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Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Dressel dominates

Tokyo Olympics Day 8: Dressel dominates
Posted at 3:59 AM, Jul 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 06:00:01-04

Don't call them "the next Michael Phelps." 

Caeleb Dressel is Caeleb Dressel, and Katie Ledecky is Katie Ledecky. And while they don't compete in as many events as Phelps did, they're just as dominant.

Dressel started his Saturday by confirming the chatter that he would break his own world record in the 100m butterfly, beating his 2019 mark of 49.50 seconds by 0.05 seconds. (STORY)

He returned to the pool for the 50m freestyle semifinals, where he posted the fastest time. A short time later, he was back for the 4x100m mixed medley relay, where he didn't have much of a shot to do anything after inheriting a huge deficit while Great Britain set a world record. (STORY)

Ledecky first burst onto the scene in the London Olympics nine years ago with a win in the 800m freestyle. She won it again, along with 200m, 400m and the 4x200 relay, in Rio. She has also won four straight world championships at 800m.

She almost left an opportunity for Australia's Ariarne Titmus to score another victory over Ledecky in what would be by far the biggest upset between the two. Ledecky's time of 8:12.57 was nearly eight seconds off her world and Olympic record of 8:04.79. But it was enough to hold off Titmus by 1.26 seconds, even as Titmus set an Oceania record.

The other big U.S. performance of the day belonged to lighweight boxer Keyshawn Davis, who staggered No. 1 seed Sofiane Oumiha in the Round of 16, prompting the referee to stop the contest. (STORY

And we got a preview of Sunday's BMX freestyle event, with Hannah Roberts and Perris Benegas posting the top two scores in the seeding runs Saturday while appearing to hold something back for the final.

SEE MORE: Americans finish 1-2 in women's BMX freestyle seeding round

Track and field

Clear your morning plans, at least for about 30 minutes. The mixed 4x400m relay goes at 8:35 p.m. ET, and the women's 100m final follows 15 minutes later.

Qualifying went according to form for U.S. favorites, with 100m hurdler Keni Harrison, 800m runner Clayton Murphy and 400m hurdlers Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin all winning their heats. The only drama was when Murphy was briefly boxed in during the 800, but he broke through and blew away the field to advance.

SEE MORE: Track & Field Day 2: Fraser-Pryce pursues Olympic 100m title No. 3

U.S. teams in action

The worst news for the U.S. in team sports this morning was the injury to volleyball player Jordan Thompson in a loss to the ROC.

Hungary beat the U.S. men's water polo team in group play (STORY), and the U.S. women's rugby team finished sixth.

But it was a good day for smaller U.S. teams. The new mixed relay triathlon saw the U.S. take silver behind Great Britain, U.S. shooters took bronze in the new mixed trap event, and youngsters Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil rallied past a powerful Brazilian team to finish group play with a perfect record. (STORY)


SEE MORE: Great Britain takes first-ever mixed team gold ahead of U.S.

Around the Games

Gymnastics: Simone Biles officially withdrew from the vault and uneven bars. (STORY)

Golf: U.S. golfers SA's Xander Schauffele remained in the lead while 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama gave the host country some hope with a strong third-round charge. (STORY)

Tennis: Talk of a Golden Slam gave way to frustration as Novak Djokovic lost the men's singles bronze medal match and then withdrew from the mixed doubles. (STORY)

SEE MORE: Olympic Golf Day 8: American Xander Schauffele stays on top, Matsuyama closes in


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