Team USA suffers embarrassing 49-year first at Tokyo Olympics

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Team USA, pictured here in action at the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA failed to medal on the opening day of an Olympics for the first time since 1972. Image: Reuters

Team USA made some brutal unwanted history on the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics, failing to win a medal on Day 1 for the first time since 1972.

The Tokyo Games officially got underway on Saturday, with the first 11 of 339 gold medals handed out, as well as their respective silver and bronze siblings.

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Unfortunately for the Americans, none of those medals went to Team USA.

While they weren't the favourites in any event on the opening day, the fact they failed to win a single medal was significant as it made some extraordinary history.

According to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, it was the first time the United States have failed to medal on the opening day of a Summer Olympics since Munich in 1972.

The only other time the United States didn't have a medal by the end of the first day of a Summer Olympics was when it boycotted the 1980 Games.

Team USA fails to medal in 11 events

Saturday's drought covered 11 events in seven different sports, including: Mixed team archery, Men's road race cycling, Women's epee fencing, Men's saber fencing, Women's 48kg judo, Men's 60kg judo, Women's 10m air rifle shooting, Men's 10m air pistol shooting, Men's 58kg taekwondo, Women's 49kg taekwondo and Women's 49kg weightlifting.

The only events in which the US seemed to have a reasonable medal chance were men's saber and women's 10m air rifle.

Eli Dershwitz is ranked No.2 in the world in saber, but fell to three-time world champion and 2016 bronze medalist Junghwan Kim.

Eli Dershwitz, pictured here in action against Junghwan Kim at the Tokyo Olympics.
Eli Dershwitz in action against Junghwan Kim at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Mary Tucker was the Associated Press' pick to win gold in the rifle event, but finished sixth while the first gold medal of the competition instead went to China's Qian Yang.

The closest Team USA got to a medal might have been the cycling road race, where Brandon McNulty sat in second place late in the race.

However he quickly faded for a sixth-place finish.

“This isn’t the kind of history the United States wanted to set," the New York Post wrote.

But if history is anything to go by the United States don't have anything to worry about.

The 1972 team eventually posted 33 gold medals and 94 total medals - both marks finishing second to the Soviet Union.

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