Who will be the first U.S. gold medalist in Rio? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Who will be the first U.S. gold medalist in Rio?

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The U.S. has no gold-medal favorites on the first day of the Olympics, which puts it in jeopardy of not reaching the top of the podium on Day 1 of the Games for the first time since 1996.

Who will be the first U.S. medalist and gold medalist in Rio? Let’s take a look.

The 12 Day 1 finals on Saturday, Aug. 6, in somewhat chronological order:

  • Shooting: Women’s air rifle
  • Shooting: Men’s air pistol
  • Cycling: Men’s road race
  • Fencing: Women’s epee
  • Archery: Men’s team event
  • Judo: Women’s 48kg
  • Judo: Men’s 60kg
  • Weightlifting: Women’s 48kg
  • Swimming: Men’s 400m individual medley
  • Swimming: Men’s 400m freestyle
  • Swimming: Women’s 400m individual medley
  • Swimming: Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay

The U.S. has a great shot at silver or bronze medals in some of these events. The men’s archery team took silver at the 2012 Olympics and fourth at the 2015 World Championships. In swimming, Chase Kalisz and Maya DiRado captured world championships bronze and silver medals in the 400m IMs last year, and the women’s 4x100m free relay has always made the podium (Australia is a heavy favorite though).

If the U.S. does not earn gold on Aug. 6, it will snap a streak of 20 straight days that it has made the top of a Summer Olympic podium dating to the 2008 Beijing Games.

The U.S. was all but assured a gold medal on the first day of the Olympics in 2004 and 2012 in the men’s 400m individual medley, with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, respectively. Neither are swimming it this year.

In 2008, fencer Mariel Zagunis led a U.S. sweep of the women’s sabre on the first day in Beijing. In 2000, U.S. shooter Nancy Johnson took gold in the first medal event of the Sydney Games.

On Day 2 in Rio, the U.S. is almost surely going to take gold.

There are 14 finals on Sunday, Aug. 7, in somewhat chronological order:

  • Shooting: Women’s air pistol
  • Shooting: Women’s trap
  • Cycling: Women’s road race
  • Diving: Women’s synchronized springboard
  • Weightlifting: Women’s 53kg
  • Judo: Women’s 52kg
  • Judo: Men’s 52kg
  • Archery: Women’s team
  • Fencing: Men’s foil
  • Weightlifting: Men’s 56kg
  • Swimming: Women’s 100m butterfly
  • Swimming: Men’s 100m breaststroke
  • Swimming: Women’s 400m freestyle
  • Swimming: Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay

One could argue the U.S. is a gold-medal favorite in one of these events — the women’s 400m freestyle. Katie Ledecky is the two-time reigning world champion, world-record holder and the fastest woman in the world this year by 1.67 seconds. The second-fastest woman this year is another American, Leah Smith, so it would be shocking if the U.S. does not finish the first weekend of the Olympics with at least one gold medal.

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