Rio Recap: Day Two

Sunday, the first full day of competition, was another great day for Team USA. The US won seven medals: two gold, one silver, and four bronze. Here are some of the stories everyone will be talking about:

Star of the day: Katie Ledecky, USA, Swimming

We knew Katie Ledecky was a freakishly good swimmer going into Rio, and she didn’t let us down on Sunday night. Ledecky smashed her own world record in the 400 freestyle to bring home the gold for the USA. Ledecky won the race by almost five seconds, and the internet had quite a bit of fun celebrating her greatness.

This probably won’t be the last we see of Ledecky atop the podium.

Also shining brightly: USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics


The USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team hasn’t lost an international meet since 2010, and that streak doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. In qualifying, the American ladies finished an eye-popping, not-a-typo 10 points ahead of the second-place Chinese team.

Led by Simone Biles, who qualified first place into the all-around finals with the highest score on vault, floor exercise, and balance beam, the Americans absolutely demolished the competition. Biles will be joined in the all-around final by Aly Raisman, who edged Gabrielle Douglas to nab the second American spot. (Only the top two gymnasts from each country are eligible for the event finals.) Douglas will compete in the uneven bars finals along with Madison Koacian. They qualified in the third and first positions, respectively. Raisman qualified to the floor exercise final with the second-highest score behind Biles. Breakout star Laurie Hernandez will be in the balance beam final, finishing second to Biles. The ladies compete in the team final on Tuesday, and shouldn’t have too many issues bringing home the gold. Honorable mention: Aly Raisman’s parents watching her on the uneven bars will never not be adorable.

En Garde! USA!: Alexander Massialas won the silver medal in the individual foil competition, the first individual men’s medal in 32 years for the U.S. men’s fencing team.

The Cold War Round II, Aquatic Theatre: U.S. swimmer Lilly King threw some shaaaaade at Russian swimmer Yuliya Efimova, in the most delightful way possible. Although Russia has been accused of a massive state-run doping ring, their swimmers were permitted to compete in the games. Efimova was previously banned for steroid and meldonium use, but petitioned her way to Rio. After her heat, she raised the “number one” finger, which King took some issue with.

After King won her heat, swimming faster than Efimova, she explained that she didn’t think it was right that someone who had been caught using performance-enhancing drugs should be celebrating as she did.

The finals of the 100m breaststroke will take place at 9:54 p.m. on Monday. Efimova and King are in adjacent lanes.

He’s baaaack: Michael Phelps won his 19th gold medal and 23rd overall in the 4×100 freestyle relay. While the finish wasn’t nearly as exciting as the legendary 2008 version of this race, the Americans pulled into the lead after Phelps’ leg and didn’t look back.

How do you say “Cinderella” in Dutch?: I’m about as solid #TeamUSAOrDie as they come, but I do have the occasional soft spot for underdogs. The Dutch Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team is filling that role these games. The Netherlands qualified a full team to the Olympics for the first time since 1976 back in October at the World Championships, and acted as though they had just won the gold. In Rio, they qualified into the team final by the skin of their teeth, and are guaranteed their best finish since 1948. They don’t have the hardest routines, but they have absolutely incredible artistry and are a joy to watch. And yes, they were just a little bit excited on Twitter.

Prayers up:  To Annemiek van Vleuten, a cyclist for the Netherlands, who was involved in a very scary crash towards the end of her race. She suffered a concussion and three small spinal fractures.

Tip of the cap: To Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina, who is 41 years old, competing in her seventh Olympics, and can still do this:  

Chusovitina qualified for the vault final in fifth place. Out of her seven fellow competitors in the vault final, only North Korea’s Hong Un-Jong was even alive during Chusovitina’s first Olympics in 1992. The country Chusovitina first competed for no longer exists.

Easiest job in the world?: Definitely this guy’s:


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