Chasing Gold: The race for Team USA's first gold at Tokyo Olympics heats up

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Fresh off the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the United States is still looking for its first medal as the schedule of events kicks into full gear. In fact, this marks the first time since the 1972 Munich Olympics that the U.S. hasn't medaled on opening day.

So far, 28 different countries already have medals, led by China with four – three gold – across shooting, fencing, and weightlifting. China’s Yang Qian, competing in the women’s 10-meter air rifle, also won the first gold medal of the games.

Fans of Team USA shouldn’t fret, though, because USA TODAY projected that the United States will pick up 134 total medals, which would be the country’s most since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and would sting just a little more for some of the countries that have never won a medal in the Games.

Gold medal winner China's Yang Qian celebrates on the podium after winning the women's 10m air rifle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Gold medal winner China's Yang Qian celebrates on the podium after winning the women's 10m air rifle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Presidential treatment: First lady Jill Biden had a busy Saturday, making stops to cheer on Team USA in 3x3 basketball, swimming, and soccer. She started the day alongside French president Emmanuel Macron, watching the U.S. women open the 3-on-3 basketball tournament with a 17-10 win over France.

Biden met with members of the U.S. team before making her way to the pool, where she was met with “Dr. Biden” chants as she took her seat. She finished off the day in the stands for the USWNT’s 6-1 rout of New Zealand, a much need bounce back from Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Sweden.

Not saying the Biden is Team USA’s good luck charm, but it sure seems like they played better with the doctor in the house.

First Lady Jill Biden greets the USA team after they faced France in a 3x3 basketball game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park.
First Lady Jill Biden greets the USA team after they faced France in a 3x3 basketball game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park.

Skateboarding debut: Those hoping the U.S. will get on the medal board soon won’t have to wait long. Skateboarding makes its Olympic debut tonight with both the men’s street preliminary rounds (7:30 p.m. ET) and the finals (11:25 p.m. ET), and Team USA’s Nyjah Huston is the favorite to win gold.

Fans will want to stick it out for the late-night coverage in hopes of seeing the United States win one of its first medals in Tokyo. But first, brush up on the specifics of skateboarding – and maybe catch a nap – before tonight’s action.

Nyjah Huston of Team United States practices on the skateboard street course ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Nyjah Huston of Team United States practices on the skateboard street course ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Swimming vs. skateboarding: No, we’re not going to see skaters take a dip in the Tokyo Aquatics Center and Team USA’s swimmers won’t try their hand at sidewalk surfing anytime soon. But they could beat out Huston for the United States’ first medal in these Games.

Chase Kalisz and 19-year-old Emma Weyant are possibly headed for the podium in both the men’s and women’s 400-meter individual medley. Kalisz has a shot at first after gold-medal favorite Daiya Seto of Japan failed to qualify. Weyant swam a 4:33.55, faster than her time at Olympic trials last month and good enough for the teenager to take over as the first-place favorite.

Should one of the two touch the wall first – or second or third – in their events, they’d beat out Huston as the first Tokyo medalist for the United States. The final for skateboarding doesn’t start until after 11 p.m. ET, and by then, Kalisz’s meet (9:30 p.m. ET) and Weyant’s race (10:12 p.m. ET) will be long over.

USA's Emma Weyant reacts after winning a heat for the women's 400m individual medley swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 24, 2021.
USA's Emma Weyant reacts after winning a heat for the women's 400m individual medley swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 24, 2021.

Tropical storm headed for Tokyo: The Tokyo Olympics have been dealt another challenge with Tropical Storm Nepartak possibly arriving on the shores of mainland Japan by Tuesday. Tokyo is in the forecast cone but there is still uncertainty about the storm's path and intensity, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Just in case, organizers of the Games preemptively shifted the rowing schedule, moving Monday's races to Sunday.

That's all for Saturday, since those in Tokyo are just starting to wake up. If you feel like giving our reporters in Tokyo a wake up call, send them a text for all the news from the Games.

If you don't feel like waiting up for the results of tonight's events, subscribe to our morning sports newsletter to catch up on everything you missed.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chasing Gold: The race to Team USA's first medal in Tokyo