It was another full slate of surprises and triumphs at the Tokyo Olympics. The early-morning slate featured the much-anticipated women's gymnastics team final and saw the USA finish second behind the Russian Olympic Committee as well as Simone Biles' stunning exit, as well as Japan facing USA for softball gold. The United States currently has the most medals, with 25 (nine golds). China is right behind the U.S. with 21 medals (nine golds).
The U.S. women's basketball team began its quest for a seventh consecutive gold medal with a win over Nigeria. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi -- who both boast four gold medals to their names -- have still never lost in Olympic competition. Elsewhere, Team USA grabbed four more medals in the pool across four individual finals, led by Lydia Jacoby's historic gold in the 100-meter breaststroke. In soccer, the USWNT played to a draw with Australia, but it's good enough to reach the knockout stage.
Here's what you might have missed from all the action.
Japan defeats USA for softball gold
Trailing by two runs in the sixth inning of a gold-medal rematch game 13 years in the making, Amanda Chidester came to the plate for the United States with runners on first and second and Japan in a one-out jam. Chidester unleashed a hot shot to third. The ball ricocheted off third baseman Yu Yamamoto's arm and into the glove of shortstop Mana Atsumi, who doubled up Michelle Moultrie at second.
The U.S. dreams were doused with the strangest of bounces.
Japan, and pitcher Yukiko Ueno, shut the door with three straight outs in the seventh, and defended its gold medal from the 2008 Olympics with a 2-0 win. The U.S. got its second straight silver.
The prospect of another shot at Japan with an Olympic gold medal on the line had drawn Cat Osterman out of retirement and Monica Abbott back to the U.S. national team. But the lefty pitchers, who hadn't given up an earned run in the first five U.S. games, weren't as sharp as they had been previously throughout the tournament. Japan racked up eight hits against starter Osterman, Ally Carda (who picked up the loss) and Abbott.
Ueno, the winning pitcher in the 2008 Games, played U.S. foil again, giving up two hits and striking out five in six innings. -- Susie Arth
Japan wins the gold in softball 🇯🇵— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 27, 2021
It's the sport's first appearance in the Olympics since 2008. pic.twitter.com/FdDB9Pn2NS
And that's GOLD for Japan 🇯🇵 in softball!! The home team clinches the gold medal win for their host country 🥇 pic.twitter.com/nxWRmhxPmh— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) July 27, 2021
Softball had a big fan
Ron Rivera, the Washington Football Team coach, and his daughter, Courtney, a pitcher for UCLA, repped Team USA ahead of the game.
USWNT will advance
A 0-0 draw was enough for the U.S. women's soccer team to move on to the knock-out stage.
"It was a great test for us today to see that the players can execute the game plan very, very well," U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski said in a news conference after the match.
"So whatever we feel like we need to do to win the [next] game, we're going to present it to them and then let them do their job."
According to ESPN Stats and Information, this is the second time the Americans did not win their group since women's soccer began as an Olympic sport in 1996. (They did not win their group that year.) They won their group in each of the other five years.
Tougher-than-expected opener for U.S. women
The U.S. women's basketball team kept its Olympic winning streak going -- now at 50 in a row -- but Tuesday's 81-72 opening victory against Nigeria wasn't quite as dominating as the Americans would have liked.
With four-time gold medalist Diana Taurasi back in action -- the guard had not played since July 3 with her Phoenix Mercury team -- the U.S. team had a slow start and trailed 20-17 after the first quarter. But a 23-0 run put the Americans in charge, even if things got a little tighter than expected in the last quarter.
What won't sit well with U.S. coach Dawn Staley? Getting outscored 22-11 in that fourth quarter, totaling 25 turnovers and going 5-of-20 from behind the arc. But the coach has to be pleased to have Taurasi back; she started and scored 10 points. And Staley's former South Carolina star A'ja Wilson, last year's WNBA MVP with the Las Vegas Aces, led the U.S. squad with 19 points and 13 rebounds in her first Olympic game.
The interior is expected to be the Americans' biggest strength; center Brittney Griner also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Breanna Stewart had nine and 11.
Sue Bird, like Taurasi going for her fifth gold medal, had 13 assists. She now has 102 career assists at the Olympics, second behind only Teresa Edwards (143) for Team USA.
Ezinne Kalu led Nigeria with 16 points. The nine-point decision over Nigeria is the smallest margin of victory for the United States at the Olympics since a four-point triumph over Russia in 2004. How close might the game have been if WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams had been on the Nigerian roster? Considering they are all post players, it would have made things interesting.
In the end, the U.S. chalks up its first win in Tokyo, even if it had some warts, on the road to what it hopes is a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal. -- Mechelle Voepel
Read more: The Diana Taurasi you've never seen
Naomi Osaka out of Olympics
Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the Games by ousting Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-4, just days after the four-time Grand Slam winner thrilled the host nation by lighting the Olympic torch. The second-seeded Osaka joins No. 1 overall seed Ashleigh Barty and No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka on the list of women's seeds already out of the tournament.
Since tennis returned to the Olympic program in 1988, this is the earliest that both of the top two seeds in women's singles have been eliminated. In each of the previous instances, at least one of the top two seeds reached the quarterfinals.
Vondrousova was a +475 underdog against Osaka (-650) at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.
Read more: Despite loss, Osaka's legacy is one of hope
Team USA goes gold-bronze in 100m breaststroke
Alaska's Lydia Jacoby took gold in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.95 and teammate Lilly King joined her on the podium after taking the bronze.
At 17, Jacoby is the youngest U.S. athlete to win gold at these Games so far. The only younger USA swimmers to win an individual gold in the past 20 years are Katie Ledecky (15) and Missy Franklin (17). Jacoby got an Alaskan-sized response from her home state.
OLYMPIC RECORD! Australia's Kaylee McKeown wins gold in the women's 100m backstroke, with @TeamUSA's Regan Smith earning bronze. #TokyoOlympics— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 27, 2021
📱: NBC Sports App pic.twitter.com/FlF0HDkYlK
Team USA picked up a pair of bronze medals in the 100-meter backstroke. First, it was Regan Smith on the women's side before Ryan Murphy finished behind a pair of ROC athletes for the men. Russian Evgeny Rylov won the gold, ending a Team USA streak of 12 straight gold-medal finishes in men's individual back.
'@tomdean00 wins GOLD in the 200m, and earns the first gold medal in the men's freestyle for @TeamGB since 1908! #TokyoOlympics— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 27, 2021
📱: NBC Sports App pic.twitter.com/lHUb9CfOhG
Tom Dean of Great Britain won the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:44:22, just fractions of a second ahead of countryman Duncan Scott. Team USA's Kieran Smith finished sixth.
When you get interviewed by your two triplet brothers -- as 400-meter individual medley silver medalist Jay Litherland did -- there's probably going to be a question about your underwear.
Medal first for Team USA in synchronized diving
Jessica Parratto and Delaney Schnell won Team USA's first-ever medal in the women's 10m synchronized diving, as they took silver on Tuesday. They finished behind the China duo of Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi and secured their medal with a back 2½ somersaults, 1½ twists pike effort with a difficulty rating of 3.2. That earned Parratto and Schnell 78.72 points, secured a historic silver behind dominant China, which has now won this discipline six times in a row since it was introduced in the 2000 Olympics. -- Tom Hamilton
Triathlon: Bermuda earns first gold ever; U.S. takes bronze
Flora Duffy, who splits her time training between Boulder, Colorado, and South Africa, won the first gold -- and only second medal ever -- for the island nation of Bermuda. Bermuda's only other medal was a bronze in boxing by Clarence Hill in 1976.
Duffy crossed the line in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 36 seconds, 1:14 ahead of Great Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown, who recovered from a flat tire for the silver medal.
Katie Zaferes of the United States took the bronze 1:27 behind Duffy.
USA Volleyball rolling
Have a game, Jordan Thompson! @jtomm19 scores 34...yes, 34 (!) as USA 🇺🇸 defeats China in three sets in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the tournament! USA wins 29-27, 25-22, 25-21. #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/ZxjtIkz784— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) July 27, 2021
USA Volleyball is 3 for 3 today! Phil Dalhausser and @NicklucenaFSU, who were 12th in the Olympic rankings, just defeated fourth-ranked Brazil 🇧🇷 in three sets (15-13 in the third). #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/rfYQUlrfqs— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) July 27, 2021
Celebrating Tom Daley's gold from afar
Great Britain's Tom Daley won gold in synchronized diving with partner Matty Lee yesterday in Tokyo, but it's worth revisiting for the reaction from his husband and mom watching together from afar.
Afterward, Daley talked about winning a gold medal while his son could watch.
"My son was meant to watch me win an Olympic gold medal." - @TomDaley1994— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 27, 2021
Tom Daley thought Rio 2016 was his time, but now has won gold with his three-year-old son watching. #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/fdiSV7StAD
Hawaii's Moore takes first women's surfing gold
Carissa Moore of Hawaii defeated South Africa's Bianca Buitendag to take the first women's surfing gold medal in Olympic history. Caroline Marks of the United States had a chance for the bronze but lost to Amuro Tsuzuki of Japan.
Australia earned the first surfing medal in Olympic history, as Owen Wright defeated Gabriel Medina for the bronze. Italo Ferreira of Brazil beat Kanoa Igarashi of Japan in the men's gold-medal event.