The Tokyo Games are now fully underway and there was no shortage of local athletes to root for in Saturday’s events in Japan.
Two Midwest athletes competed for some of the first Olympic medals to be handed out in Tokyo, U.S. women’s soccer, including several Chicago stars, are looking for their first victory after a surprising defeat early on, and all eyes were on the Chicago Sky’s Stefanie Dolson as she competes in a new Olympic event.
All of this comes after an Opening Ceremony unlike any other.
Here are five things to watch from Friday night and Saturday morning.
1. Chicago-Area Locals Begin Competition
The Chicago area was well represented as the Games are in full swing.
The U.S. women’s relay team, made up of Glenview’s Olivia Smoliga, Natalie Hinds, Catie DeLoof and Allison Schmitt, finished with the fifth-fastest time at 3:34.80. The U.S. is expected to compete in the final scheduled for Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. CT.
The U.S Olympic softball team, including Chicago Bandits catcher Amanda Chidester, kept rolling Saturday, defeating Mexico 2-0 for their third-straight victory.
Cat Osterman delivered once again for Team USA, pitching a one-hit shutout for her second win of the Tokyo Games. The U.S Olympic softball team will look to stay undefeated against Australia at 8 p.m. CT at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
The men’s volleyball team, including Wheaton’s Thomas Jaeschke, kicked off competition with a win over France. They won in straight sets, 25-18, 25-18, 25-22, and will move on to face ROC on Sunday, July 25, at 9:05 p.m. CT.
2. Fencing Sisters Fail to Advance to Medal Rounds, But Not Out of Medal Contention Just YetSisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley celebrate their fencing team’s bronze medal win in London at the 2012 games.
Sisters and Notre Dame alums Courtney and Kelley Hurley both represented the United States in the Women’s Epee events Saturday, marking the fourth time that they have done so.
But the duo both lost in early rounds and did not reach the quarterfinals in the event.
The comeback effort Kelley Hurley orchestrated in the final seconds of her bout against Russian fencer Aizanat Murtazaeva was nearly enough to propel her to the quarterfinals of the women’s individual epee, but Hurley came up short in overtime. Murtazaeva scored first during the one-minute sudden death period and eliminated her American opponent, winning 12-11.
Hurley was the only competitor from Team USA vying for a spot in the quarterfinals after her sister lost to Zhu Mingye of China in the round of 32. The siblings will have another chance for a medal when they compete in the team epee Monday. They both hold a bronze medal from the team epee event at the 2012 Olympics.
3. USA Basketball Wins First 3×3 Game
With First Lady Jill Biden in attendance, Team USA cruised to a 17-10 victory over France in their first-ever 3×3 Olympic game.
The Chicago Sky’s Stefanie Dolson scored a game-high seven points and added six rebounds. Kelsey Plum scored six points.
“The 3×3 team is cooler, it’s a new sport in the Olympics,” Dolson said. “To get that honor is better. We have the smaller team of four people, we can highlight what we’re good at.”
The team went on to win its second game of the Tokyo Olympics, knocking off Mongolia 21-9. Team USA had a 78% shooting efficiency in the contest and out-rebounded Mongolia 19-11.
The U.S. plays Romania next at 4:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 25.
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4. Other Midwest Athletes Kick Off Their Quest for Medals
A number of Midwest Olympians hit the mat, water and floor as the first events after the Opening Ceremony began in force.
Among the competitors were three Ohio boxers, a Minnesota and a Michigan gymnast, several Wisconsin rowers and swimmers from Michigan and Indiana.
While no medals were handed out in these events just yet, the stakes were undoubtedly high if the athletes want to place themselves in a position to reach the podium.
Indiana’s Jake Mitchell earned a spot in the finals of the men’s 400m freestyle during the qualifying heats, finishing in seventh-place with a time of 3:45.38. Catie DeLoof and Allison Schmitt were among the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team who finished with the fifth-fastest time at 3:34.80.
The men’s gymnastics team, led by Michigan’s Sam Mikulak, delivered a strong showing for Team USA in the qualifying round on Saturday. Team USA finished the day in fourth place, moving on to team finals. Mikulak will also compete in the individual all-around later this week.
5. USWNT Dominates New Zealand in Second Olympic Game
Despite multiple goals that were disallowed by offsides, Team USA got its first win in Tokyo Saturday.
Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press, Alex Morgan and C.J. Bott scored in the 6-1 victory over New Zealand.
RECAP: Read our game recap here.