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Sport: Opinion: Women's mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo

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Carey, who finished ninth overall in women ’ s qualifying Monday, did not initially make the 24-athlete all-round finals due to International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) rules limiting each country to two competitors. She posted the third-highest score for Team USA , behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. Opinion : Women ' s mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo .

“ We had two sleepless nights. We watched everything live and as soon as we knew that she had won a USA TODAY Sports. Opinion : Women ' s mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo . Three of the mainstays of the American Olympic effort -- women ' s gymnastics

TOKYO — USA women’s gymnastics loses Simone Biles, then loses to Russia.

USA softball loses the gold medal to Japan, just as it did the last time softball was in the Olympics 13 years ago.

USA women’s soccer plays Australia to an unimpressive scoreless tie, moving on in the Olympics but not looking very good in the process.

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All of that bad news happened within less than four hours Tuesday evening at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Three of the mainstays of the American Olympic effort, three of the most reliable U.S. success stories, all struggled at the same time.

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OPINION : Women ' s mainstays of U . S . Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo . Biles' teammates, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum pushed through with the rest of the competition, while Biles cheered from the sideline. “ We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we ’re human, too,” Biles said. “So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.” Raisman was the captain of the women ' s gymnastics team at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics , helping the U . S . win gold at those

Russian Olympic Committee's artistic gymnastics women ' s team, from left, Liliia Akhaimova, Viktoriia Listunova, Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova celebrate after winning the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics , Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo . Opinion : Women ' s mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo .

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This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Women’s sports are the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team, particularly women’s team sports. Women make up a majority of the U.S. Olympic team for the third consecutive time. Women usually are the biggest stars of Team USA, thanks to Title IX, the 49-year-old law that opened the floodgates for women and girls to play sports just like their brothers had for generations. It’s not a surprise then that the Olympics are the Super Bowl for female athletes.

Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, American women’s team sports have mostly thrived at the Olympic Games. That was the year that soccer and softball debuted in the Games, and the Americans won gold in both. That also was the year the U.S. women won a dramatic team gold in gymnastics.

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“Historically, in the United States and Europe, sports were the pastime of white males, because why would a negro be jumping around in the ring, instead of picking cotton?,” Alexei Naumov, of the Russian International Affairs Council, said on 60 Minutes last week. His rant included a point where he pondered out loud about whether Black people should be segregated into a “Negro League” competitions, claiming “they run faster than whites.” 8m ago. USA TODAY Sports. Opinion : Women ' s mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo .

TOKYO — If redemption is in the cards for this U . S . men’ s basketball team at these Olympics , it was never going to happen via Iran. But every comeback has an origin story, and after all the difficulties Team USA encountered since gathering in Las Vegas a few weeks back, no easy win should be taken for granted. Flickinger and Smith will return to the pool for Thursday' s final with hopes of adding to the individual medals they've already won in Tokyo . Flickinger won bronze in the 400-meter individual medley Sunday, while Smith followed with a bronze of her own in the 100-meter backstroke Tuesday.

Both the soccer and softball teams have had their stumbles over the years, but few expected them both to have trouble in Tokyo. The softball team went undefeated in round-robin play but struggled with its offense all tournament, and that continued in its 2-0 loss to Japan. The two-time defending World Cup champion soccer team, meanwhile, has been a mystery.

The Americans lost to Sweden 3-0 to start the Olympic tournament, and head into the quarterfinals still in search of momentum, and an offense. In Rio in 2016, the Americans exited in the quarterfinals, their worst performance ever in the Olympics. Could that happen again? It’s certainly possible.

And what do we say about the stunning events that took place at the gymnastics venue during the women’s team final? To lose Biles after she withdrew as she deals with the stress of competing at the Olympics, was an awful twist of fate, followed by mistakes that doomed any U.S. chance for gold.

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USA TODAY Sports. Opinion : Women ' s mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo . The nearly four - hour hearing Tuesday offered a harrowing account of officers beaten unconscious, tear-gassed, and taunted with racial epithets. 5m ago. USA TODAY Sports.

Monica Abbott et al. in uniform: Team USA stands on the podium after winning the silver medal in softball at the Tokyo Olympics. © Kareem Elgazzar, USA TODAY Sports Team USA stands on the podium after winning the silver medal in softball at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was the first time since 2010 that the United States didn’t win the women’s team title at a world championships or Olympic Games.

Turns out that for some of the nation’s best women athletes, it was just that kind of a day.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Women's mainstays of US Olympic effort have four hours to forget in Tokyo

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