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Eli Dershwitz of Team United States reacts in his men’s sabre individual bout against Junghwan Kim of Korea of the fencing on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

Team USA concluded the first official day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday without winning a single medal despite several close contests.

Why it matters: Olympic historian Bill Mallon noted that this was the first time the United States did not receive any medals on Day 1 of the Summer Olympics since Munich in 1972.

  • Flashback: Team USA didn't make it to the podium on the first day of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Yes, but: It's still early — the Games started less than 24 hours ago.

  • Our thought bubble: The first few sports aren't typically America's strongest. "It’s a marathon not a sprint. Well, technically there are both, but you know what I mean,” Axios Ina Fried says from Tokyo.
  • The U.S. 3x3 basketball team beat France, 17–10, and softball finished yet another sweep to improve to 3–0 after topping Mexico, 2–0.
  • Women's water polo edged out Japan with a 25-4 victory.

Driving the news: China's Yang Qian won the first gold of the Tokyo Olympics, narrowly beating Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee in the women's 10-meter air rifle final. USA's Mary Tucker was the favorite for the event, but the 20-year-old finished sixth.

23-year-old Jourdan Delacruz, a weightlifter from north Texas, could not convert her final three lifts in the women’s 49-kg division, the Washington Post writes.

Cyclist Brandon McNulty pulled away from the pack in the men's road race with 24km to go but ended up finishing sixth to Richard Carapaz who won Ecuador's second-ever gold, per Sports Illustrated.

American Eli Dershwitz, the world’s second-highest ranked fencer in men’s sabre, lost to Kim Jung-hwan of South Korea, who ultimately earned the bronze. Archers Mackenzie Brown and Brady Ellison were upset in the first round in the mixed team. 

What they're saying: "I’m a little shocked, to be honest," Ellison, a three-time Olympic medalist in archery, ranked No. 1 in the world, said after he and Brown lost 5-4 to Indonesia in the first round of the mixed event, per USA Today. "I completely expected us to win a medal today."

What to watch: There are still 15 days of the Summer Olympics.

  • The Americans will have more chances to bring home medals on Sunday in archery, fencing, shooting and weightlifting, as well as skateboarding and judo. 

Go deeper

Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

U.S. beats China for Paralympics gold in women's sitting volleyball

Team USA's Alexis Shifflett serves the ball during the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball pool match against Rwanda in Chiba, Japan, on Aug. 28. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA won gold in the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball final on Sunday morning local time.

The big picture: The defending champions beat China 3-1 in the final. After the event was added to the Paralympics in 2004, China won the first three golds. The Americans' win took the U.S. Paralympic medals tally to 103, including 36 golds.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of China's previous wins in the event.

37 mins ago - World

Blinken, Austin call out China at event on Australia security pact

Blinken and Austin. Photo: Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned China's "aggressive" and "destabilizing" behavior at a press conference Thursday, as they inaugurated a major new trilateral security partnership with Australia and the U.K.

Why it matters: China was not explicitly mentioned in President Biden's announcement of the AUKUS alliance, through which the U.S. and the U.K. will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines as part of a broader effort to ensure "peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific."

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.