Thursday in Rio was once again a US demolition of the rest of the world as Team USA racked up more gold, silver and bronze for a total of 38 medals (16 gold, 12 silver, 10 bronze). China is in second place with 30.
Here’s what you need to know from Thursday and looking ahead to Friday’s events.
1. You could feel the Phelps drama
Michael Phelps had 38 minutes between two races last night – and he made both look pretty easy. The greatest Olympic swimmer of all time left everyone in his wake en route to winning gold in the 200-meter individual medley – the 22nd gold in his career.
He proceeded to stand on the podium with the Star Spangled Banner playing – and tears welling in his eyes – only to jump back in the water and take second in the semifinals for the 100-meter butterfly. That race for gold goes down Friday night.
Phelps is a bad man. So bad, in fact, that the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers stopped play in order to watch Phelps on the scoreboard.
2. Simone and Simone win gold
Simone Biles never loses. And she didn’t lose Thursday night when she cruised to the all-around gold in women’s gymnastics. Teammate Aly Raisman took silver – and her moment was palpable when she landed her final jump on the floor routine and immediately began crying because she knew she’d delivered a gem. It was redemption for Raisman after she finished fourth in the all-around in 2012.
The other Simone to deliver gold was Simone Manuel, who unexpectedly rallied to win the 100-meter freestyle. Her victory was groundbreaking, becoming the first African-American woman to medal in an individual swimming event.
3. What to watch today
More swimming is on tap and America’s top two medal winners, Phelps and Katie Ledecky, will try to add to their collection of gold. Ledecky swims in 800-meter freestyle and Phelps in the 100-meter fly. Ledecky smashed the competition in the semifinals by six seconds, so it’d be a stunner if she didn’t win gold. Phelps finished with the fifth-best qualifying time, although he was fresh off winning gold in the 200-meter individual medley.
It’s now win or go home for the US women’s soccer team as they play Sweden in the quarterfinals. Kickoff at 11 a.m.
The US men’s basketball team plays Serbia at 5 p.m. in the fourth game of their preliminary group stage. The US women face Canada at 1:30 p.m.