Team USA athletes suffered multiple upset losses in the first official day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, the first time in decades the U.S. has walked away with no medals on Day 1 of the Summer Games.
A total of 11 gold medals were given out Saturday for events in archery, cycling, fencing, judo, air rifle and pistol shooting, taekwondo, and weightlifting. However, the U.S. athletes did not receive gold, silver or bronze in any of the events Saturday.
Olympic historian Bill Mallon pointed out that this was the first time the U.S. did not get any medals on Day 1 of the Summer Olympics since Munich in 1972, though Team USA also failed to medal on the first day of the Winter Olympics in 2018.
China won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games on Saturday with a victory from Yang Qian in the 10-meter air rifle competition. USA Today reported that Yang was able to edge out the Russian Olympic Committee’s Anastasiia Galashina, with Switzerland’s Nina Christen taking the bronze. Mary Tucker, the American competing in the event, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, had a series of bad shots in the final on Saturday, causing her to ultimately place sixth. The top U.S. athletes in archery also experienced upset defeats Saturday, with No. 2 seed Brady Ellison and Mackenzie Brown losing 5-4 to Indonesia in a shootout in the first round at Yumenoshima Park. Saturday marked the debut of the mixed archery team Olympic event, which Ellison went into looking to add to his collection of three Olympic medals from past Games.
However, Ellison will still have an opportunity to medal in the men’s team and individual events. “I’m still a little shocked,” Ellison said after Saturday’s event, according to USA Today. “I completely expected us to win a medal today,” he continued. “We got in that stadium, and I shot left. Mackenzie started getting it figured out there at the end. I shot left that entire match trying to aim off for the wind.”He added, “That finals venue kicked my ass. I just didn’t see it, and that cost us the match.”
However, U.S. teams did have some victories in qualifying rounds for other events, including the U.S. women’s basketball team’s win over France in the 3-on-3 game’s Olympic debut.