Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 2 in Tokyo

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2021

Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 2 in Tokyo

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    U.S. swimmer Lilly King
    U.S. swimmer Lilly KingJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Olympic glory is always worth the wait, and Day 2 of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo is a great reminder of that.

    While medals will be awarded in swimming, skateboarding and a few other disciplines, preliminary rounds account for a majority of the action. Excitement should accompany the start of men's basketball, but tennis, soccer and softball are steadily progressing through the early stages of their competitions.

    Every game, match or event, however, takes us one valuable step closer to the medals.

    Because of the dramatic time difference between Tokyo and any location in the United States, most competitions will take place overnight. Each event highlighted in this piece will take place Saturday night through Sunday morning.

    This is your guide to Day 2 at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Nyjah Huston Eyes Gold in Street Final

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Skateboarding is one of four sports added for these Olympics, and the United States is aiming for the first-ever gold.

    In particular, we mean Nyjah Huston.

    The 26-year-old has already stuffed his trophy case with Summer X Games and world street skateboarding medals. Most recently, Hustonwho first competed at the X Games when he was 11 years oldtook silver at worlds behind Yuto Horigome.

    Huston's top competition will likely be Horigome and Sora Shirai, both of whom represent host country Japan. Jagger Eaton and Jake Ilardi complete the U.S. street team.

USA Begins Pursuit of Beach Volleyball Gold

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Team USA bookends the schedule for beach volleyball.

    Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, April Ross and Alix Klineman will take on China's Chen Xue and Xinxin Wang in their first match of the Olympics. Ross and Klineman are considered the leading medal contenders among the four U.S. teams in Tokyo.

    Ross, who played alongside Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2016, has a silver and bronze medal in two previous Olympic trips.

    Rounding out the beach volleyball slate is American duo Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne, who replaced Taylor Crabb after he had to withdraw because of a positive COVID-19 test. They'll meet the Italian team of Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.

U.S., France Highlight Start of Men's Basketball

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    The much-anticipated men's basketball tournament has four games slated for Day 2 in Tokyo.

    • Iran vs. Czech Republic; Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
    • Germany vs. Italy; Sunday, 12:40 a.m. ET
    • Australia vs. Nigeria; Sunday, 4:20 a.m. ET
    • France vs. United States; Sunday, 8 a.m. ET

    Team USA begins its Olympics with a showdown against France, which boasts NBA standouts Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier. Five years ago, the U.S. clipped France 100-97 in the group stage.

    Under the direction of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the United States is the favorite. But after the departure of Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols) and exhibition losses to Nigeria and Australia, the U.S. team has much to prove.

    Kevin Durant headlines the U.S. roster, which has reinforcements arriving in Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday after they played in the NBA Finals.

Group Play Continues in Men's Soccer

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    SIlvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

    Although men's soccer at the Olympics is effectively an under-23 tournament, its trophy is nonetheless coveted.

    Sunday puts all 16 nations back on the field, beginning with Egypt taking on Argentina at 3:30 a.m. ET. The next three matchups are New Zealand vs. Honduras (4 a.m. ET), France vs. South Africa (4 a.m. ET) and Brazil vs. Ivory Coast (4:30 a.m.).

    Olympic favorite Spain, which needs a win after a surprising draw against Egypt, headlines the slate of later games.

    • Australia vs. Spain; Sunday, 6:30 a.m. ET
    • Romania vs. South Korea; Sunday, 7 a.m. ET
    • Japan vs. Mexico; Sunday, 7 a.m. ET
    • Saudi Arabia vs. Germany; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET

    If there's a winner in Mexico's clash with host nation Japan, that country will be assured of a spot in the knockout round.

Defining Day in Softball

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Entering the Olympics, host Japan and the United States were viewed as the teams to beat in softball.

    And unless there's an upset in Round 4, that will become official.

    So far, both countries are unbeaten. And the U.S. team hasn't allowed a run in three games. If Team USA defeats Australia (9 p.m. ET Saturday) and Japan topples Canada (1:30 a.m. Sunday), it'll clinch a spot in the gold-medal game.

    Should that happen, the upcoming clash between the U.S. and Japan (9 p.m. ET Sunday) will simply be a warm-up game. The gold medal will be at stake Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET.

Beginning of Medal Swims

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    After a short day of preliminary races Saturday, swimming has medals to hand out Sunday morning in Tokyo.

    Back in the United States, it'll be Saturday's prime-time excitement.

    The men's 400-meter individual medleyscheduled for a 9:30 p.m. ET startis the first of four medal races. The others are the men's 400-meter freestyle (9:52 p.m. ET), women's 400-meter individual medley (10:12 p.m.) and women's 4x100-meter relay (10:45 p.m.). Semifinals for the women's 100-meter fly and men's 100-meter breaststroke will happen after both 400-meter individual medleys.

    Session 3 begins at 6:02 a.m. Sunday and features heats for the women's 100-meter backstroke, men's 200-meter freestyle, women's 100-meter breaststroke, men's 100-meter backstroke, women's 400-meter freestyle and the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay.

    Top U.S. gold-medal contenders Lilly King (100-meter breaststroke) and Katie Ledecky (400-meter free) are scheduled to race.

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