The lights came on Sunday in Rio Olympic Arena and just like that, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team dominated.
On bars. On beam. On vault and floor too. Their not-a-typo score of 185.238 was nearly 10 points better than second-place China through four of the five subdivisions, a preposterous gap in a sport where the difference between first and second is measured in fractions.
Three-time world champion Simone Biles led the way. Her score of 62.366 was well clear of teammate Aly Raisman. All five women earned a spot in either the all-around or event finals.
Raisman, a three-time Olympic medalist four years ago, grabbed the second spot in the individual all-around for the Americans by edging reigning Olympic champion Gabby Douglas.
Rules limit each country to two gymnasts per event in the all-around and event finals, meaning even though Douglas was third overall, she’ll miss out on a chance to defend the crown she won in London.
Wild day in tennis
Serena and Venus Williams lost an Olympic doubles match for the first time, stunned in the opening round 6-3, 6-4 by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova.
The sisters entered the match with a 15-0 record in the Olympics, winning the gold medal in women’s doubles every time they entered the event: in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
Serena won her first-rounder in singles earlier Sunday. For the men, top-ranked Novak Djokovic lost his first-round match to 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2).
Women’s basketball: Diana Taurasi and the U.S. team opened with a record rout, smashing Senegal 121-56 while setting Olympic marks for most points in a game, margin of victory and assists (36).
Beach volleyball: Defending champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new partner, April Ross, won their opening match 21-14, 21-13 over Australia late Saturday night. ... Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena topped Tunisia 21-7, 21-13 to win their first match on the men’s side.
Cycling: The Americans had another shattering disappointment in the women’s road race when three cyclists blew past Mara Abbott within sight of the finish line. Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen won gold.
Women’s rugby: New Zealand narrowly avoided a major upset against the United States to join Australia, Canada and Britain in the playoffs for the first rugby sevens medals awarded at the Olympics.
Men’s volleyball: The young U.S. men’s team, ranked fifth, lost in straight sets to 12th-ranked Canada in a pool-play opener.
Rowing: Rowers reluctantly got a day off after strong winds whipped up treacherous waves.
Fencing: Italian Daniele Garozzo stunned top-ranked American Alexander Massialas to win gold in men’s foil fencing.
Paralympics: The entire Russian team was banned from competing in the upcoming games as punishment for the country running a doping operation.
Scary fall: Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten sustained three small fractures to her spine and will remain hospitalized in intensive care after crashing during the women’s Olympic road race.