Summer Olympics
Katie Ledecky makes history on Day 5 of Tokyo Olympics
Summer Olympics

Katie Ledecky makes history on Day 5 of Tokyo Olympics

Updated Jul. 28, 2021 1:26 p.m. ET

Another Olympics, another slice of history for Katie Ledecky.

The U.S. star, widely regarded as the greatest female swimmer of all time, added to her legend on Day 5 of the Olympics, winning the first-ever gold in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle. Ledecky built a big early lead in the race before holding off a late surge from fellow American Erica Sullivan, who took silver.

Ledecky now holds six career Olympic gold medals, as well as 15 world championship golds, more than any other female swimmer.


As of Wednesday afternoon ET, the U.S. has 31 total medals (11 gold, 11 silver, nine bronze), more than any other nation. China's 27 medals (12-6-9) rank second, while the Russian Olympic Committee (23, 7-10-6) and Japan (22, 13-4-5) rank third and fourth. Of note: The host nation does boast the overall lead in gold medals.

Here are the in-depth takeaways from the biggest Day 5 stories.

Team USA, Swimming

Ledecky was dominant early in the 1,500, building a huge lead in the long-distance race.

She cruised to the finish in 15:37.39, holding off a hard-charging Sullivan by a little more than four seconds (15:41.41). Germany's Sarah Kohler finished third (15:42.91). Immediately after the race, Ledecky was filled with emotion, even letting a few tears flow.

It was a rollercoaster of a day for Ledecky, who finished fifth in the 200-meter freestyle final early the day. After her triumph in the 1,500, she was humble, saying: "I think people maybe feel bad for me that I'm not winning everything and whatever, but I want people to be more concerned about other things going on in the world, people that are truly suffering. I'm just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA.''

Check out the highlights of Ledecky's win:

In addition to the medals snagged by Ledecky and Sullivan, the U.S. also grabbed a pair in the women's 200-meter individual medley, with teenagers Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass winning silver and bronze, respectively. Here are the highlights:

Team USA, Women's 3x3 Basketball

Kelsey Plum, Jacquelyn Young, Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Gray made history of their own, securing the first Olympic gold medal in 3x3 basketball. To get there, they first had to take down France in the semifinal, doing so in a tight 18-16 victory.

In the gold-medal game, Team USA came out of the gates firing, earning a 6-1 lead thanks to three early points from Kelsey Plum.

They built that lead to 12-5 with 3:53 remaining, but the ROC battled to make it a tight contest down the stretch, trimming it to 12-9 in a matter of 41 seconds.

Young snapped the U.S. out of their offensive funk with pair of clutch free throws, her only points of the game, but the ROC kept coming. Dolson made a bucket to push the score to make the score 15-11 with just over two minutes to go.

From there, it was all Dolson. She sunk a pair of free throws and hit a timely basket with 31 seconds left to give the U.S. 18 points, while the ROC made up a bit of ground but finished with a final score of 18-15.

Dolson finished the game's top scorer with seven points, and she also hauled in four offensive rebounds and five defensive rebounds. 

The new event was a huge success for Team USA's women's team. The only blemish on their record en route to the gold was a 20-18 loss in pool play against the host nation.

Gray, who plays professionally in the WNBA for the Dallas Wings, called the gold medal "like top tier of my career" and hinted at potentially wanting another shot down the road.

"I think the only way to top this is to win another gold medal," she said, via USA Basketball. "I don’t think any other accomplishment of my career can top this. The gold medal sits at the very top."

Michael Hixon and Andrew Capobianco, Diving

It took a bit of scrapping in the early going, but the American duo of Michael Hixon and Andrew Capobianco put together a standout program to win the silver medal in the men's synchronized 3-meter springboard diving competition.

The Americans jumped to second place after their third dive and held on from there, saving their best score for last, tallying 88.92 points on dive No. 6.

They finished 23.46 points behind the winners from China, Zongyuan Wang and Siyi Xie, but nearly 40 points ahead of Germany, which took home the bronze.

The silver represented a second for Hixon, who took home silver in 2016, and Capobianco's first at the Games. The individual 3-meter event is up next for Capobianco. Of his teammate, Hixon said,

"It feels incredible. I’m so proud of him, the way we performed as a team, the way we came together. I couldn’t be happier right now."

Simone Biles, Gymnastics

After withdrawing from the team all-around gymnastics competition a day ago amid health concerns, Biles also announced she will not participate in the individual all-around event on Thursday.

She had indicated she wasn't sure if she would compete in the individual event, and now her status is known.

On Wednesday's episode of "First Things First," Brandon Marshall applauded Biles ⁠— along with Japan's Naomi Osaka, who stepped away from the French Open in May to focus on her mental well-being ⁠— for making the difficult decision amid international pressure to perform.

Biles' withdrawal opens the door for USA Gymnastics teammate Jade Carey to step up and participate in the individual all-around event. 

Carey had finished ninth in qualifying, but only two representatives from each country are allowed per event, according to International Gymnastics Federation rules. Carey had scored a 56.265 in qualifying, behind Biles' 57.731 and Sunisa Lee's 57.166.

As the next highest-qualifying American, the 21-year-old Carey now gets a shot to bring home a gold medal at the all-around, along with Lee for the U.S.

Men's Basketball: U.S. vs. Iran

After a troubling start to Olympic play for Team USA's men's basketball team, questions were asked how they'd bounce back from an uninspiring 83-76 loss to France.

The answer to those questions? A 120-66 demolition of Iran.

Damian Lillard led the way with 21 points in just over 23 minutes, shooting 7-for-15 from the field, with all of his makes coming from beyond the arc.

Devin Booker got the start against Iran, tallying 16 points of his own in the contest. 

Although – calling it a contest might be a stretch. The Americans ran out to a 28-12 lead in the first quarter and built that lead to 60-30 by halftime.

Six of Team USA's players, including Kevin Durant, scored in double figures, and every player on coach Gregg Popovich's roster had at least four points in the game.

As a team, the Americans shot an eye-popping 49% from distance, 55% from the field and racked up 34 assists against a simply overmatched Iranian squad. A much sterner test in Czech Republic awaits Team USA on Saturday to close out play in Group A.

Here are the full highlights from the game vs. Iran:

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