Team USA is used to being at the top of the medal count in the Olympics, but a day into the proceedings in Tokyo they had yet to pick one up as the first events like Rifle, Taekwondo, and Fencing handed out medals with China atop the count after Day 1.
However, as Day 2 got going the Americans got on the board thanks to a sport they have long excelled at as the first of the swimming finals began. The first two USA medals came from the men’s 400 meter individual medley, where Chase Kalisz followed up his silver medal performance in Rio in 2016 with a dominant gold medal winning effort in Tokyo, with Jay Litherland charging his way in the final 25 meters to earn silver, just ahead of Australia’s Brendan Smith.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 25, 2021
It was the ideal start for what USA Swimming hoped would be a very big night and big Games in the pool. Kalisz will also compete in the 200m medley next week — starting on Wednesday with his first heat — while Litherland’s Olympics are done as he goes a perfect 1-for-1 in medals with a silver in his lone event. Three other swimming events will hand out medals on Sunday, with the men’s 400m freestyle (where Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui stunned with a gold medal swim and American Kieran Smith won bronze), women’s 400m IM, and women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay all having finals in the primetime slate stateside.