Leading through the first 1000 meters of the women’s cycling team pursuit gold medal match, the U.S. women’s dreams of an Olympic gold medal did not come to fruition because of a historic effort put forth by Great Britain.
In winning the team pursuit final Great Britain established a new world record with a time of 4:10.236, and the Brits have won gold in this event both times that it’s been held at the Olympics (2012 being the first). Among the quartet was Laura Trott, who became the first British woman to win three Olympic gold medals in any sport. The American four, consisting of Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Sarah Hammer and Jennifer Valentine, posted a time of 4:12.454.
At 19 years, seven month and 12 days old, Dygert is the youngest American woman to win an Olympic medal in cycling.
Canada took bronze, meaning that the top three in Rio are the same exact three that made the medal stand in London. And one of their racers, Georgia Simmerling, has now competed in three different Olympics in three different sports. Prior to Rio both of those appearances came in the Winter Olympics, as Simmerling competed in alpine skiing in Vancouver in 2010 and in freestyle skiing in Sochi two years ago.
Medals were also awarded in the women’s keirin, with Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands grabbing an early lead she would not relinquish to take the gold. Rebecca James of Great Britain took silver, with Australia’s Anna Meares taking bronze
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.