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Adam Peaty won the men’s 100-meter dash in a typically dominant performance at the Olympics Aquatics Center on Monday to capture Britain’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
The innovator was among a handful of world-class athletes who were considered almost certain – by himself and by observers – to land at the top of the Olympic podium.
The most pressing question was whether the 26-year-old, the world’s biggest armband, could even beat his world record of 56.88 seconds.
Peaty fell short, finishing with a time of 57.37. But he was still about a half second faster than his nearest rival in Monday’s final and the fifth fastest time in history.
“It’s about what the fuck he wants most.” I’m so fucking raised, ”he told the BBC shortly after the event, before apologizing for swearing on air.
But the memorable reaction may not have violated the country’s broadcast guidelines, since the event took place in the early hours of the UK morning, passing the so-called watershed for explicit content.
Peaty was the crushing favorite to retain the Olympic title he won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
He has also pushed the boundaries of his event in recent years. No other man has come within a second of his best time, which in his event – the equivalent of a sprint through the water – represents a remarkable dominance.
To put his success into perspective, Peaty is proportionally faster than his pool rivals than Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was for his peers on the track. This context helps explain why the Dutch innovator Arno Kamminga and the Italian Nicolo Martinenghi appeared so ecstatically to snatch silver and bronze, respectively.
Speaking to the Financial Times before the Games, Peaty described a goal that went beyond triumph in Tokyo: he wanted to be the first man to complete the event in 56.5 seconds.
Peaty described the task as an “immortal project” in the belief that it was a time that may be impossible to beat by future generations of bathers. His esoteric pursuit is likely to push him to compete in the 2024 Paris Games.
Later Monday, Australian Ariarne Titmus defeated American legend Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400-meter dash, winning the first round of what is expected to be the Olympics ’biggest swimming battle.
The first of several likely endings with the couple did not disappoint. Titmus launched an exciting return after being close to a body length in the early stages, beating Ledecky, the five-time gold medalist, in a time of 3: 56.69.
The Australian set the second fastest time, behind Ledecky’s world record of 3: 56.46 set in Rio. “I won’t be here without you.” [Ledecky] set the standard, “Titmus said.” I just tried to hunt it down… I can’t believe I did it. “
Japanese athletes have continued to excel in Tokyo. Momiji Nishiya, a 13-year-old skateboarder, became the first women’s Olympic champion in the sport after winning the women’s road show. It was the fifth gold medal for guests. Naomi Osaka, who was awarded the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron, stormed into the third round of the women’s singles tennis tournament after easily beating Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in a direct series, 6-3, 6-2.
Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt took gold in the men’s triathlon after a false start missed trapped about a third of the field in open water swimming. He roared after crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 45 minutes and 4 seconds, 11 seconds ahead of Briton Alex Yee and 20 seconds ahead of New Zealander Hayden Wilde, who placed third. Blummenfelt, ranked second in the world by the World Triathlon Federation, has given Norway its first summer Olympic gold medal since London 2012. The start of the race was shattered when a boat for the media stalled. accidentally diving the platform for about a third of the field, causing chaos and the rest of the bathers to be recalled for re-start.
The U.S. men’s basketball team suffered its first loss in Olympic competition since the Athens Games in 2004, falling 83-76 against France in the first game of the group stage. The USA team had a sticky summer, losing to Australia and Nigeria in pre-Olympic friendlies this month after several players were delayed in reaching the all-star team due to a pandemic-delayed NBA season.
In other misfortunes, Ukraine’s first-rate female saber fighter Olga Kharlan lost to China’s Hengyu Yang. Kharlan, the two-time bronze defender, was aiming for a gold medal in Tokyo.
On the podium
Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands celebrated when she crossed the finish line in the women’s road bike race on Sunday, believing she had won. But he hadn’t realized that Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer, the last member of a previous shock group the platoon had failed to take, had already claimed the gold medal. Unlike professional runners, there was no team radio to inform hunters of their mistake.
Ariarne Titmus’ titanic victory over the great Katie Ledecky in the pool on Monday made a similar epic celebration by his Australian coach Dean Boxall, who was touring the otherwise sparsely populated stands. The moment it quickly went viral on social media and it’s the stuff that is made of gifs (see below).
– AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 26, 2021
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Tokyo Olympics Daily is written by the team behind the weekly Scoreboard activity newsletter, with contributions from the FT’s Tokyo bureau. Sign up for Scoreboard here to receive it in your mailbox every Saturday morning.