6 things you missed at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday, Aug. 9

Justin L. Abrotsky

To 20 and beyond

Michael Phelps added to his record medal haul twice in fewer than two hours. First, he avenged his London 2012 loss to South African rival Chad le Clos with a 200-meter butterfly victory and his 20th career gold. Then, he added gold No. 21 byanchoring the 4x200 freestyle relay. If that wasn't enough (and it really was), he also found time to share an adorable moment with his 3-month-old son Boomer.

After all these years, how does Phelps remain on top? Is it the curious "cupping" therapy that has captured the attention in recent days? USA TODAY Sports' Josh Peter decided to try it out for himself and find out.

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Amid the Phelps party, fellow American standout Katie Ledecky seized another gold, this time in a tightly contested 200 freestyle. With just the 800 free remaining, Ledecky will likely become just the second female Olympian in history to win three individual freestyle golds in the same Games.

Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal after the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final at the London 2012 Olympic Games, July 31, 2012.
Christophe Simon | AFP | Getty Images

Final Five finishes the job

Mission accomplished. The U.S. women's gymnastics team — with all the sky-high expectations surrounding it — did not disappoint, drawing clear of silver medalist Russia by more than eight points for the gold medal. We've said it before, but it bears repeating: This is a sport normally decided by tenths of a point.

Since we absolutely needed a name for this legendary squad, star member Simone Biles suggested Final Five, a nod to this being the last of retiring coach Martha Karolyi's hugely successful teams.

Serena stunned

Defending women's tennis gold medalist Serena Williams saw her repeat hopes come to an early and surprising end as she got bounced in straight sets by Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in the Round of 16. With an erratic performance in Rio and various injuries this season, it's possible the 35-year-old Williams was just too exhausted to make a run.

If you're still looking for an American to cheer on, 21-year old Madison Keys pulled into the quarterfinals with a three-set victory against Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.


Men's rugby was played at the Olympics on Tuesday for the first time since the Calvin Coolidge administration, and it was spectacular.

The No. 3-ranked New Zealand squad was upset by the Japanese before recovering later to trounceKenya. Likewise, the United States, featuring the New England Patriots' Nate Ebner, saw its rally against Argentina fall short, but finished the day with a rout of host Brazil.

Another broadcaster blunder

Broadcasters being under fire is already well-worn territory in these young Games, and NBC's Chris Marlowe was the latest to have a regrettable moment.

Marlowe, in his seventh Olympics with the network, referred to Liliane Maestrini, the spouse of gay beach volleyball player Larissa Franca, as Franca's "husband."

NBC issued an apology from Marlowe. On a different note, the network stood by its television-programming strategy, stressing that the digital streaming option works.

Stumblingto the finish

The reigning Women's World Cup champions weren't at their best Tuesday. Taking a 2-1 lead into the final minute of play against Colombia, the U.S. gave up a goal on a set piece to finish group play with a tie.

Despite the deflating closing moments and an earlier mistake by Hope Solo, the Americans still won Group G, and the game did feature goals from two young talents — 24-year-old Crystal Dunn and 18-year-old phenom Mallory Pugh.