RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Michael Phelps and Simone Biles powered their way to more gold medals with rousing routs at the Rio Games on Thursday.
Sauntering to the sounds of Latin music befitting the beaches and boulevards of Rio de Janeiro, Biles soared to the women’s all-around gymnastics title.
Hours later, Phelps blew away rival Ryan Lochte — and everyone else, for that matter — to win his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley.
This was touted as the last showdown between two of America’s greatest swimmers, though there’s never been any question about which one had the upper hand. Lochte didn’t even reach the podium this time, fading to fifth after leading at the midway point.
Simone Manuel of the United States and 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak of Canada tied for the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, upsetting world-record holder Cate Campbell. Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.
Putting the gulf between herself and the rest of the world on full display , the 19-year-old Biles became the fourth straight American woman to win the Olympic all-around title and fifth overall while cementing her reputation as the best of her generation and perhaps ever.
Biles has spent the last three years dominating her sport, winning 15 world championships.
The pair’s powerful performances came on a day the Rio Games turned aside the disconcerting lime-like waters at the aquatics center and toward the emerald green fairways as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.
Adilson da Silva of Brazil hit the first Olympic golf shot since 1904 with the opening tee shot. Justin Rose made what is believed to be the first hole-in-one.
The Pacific Island nation of Fiji erupted into celebration after its rugby sevens team defeated Britain 43-7 to capture the country’s first Olympic medal.
Rugby is back in the Olympics for the first time since 1924.
Golf is back after an even longer absence.
Da Silva smiled and removed his cap to wave to the sparse crowd that included more golf officials than fans after his tee shot. Growing up in golf-starved Brazil with little equipment, Da Silva used to make golf clubs out of tree branches as a child.
Marcus Fraser of Australia had the first that mattered the most on the Olympic Golf Course — the first-round lead. Fraser shot an 8-under 63 that stood for a three-shot advantage over Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Graham DeLaet of Canada.
The only one of four Americans in the 60-man field to break par was Matt Kuchar (69). Rickie Fowler started with a double bogey and shot 75, beating only two players. Patrick Reed shot 72 and Bubba Watson had a 73.
The world’s top four players — Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy — skipped the Rio Game s because of Zika fears and safety concerns.
Pervasive violence is an everyday part of Rio, and a police officer was hospitalized after getting shot in the head when he and two others got lost near a slum. The Justice Ministry said the officer was recovering after four hours of surgery.
The incident was the bloodiest of several at the start of South America’s first Olympic Games. Muggings have been reported among Olympic athletes, officials and journalists.
A total of 21 gold medals were earned in 11 sports Thursday.
Other highlights from Day 6 of the Rio Games:
EXOTIC ANIMALS : The course where Olympic golf made its return features all the normal pratfalls like bunkers and sloping greens. There are also native animals such as capybaras, caimans and corujas. The capybara is the world’s largest rodent, albeit an herbivore. The caiman, a small crocodile, and the corujas are burrowing owls, some of whom have taken up residence in the course’s bunkers.
HANGING ON : Venus Williams’ Rio Olympics is still going — just barely. Upset in the first round in singles and doubles while battling a virus, the four-time gold medalist was a late entrant into mixed doubles. She and teammate Rajeev Ram faced two match points Thursday and saved both in rallying from a set down for a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 10-8 tiebreak win over Kiki Bertens and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands.
SICK SAILOR : A Belgian woman who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics has become sick after racing on polluted Guanabara Bay, the first sailor to fall ill from the waters that were heavily scrutinized leading to the Rio Games. Evi Van Acker reported feeling sick after Wednesday’s races . Her poor performances have put her at risk of missing out on a medal in the Laser Radial class. Her coach said he believes Van Acker contracted a severe intestinal infection while training in Rio in July that sapped her energy.
OH NO, NEYMAR : In a scary scene for Brazilian fans at the team’s arrival in Sao Paulo for the quarterfinals of the Olympic soccer tournament, superstar Neymar limped heavily with his ankle wrapped up. But the Brazilian football confederation said exams conducted on the star striker’s right foot on Thursday showed no serious injuries. Neymar is expected to practice on Friday and be fully fit to play in Saturday’s match against Colombia.
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