Lydia Jacoby would likely have been watching the Tokyo Games as a spectator had the event not been postponed by a year but on Tuesday the Alaskan teenager upstaged Olympic and world champions to win gold in the women's 100m breaststroke.
The 17-year-old pipped Tatjana Schoenmaker to gold, touching in a time of 1:04.95 with the South African 0.27 behind. Jacoby's teammate, Rio Olympic champion and world record holder Lilly King, was in the bronze medal position in 1:05.54.
Jacoby accelerated over the final 25 meters to push ahead of her two rivals, who had been expected to battle it out for gold. After touching the wall she looked stunned as she looked up at the scoreboard.
Jacoby, the first Alaskan native to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, said she had been planning to come to Tokyo last year with her family to watch the Games before they were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as she had little chance of making the team.
The extra year has been a gift for her to mature in the sport, she said, adding that she remembered watching King in Rio when she was 12-years-old.
"It has been incredible," she said. "Having this extra year ... being a part of the world coming together, it means a lot."
Jacoby, whose parents are both boat captains and take visitors on whale watching tours in Alaska, started swimming aged six and initially took lessons as a child because of the amount of time her family spent on the water.
Defending champion King and Schoenmaker, both 24, joked at their news conference that Jacoby made them feel "so old."
"Today it wasn't my day to win, it was Lydia's day to win," said King. "She just had the swim of her life today so we should celebrate that."
US women's hoops starts with win
The United States overcame a slow start to top a stubborn Nigeria 81-72 on Tuesday as they began their quest for a seventh straight gold medal in Olympic women's basketball.
The U.S. women, who have dominated the tournament, found themselves in uncomfortable territory at the Saitama Super Arena as the Nigerians led 20-17 after the first quarter, pressuring the Americans into committing eight turnovers.
The U.S. women regained their footing and took the lead halfway through the second quarter on a Diana Taurasi three-pointer that was part of a 23-0 run, which led to a 44-32 U.S. advantage at the halftime break.
Refusing to go away, Nigeria cut the deficit, which was as much as 22, to eight points with just over three minutes left to play, before the U.S. again steadied the ship with two quick baskets after a time-out.
A'ja Wilson, the WNBA's most valuable player in 2020, led the United States with 19 points. Brittney Griner chipped in 13 and Taurasi, competing in her fifth Olympics, added 10 points.
Veteran U.S. captain Sue Bird gave credit to Nigeria for the defensive pressure they brought but took heart in the way her team was able to adjust.
"They like to make the game chaotic, they like to make you do things that you're not used to doing, play a way you don't want to play. It's never going to be pretty against them," she said.
USWNT advances to knockout stage
The United States women's soccer team were less than convincing in their goalless draw with Australia on Tuesday but did enough to reach the Olympic tournament knockout stage behind Group G winners Sweden who stayed perfect by beating New Zealand 2-0.
The U.S. side had responded to an opening round shock by the Swedes with a 6-1 thrashing of New Zealand but they struggled to unlock Australia's defense at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium and finished with four points from three matches.
China dealt another blow in women's volleyball
The United States dealt China a second consecutive straight sets defeat in women's volleyball to leave the defending champions in danger of missing out on the knockout stages.
The Americans, bronze medalists at Rio in 2016, have won five Olympic medals in the event but never gold. Their 29-27, 25-22, 25-21 victory moved them to the top of Pool B without dropping a set, having beaten Argentina in their opener.
Jordan Thompson, the Americans' 24-year-old opposite hitter who is competing in her first Games, impressed again, top-scoring with 34 points to set a Tokyo 2020 record.
Around the Games
Japan's Naomi Osaka was on Tuesday beaten in the third round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic tennis singles tournament. The world number two lost 6-1 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.
Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz became her country's first ever Olympic gold medalist, winning the women's 55 kg category for weightlifting. In her fourth Olympics, the 30-year-old lifted a combined weight of 224 kg, an Olympic record.
Meanwhile, Flora Duffy, 33, achieved instant national hero status when she won Bermuda's first Olympic gold medal, winning the women's triathlon. With about 63,000 residents, the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean became the smallest nation to win a Summer Olympic gold medal.