Wayde van Niekerk was one of the great stories of Rio 2016, stunning the world with his record time of 43.03 as he won gold in the 400 metres.

The South African was back on the track on Sunday morning in Tokyo, and he has some work to do if he wants to get back to the medal stand five years later.

Van Niekerk finished third in his heat to qualify for the semi-finals, but his time of 45.25 seconds ranked as the 12th-fastest among all competitors.

"I definitely came with a bit of nerves but I think I handled it well," he said. "I took it by my stride, switched off a bit too soon, but still got the job done."

USA's Michael Cherry had the leading time at 44.82, while the top two finishers in Van Niekerk's heat, Colombia's Anthony Zambrano (44.87) and Steven Solomon (44.94) of Australia, were both among the fastest four athletes.

After his heat, Van Niekerk sounded like a man adjusting to his new reality, as he will not sneak up on anyone this time.

"Walking around again, looking at [the] Olympic record and world record and that's my time, it sometimes feels a bit unreal," he said. "But this time around it’s a new championship, new rounds. I have to totally focus on the mission right now."

In the only medal event of the morning at the Olympic Stadium, China's Gong Lijiao took gold in the women's shot put with a throw of 20.58m, with USA's Raven Saunders second at 19.79m.

But Valerie Adams' bronze medal at 19.62m may have been the most impressive achievement, as the 36-year-old medalled in the event for the fourth consecutive Olympics.

After finishing seventh at Athens 2004, Adams won gold in Beijing and London before taking silver in Rio. She is now the only woman in history to medal in the same field event four times. 

WORTHINGTON TAKES BMX FREESTYLE GOLD

Charlotte Worthington won the BMX freestyle park event Sunday, making Great Britain the first nation to take gold in all five Olympic cycling disciplines.

The 25-year-old from Manchester fell on her first run in the final but landed the first-ever 360 backflip in competition on her second to score a 97.50.

Hannah Roberts of the USA took silver with a 96.10 on her first run before falling on her second and Nikita Ducarroz of Switzerland claimed bronze with an 89.20.

“I'm over the moon," Worthington said. "I’m still sitting here waiting to wake up. I’ve been thinking about this day for the past three or four years, just going in and out of thinking I can, or I can’t do it.

"I’m literally waiting to wake up right now. It feels like a dream.”

Australia's Logan Martin took the first men's gold medal in the event, his 93.30 on the first run getting the better of Venezuela's Daniel Dhers (92.05) and Great Britain's Declan Brooks (90.80).

FIRST MEDAL AT LAST FOR FRATUS

Amid more history-making performances for the American men and Australian women on the final day of swimming competition, Brazil's Bruno Fatus achieved some long-awaited personal glory.

The 32-year-old took bronze in the 50m freestyle behind Caeleb Dressel of the USA and Florent Manaudou of France, his first Olympic medal in his third attempt.

A three-time world championships medallist in the 50m free, Fratus finished an agonising 0.02 seconds off the podium at London 2012, then placed sixth in the event four years later in Rio.

On Sunday, he ascended to the podium at last.

"Winning bronze releases a lot of pressure that was on my back," Fratus said. "I’m so pleased to step on the podium with Caeleb and Florent, two of the best swimmers in history.

"Caeleb has all the potential to beat Michael Phelps’ (records) one day, who knows?

"And Florent is a beast, a monster and one of the best in history. I’m proud to be his friend and share an Olympic podium with him."

Dressel won gold in the 4x100m medley too to reach five Olympic titles in Tokyo, while Australian Emma McKeon also did the 50m free and medley relay double to complete a haul of four gold medals and seven medals in all for the Games. She equalled the haul of gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya at Helsinki in 1952 – the most won by any woman in one Olympics.

IRELAND BOXER WITHDRAWS FROM SEMI-FINAL

Ireland's Aidan Walsh was forced to withdraw from his welterweight semi-final bout against Great Britain's Pat McCormack due to an ankle injury suffered in the quarter-finals.

McCormack moves on to fight for gold against the winner of the other semi between Cuba's Roniel Iglesias and Andrei Zamkovoi of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Walsh will leave Tokyo with a bronze medal and the praise of Ireland's boxing team leader Bernard Dunne.

"What Aidan did this week is an incredible achievement," Dunne said in a statement. "His performance throughout the tournament has been outstanding.

"It is great to see him write his name in the annals of Irish sport. Just over two years ago we selected Aidan for his first major championship, and over the past few months that potential that we had identified has grown and developed into a world-class performance, that reflects greatly on the level of preparation he has put in ahead of these Games."

Walsh's older sister Michaela also fought in Tokyo, falling Monday in the featherweight round of 16.

United States BMX racer Connor Fields has been moved out of intensive care following the crash that ended his Tokyo 2020 medal hopes and caused a brain haemorrhage.

The 28-year-old, who won gold at the Rio Olympics, came off his bike in Friday's semi-finals, taking a heavy fall as two other riders hit the deck with him –  Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands and Sylvain Andre of France.

Fields was carried off the course on a stretcher and taken to hospital by ambulance, with mother Lisa Fields stating he had sustained a "head injury with brain bleed possibly needing surgery to relieve".

That was confirmed by USA Cycling, who said doctors advised that Fields had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

The news appeared more positive on Saturday as his mother waited to learn more about the USA star, saying she had been told he did not currently need to undergo surgery.

She wrote on Facebook: "Connor still constantly sleeping but is cogent and communicative when awakened.

"Latest CT scan shows no additional brain injury and no additional bleeding so he has been transferred from ICU critical care to high level care and does not require surgery at this time.

"Brain function evaluation is ongoing and I will continue to update as I know more and after I get to speak with him."

USA Cycling stated: "The doctors reported that Fields sustained a brain haemorrhage at the venue. After a night in the ICU, the doctors are pleased to report that there has been no additional bleeding, and no new injuries were found. Fields has been moved out of the critical care unit and will remain in the hospital until cleared."

In the absence of Fields for the final, Netherlands rider Niek Kimmann won the gold medal.

Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar has signed a new deal to remain with UAE Team Emirates until 2027.

The Slovenian has worn the yellow jersey down the Champs Elysees at the last two editions of the Tour, also claiming the mountains classification in both.

Pogacar, who is still only 22, took bronze in the Tokyo 2020 men's road race and has now secured his long-term future with the team he joined in 2019.

"I'm really happy to be able to commit my future to the team and stay here for the next years," he told his team's official website. "I feel at home here, it feels like a big family.

"This team is a really good fit for me and I am fortunate to say that I have not only found colleagues but friends.

"I'm excited for the years ahead and what they will bring, hopefully more success for me and for the team. I hope we are inspiring lots of kids to ride bikes."

Reigning champion Connor Fields is "awake and awaiting further medical evaluation" after a sickening crash in the semi-finals of the men's BMX racing at the Tokyo Olympics.

The American 2016 gold medallist was stretchered off the course and taken to hospital after the major crash with Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands and Sylvain Andre of France in the third run of the semi-final heats.

"We can confirm that Connor Fields is awake and awaiting further medical evaluation. We will share additional updates as they become available," a USA team doctor said.

Fields, appearing in his third Olympics, had already qualified for the final but was unable to take his place, given the injuries sustained, with Niek Kimmann from the Netherlands taking out the gold.

Great Britain's Kye Whyte claimed silver with Colombia's Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes winning the bronze.

Another gold medal contender, Australia's Saya Sakakibara, also crashed out in the women's BMX racing.

Sakakibara, whose brother Kai suffered life-changing head injuries from a crash in the sport 15 months ago, was carried off the course on a stretcher but later able to perform media interviews.

The Australian had been leading the pack ahead of the last turn in the third run of the semi-finals, before a clash of wheels with USA's Alise Willoughby brought the pair down.

Australia's Olympic team tweeted that Sakakibara had "sustained a few bumps and bruises and will continue to be monitored over the next 24 hours as a precaution".

Sakakibara told Channel 7: "This is so disappointing. I feel like I have let everyone down. I let everyone down, especially my brother."

Great Britain's Bethany Shriever went on to win the gold medal, ahead of Colombia's Mariana Pajon and the Netherlands' Merel Smulders.

 

SCHOENMAKER SMASHES WORLD RECORD

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker improved on her 100 metres women's breaststroke silver medal with a gold in Friday's 200m, as well as smashing the world record.

Schoenmaker finished in two minutes and 18.95 seconds, breaking Rikke Moller Pedersen's pre-existing mark of 2:19.11, as she beat USA pair Lilly King and Annie Lazor.

"I wasn't expecting that at all," Schoenmaker said about her world record, having appeared visibly stunned upon realising her time. "I was really trying to focus on my own race. [King] definitely pushed me, knowing that her first 100 is so good."

Russia Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov swam an Olympic record time to win the men's 200m backstroke, having won gold in the 100m earlier this week.

Rylov, who swam 1:53:27, beat USA's Ryan Murphy and Great Britain's Luke Greenbank.

Australian Emma McKeon also marked an Olympic record as she won gold in the women's 100m freestyle ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey and countrywoman Cate Campbell.

China's Wang Shun won the men's 200m individual medley from Britain's Duncan Scott and Switzerland's Jeremy Desplanches.

 

KIWIS DOMINATE THE ROWING

New Zealand picked up a handsome share of the rowing medals at the Sea Forest Waterway, with two golds and a silver from the four events on Friday.

Emma Twigg triumphed with an Olympic-best time of 7:13.97 in the women's single sculls, finishing ahead of Russia Olympic Committee's Hanna Prakatsen and Austria's Magdalena Lobnig.

New Zealand also won in a thrilling finish from Germany and Great Britain in the men's eight final, edging out the Germans by less than a second.

Hamish Bond was part of the New Zealand eight, having won golds in 2012 and 2016 in the coxless pair, before focusing on cycling in 2017, only to revert back to rowing for Tokyo.

Bond said: "The thing about an eight is it doesn't matter what you do as individuals, it's how you can collectively harness that potential."

Canada won the women's equivalent, pipping New Zealand across the line by 0.91 seconds, with China in third.

Greece won their first medal of the Games in style, with Stefanos Ntouskos claiming gold in the men's single sculls from Norway's Kjetil Borch and Croatia's Damir Martin.

 

WOMEN'S 100M HEATS UP

The track events got under way, with the women's 100m heats the main attraction at the Olympic Stadium, headlined by Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou with the joint fourth quickest legal time ever seen at the Games.

Two-time World Championship silver medallist Ta Lou ran a personal best time of 10.78 seconds.

Jamaican duo Elaine Thompson-Herah – the reigning Olympic champion – and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were the next fastest, with 10:82 and 10:84 respectively.

With the field stacked with quality, Fraser-Pryce said: "There's rivalry with everybody. All female athletes are showing up and you're competing so I don't focus on just one individual."

American Connor Fields was carried off the Tokyo 2020 BMX course on a stretcher and taken to a waiting ambulance after a shocking crash in the men's semi-finals.

The 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist went down before the first bend amid a tightly bunched pack of riders, two of whom hit the deck with him – Dutchman Twan van Gendt and France's Sylvain Andre..

Van Gendt said of the incident: "I landed the jump and there was two guys crashing in front of me and there was nowhere to go, that's it.

"I've been racing with those guys all my life, almost. It's a tough competition. We race hard, as you see. We're all on the limit and this is what can happen. I'm happy I'm quite OK. We'll see what the damage is."

There was no official word of 28-year-old Fields' condition and the injuries he may have sustained.

Gold in the later final went to the Netherlands' Niek Kimmann, with Britain's Kye White taking silver and Colombia's Carlos Alberto Ramirez Yepes coming away with bronze.

Australian Saya Sakakibara suffered a heavy crash in the women's semi-finals and was also carried off, but she was able to give media interviews afterwards.

Primoz Roglic eased to an emphatic time trial victory to clinch gold at the Tokyo Olympics, claiming Slovenia's first gold medal in any cycling discipline.

Roglic was pipped to the post in the 2020 Tour de France, when compatriot Tadej Pogacar stole a march on him in the final time trial.

The Jumbo-Visma rider's attempts to wrest the title away from Pogacar proved fruitless this year, as he suffered a huge crash early on in the race and was eventually forced to abandon.

He did not make the podium in Saturday's road race, Pogacar taking that honour for Slovenia, but Roglic hit back with a supreme display on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old finished the 44.2km course in a time of 55:04, more than a minute ahead of his nearest rival, Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands.

Roglic was never out of the top two. He led by 0.04 seconds after 15km, yet had dragged that lead out to 42.34 seconds at the 37km time check.

Rohan Dennis got the bronze, becoming the second Australian to win a medal in both road and track cycling, after Kathy Watt in 1992.

Dumoulin, a Jumbo-Visma team-mate of Roglic, became the first Dutchman to win two Olympic medals on the road, following his time trial silver in Rio.

Pre-event favourite Wout van Aert of Belgium was unable to keep the pace and finished down in sixth, while world TT champion Filippo Ganna had to settle for fifth.

TWO UP FOR SLOVENIA

Pogacar decided not to push himself for Wednesday's event, making Roglic Slovenia's hope, and he certainly delivered with what was a brilliant display of power.

Roglic's gold was Slovenia's first in cycling and the European nation's second at these Games, following Benjamin Savsek's success in the men's canoe slalom on Monday, equalling their best tally at a Games, which came in Sydney 21 years ago.

Dumoulin's silver, meanwhile, brought up the Netherlands' seventh medal of Wednesday. It has equalled their most successful single day (August 11, 1928) at a Games.

Team GB's two-time gold medallist Geraint Thomas finished 12th, capping a frustrating week after he crashed out of the road race.

"It was tough," the Welshman told BBC Sport. "I tried to start at a pace that we thought would be there or thereabouts for a medal. Then I heard I was 50 seconds down on Roglic which wasn't great for morale.

"It's been a super hard five weeks and it just seems to be one thing after the next. I just need to stay positive and try to keep going."

VAN VLEUTEN GETS GOLD, VAN DER BREGGEN GOES OUT ON A HIGH

Two of Dumoulin's countrywomen contributed to the Netherlands' medal count on Wednesday, with Annemiek van Vleuten finally claiming gold.

The 38-year-old thought she had won the road race on Saturday, but was mistaken. However, there was no such error on this occasion, as she won by over a minute on the 22.1km course.

She is the third-oldest woman to win an Olympic gold for the Netherlands, after dressage rider Anky van Grunsven (aged 40 years, 230 days) and rower Marit van Eupen (38y, 326d), with that duo winning in Beijing in 2008.

After her silver medal on Saturday, Van Vleuten is the sixth female cyclist to claim a podium place in the road race and the individual time trial at the Games.

Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten finally has an Olympic gold medal after obliterating the field in the time trial.

She won by nearly a minute over the 22.1km course, with Switzerland's Marlen Reusser in silver and Van Vleuten's team-mate Anna van der Breggen claiming the bronze.

Marlen Reusser of Switzerland finished second, while Anna van der Breggen boosted the Netherlands' count with a bronze – her third Olympic medal.

A surprised Van der Breggen was initially disappointed with her effort, but it was enough to ensure the Netherlands claimed multiple medals in a cycling event at the Games for the first time.

"There's not so much of a story. The time trial did not feel so good. It was not my best time trial. I thought it was nothing, and in the end it was a bronze medal, so I'm really happy to have a medal," she said.

The medal caps off a stellar career for Van der Breggen, who is retiring at the end of the season.

"A bronze medal is a great way to finish this all. It's my third Olympic medal and that makes me proud," she added. "I can look back on many great races and on a great career."

Netherlands' Annemiek van Vleuten finally ended her hunt for an Olympic gold as the 38-year-old triumphed in the women's time trial on Wednesday.

Van Vleuten's confusion in the road race made headlines over the weekend as she celebrated when crossing the line in second place, thinking she had won.

However, it was Anna Kiesenhofer – who is currently without a professional team – who triumphed, having forged a breakaway with 40 kilometres remaining; Van Vleuten failing to realise the Austrian had finished well ahead.

Yet Van Vleuten, who looked set to win gold in Rio only to crash out on the final approach, finally clinched the top prize, and despite her veteran status, she is determined to push for more.

"I think it will sink in tonight maybe, not at the moment," said Van Vleuten, who became the second Dutch cyclist to win the individual time trial at the Games, after Leontien van Moorsel in 2000 and 2004.

"My story started in Rio but the story has not ended yet, because I will not stop. But this is really beautiful. It makes it extra beautiful... extra beautiful."

She also insisted she never lost faith in her ability, despite her troubles.

"I knew after the road race that I was in really good shape, and no one believed. They were talking about different stuff but not about my performance, but in my heart I knew that my preparation had been optimal and that I was in really good shape here," Van Vleuten added.

"If you know that you're really close to the gold sometimes you tend to think only about the mistakes you can make on this quite technical course, about the corners, about if it starts to rain or it's slippery, or that you make a mistake.

"But I was in a good flow today and I was not thinking about mistakes. I was turning it around, like, 'Where can I gain time?'"

Van Vleuten, at the age of 38 years and 293 days, is the third-oldest women to win Olympic gold for the Netherlands.

She finished ahead of Marlen Reusser and compatriot Anna van der Breggen, who equalled Van Moorsel as the Dutch cyclist with the most Olympic medals (three).

There was plenty of drama in Tokyo on Tuesday and that is set to continue as the Olympic Games ramps up further on Wednesday.

A titanic tussle in the swimming pool should be well worth watching, but action on the bikes and in the basketball court will also draw plenty of eyes.

Stats Perform guides you through the events not to be missed.

TITMUS OUT TO TOP LEDECKY AGAIN

Katie Ledecky is one of the dominant forces in the pool, taking gold in each of her prior four individual Games finals since her 2012 debut as she headed to Tokyo, but she was upset in the 2020 opener.

Ariarne Titmus, the 20-year-old Australian, beat the United States' world record holder by more than half a second in the 400m freestyle final.

Now, Titmus is coming for Ledecky's crown again as the pair do battle in the 200m freestyle, where another victory would send a significant message.

TOUR STARS TAKE ON TIME TRIAL

There are no shortage of big names in the men's time trial, with a number of Grand Tour winners involved – including Geraint Thomas, no doubt determined to put on a show after his fall in the road race.

The last two men to head out perhaps represent the most likely Olympic champions, though, as Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna go for gold.

Van Aert won the final two stages of the Tour de France, including a time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

FOCUS ON THE FOUR

The first rowing medals of the Games are to be handed out on Wednesday, and the women's four – back in the Olympics for the first time in 30 years – should provide plenty of intrigue.

World champions Australia changed their line-up for the Olympics, having not competed internationally since taking their title in 2019. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, world silver medallists and back-to-back European champions, have been dominant.

The two teams won their respective heats, but Australia's time of six minutes and 28.76 seconds was an Olympic best and almost five seconds quicker than the Dutch. Whether that chasm will remain when the boats are side by side is another matter.

TWO-WAY TUSSLE IN THE GYM

There is more gymnastics action to look forward, with the men's individual final taking place.

Home hope Daiki Hashimoto qualified with the best score and was outstanding for Japan in the team event, yet could only take silver as the hosts were pipped by the Russian Olympic Committee.

It was Nikita Nagornyy's floor routine which sealed that Russian success and he will be bidding for another gold, having trailed Hashimoto in second in qualification.

CAN DREAM TEAM RECOVER FROM NIGHTMARE START?

The United States' latest men's basketball title defence started in miserable fashion with a defeat to France, the team who eliminated them at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

It was Team USA's first Olympics loss since 2004, but it is highly unlikely a second will follow as they face Iran. A big performance is needed regardless to calm the critics.

While France delivered the upset in the basketball, they face their own humiliation in the football. Only a two-goal win against hosts Japan, themselves needing a point, will secure progress through Group A for Les Bleus.

Another superb day for Japan saw the host nation surge to the top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday.

Japan now have eight golds after winning Olympic titles in three different sports, the most unexpected of which came in table tennis.

The mixed doubles team of Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito came from two games down to eventually prevail after seven games against China's Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen.

China won all four table tennis titles at Rio 2016 and had been expected to dominate again, only to come unstuck as Japan won the first gold in this new event.

Further joy for Japan came as 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya triumphed in the women's street skateboarding while Shohei Ono was victorious in the men's 73kg category in judo.

Second behind Japan are the United States, who took two shooting golds on day three as well as the men's 4x100m freestyle title in the pool.

China did not add to their tally of six gold medals, one fewer than the USA, having come up short in another event where they had a team of heavy favourites.

Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen were edged out in the men's 10m synchronised platform, with British divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee winning gold.

That was one of three golds for Great Britain, who moved up to fifth in the medal table thanks also to Adam Peaty retaining his 100m breaststroke title and Tom Pidcock dominating in the men's cross-country mountain bike race.

The Russian Olympic Committee sits fourth after adding three golds, the headliner being victory in the men's artistic gymnastics team all-around final. 

Meanwhile, Hidilyn Diaz made history for the Philippines, become the country's first Olympic gold medallist by prevailing in the women's 55kg weightlifting.

 

Anna Kiesenhofer produced a stunning ride to win gold in the women's cycling road race, with the result certainly taking second-placed Annemiek van Vleuten by surprise.

Kiesenhofer was part of a five-strong breakaway group that immediately moved clear before slowly dropping each of her rivals during the 137-kilometre route that concluded at the Fuji International Speedway track.

The Austrian was all alone at the head of the field with around 40km to go and, with other nations unable to organise a pursuit with team radios not in use, she ended up finishing 75 seconds clear.

"It feels incredible. I couldn't believe it," Kiesenhofer said after claiming the biggest victory of her career to date.

"Even when I crossed the line, it was like, 'Is it done now? Do I have to continue riding?' Incredible."

Such was the huge gap, Van Vleuten initially thought she was victorious when crossing the line, only to be quickly informed that was not actually the case.

"Yes, I thought I had won. I'm gutted about this, of course," she confirmed to the media afterwards.

"At first I felt really stupid, but then the others (her team-mates) also did not know who had won."

Still, Van Vleuten can celebrate securing an Olympic medal five years on from the horrific crash when leading the race at the Rio Games.

At the head of the field with 10km remaining, she came off her bike during the final descent, suffering severe concussion and small fractures to her back.

Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the final place on the podium this time around, securing a bronze medal in the road race for a second successive Olympics.

The Italian finished ahead of Lotte Kopecky of Belgium and Marianne Vos, the Dutch rider who triumphed at London 2012.

The first Olympic skateboarding champion will be crowned on day two of the Tokyo Games.

Ariake Urban Sports Park will be the venue for the first skateboarding action in Olympic history on Sunday.

Elsewhere, it will be the turn of the women to contest the cycling road race after Richard Carapaz produced a brilliant ride to take gold for Ecuador on Saturday.

Stats Perform picks out of some of the standout action to look out for at the end of the opening weekend of competition.

HUSTON FAVOURITE TO MAKE SKATEBOARDING HISTORY

The men's street will be the first skateboarding event, with four heats followed by a final at 12:25 local time.

Nyjah Huston of the United States is the favourite to top the podium, with 16 street skateboarding medals to his name in the X Games.

Tokyo-born Yuto Origome won gold at the World Street Championships in Rome this year and it would be a great story if he can follow that up with an Olympic triumph on home soil.

Skateboarding great Tony Hawk said on Saturday of the sport's introduction: "I'm surprised it took this long for them to figure it out.

"I believe they needed a youthful energy to the summer Games and it's overdue."

DUTCH DUO UNPRECEDENTED DOUBLE

Anna van der Breggen and Marianne Vos have already won Olympic gold medals and they will go in search of a second in the women's road race.

No female cyclist has won the event twice, but the 2012 champion Vos and defending champion Van der Breggen will start the course at Musashinonomori Park looking to achieve that feat.

EYES ON THE POOL – AND ON THE BEACH

The first swimming medals of the Games will be handed out on Sunday following Saturday's heats.

There is an open field in the men's 400 metre medley final – the first event of the day – after home favourite Daiya Seto failed to qualify.

The women's event does feature Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, though, as she aims to protect her 2016 gold, won with a world-record time that stands to this day.

Meanwhile, Australia will take to the pool confident of another gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay final, boasting the title, the world record and by far the best qualifying time.

A new water sport should garner some attention, though, as surfing makes its Olympics bow.

Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach – preferred to a wave pool – plays host for the first and second rounds on Sunday.

Reigning world champions Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore will hope it is a debut to remember.

USA TO GET ON THE BOARD?

While China are sitting pretty already with four medals, the United States will hope not to have to wait too much longer for their first.

Not since Munich 1972 had they ended the first day of the Games without a medal as was the case on Saturday.

The basketball medals are a long way off being handed out, but plenty of American focus will be on Team USA's opener against France.

Preparations for Kevin Durant and Co have not been ideal and Les Bleus beat USA at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

China lead the way with four medals after the opening day of the Olympics, as Richard Carapaz doubled Ecuador's all-time tally of golds in Tokyo.

Yang Qian was the first athlete to strike gold in the Japanese capital, winning the women's 10-metre air rifle competition for China.

Sun Yiwen also claimed a gold medal for China in the women's epee individual fencing event, while compatriot Hou Zhihui came out on top with an Olympic record in the women's 49kg weightlifting.

Pang Wei claimed China's other medal on the opening day, taking bronze in the men's 10m air pistol event.

Carapaz produced a sensational ride to win the men's road race title, becoming the second athlete from Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

Host nation Japan and Italy are joint-second in the medal table with a gold and a silver apiece.

There were three medals for South Korea, including a triumph for Kim Je Deok and An San in the first mixed team archery event.

The United States remain notably absent from the primitive medal table, though, having ended the first day of the Games without a medal for the first time since Munich 1972.

 

Richard Carapaz and the rest of Ecuador are "over the moon" after his victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday.

Carapaz – who finished third in the general classification of the Tour de France earlier this month – crossed the finish line on the Fuji speedway well over a minute ahead of his nearest rivals to clinch Ecuador's second Olympic gold medal.

Meanwhile in the tennis, Andy Murray, who clinched gold in the singles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, started strongly with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, as Team GB overcame French favourites Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There was a shock for 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser, as he and fellow American Nick Lucena fell foul of Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, while Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold of the Games.

 

CARAPAZ CLAIMS RARE ECUADOR TRIUMPH

Carapaz came close in Le Tour, but ultimately could not match the power of Tadej Pogacar, who defended his title in cycling's prime road race.

Yet on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the South American came up with the goods to deliver a long-awaited success for Ecuador.

"My country is over the moon right now. It's the second Olympic medal in the history of my country," he told a news conference after his success, with Tour champion Pogacar claiming bronze behind Belgium's Wout Van Aert.

"The last medal that we won was 25 years ago, so it's a very special moment. It's the first medal in cycling, and cycling is a big sport in my country."

Carapaz's triumph came as good news for Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the race after colliding with his British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart.

"Couldn't be happier for Richard Carapaz," tweeted Thomas – the Ecuadorian's fellow INEOS Grenadiers rider. "To finish on the podium at the Tour and win gold a week later is just incredible. Enjoy it mate. King of Ecuador."

MURRAY STARTS STRONG

It has been a long comeback trail for Murray, who was at the top of his game when he won his second Olympic gold medal back in 2016.

He faces a stern test in the singles on Sunday, when he goes up against Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, and while a defence of that win may be unlikely, he and Salisbury made good progress in the doubles.

Murray was a silver medallist in the mixed doubles at the London Games, and along with Salisbury had too much for second seeds Mahut and Herbert, with the pair needing just 75 minutes to win 6-3 6-2.

"I think we have the potential to be a really good team," said Murray. "We were well deserved winners today – we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.

"If we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we've got a chance of doing well."

Murray's younger brother Jamie also enjoyed a fine start, as he and Neal Skupski came from behind to beat Argentina's Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos in a final-set tie-break.

TAKATO GETS JAPAN UP AND RUNNING

Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, as he triumphed in the men's under-60kg judo final against Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan.

Takato, a three-time world champion and a bronze medallist in Rio, claimed a fitting victory for Japan in a sport that originated in the country, with the event taking place at the famous Nippon Budokan venue.

He had to beat Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a gruelling semi-final. Smetov shared the bronze medal with France’s Luka Mkheidze.

A shock earlier in the day saw Robert Mshvidobadze drop out in the last 16.

DALHAUSSER'S STRUGGLES CONTINUE, NO JOY FOR SETO

It has been a difficult start to the Games for Beijing beach volleyball champion Dalhausser, who had to quarantine after he was deemed a contact of Taylor Crabb. He was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, which has dented the United States' hopes.

Dalhausser could only train with Lucena on two occasions prior to Saturday's meeting with Meeuwsen and Brouwer and the lack of sharpness told as the Dutch prevailed 21-17 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park arena.

There was also no joy for home favourite Daiya Seto. The Japanese swimmer, who won a bronze medal in 2016, had been tipped to shine in the men's 400m individual medley, yet failed to qualify for the final as he finished ninth in the heat.

"In Rio I went out too fast [in the prelim] and didn't recover for the final. In the last 100 [today] I didn't let it all out. It was a misjudgement. The pressure wasn't too much," Seto said afterwards.

"I have the 200m butterfly and 200IM. I'll just forget what happened and focus on my events."

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz powered away to Olympic gold medal glory in the Tokyo 2020 men's road race.

After finishing third in the general classification at the Tour de France, Carapaz produced a stunning ride just six days later in Japan

He crossed the line one minute and seven seconds clear of a distant chasing pack.

Silver in a sprint finish was secured by Belgium's Wout Van Aert and, barely the width of a tyre further back, bronze went to Slovenia's Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.

Carapaz, 28, adds the Olympic title to his 2019 Giro d'Italia triumph, and he slapped his handlebar, punched the air and clapped himself as he crossed the line.

The 234-kilometre race took in the lower slopes of Mount Fuji and a daunting ascent of Mikuni Pass that featured an average gradient of 10.6 per cent and sections that topped 20 per cent.

The riders finished on the Fuji International Speedway, in front of a crowd – being outside Tokyo, a limited number of spectators were allowed to watch the action.

Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas was involved in an early crash with Great Britain team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart and subsequently abandoned the race.

Thomas later tweeted: "Think I must have done something bad in a previous life... Freak crash, Tao lost his front wheel and decked it in front of me. I had nowhere to go, other than the floor as well."

The Netherlands' Bauke Mollema was edged out of the medals in the sprint, finishing fourth, with fifth going to Canada's Michael Woods and sixth to American Brandon McNulty, who had joined Carapaz in a two-man break in the closing stages, only to drop off the champion's pace.

The men's road cycling race is a standout event as dreams will turn into a reality a year later than athletes might have hoped for at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

After Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony on Friday, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar will be striving to light up the opening day of competition.

Pogacar goes for gold less than a week after the Slovenian sensation retained his Tour title in Paris and it will be an incredible achievement if he is on top of the podium again.

There will also be archery, judo, shooting, taekwondo and weightlifting titles up for grabs on the first day of the Games 12 months after they were due to be contested.

Stats Perform pick out what to look out for on Saturday.

 

POGACAR FACES ANOTHER HUGE STAMINA TEST

Pogacar dominated the Tour de France and is the favourite to follow that up with Olympic gold in what promises to be a thrilling road race.

His compatriot Primoz Roglic is another strong contender for gold, while Canada's Michael Woods and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde will start the race with high hopes of securing a medal.

Belgian duo Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert are also expected to be in the mix.

The 234-kilometre course starts at Musashinonomori Park and finishes at the Fuji International Speedway and features five big ascents, including one on Mount Fuji.

 

HIGH HOPES FOR JAPANESE JUDOKAS

There will be no spectators to provide support, but that is not expected to stop Japanese judokas from setting the standard once again.

The host nation has 39 gold, 19 silver and 26 bronze medals in judo, making it the only sport the country tops the all-time Olympic medal table in.

Naoki Ogata, technical operations manager with the International Judo Federation, is setting the bar high with his expectations on home soil.

"No doubt, we want a gold medal in all weight categories," said Ogata.

 

DJOKOVIC IN HUNT FOR GOLDEN SLAM

Novak Djokovic has already won three of the four majors this year and an Olympic title would leave him heading to the US Open knowing victory would complete the Golden Slam.

The world number one from Serbia plays Hugo Dellien of Bolivia when the men's singles starts on Saturday, while Poland's Iga Swiatek is among the standout players in action in the women's singles - which she begins against Mona Barthel.

There is also women's and men's doubles action on Saturday. 

The pick of the other events to be getting under way will be artistic gymnastics, badminton, swimming, boxing, hockey and rowing.

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