Tokyo 2020, North America Day 6: Two More U.S. Men’s Streaks Come To An End

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Two men’s events that have been dominated by the United States in recent Olympic history saw their respective streaks snapped on Friday morning in Tokyo in what was the first finals session with no American gold medals.

The U.S. men have had an unprecedented run of success in the backstroke events, entering these Games having swept both the 100 and 200 back at the last six Olympic Games.

Ryan Murphy completed the sweep all on his own at the 2016 Games in Rio, joining Lenny Krayzelburg (2000) and Aaron Peirsol (2004) as U.S. men to win both events at the same Olympics during the streak that began in 1996.

The run in the 100 back came to an end on Tuesday morning, as Russia’s Evgeny Rylov claimed gold in a time of 51.98, leaving defending champ Ryan Murphy of the U.S. back in the bronze medal position.

The final of the 200 back on Friday yielded a very similar result, with Rylov winning gold in an Olympic Record time of 1:53.27, while Murphy saw himself relegated to silver, losing both of his Olympic titles to signal a definitive end to the recent run of American backstroke dominance.

The last time the U.S. lost a men’s backstroke event previously, 1992, they also didn’t win either race.

Around 25 minutes later came the men’s 200 individual medley final, where the Americans had won four straight golds—all from the legendary Michael Phelps—and had at least medalled in five straight Games dating back to 2000.

Michael Andrew came into the meet as the top seed, having produced a world-leading time of 1:55.26 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but hasn’t been on the same form in Tokyo.

Andrew, a first-time Olympian, got progressively slower from the heats to the semis and ultimately to the final, clocking a time of 1:57.31 to finish off the podium in fifth.

The other American, 400 medley gold medalist Chase Kalisz, failed to make the final, leaving the U.S. off the 200 IM podium for the first time in 25 years.

Phelps has was critical of the way Andrew races the 200 IM at the U.S. Trials in Omaha, suggesting he goes out way too fast and doesn’t leave enough energy in the tank for the freestyle leg.

Whether it’s a fatigue issue, a technical issue, or a mix of the two, Andrew’s controversial pacing reared it’s ugly head in the final, as he turned first at the 150 before getting mowed down on the freestyle with a 30.69 split—by far the slowest in the field.

NORTH AMERICA QUICK HITS, DAY 6

  • Lilly King broke 2:20 for the first time and Annie Lazor won her first Olympic medal in the women’s 200 breaststroke, as the Indiana University training partners went 2-3 to mark the first time the U.S. put two women on the podium in the event since 2000.
  • Caeleb Dressel produced the third-fastest swim in history in the men’s 100 butterfly semi-finals, clocking 49.71 to down the Olympic Record of 50.39.
  • 2016 Olympic champion Penny Oleksiak set her first best time since those Rio Games in the women’s 100 freestyle final, clocking 52.59 to improve upon her five-year-old Canadian Record of 52.70 to finish fourth overall.
  • Americans Phoebe Bacon (2:07.10) and Rhyan White (2:07.28) advanced through to the women’s 200 back final, qualifying second and third out of the semis, while Canadians Kylie Masse (2:07.82) and Taylor Ruck (2:08.73) rank fourth and seventh.
  • Canada’s Summer McIntosh lowered her girls’ 13-14 National Age Group Record in the women’s 800 freestyle prelims, clocking 8:25.04 to extinguish her previous mark of 8:29.48 set at the Olympic Trials in June.

RECORDS, DAY 6

NORTH AMERICAN MEDAL TABLE AFTER DAY 6

TOTAL MEDALS GOLD SILVER BRONZE
USA 24 6 9 9
Canada 4 1 2 1

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Rafael
1 month ago

https://twitter.com/cbrennansports/status/1420938199795335175?s=19
And later MA was caught by media showing that he refuses to use masks on mixed zone.

Will US swimming federation or USOC do anything about this??

Oof
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

And so brings the MA villain story arc. Dude just gets more unlikable by the second

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

The mask is by his goggles & cap. I’m assuming he put it on after he finished talking. I’m not saying whether he’s in the wrong or right but it’s not like he’s trying to actively disobey the rules of the establishment.

Last edited 1 month ago by bobthebuilderrocks
anonymous
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

Same twitter feed shows Caleb Dressel with mask below his chin face completely uncovered

Comet
Reply to  anonymous
1 month ago

Exactly and not just Dressel, many, many more. The hacks pick and choose who they want to complain about. I bet when they found out something they don’t like about Dressel they will complain about him too.

M d e
Reply to  Comet
1 month ago

Dressel is 100% a conservative politically.

If he ever opens his mouth about it this site will melt down.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

I have no inside knowledge about Dressel politically, but yeah, that would not shock me.

I don’t think the site would melt down tho, MA’s a whole different level of nutjob. (I say because of his mom’s facebook, which is legitimately nutso.)

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

There’s gotta be something else going on with MA, right? A second taper can’t just be bungled this bad without also like, idk, him having food poisoning or something.

Or maybe customs didn’t let him bring all his recovery doodads and he gets winded on stairs now, I do not know.

Mustangswimdad
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

It may be that he couldn’t handle criticism from the SwimSwam comment section or from Maya DiRado. Hate to say this, but he should be left off the MMR.

HJones
1 month ago

Murphy says he doesn’t think the races he swam were clean:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/2021/07/29/ryan-murphy-swimmer-doping-russia-tokyo-olympics/

I don’t know how I feel about statements like this. These vague suggestions of doping don’t tell us anything we don’t know. If knows something about someone in particular, why not have the guts to say it, as that would actually be taking a step for clean sport? Especially if you bring up the topic unprompted, you should have something useful to add about this.

Murphy has always seemed like a standup guy and a great competitor that leads by example. But this reads like he isn’t being gracious in defeat, dare I say even a sore loser. We can… Read more »

Rafael
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

King surprised me on her defeat. Murphy was the actual opposite of my expectation

Facts
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

Greenbank also made similar statements that were prob directed at the ROC. Perhaps they are bummed on losing or maybe they know something we don’t know

Rafael
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

Rylov since 2017 has been superior…

Last edited 1 month ago by Rafael
Meow
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

Serious question, how would an athlete from the US or UK know if the Russian athletes are doping? What would they notice that would be different than if they were just faster?

HJones
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

If they are truly in favor of clean sport at all costs and know something we don’t know, I challenge one of them to come out and say it. Make a statement that can directly enact change. Otherwise, it’s just more meaningless smoke-blowing that anyone can do, and unfair to people like Rylov who’ve never failed a doping test.

Paul Thomas
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

I think they’re just saying what we all know to be true, which is that Russia should not be competing in the Olympics. They were proven– not alleged, PROVEN– to have orchestrated doping corruption on an unprecedented scale, and the penalty from CAS was a symbolic slap on the wrist. It’s an utter embarrassment to sport.

NOT the frontman of Metallica
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

Not the first time he isn’t “gracious in defeat”. Didn’t he call Coleman Stewart b*tch behind his back after a skins game in ISL?

Gus
Reply to  NOT the frontman of Metallica
1 month ago

That was extra weird as well because Murphy won that

SCCOACH
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

I don’t understand why swimswam is so late on this story?

Sub13
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

Yeah this feels a bit classless

Tommy Schmitt
Reply to  HJones
1 month ago

The way Kolesnikov is always dying at the end of sessions gives me assertion that he is likely NOT on any doping programme. If he is, might as well switch it up because this one not working great hahaha

MichaelTran
1 month ago

Nothing lasts forever. The Americans cannot go faster but the world does.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  MichaelTran
1 month ago

Mixed bag here – first part true, second part not true.

Coach Rob
1 month ago

Sounds like a lot of American haters in the comments. Michael Andrew is a great guy. In and out of the pool. He’s at the olympics while you’re typing away at your keyboard.

anonymous
1 month ago

Rylov has fantastic turns and pick up a lot of ground on those turns.

Tommy Schmitt
1 month ago

MA’s revolutionary race plan of going out more conservatively to improve his last 50 has actually made it even slower…

Might as well just take it out like a madman, that would be more entertaining to viewers than this. That way his breast leg might soon be faster than his free leg too which would add another “fun fact” to his unconventional swimming career.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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