Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Wednesday

By Sports Desk July 27, 2021

There was plenty of drama in Tokyo on Tuesday and that is set to continue as the Olympic Games ramps up further on Wednesday.

A titanic tussle in the swimming pool should be well worth watching, but action on the bikes and in the basketball court will also draw plenty of eyes.

Stats Perform guides you through the events not to be missed.

TITMUS OUT TO TOP LEDECKY AGAIN

Katie Ledecky is one of the dominant forces in the pool, taking gold in each of her prior four individual Games finals since her 2012 debut as she headed to Tokyo, but she was upset in the 2020 opener.

Ariarne Titmus, the 20-year-old Australian, beat the United States' world record holder by more than half a second in the 400m freestyle final.

Now, Titmus is coming for Ledecky's crown again as the pair do battle in the 200m freestyle, where another victory would send a significant message.

TOUR STARS TAKE ON TIME TRIAL

There are no shortage of big names in the men's time trial, with a number of Grand Tour winners involved – including Geraint Thomas, no doubt determined to put on a show after his fall in the road race.

The last two men to head out perhaps represent the most likely Olympic champions, though, as Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna go for gold.

Van Aert won the final two stages of the Tour de France, including a time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

FOCUS ON THE FOUR

The first rowing medals of the Games are to be handed out on Wednesday, and the women's four – back in the Olympics for the first time in 30 years – should provide plenty of intrigue.

World champions Australia changed their line-up for the Olympics, having not competed internationally since taking their title in 2019. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, world silver medallists and back-to-back European champions, have been dominant.

The two teams won their respective heats, but Australia's time of six minutes and 28.76 seconds was an Olympic best and almost five seconds quicker than the Dutch. Whether that chasm will remain when the boats are side by side is another matter.

TWO-WAY TUSSLE IN THE GYM

There is more gymnastics action to look forward, with the men's individual final taking place.

Home hope Daiki Hashimoto qualified with the best score and was outstanding for Japan in the team event, yet could only take silver as the hosts were pipped by the Russian Olympic Committee.

It was Nikita Nagornyy's floor routine which sealed that Russian success and he will be bidding for another gold, having trailed Hashimoto in second in qualification.

CAN DREAM TEAM RECOVER FROM NIGHTMARE START?

The United States' latest men's basketball title defence started in miserable fashion with a defeat to France, the team who eliminated them at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

It was Team USA's first Olympics loss since 2004, but it is highly unlikely a second will follow as they face Iran. A big performance is needed regardless to calm the critics.

While France delivered the upset in the basketball, they face their own humiliation in the football. Only a two-goal win against hosts Japan, themselves needing a point, will secure progress through Group A for Les Bleus.

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    Emma Hayes insists Chelsea have not overanalysed “world-class” Barcelona ahead of their Champions League clash on Saturday.

    Chelsea have travelled to Catalonia for the first leg of their semi-final 12 months on from the two clubs meeting at the same stage of the competition.

    Barcelona prevailed 2-1 on aggregate on that occasion before overcoming Wolfsburg in Eindhoven to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

    Chelsea boss Hayes, speaking ahead ahead of this weekend’s first leg at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, said: “Barcelona have been the top team in Europe in recent years.

    “Results have suggested that, they are world champions and European champions, but this is a football match and there’s two legs.

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    “You have to be in it to compete for it and you know that you’re going to face a team like Barcelona at some stage, and it happens to be at the semi-finals.

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    Chelsea have never won the Women’s Champions League with their best performance being a final appearance in 2021 when Barcelona thrashed them 4-0.

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    “We just have to keep building on our experiences in Europe,” said Hayes. “No player needs motivation to play this game.

    “Next week we get a little more time together on the grass to work on things between the two games, based on the learnings.

    “For this game we have to keep doing the good things that we’ve been doing throughout Europe this year.”

    Chelsea have received a double boost with England pair Millie Bright and Lauren James available for selection.

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    Hayes said: “I always come from a tactical perspective, first and foremost, from what the needs are for that game.

    “Of course, when you play three games directly after an international break, within a seven-day period, you have to utilise the squad.

    “We certainly know that no matter the team we put out, we’re highly competitive and Wednesday demonstrated that. So many players came in and added much-needed energy.

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    “I’m really happy to sign a contract extension with this great club and look forward to ending the season strong, while continuing to build for the future,” the 22-year-old said on www.manutd.com.

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