The United States makes a strong start with three swimming medals, including the first gold


Tokyo (AP) — Chase Kalisz led a medal-winning team in the Olympic pool and won a gold medal in the men’s 400-meter individual medley on Sunday.

There was room for others to shine.

The host country, Japan, won the first gold medal for swimming, and Tunisia also won the medal podium.

Kalisz was the first US medal winner of the Tokyo Olympics, and Jay Litherland did it. 1-2 finish By Americans gathering on freestyle legs and demanding silver. Brendon Smith of Australia won the bronze.

Kieran Smith won another medal for an American man in 400 freestyle bronze. Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaui was an amazing winner from Lane 8, but Australia’s Jack McLoughlin settled on silver after leading most of the race.

American women also played their part. Japan’s Yui Ohashi won a gold medal in the Women’s 400 IM with her dynamic breaststroke legs, but two Americans were awake.

Emma Wayant won silver and bronze was presented to Hari Flickinger.

In total, 5 of the first 9 swimming medals went to the United States

Former training partner Kalisz, a protégé of the great Michael Phelps of the Olympics, first touched at 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. The next Litherland was 4: 10.28, just before Smith (4: 10.38).

Kalisz bent his muscles, climbed onto the lane rope, splashed water, and a delegation of teammates cheered him from the almost empty Tokyo Aquatics Center stand.

“USA! USA!” They chanted.

Kalisz was a silver medalist at a tough event in the Rio game five years ago. Currently 27 years old, he is the best in the world by using all 4 strokes.

“It was the most special type of pain,” Kalisz said. “I hurt it as much as I could and vowed to do my best to achieve this.”

Litherland came to give the winner a hug, ensuring that Americans got the best possible start in the pool.

“It means a lot to come back and do this in chase,” said Litherland, who finished fifth in the 400IM in Rio.

After hanging his medal around his neck in a masked victory ritual, Kalisz and Litherland roamed the deck with their arms crossed.

There is no social distance for them.

Americans seized the opportunity after Japanese star Daiya Seto made a tactical mistake trying to save energy for a medal race and finished ninth in qualifying.

The finals were held in the morning of Tokyo time instead of the usual evening time frame. This is in favor of the American television network NBC, which wanted to show the finals live during the golden time of the United States.

This was the same format used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where Phelps won eight record gold medals. He retired after Rio and won a total of 23 gold medals, but Americans still have enough star power in the post-Phelps era.

From the edge of the pool, Hafnaui joined Oussama Mellouli as a gold medalist from the North African country of Tunisia.

Hafnaoui touched on 43: 43.26, followed by McLoughlin (3: 43.52) and Smith (3: 43.94).

“The last 50 sprinted in the ass, just as the 50 was free,” Smith said. “It was a really fun race.”

Ohashi helped make up for Seto’s flop with a men’s IM. She pulled her chest apart to win 4: 32.08.

Wayant chased the freestyle leg, but settled in silver at 4: 32.76. Flickinger was third at 4: 34.90, while Hungary’s great Katinka Hossou, the defending champion, fell to fifth.

“After we saw (Kalisz and Litherland would be 1-2), we looked at each other and said,’It’s our turn,'” Weyant said. “I think it really moved our team.”

Only the media, VIPs, officers and swimmers who didn’t play on Sunday were at the 15,000-seat arena stand. Many ignored the request from Japanese organizers to refrain from any kind of support to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it was sometimes an eerie and quiet atmosphere.

There was a drum on the stand and some horns to spice it up.

With a striking touch before the first race, the speaker sang the British band Bastille’s song “Pompeii” with the lyrics “But when you close your eyes, does it feel like almost nothing has changed?” Ringed.

It was the usual business at the pool. However, the Olympics, a year behind the pandemic, seemed to have changed a lot and were eventually staged under strict restrictions, including a ban on all fans.

When the swimmer headed to the deck for the first swim final of the Tokyo Olympics, a montage of fans watching the world via a video link was displayed on the scoreboard.


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