Breakfast With The Americans: Softball, Soccer Open the Tokyo Games
Updated: Jul 23, 2021
Image: Cat Ostermann
Just a day before the torch ignites in Tokyo, the Olympic Games are underway! After a year of uncertainty, athletes from all around the world have gathered in Tokyo's capital to flaunt their athletic prowess on the greatest stage in the world. Among the 206 nations competing at this year's games, the American delegation is as hungry as ever to bring home gold.
However, while American fans have no problem clamoring around their tv sets every four years, there are some who may not be too keen on staying up through the night to watch the games live.
Luckily, as House Enterprise's resident night owl, I've got you covered. Here's everything you missed at the Olympic Games while you were asleep.
USA Softball Takes Down Italy and Canada
Team USA's softball debut at Tokyo 2020 featured a very familiar face starting on the mound. Coming out of a five-year long retirement period, Cat Ostermann made her return to softball in a 2-0 win over Italy late last night. A member of the 2004 squad that won Gold in Athens, Osterman threw 9 strikeouts against the Italians in 6 innings pitched, with Monica Abbott throwing 3 of her own to secure an American victory.
Despite the loss, softball fans got a major takeaway from Italy's performance by getting to see the post high school debut of Alexia Lacatena, 2021's ninth best high school softball prospect. A 2021 commit to the University of Kentucky, Lacatena allowed just two out of eight batters faced get on base.
In the American's second game last night, Monica Abbott finished what she started against the Italians, holding Canada scoreless through seven innings. Striking out nine, Abbott played a major part in securing a close 1-0 victory. The US is now 2-0 in Tokyo, and have yet to allow a run.
After taking a break for a day for the opening ceremonies, USA Softball will continue their campaign against Mexico Saturday afternoon (late Friday night/early Saturday morning for those in the States).
US Women's National Team Drops Opener 3-0 to Sweden
While the Softball team has gotten off to a hot start, Olympic play for the reigning Women's World Cup Champs got off to a shaky start on Wednesday afternoon. As soon as Sweden took a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute, the United States seemed too stunned to mount any sort of comeback.
Sweden maintained possession for a majority of the game, hungry for revenge after a 2016 matchup in Rio that saw the United States advance to the semifinals after penalties.
After taking a break for a day for the opening ceremonies, USA Softball will continue their campaign against Mexico Saturday afternoT
USWNT Falls 3-0 to Sweden in an Opening Stunner
While the softball team has gotten off to a hot start, the Tokyo games have not been great so far for the reigning FIFA Women's World Champions.
Exacting revenge after a quarterfinal loss in Rio after penalties, Sweden scored early against the United States and never let up in the opening round of this year's group stage. Stunned at the fact their opponent drew first blood, the US struggled to mount a serious comeback in the first half. Sweden maintained possession of the ball for nearly 60 percent of the first 45 minutes.
Despite some decent chances in the second, including a Megan Rapinoe screamer that nicked itself off of the post.
Even in a loss as bad as that one, the USWNT maintained a championship mindset, confident in their ability to stay alive in this tournament, yet honest about their subpar performance.
"I thought we were a little tight, a little nervous, doing dumb stuff," Rapinoe said in her postgame presser, before shifting attention to the near future. "There's no time to dwell and think about if Sweden is living in our heads or not. We have another game in three days."
The United States will take on New Zealand on Saturday in their next group stage match.
What's on Tonight
Before the torch is lit, there are plenty of medal qualifying rounds in a variety of sports, including:
Archery: Both the men's and women's archery competitions will begin in the qualifying round. Participants will be ranked by their performance, with those rankings determining the seeds in a match-style bracket tournament. In terms of Americans to watch out for, be sure to check out 2019 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist, and 17 year old phenom Casey Kaufhold.
Rowing: Qualifying heats for a variety of rowing events begin tomorrow night, which include single, double, and quad sculls. Genevra Stone, who won Silver in the women's single scull back in Rio, will compete in the doubles heat with partner Kristina Wagner.
See you tomorrow!