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Team USA makes the wrong kind of Olympic history

This isn’t the kind of history the United States wanted to set.

For the first time in 49 years, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, the U.S. failed to medal on the first day of the Summer Olympics.

Eleven gold medals were given out Saturday, but an American did not place in the top three in any of those events, falling short in fencing, archery, cycling, air rifle and pistol shooting, and weightlifting.


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It was believed second-ranked Eli Dershwitz had a good shot to medal in men’s sabre, but he lost to Junghwan Kim of South Korea in the Round of 16. In the women’s 10m air rifle, favorite Mary Tucker placed sixth. Brandon McNulty was in position to medal in the cycling road race, before struggling at the end for a sixth-place finish.

In the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, a bad opening day didn’t translate into a poor performance for the United States. It still finished the Games with 33 gold medals and 94 total medals, the second most in both categories behind the Soviet Union.

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