Rio Day 4: U.S. women’s gymnastics defend gold, Phelps seeks redemption

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team looks to defend its 2012 Olympic title, Michael Phelps swims for gold, the USWNT takes the field again and more to watch for in Rio.
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RIO DE JANEIRO — Monday was not the best of days for the United States, as fencers Ibtihaj Muhammad and Mariel Zagunis did not advance out of the Round of 16 (yet Muhammad still made history) and the U.S. men’s gymnastics team failed to medal in the team all-around final.

Yet there were several firsts on Day 3 of the Rio Games: Brazil won its first gold medal of the Olympics in judo courtesy of judoka Rafaela Silva, Kohei Uchimura won his first team all-around title with Japan and Australia earned the first women’s rugby sevens gold medal.

At the end of the day, the United States continues to lead the medal table with five gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals. China is in second with 13 total medals and Japan and Russia are tied for third with 10.

Here’s a look at what to watch for on Tuesday, Day 4 of the Games:

Must-watch events


U.S. women’s water polo opens play (Begins at 10:40 a.m. ET, NBC)

The gold medal-winners at the London Games, the United States women begin their title defense with a match against Spain. The team is playing in memory of coach Adam Krikorian’s brother, Blake, who died from a heart attack last week. Krikorian left Rio to be with his family but is expected to return in time to coach the tournament’s opener.

•​ Rio Olympics TV guide for Tuesday: Complete television listings

Men’s rugby gets underway (Begins at 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN)

Men’s rugby returns to the Olympics after a brief 92-year hiatus. The United States will play Argentina and Brazil. Keep an eye on Fiji, as it plays in the same group and begins its own quest for its first-ever gold medal in any sport.


Women’s gymnastics team all-around (Begins at 3 p.m. ET; broadcast at 8 p.m. ET, NBC)

The United States is heavily favored to win gold after concluding the qualifying round with a near 10-point lead. If the Americans are able to hold on for the victory, Simone Biles will win the first gold medal of her Olympic career. It would also be the first time the U.S. women have won back-to-back Olympic all-around team titles.

First U.S. vs. Brazil beach volleyball matchup in Copacabana (Begins at 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Before Larissa and Talita put Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross in their crosshairs, American pair Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat stand in their way.

An urgent call answered: Japan roars to men’s gymnastics team gold


USWNT wraps up group play (Begins at 6 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

The Women’s World Cup champions wrap up group play against Colombia. They remain perfect after beating France 1–0 on Saturday. Colombia is coming off a 1–0 loss to New Zealand.

Phelps out to redeem 2012 loss (Begins at 9 p.m. ET, NBC)

Michael Phelps looks to redeem himself after losing his Olympic title in the 200-meter butterfly to South Africa’s Chad LeClos in London. He finished second in the semifinals on Monday night.

Tweet of the day

Having been to several Usain Bolt press conferences, Monday’s may take the cake as the most ridiculous.

Rave reviews keep coming

On Monday, I woke up to a few tweets with rave reviews of our Sports Illustrated at the Games podcast feed, which is perfect for your commute to work. On Very Olympic Today, Mitch Goldich and Alex Abnos, who may be a rugby sevens guru by now, break down all the previous day’s action and preview the upcoming events. Subscribe, rate and review it!

Still can’t navigate through all the television coverage? Here’s Richard Deitsch’s day-to-day what to watch guide.

Recommended reads and videos from the SI staff

• Alex Wolff takes a look into Nigeria men’s basketball’s rise as it tries to become the first African team out of the Olympics group stage.

• Andrew Sharp is the other SI Olympic rookie on staff in Rio and he did a great job of summing up our first few days in Brazil.

• Nico Hernandez had an upset victory for U.S. boxing. Michael Rosenberg wrote about his friend who could have also been here.

•​ Rosenberg also explores why the fencer Muhammad didn’t need to medal to impact these Games.

• Katie Ledecky continues to star, and S.L. Price wrote about how she was more than prepared for the pressure of the Olympics.

• Craig Neff wraps up Monday’s swimming action, which saw new U.S. faces, led by the brash Lilly King, make an impact.

Athlete to root for

Amy Cozad and Jessica Parroto, synchronized diving (Begins at 3 p.m. ET)

Jessica Parratto and Amy Cozad are the first U.S. synchronized 10m platform pair since Mary Beth Dunnichay and Haley Ishimatsu took fifth at the 2004 Olympics in Beijing. They have an outside chance at a medal, having placed ninth at the 2015 world championships.