Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 4 in Tokyo

Carol Schram@pool88Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2021

Summer Olympics 2021: What to Watch for on Day 4 in Tokyo

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    Simone Biles
    Simone BilesJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Finally underway a year later than expected, there's no doubt that the Tokyo Olympics will be remembered as a one-of-a-kind event. But now that we're getting into the meat of the matter, the athletes are reminding us that their amazing skills are what make the Games so endlessly compelling.

    Whether it's an underdog coming out of nowhere to seize unexpected glory or continued domination by some of the greatest teams and individuals in sports, it's hard to look away.

    Hopefully, you're settling into the challenges of the time difference by now. In the United States, Day 4 events will start Monday evening, run through the night and wrap up Tuesday morning.

    It'll be a big day for the women. Medals and playoff positioning are on the line on the field and the road, in the water and in the gym.

    Let's go! This is your guide to Day 4 at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Biles and U.S. Women Go for Gold in Women's Team Gymnastics

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    Tuesday morning at 6:45 a.m. ET, the legendary Simone Biles begins her quest to break medal records with the women's team gymnastics event.

    Biles earned four golds and one bronze in Rio, and the United States team is looking to capture a third consecutive title in this discipline. On the team, Biles, 24, will be joined by three first-time Olympians—Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum.

    Qualifying during Day 2 wasn't exactly a smooth ride. The U.S. team finished second to a strong group from the Russian Olympic Committee. And while Biles still recorded the highest score in the individual all-around, she uncharacteristically stumbled out of bounds both on the vault and during her floor exercise.

    Biles is looking to make history in Tokyo. Two more golds would move her into first place in U.S. Olympic gymnastics history for a man or woman, ahead of Anton Heida, who earned five golds and one silver in St. Louis in 1904. With three medals of any color, she'll pass Shannon Miller (2 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze in 1992 and 1996) as the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history.

Lilly King and Ryan Murphy Seek Repeat Wins in the Pool

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    Lilly King
    Lilly KingJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    After a tremendous start for Team USA in the pool, two Americans will be looking to repeat their gold-medal performances from Rio in 2016 on Monday night at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Monday night, starting at 9:30 p.m ET.

    Lilly King, 24, is looking to become the first woman ever to win the 100-meter breaststroke more than once at the Olympics. But her gold medal is far from guaranteed. She finished with the third-best time in the semifinals, behind South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker and her 17-year-old Alaskan teammate, Lydia Jacoby.

    On the men's side, Ryan Murphy will be looking for his fourth career Olympic gold with a repeat win in the 100-meter backstroke. He won all three of his events in Rio in 2016—the 100 and 200 back and the 4x100 individual medley—and cruised into the Tokyo final with the fastest time in the semifinal.

    Two other finals also take place on Monday. American Regan Smith set an Olympic record with the fastest qualifying time in the semifinal of the women's 100-meter backstroke. She'll be joined in the final by teammate Rhyan White.

    No Americans qualified for the final of the men's 200-meter freestyle.

U.S. Takes On Australia as Group Stage Concludes in Women's Soccer

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    Carli Lloyd
    Carli LloydJessica Hill/Associated Press

    You'll have to get up early if you want to watch the U.S. women's soccer team go head-to-head in what could be a crucial match against Australia on Tuesday morning at 4 a.m. ET.

    The USNWT has won four of six gold medals since women's soccer was introduced to the Olympics in 1996, but finished a disappointing fifth in Rio in 2016. In Tokyo, the team got off to a rocky start, dropping a 3-0 decision to Sweden before rebounding with a 6-1 win over New Zealand.

    The U.S. and Australia go into Tuesday's deciding final game of the group stage with identical 1-0-1 records in Group G. Team USA holds the edge in second place thanks to a better goal differential.

    With a win or draw, the Americans will hold their position and set themselves up for a winner-take-all quarterfinal appointment on Day 7 with the top-seeded team in Group E, likely Brazil or the Netherlands. It's unlikely they'll catch the first-place Swedes, who finish out their group-stage play against 0-2 New Zealand.

The Drive for 5 Begins for Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi

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    USA Women's Basketball
    USA Women's BasketballJessica Hill/Associated Press

    Women's basketball begins on Day 3, but the United States doesn't tip off until Day 4—late Monday night back home, at 12:40 a.m. ET.

    The team will be looking to extend its extend its 49-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to the bronze-medal game in 1992. Since then, they've won six straight gold medals.

    With that last loss coming 29 years ago, half the players on the current roster have never seen the U.S. women lose in their lifetimes. As for the veterans, icons Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are back for the fifth time, looking to add more hardware to their trophy cases.

    The latest quest to be the best begins against Nigeria. And if you like scoring, you’ve come to the right place. The American women exceeded the 100-point mark in six of their eight games in Rio, including the gold-medal game.

    Also on the court, the new 3x3 discipline continues Monday night. The American women will round out their pool play against Japan at 12:30 a.m. ET.

U.S. Women Go for Gold in Softball

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The U.S. women are set to go for gold in softball's return to the Summer Olympics.

    They finished out the group stage with a perfect 5-0 record after Kelsey Stewart’s walk-off home run to right field in the bottom of the seventh gave Team USA a 2-1 win over Japan.

    The Japanese were also 4-0 heading into Monday’s contest and got out to an early 1-0 lead. Saki Yamizaki, the first batter of the day, got aboard thanks to a fielding error and eventually made her way home on a passed ball.

    The Americans didn’t get their first hit of the day until the sixth inning but when they did, Haylie McCleney parlayed her single into left field into the tying run.

    Softball hasn’t been in the Olympics since 2008 when Japan ended Team USA’s streak of three straight golds. The same two teams will battle this time around at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. The winner-take-all gold-medal game is scheduled for 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning, although rain in the forecast could cause a delay.

U.S. Women Look to Repeat in Triathlon

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Katie Zaferes leads the way as the U.S. looks to repeat as champion in women's triathlon.

    With high temperatures a concern, the grueling event will kick off Day 4 action at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at Odaiba Marine Park (5:30 p.m. ET on Monday back in the United States).

    Zaferes, 32, is a veteran triathlete who's currently ranked fourth in the world and earned top spot in the women's Olympic qualification rankings. She is joined on the U.S. team by two first-time Olympians, including one who ranks above her in the overall world rankings—No. 2 Summer Rappaport and No. 9 Taylor Knibb.

    Gwen Jorgensen brought home the first-ever gold for the United States in this sport in 2016, but isn't part of this year's team. Zaferes finished 18th in Rio.

    Keep an eye on triathlon legend Nicola Spirig Hug of Switzerland, back for her fifth Olympics after winning gold in London and silver in Rio. Great Britain also has a strong team which includes 2020 world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown and Rio bronze medalist Vicky Holland.