U.S. take silver behind Great Britain, U.S. shooters took bronze in the new mixed trap event, and youngsters Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil rallied past a powerful Brazilian team to finish group play with a perfect record. (STORY)

Late in the Tokyo evening, the U.S. baseball team earned a playoff bye with a 4-2 win over South Korea. (STORY)

The U.S. men's basketball team is still playing.

SEE MORE: Great Britain takes first-ever mixed team gold ahead of U.S.

Around the Games

Gymnastics: Simone Biles officially withdrew from the vault and uneven bars. (STORY)

Weightlifting: Qatar's long wait for an Olympic gold medal is over thanks to Fares Elbakh, who won the men's 96kg competition. 

Golf: U.S. golfers SA's Xander Schauffele remained in the lead while 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama gave the host country some hope with a strong third-round charge. (STORY)

Tennis: Talk of a Golden Slam gave way to frustration as Novak Djokovic lost the men's singles bronze medal match and then withdrew from the mixed doubles. (STORY)

Rugby: New Zealand's women took gold and celebrated as only New Zealand does, with a haka. (STORY)

SEE MORE: New Zealand women's rugby team performs haka after gold win


Archery, men's individual: Gold - Mete Gazoz (TUR), Silver - Mauro Nespoli (ITA), Bronze - Furukawa Takaharu (JPN)

Badminton, men's doubles: Gold - Lee/Wang (TPE), Silver - Li/Liu (CHN), Bronze - Chia/Soh (MAS)

Fencing, women's team sabre: Gold - ROC, Silver - France, Bronze - South Korea

Judo, mixed team: Gold - France, Silver - Japan, Bronze - Germany, Bronze - Israel

Rugby, women's: Gold - New Zealand, Silver - France, Bronze - Fiji

Sailing, women's RS:X: Gold - Lu Yunxiu (CHN), Silver - Charline Picon (FRA), Bronze - Emma Wilson (GBR)

Sailing, men's RS:X: Gold - Kiran Badloe (NED), Silver - Thomas Goyard (FRA), Bronze - Bi Kun (CHN)

Shooting, mixed team trap: Gold - Galvez/Hernandez (ESP), Silver - Perilli/Berti (SMR), Bronze - Bernau/Burrows (USA)

Shooting, women's 3-position rifle: Gold - Nina Christen (SUI), Silver - Yulia Zykova (ROC), Bronze - Yulia Karimova (ROC)

Swimming, men's 100m butterfly: Gold - Caeleb Dressel (USA), Silver - Kristof Milak (HUN), Bronze - Noe Ponti (SUI)

Swimming, women's 200m backstroke: Gold - Kaylee McKeown (AUS), Silver - Kylie Masse (CAN), Bronze - Emily Seebohm (AUS)

Swimming, women's 800m freestyle: Gold - Katie Ledecky (USA), Silver - Ariarne Titmus (AUS), Bronze - Simona Quadarella (ITA)

Swimming, mixed 4x100m medley relay: Gold - Great Britain, Silver - China, Bronze - Australia

Tennis, women's singles: tbd

Trampoline, men's: Gold - Ivan Litvinovich (BLR), Silver - Dong Dong (CHN), Bronze - Dylan Schmidt (NZL)

Track and field, men's discus: Gold - Daniel Stahl (SWE), Silver - Simon Pettersson (SWE), Bronze - Lukas Weisshaidinger (AUT)

Track and field, mixed 4x400m relay: Gold - Poland, Silver - Dominican Republic, Bronze - United States

Track and field, women's 100m: Gold - Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM), Silver - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM), Bronze - Shericka Jackson (JAM)

Triathlon, mixed relay: Gold - Great Britain, Silver - United States, Bronze - France

Weightlifting, men's 81kg: Gold - Lyu Xiaojun (CHN), Silver - Zacarias Bonnat Michel (DOM), Bronze - Antonino Pizzolato (ITA)

Weightlifting, men's 96kg: Gold - Fares Elbakh (QAT), Silver - Keydomar Vallenilla (VEN), Bronze - Anton Pliesnoi (GEO)


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