Two Team USA swimmers set new Olympic records Monday night while winning gold medals in breast stroke and back stroke events.
Ryan Murphy, 21, won the men's 100 meters backstroke race with a time of 51.97 seconds, a new Olympic record, but just short of the world record of 51.94 set by compatriot Aaron Peirsol in 2009 before non-textile bodysuits were banned from competition.
Murphy’s win continues U.S. domination in the event, which it has won in six successive Olympics dating back to Atlanta in 1996.
19-year-old Lilly King took the gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.93, another new Olympic record. The win for King became personal after she struck up a bit of a rivalry with disgraced Russian drug cheat Yulia Efimova, 24, during the preliminary rounds.
“I hope I did [make a statement about doping]," King in an interview with NBC after the race. "We can still compete clean and do well at the Olympic Games, and that's how it should be."
Efimova -- the reigning world champion -- was jeered after winning her heat in the 100-meter breaststroke preliminaries after serving a 16-month suspension for doping and then testing positive this year for the now-banned pharmaceutical meldonium.
She and six other Russian swimmers were initially banned from the Rio games following reports from the World Anti-Doping Agency identifying a state-sanctioned doping scheme for Russian athletes. The Olympic International Committee reinstated her and several other high-profile Russian swimmers in the past week.
American swimming star Katie Ledecky smashed her own world record in the 400 meter freestyle event Sunday at the Rio Olympic Games.
The U.S. men's swimming team won a gold medal in the 4x100 relay. Michael Phelps, who gave the team the lead swimming a fast second leg, earned his 19th gold medal as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
Phelps took second place in the men's 200 meter butterfly semifinals, where he holds the world and Olympic records. The final race will be held Tuesday night.
Adam Peaty of Britain also set a world record for the men's 100 meter breaststroke with a time of 57.13 seconds to win gold. Earlier, Sweden's Sara Sjostrom broke the world record in the women's event.
Japan dethrones China’s men’s gymnastics team
The Chinese men’s gymnastics team fell in dramatic fashion to Japan after winning the team competition in each of the past two Olympic Games. The Chinese took third place in Rio less than a year after losing the world title – also to Japan – which China had previously won six consecutive times.
Zhang Chenglong, one of the stars on China’s gymnastics team, was distraught and admitted that winning the team gold was “the most important and precious” goal for the team heading into Rio.
“Team gold represents the summit of Chinese gymnastics,” he said. “Everyone has to be excellent, not just one person.”
Russia won the silver medal. The United States finished fifth.
Muslim American fencer makes history
Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab, made her Olympic debut during the fencing competition. She won her first match but was eliminated in her second bout.
Growing up black and Muslim in the U.S. state of New Jersey, 28-year-old Ibtihaj Muhammad says she loved sports, but often struggled to find her place.
Muhammad began fencing in 1999 at the age of 13. She set her sights on the American national team in 2007 when she realized there were no minorities represented. In 2011, Muhammad became the first female Muslim athlete to represent the United States.
She is ranked second in the United States and 12th worldwide.
Rugby comes to the Olympics
Australia took home the first ever gold medal for women’s rugby sevens at the Olympics, edging out neighbor and rival New Zealand by a score of 24-17 in the final match Monday night.
Team Canada won the bronze medal match against Great Britain after blowing out the Britain squad by a score of 33-10. The British women previously beat Canada during pool play, but were no match for the Canadian team Monday, as Canada led throughout the entire match.
The men’s rugby teams will kick-off competition Tuesday morning with Australia taking on France.
US basketball rolls
Both the U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams routed their opponents Monday, with the men taking a 113-69 win over Venezuela and the women taking a 103-63 win over Spain.
The men’s team will pick up play in the preliminary round again Wednesday against an Australia team that is also 2-0. Meanwhile, the women will take on a 0-2 Serbia team.