TOKYO — The U.S. swim team ended the day-long drought Sunday after the Americans failed to medal on the first day of Olympic competition for the first time in almost 50 years.
Chase Kalisz took the first gold medal for the U.S. and Jay Litherland snagged the first silver on Sunday as they finished one and two in the 400-meter individual medley.
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” a small group of their jubilant teammates chanted at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, which was nearly empty because the Covid-19 state of emergency currently bars fans from the stands.
U.S. swimmers Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger then added to the U.S. medal count by winning silver and bronze in the 400-meter individual relay.
And by late afternoon local time, the U.S. shared a lead in the medal table with China with eight each, after swimmer Kieran Smith won the bronze in the 400-meter freestyle, the U.S. women swimmers won the bronze in the 100-meter freestyle relay and William Shaner won our second gold in the 10m air rifle competition.
Jagger Eaton also took bronze in the men’s street skateboarding competition.
The hardware haul came a day after the U.S., for the first time in almost half-a-century, failed to medal on the first day of Olympic competition.
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“Last happened at the Summer Olympics in 1972 at Munich,” Olympics historian Bill Mallon tweeted on Saturday.
Team USA also failed to win a medal on day one of the 2018 winter games in South Korea.
America’s best chance of medaling Saturday was thought to be the archers, but they came up empty.
“I’m still a little shocked,” Brady Ellison, who won silver and bronze medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016, told USA Today. “We got in that stadium, and I shot left.”
In recent years, the U.S. has dominated the Summer Games. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Team USA won a world-best 121 medals.
The U.S. has tallied the most medals, including the most gold medals, in each of the last six summer Olympics going back to 1996.
Swimmers get U.S. on medal board at Tokyo Olympics is written by Corky Siemaszko for www.nbcnews.com