Rio 2016 Day 3: World’s best swimmers and gymnasts go head to head

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Michael Phelps of United States poses with his Gold medal from the Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay during Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Records are tumbling, cyclists are crashing, rowers capsizing — the Rio OIympics have already delivered some thrilling sport and there is a lot more action to come on Monday when the world’s best swimmers and gymnasts go head to head.

There are a host of gold medals to be won and an American fencer is also set to make history.

Will today’s competition throw up some new sporting heroes and faces for the future?

Here are five highlights to watch on day three:


Some of the really big names in women’s swimming begin their battles in the 200 meters freestyle event.

American teenage sensation Katie Ledecky will be back in heats action as she seeks to follow up Sunday’s record-breaking victory in the 400m freestyle.

In the shorter event, she will face stiff competition from Sweden’s world champion Sarah Sjostrom (who broke her own world record in winning Sunday’s 100m butterfly) and compatriot Missy Franklin — herself a teen star at London 2012 — and 2008 champion Federica Pellegrini of Italy.

Gold is up for grabs in the men’s 200m freestyle. Britain’s James Guy could feature along with American Conor Dwyer, Chad le Clos — South Africa’s 200m butterfly champion at London 2012 — Australian Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Saturday’s 400m individual medley winner Kosuke Hagino of Japan.

Sun Yang will get another chance to win gold after losing out to Australia’s Mack Horton in the 400m freestyle final. The controversial swimming star, who served a doping ban, broke down in tears after Saturday’s defeat but won his 200m freestyle semifinal Sunday.

There are also medal events in the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke and the women’s 100m breaststroke.

Katinka Hosszu will also be in action in the heats of the women’s 200m individual medley. The Hungarian shattered the 400m medley world record Saturday, knocking off more than two seconds and leaving the rest of the field a long way behind.

Nicknamed “The Iron Lady,” Hosszu had considered quitting after a disappointing London 2012, admitting to suffering depression. Hosszu may face a challenge from Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, American Madeline Dirado and Australia’s London 2012 bronze medalist Alicia Coutts.


Take time to marvel at some of the incredible feats of strength and balance that seem to defy the laws of physics.

The men’s team competition looks like being a hotly-contested event after close qualifiers for the final.

China led the way, with the U.S. second. Russia, Japan, Great Britain, hosts Brazil, Ukraine and Germany all join them in the battle for the medal places.

Saturday’s qualifier was marred by a horrific injury to France’s Samir Ait Said who broke his leg attempting a vault. Said landed awkwardly after doing two backward flips.

Ones to watch are Russia’s David Belyavskiy, Briton Max Whitlock, American Sam Mikulak, and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura — widely considered as the greatest gymnast of them all.

His fans call him “Superman” and he is the reigning Olympic individual champion who also has 10 world championship gold medals in his collection.

He told CNN before last year’s world championship: “I want to create beauty that nobody else can express. I want people who do gymnastics — and those who don’t — to watch and notice there is something different about my performance.”

Rugby sevens

The women’s competition reaches a climax today with the semifinals and the medal matches.

World champion Australia takes on Canada, then New Zealand faces Great Britain for a place in the final.

It’s the first time this fast and furious version of the game has featured at the Olympics, and before Rio got underway the Down Under rivals were expected to be in the hunt for bragging rights.

Australia dethroned New Zealand as world series winner, ending the Kiwis’ run of three straight titles.

Australian captain Sharni Williams played hockey before switching to rugby, and, according to the Australian Olympic Committee, is a qualified mechanic.

There was no Olympic fairytale for U.S. star Jillion Potter, who has overcome both cancer and a broken neck.

The Americans lost 5-0 to New Zealand in Saturday’s quarterfinals, with key player Portia Woodman scoring the only try of a tense tussle — her sixth of the tournament.


The men and women are both in action, with the United States the hot favorites to win both titles.

Having thrashed Senegal by a record 121-56 in their opening match, the U.S. women have a 42-game Olympic winning streak since winning the bronze medal at 1992.

Led by Brittney Griner, the Americans are aiming for their sixth straight gold in Rio — an era of domination exceeded only by the U.S. men’s team from 1936 to 1968.

The women’s team faces Spain while the U.S. men — who beat China 119-62 first up — take on Venezuela.


It all gets a bit serious in the Carioca arena when the women take out the sabers.

Fencing has featured in the Olympic Games ever since the first of the modern era in 1896, and this year 246 athletes from 47 countries take part across 10 events.

Team USA fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is set to make history at Rio as the first American to compete in the Games while wearing a hijab. She told CNN she wants to defeat stereotypes.

The Americans have a strong team, with 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis also competing in the saber.

Italy won the most fencing medals at London 2012 with three golds and seven in total, and will likely be strong contenders again.

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