Olympics: Chase Kalisz, swimmers earn Team USA's first medals, spark surge

Team USA swimmer Chase Kalisz shows off his gold medal after winning the men's 400-meter individual medley at the 2020 Summer Games on Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in Tokyo. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
1 of 8 | Team USA swimmer Chase Kalisz shows off his gold medal after winning the men's 400-meter individual medley at the 2020 Summer Games on Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in Tokyo. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

July 25 (UPI) -- Swimmer Chase Kalisz claimed Team USA's first medal of the 2020 Summer Games with a victory in the men's 400-meter individual medley final Sunday in Tokyo. The win sparked a string of other American medal-winners.

Team USA failed to medal Saturday, the first time since 1972 that the Americans didn't claim gold, silver or bronze on the first day of the Olympics.


"It means the world," Kalisz told NBC. "This is the last thing I really wanted to accomplish in my swimming career. It was something that was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember."

Fellow American Jay Litherland claimed the silver medal in the men's 400-meter individual medley. Australia's Brendon Smith finished third.

Team USA won four additional medals in swimming events Sunday in Tokyo. Kieran Smith finished third to claim bronze in the men's 400-meter freestyle final. Tunisia's Ahmed Hafnaoui and Australia's Jack McLoughlin finished first and second in that event.


Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger won silver and bronze, respectively in the women's 400-meter individual medley. Japan's Yui Ohashi won gold.

The Americans also finished third in the women's 400-meter freestyle relay final. That team featured Erika Brown, Abbey Weitzeil, Natalie Hinds and Simone Manuel. Australia won that event. Canada finished second.

Later Sunday, Team USA's Lee Kiefer beat Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee in the fencing women's foil individual gold medal bout to claim a gold medal.

Kiefer is the first American woman in history to win an Olympic medal in individual foil.

William Shaner won another gold medal for Team USA in the 10-meter air rifle men's final. China's Lihao Sheng and Haoran Yang finished second and third in that event.

Skateboarding held its first Olympic medal competition Sunday at Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo. Japan's Yuto Horigome won gold in the men's street final. Brazil's Kelvin Hoefler won silver and American Jagger Eaton claimed bronze.

Team USA's Nyjah Huston, the event favorite, finished seventh in the street final.

Anastasija Zolotic, 18, made more Olympic history for Team USA on Sunday in Tokyo. She defeated the Russian Olympic Committee's Tatiana Minina in the women's 57-kg gold medal contest to become the first American woman in history to win a gold medal in taekwondo.


Later Sunday in competition that will be shown on NBC, the Russian Olympic Committee outscored Simone Biles and Team USA in qualifying for the women's gymnastics finals. Biles posted the highest score of qualifying in the all-around competition, followed by Brazil's Rebeca Andrade and Team USA's Sunisa Lee.

Biles, as expected, qualified for floor, balance beam, uneven bars and vault, which means her goal of six gold medals is still in play for the Summer Games.

Lee also qualified in bar and beam, in addition to in the all-around. Jade Carey qualified to compete as an individual in floor and vault.

Team USA's Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum will compete in the team final. Team USA's MyKayla Skinner, who competed as an individual, failed to qualify for any event final.

As of Sunday night in Tokyo, China leads the overall medal count with 11 total. The United States is in second with 10. Team USA's medal count includes four gold medals, two silver medals and four bronze medals.

Tokyo Olympics: Moments from women's gymnastics

From left to right, China's silver medalist Xijing Tang, China's gold medalist Chenchen Guan and the United States' bronze medalist Simone Biles pose during the awards ceremony for the balance beam individual apparatus final on August 3. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

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