RIO DE JANEIRO — Katie Ledecky of the United States won the women’s Olympic 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday night to claim her second individual gold of the Games and stay on track for a rare triple.
Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden took the silver medal while Emma McKeon of Australia won bronze.
Ledecky, 19, added to her gold in the 400 freestyle on Sunday and silver in the 4×100 freestyle relay the day before. She reigns supreme in her final individual event, the 800 freestyle, which she won at London in 2012.
She now looks overwhelmingly likely to achieve her goal of three individual golds in the 200, 400 and 800 — a feat not achieved at a single Games since American Debbie Meyer accomplished it in Mexico City in 1968.
“That was a really tough race and it hurt really badly,” Ledecky said. “Pretty sure that’s the closest I’ve come to throwing up in the middle of a race. I’m just so glad I got my hand on the wall first.”
McKeon, a gold medallist in the 4×100 freestyle relay, led at halfway, with Ledecky second and Sjostrom third.
At the final turn, Ledecky led from Sjostrom, and the two were matched stroke for stroke as they entered the last 25 meters, but the American pulled ahead to touch the wall in one minute, 53.73 seconds.
Sjostrom, who won the 100 butterfly on Sunday, clocked 1:54.08 and McKeon 1:54.92.
Michael Phelps kept the U.S. momentum going and seized the 20th Olympic gold medal of a swimming career that keeps on giving with a 200-meter butterfly triumph that avenged his stinging 2012 defeat to South African Chad Le Clos.
Later, Phelps captured his 21st gold medal when he anchored the U.S. winning 4×200 freestyle relay team. He teamed with Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas and Ryan Lochte for a winning time of 7:00.66.
Phelps has now amassed a record-extending 25 Olympic medals.
With all eyes on a 200-butterfly rematch in Rio, with Phelps in lane five and Le Clos next to him, Japan’s Masato Sakai and Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi crashed the party to collect silver and bronze.
Defending champion Le Clos, whose run-up to the Games was overshadowed by the devastating news that both of his parents had been diagnosed with cancer, finished an agonizing fourth.
Phelps touched the wall in one minute, 53.36 seconds, slower than his 2012 silver medal performance, with Sakai finishing in 1:53.40.
Le Clos, who clocked 1:52.96 for gold in 2012, could only manage a 1:54.06.
With all eyes on the two big men on the blocks, both avoided eye contact as they waited to step up with the pair standing almost back to back.
The tense atmosphere was cut by shouts from the crowd just as the swimmers were trying to compose themselves, with the start aborted before they had taken racing positions and spectators urged to stay silent.
Le Clos, who won a 200 freestyle silver on Monday, reacted faster than Phelps at the start but it was Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh who led at the turn with Phelps second and Le Clos third.
The American then used his mighty wingspan to forge ahead into clear water.
Cseh began to fade, with Le Clos moving into second at the 150 metre-mark but the South African could not match Phelps in the final lap, with the American punching the air in delight after stepping out.
U.S. women’s soccer ties but advances
Australia, Canada and France all won on Tuesday and qualified for the quarterfinals of the women’s soccer tournament, where they will be joined by the United States and Germany as the teams in pursuit of gold move on to the knock-out stage.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo had a nightmare and was at fault for both goals — the second an injury time equalizer — as Colombia came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw in Manaus.
She flapped at a cross from Catalina Usme after letting an earlier free kick from the same player squirm through her legs.
The United States, which got a first-half goal from Crystal Dunn and a second-half score by Mallory Pugh, will play again Friday in the quarterfinals against a third-place team, either Sweden or Australia. If the Americans win, they will advance to Rio, where the semifinals and final will be held.
But while the United States remained unbeaten in Brazil, it remained unimpressive as well, failing to take advantage of several chances to put the stubborn Colombians away.
France beat New Zealand 3-0 to finish second behind them in Group G. Canada topped Group F after defeating Germany 2-1 earlier in the day.
The Canadians have been the surprise package of the event so far, with the 12th-ranked side beating the second-ranked Germans and the fifth-ranked Aussies.
Serena Williams eliminated
Olympic champion and world number one Serena Williams tumbled out of the Rio de Janeiro singles competition in the third round on Tuesday after losing to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina, who is ranked 20th in the world, stunned the London Games gold medallist 6-4, 6-3 to record a memorable victory against the American, who has won 22 grand slam singles titles.
“It’s an unreal feeling for me. This is just a perfect moment,” said Svitolina, who will face the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals.
Williams was visibly frustrated throughout the match as she struggling to find her range, making 37 unforced errors compared to 17 by Svitolina.
Late in the second set, Williams served five double faults in a single game, which drew gasps from a shocked audience.
Williams, who has won three women’s doubles Olympic titles with sister Venus, was also eliminated with her sister from the doubles on Sunday.
China’s Deng wins weightlifting gold
China’s Deng Wei won the women’s 63-kilogram gold medal on her Olympic debut and broke the world record held by Taiwan’s Lin Tzu-chi, who was withdrawn just hours before the event started.
The International Weightlifting Federation declined to comment on the reasons for Lin’s withdrawal but a source close to the situation said the Taiwanese lifter failed a dope test.
Lin, who set the world record total of 261kg in winning the 2014 Asian title, was withdrawn by Taiwan’s Olympic committee and then lost her world record when Deng Wei managed 262kg.
Lin, 28, is the third lifter to test positive in the past five days following Antonis Martasidis of Cyprus (85kg) and Tomasz Zielinski of Poland (94kg) who were sent home.
Khalmurzaev wins Russia’s second judo gold
Russia climbed to the top of the judo medal table on Tuesday as Khasan Khalmurzaev earned his country’s second judo gold of the Rio Games in emphatic fashion, thrilling the crowd at the Carioca Arena.
Ending his campaign with a bang, the European champion won his final two matches by ippon, judo’s equivalent of a knockout, over Sergiu Toma of the United Arab Emirates in the semi-final and then American Travis Stevens in the final of the men’s -81kg category.
Russia had also won bronze in judo on Sunday, extending its strong run in the sport after claiming five medals total at the Olympics four years ago, including a London-best three gold.
Khalmurzaev had praise for Stevens and how he pushed him to victory.
“I know this opponent and I know he is strong, so I did all I could do to win this gold medal,” he said.
Khalmurzaev’s triumph ended Stevens’ dream of becoming the first man from the United States to win gold in judo.
Despite settling for silver, it was third time lucky for Stevens after he had come home without a medal from the Beijing and London Olympics.
Swimming pool’s green hue stokes puzzlement
The water in the Olympic diving pool appeared to turn a bright green hue on Tuesday, causing puzzlement among divers and audiences as the women’s 10-meter platform final progressed.
Britain’s Tom Daley tweeted “Ermmm… what happened?!”, alongside a picture of the green-coloured pool in the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, which contrasted sharply against the still-blue colour of another pool beside it.
The centre plays host to the diving and waterpolo events. The pool appeared blue during the men’s 10 metre platform event on Monday, in which Daley won a bronze medal alongside teammate Daniel Goodfellow.