RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Good old Michael Phelps, golden again.
For teenagers Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, their star turns in the Summer Olympics might be just beginning.
From the pool to the gymnastics floor, Team USA had nice day at the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Not all the American stars were winners Tuesday, though. Serena Williams lost on the tennis court and the U.S. women’s soccer team gave up a late goal and ended up in a draw with Colombia.
But a new generation of U.S. athletes is ready to take up the banner of Olympic standard-bearer from Phelps, a grizzled veteran at 31.
Phelps earned his 20th career gold medal after taking the 200-meter butterfly. He erased the bad memories from his loss in the same race in London to South African Chad le Clos.
Phelps got off to a rousing start at the Rio Games by leading his 4×100 freestyle team to the gold medal on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Phelps’ face bared a familiar scowl as he walked out on to the deck. He held off Japan’s Masato Sakai by four-hundredths of a second, with Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi taking the bronze.
His 21st gold came later Tuesday night after swimming the anchor leg on the 4×200-meter relay.
Ledecky strode atop the medal podium again with a bright smile after taking gold for winning the 200-meter freestyle. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden claimed the silver and Emma McKeon of Australia took the bronze.
Ledecky, just 19, won her second gold. At this pace, she could challenge Phelps’ medal haul someday.
At the other end of Olympic Park, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team captured a second straight gold with a high-flying and dominating performance.
The triumph was never in doubt, their score of 184.897 at the Rio Games was more than eight points clear of the field. The day was capped by the 19-year-old Biles, a fan favorite, whose boundary-pushing floor exercise showed just how far ahead they are of everyone else.
Biles, Lauren Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman also gave retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi a fitting send off with powerful performances on all the apparatuses.
The golden girls dubbed themselves “The Final Five” in honor of Karolyi’s retirement at the end of the Olympics and the fact that the format is changing for Tokyo in 2020 so that only four team members will take part in the team competition.
The normally stern Karolyi broke down in tears when she was told of the nickname the team adopted.
“I think at this moment we can say that the United States dominates the world of gymnastics,” Karolyi said.
Russia took the silver medal and China earned bronze.