Rio 2016: 20 gold medals up for grabs on day five Wednesday
RIO DE JANEIRO — Day Five in Rio and the blue ribbon event of the swimming program will see hopefuls in the men’s 100 meters freestyle looking to emulate legends such as Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller and Mark Spitz in topping the Olympic podium.
Nineteen other golds will be awarded across 11 sports as the race for Olympic bragging rights really hots up Wednesday.
Here are five highlights to watch out for.
American Nathan Adrian will be looking to match Weissmuller, who won the 100m freestyle at the 1924 and 1928 Games before finding fame and fortune as a Hollywood movie star.
Spitz took the honor on his way to a then record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Adrian’s victory at the London 2012 Games was something of an upset as he shocked favorite James Magnussen of Australia, but this year he will be a marked man.
He set the fastest individual time in helping the US to its 4x100m relay gold Sunday as teammate Michael Phelps took his record 19th gold.
But Aussie Cameron McEvoy will be looking to avenge Magnussen’s defeat and showed he is in fine fettle with a stunning anchor leg to lift his trailing nation to a bronze behind the Americans in that relay.
Another highlight in the pool will likely see Katie Ledecky add to her medal tally in the 4x200m freestyle relay for the US, having smashed her own 400m freestyle record in taking gold Sunday and then won the 200m Tuesday.
After the frightening crashes which marred both the men’s and women’s road races, the world’s best cyclists will battle it out in a race against the clock in the men’s and women’s individual time trials.
Britain’s Chris Froome will attempt to add Olympic gold to his three victories in the Tour de France, the most recent last month, and will start as favorite given the hilly nature of the course.
Froome, who finished third behind compatriot Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 London Olympic time trial, was out of luck in the men’s road race Saturday, finishing 12th, but has been targeting the time trial.
Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin is expected to pose the main threat but broke his left wrist in a fall on stage 19 of this year’s Tour, while Germany’s Tony Martin separated Wiggins and Froome at the last Olympics.
The women’s event will see Anna van der Breggen attempt to become the first rider in history to win the Olympic road race and time trial double.
Van der Breggen benefited from the horror crash Sunday which ended the hopes of her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten, but faces another strong Dutch challenge from teammate Ellen van Dijk in Wednesday’s race.
Two- time reigning Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong of the United States and New Zealand’s world champion Linda Villumsen will also roll off the start ramp with gold medals in mind.
The battle for men’s all-round supremacy will see the spotlight firmly on Japan’s charismatic reigning world and Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura.
The 27-year-old will be looking to emulate the feat of compatriot Sawao Kato in 1972 to become the first man to successfully defend the title in the six apparatus event.
Uchimura is unbeaten at global level in this all round discipline since 2009 but even he showed signs of nerves when taking a crashing fall from the horizontal bars in the team qualification event Saturday.
That cost him the chance of competing for gold in that discipline in the individual competition, but with Japan winning Monday’s team competition in such superb style he will be clearly in confident mood.
Britain’s Max Whitlock, the silver medalist in the all round at the world championships in 2014 behind Uchimura, is considered one of his main challengers.
It will be the second day of action for the men as Rugby Sevens debuts at the Olympics and a crunch pool match between New Zealand and Great Britain looms, particularly after the Kiwis were stunned by Japan in their opening match Tuesday.
Sonny Bill Williams made headlines by giving away his winning medal as the All Blacks took the 15-a-side Rugby World Cup in England in 2015 but will play no further part in the Rio sevens tournament after limping off against Japan with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The charismatic Williams, who has also plied his trade as a boxer, will be hoping his team land a knockout blow on GB to progress to quarterfinal knock out stages, where Fiji looms as its main challenger.
It is hard to look beyond China as the first medals are awarded in table tennis Wednesday with the women’s singles title at stake.
Chinese female players have won every gold since the sport was introduced to the Games in Seoul in 1988 with its men winning four of seven.
The two players who contested the 2012 women’s final in London are back for another crack at gold, with defending champion Li Xiaoxia and teammate Ding Ning, who is now the world champion. With only two players permitted per nation in each event, it is tough luck on current world number one Liu Shiwen, who misses out.