The synchronized swimming team from Russia performed their “rhythms of the city” themed technical routine to a huge score of 97.0106 on Thursday, leading the eight-team field by 1.3932 points.
A team from Russia has won gold in the synchronized swimming team event every Olympics since 2000, and this year’s team includes 2016 duet gold medalists Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina.
If Russia wins the team event, as they are heavily favored to do on Friday, Ishchenko and Romashina can tie the record for most decorated Olympic synchronized swimmers with five golds with their countrywoman and former teammate Anastasia Davydova.
The team from China scored big points with the crowd as well as the judges: Their “Brazil” themed technical routine earned 95.6174 points, good for a second place standing behind Russia. Tuesday’s duet silver medalists Sun Wenyan and Huang Xuechen were two of the eight performing on the Chinese team.
Japan’s team, performing to an original composition with a theme of more pleasure and sunshine, tallied 93.7723 points and sit in third place. Japan’s newly-minted duet bronze medalists, Yukiko Inui and Risako Mitsui, doubled up to also perform in the team event.
Brazil’s “motorcycle biker” themed routine to start the session brought the crowd to its feet and scored 84.7985 points.
After finishing with silver medals at the 2008 Olympics and bronze medals at the 2012 Olympics, Spain shockingly did not qualify a team to compete at the 2016 Games. The U.S. did not qualify a team for Rio, either.