It was by no means certain the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics would even go ahead, such was the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

But go ahead they did and now here we stand on the eve of the closing ceremony in the Japanese capital.

They have certainly been a Games like no other and we all hope future Olympics will not be held under such unusual circumstances, and judging the success of Tokyo 2020 is no easy feat given the measures to do so are too arbitrary.

Having said that, here are the highs of the Games and some of the lows, too.

The highs…

WARHOLM AND MCLAUGHLIN HAMMER THE HURDLES

Karsten Warholm revelled in bringing the "wow" factor to the men's 400m hurdles, and rightly so. The Norwegian became the first man to break the 46-second barrier – running an astonishing 45.94 seconds to smash his own world record, five weeks after breaking a benchmark held by Kevin Young for 29 years. A day later, Sydney McLaughlin battered her own world record in the women's race, clocking in at 51.46s.

VAN VLEUTEN'S HEARTWARMING TRIUMPH

Five years ago in Rio, Annemiek van Vleuten was on course for victory in the women's cycling road race until a high-speed crash left her with minor fractures to her spine. To make matters worse, the Dutchwoman made headlines for celebrating what she thought was victory in the same event here in Tokyo – only to realise she had finished second behind runaway winner Anna Kiesenhofer. But finally, her golden moment arrived in the women's time trial – at the age of 38 years and 293 days, she became the third-oldest woman to win Olympic gold for the Netherlands.

SWIMMING STARS PROVE THERE'S LIFE AFTER PHELPS

Michael Phelps is an Olympics legend and no one can lay claim to more than the 23 golds or 28 overall medals he accrued over between 2004 and 2016. But a stellar cast this year proved swimming is in a very strong position. Emma McKeon took home seven medals (including four golds) – the joint-most of any woman at a single Games – while Ariarne Titmus' 200m and 400m free double was memorable, particularly her win over the great Katie Ledecky in the latter race. Caeleb Dressel took five golds to show his potential as Phelps' heir apparent, while Adam Peaty stunned again for Great Britain. It was some week in the pool.

THOMPSON-HERAH DOES THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE

Elaine Thompson-Herah announced herself to the world stage with a 100 and 200m sprint double at Rio 2016 but injuries in the intervening years stemmed her momentum a little. However, she peaked at the perfect time in Tokyo and backed up her double from Brazil – becoming the first woman to repeat on the 100 and 200m. Indeed, only Usain Bolt had ever previously done so.

THE AZZURRI'S GOLDEN HOUR

There was a shock in the men's 100m final where the unheralded Marcell Jacobs started the post-Bolt era with gold. That followed on from countryman Gianmarco Tamberi having minutes earlier shared high jump glory with Mutaz Essa Barshim. There were hugs aplenty as Italy, surely celebrating their greatest night at an Olympics, won two athletics golds at the same Games since Athens in 2004.

NEW EVENTS CATCH THE IMAGINATION

One of the most fascinating aspects of any Olympics is the new sports and categories that get added to the programme. At Tokyo 2020, skateboarding, surfing and climbing have all attracted new and younger audiences to the Games – while the addition of mixed triathlon and the mixed 4x400m track relay have been successes.

BILES' INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE

On the one hand, the fact we saw so little of Simone Biles and some of the reprehensible bilge aimed her way over the decision to pull out of the women's team event after just one rotation and then miss four individual events can be seen as a negative. But, on the other hand, the fact that she came back to take bronze on the balance beam and use her platform to promote the importance of protecting mental health has to be seen as a high. It takes bravery and courage in her position to speak on such matters. Kudos to you, Simone.

And the lows…

EMPTY STADIUMS AN ENDURING IMAGE

Let's start with the obvious here and something that has been spoken about pretty relentlessly. The absence of fans has had a huge cost on the atmosphere at these Games. Magical moments and career peaks played out in front of huge, empty stadia has undoubtedly been a huge negative. Many will take the fact we got here and managed to hold a Games at all as a positive. And it is. But at times, the whole thing felt a bit… meh.

TENNIS' HEADLINE ACTS FAIL TO DELIVER

With so many of the top male players opting to skip Tokyo, there was a big focus on Novak Djokovic and the next checkmark on his quest for a rare Golden Slam (only Steffi Graf has ever done it). The Serbian fell short, dropping out at the semi-final stage then getting a little stroppy. Big things were also expected of Naomi Osaka – a home hope and the 'face of the Games'. She made it as far as round three before going down to Marketa Vondrousova.

THE TSIMANOUSKAYA SAGA

One of the ugliest stories to emerge from the Games was the story of Belarusian runner Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who refused to board a flight after allegedly being taken to the airport against her will following her public criticism of her team's organisation on social media. Tsimanouskaya competed in only one event and claimed she was entered into a 4x400m relay despite never racing in the discipline, suggesting that was a result of members of the team being considered ineligible due to not completing enough doping tests. The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation indicated Tsimanouskaya feared for her life upon returning to Minsk. The country is under the authoritarian leadership of president Alexander Lukashenko, whose son Viktor heads the national Olympic committee (NOC). Both men were banned last December from attending Tokyo 2020. The whole thing has been really rather unsavoury.

Katie Ledecky is eyeing up the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2028 Games in Los Angeles after claiming her seventh gold medal with victory in the women's 800 metres freestyle on Saturday.

Ledecky, who holds the world record over the distance, fended off rival Ariarne Titmus for her latest swimming triumph, backing up success in the 1,500m.

The 24-year-old American was clear of Titmus throughout the race and held off the Australian's familiar late push to win in eight minutes and 12.57 seconds. Italy's Simona Quadarella claimed bronze.

Ledecky's victory takes her Olympic medal tally to 10, including the gold haul, and she is targeting more.

“I'm still young, 24 is not that old," Ledecky said. "People are sticking around in this sport into their 30s. I still love this sport, I love it more and more every year. I feel I'm going to give every ounce I have to this sport.

“I love the training, I love the day-to-day. I'm just going to keep doing it until I feel like it's time. Obviously the Olympics in 2028 are in LA so that's kind of out there and appealing also."

USA's Michael Phelps holds the record for most Olympic gold medals with 23, with the next most going to gymnast Larisa Latynina, distance runner Paavo Nurmi, swim great Mark Spitz and athlete Carl Lewis who all claimed nine golds, which Ledecky could plausibly match or eclipse.

Ledecky has already become the first US female swimmer to win three consecutive golds in the same event.

Caeleb Dressel revealed he was not feeling 100 per cent despite breaking his own world record to win the men's 100m butterfly gold medal from Kristof Milak.

American Dressel triumphed in 49.45 seconds, bettering his own mark of 49.50 from July 2019 in Gwangju, to beat Milak, with Switzerland's Noe Ponti taking bronze.

"It was well executed, my body wasn't as good as it could have been, it was the body I was given on this day, I felt better yesterday," Dressel said. "It hurt really bad but it was fine. I knew what my race plan was and stuck to it, got the job done. What a close race. Two of the fastest times in history.

"You don't get that very often so to be a part of that is very special. The event is only going to get faster. I'm aware of that and it's just exciting that it took a world record to win."

Milak also remarked after the race that the pair would push and inspire each other on to future world records.

Australian Kaylee McKeown backed up her 100m backstroke gold with victory in the 200m, ahead of Canada's Kylie Masse and compatriot Emily Seebohm.

Great Britain, powered by Adam Peaty, won the mixed 4x100m medley relay, ahead of China and Australia.

BROWNLEE TRIUMPH AS GB MAKE HISTORY

Great Britain made history by claiming the first-ever gold medal in the mixed triathlon, with victory by 14 seconds ahead of the USA.

Jonny Brownlee, who won individual bronze in 2012 and silver in 2016, opened up a good lead for the British in the second leg which they did not relinquish.

Jessica Learmonth had started off for Team GB, before Brownlee's leg, with Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee finishing it off.

"Olympics? Completed it," Brownlee said. "It feels absolutely amazing. It's my third Olympics and I've finally got gold."

Great Britain finished in 1:23:41, with France claiming bronze behind the US team.

PERFECT GROUP PHASE FOR HOCKEYROOS

Australia's Hockeyroos completed a perfect group phase after final-quarter goals from Savannah Fitzpatrick and Emily Chalker sealed a 2-0 win over Argentina.

The victory means Australia have topped Pool B with five wins from five games and will play the fourth-ranked nation from Pool A, either Great Britain, India or Ireland.

The Australia hockey team are three-time Olympic gold medallists but have not won a medal since Sydney 2000 and endured tumult in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020 with a change of coach.

China were eliminated despite beating New Zealand 3-2, while Japan also bowed out after a 4-1 loss to Spain, who finish second in Pool B.

Germany and the Netherlands meet on Saturday evening to determine top place from Pool A ahead of the quarter-finals on Monday.

SAN MARINO'S MEDAL RUSH

Tiny European nation San Marino claimed a second-ever Olympic medal, only 48 hours after grabbing their first.

Alessandra Perilli, who won bronze on Thursday in the women's trap shooting, teamed up with Gian Marco Berti to claim silver in the mixed team trap, beaten 41-40 by Spain in the final.

San Marino, which has a population of 33,600, is the least populous country to win an Olympic medal, having competed at the Games since 1960.

USA beat Slovakia 42-42 (3-2) in the bronze medal final.

Caeleb Dressel stormed a world-record time in the men's 100 metres butterfly to win a third gold of Tokyo 2020, while Katie Ledecky earned a measure of revenge on Ariarne Titmus in Saturday's action at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

It has been some week for Dressel, though he later missed out on a fourth gold in the mixed 4x100m medley final.

There was more success for Kaylee McKeown and Australia in the 200m backstroke, while Adam Peaty was a gold medal winner again.

THREE UP AND A WR AS DRESSEL WINS THRILLER

He had to do it the hard way but Dressel scooped a third gold of the games and broke his own world record in the men's 100m butterfly after a thriller with Kristof Milak.

Dressel exploded off the block and had a healthy lead but Milak roared back down the home 50m to give his rival a scare.

But the American found an extra gear in the final few strokes to post a 49.45. He now has seven of the best 100m butterfly times in history, while five of the sub-50 second times in the event have come in 2021.

 

LEDECKY TREBLES UP, SCORES TITMUS REVENGE

Ledecky's prowess in the 800m free came to the fore again as she exacted revenge on Australian rival Ariarne Titmus.

American great Ledecky was pipped by Titmus – who also took out the 200m – in an astonishing 400m race earlier this week.

But for the third straight Games Ledecky is the 800m champion, stealing a march in the opening 50m and, though Titmus stayed close throughout, came home in 8:12.79 - the 17th-fastest swim of all-time.

Ledecky is just the third woman after Australian Dawn Fraser (100 free, 1956-64) and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi (200 back, 1988-96) to win three consecutive golds in the same swimming event.

MCKEOWN DOUBLES UP

Kaylee McKeown made it a backstroke double by taking out the women's 200m race having won the 100m earlier in the meet.

The Australian had to do things the hard way to reel back in Canada's Kylie Masse who was eight tenths clear of McKeown after 100m.

But McKeown charged down the final stretch doing the final 50m in 31.08 to touch home in 2:04.68, becoming the first Australian woman to gold medal in the event.

PEATY STRIKES GOLD AGAIN AS GB ROMP TO MEDLEY GLORY

Earlier this week, Adam Peaty defended his title in the men's 100m breaststroke in convincing style and he won his second gold of the Games as Great Britain smashed the world word in the in the 4x100 mixed medley.

Peaty, now a three-time Olympic gold medallist, swam an astonishing 56.78 leg, as he, Kathleen Dawson, James Guy and Anna Hopkin topped the podium.

Dressel was part of a Team USA quartet who were fifth.

Caeleb Dressel triumphed over rival Kyle Chalmers in one of the best races of Tokyo 2020, while China pulled off an upset to win an incredible women's 4x200m freestyle race in a world-record time.

Dressel was one of three competitors to set new Olympic benchmarks in the individual races at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Thursday, with Zhang Yufei and Zac Stubblety-Cook also doing so en route to winning gold.

There was glory for Dressel's United States team-mate in the men's 800m freestyle, too, where Bobby Finke topped the podium.

Here is a recap of all the goings-on from another enthralling session at the pool.

DRESSEL EDGES CHALMERS IN THRILLERS

Earlier this week, it was Australia beating the US in one of the races of the meet when Ariarne Titmus held off Katie Ledecky in the 400m free. 

This time it was glory for Team USA as Dressel won his second gold of the Games in an awesome 100m free final, with Australia's defending champion Chalmers just 0.10 seconds behind.

These two had battled before, with Chalmers entering the Games with two victories to one over the past five years, and the duo delivered an enthralling battle down the stretch.

But it was Dressel, part of the US team that won the 4x100m free relay earlier this week, who touched home in an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds.


TITMUS, LEDECKY BEATEN AS CHINA PULL OFF WR

Titmus has been one of the stars of these Games, pulling off a 200m and 400m free double. She and her previous record-holding Australia team-mates were favourites for gold in the 4x200m relay but had to settle for third in a race where each of the top three went under the previous world record time.

It was the foursome from China that pulled off the big win, leading from the first leg and holding on despite a frantic finish in which Ledecky so nearly anchored the United States to first place.

Ledecky fell narrowly short, though, as the US quartet took silver.


FINKE'S FINAL FLURRY

The opening race of the day produced a thrilling finish in the first men's 800m freestyle Olympics final, with Finke taking gold after turning on the jets late on.

Finke was seemingly not in contention after turning for the final 100m down in fifth and was still behind Germany's Florian Wellbrock, Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri and Ukraine's Mykhailo Romanchuk on the turn for home.

But a sensational 26.39 split down the final stretch completed a stunning comeback to take gold for the United States ahead of Paltrinieri and Romanchuk.


NEW OLYMPIC RECORDS FOR ZHANG AND STUBBLETY-COOK

China's Zhang swam the third fastest time ever to take a dominant gold for China in the women's 200m butterfly.

Zhang hit the front early and never looked troubled en route to touching home first in a time of 2:03.86, a new Olympic record.

American duo Regan Smith and Hali Flickinger were second and third. Since 2012, the United States had landed a medal in every pool event bar the women's 200m butterfly, with this ending the longest medal drought in US swimming.

Stubblety-Cook took out the men's 200m breaststroke final thanks to a barnstorming last 50m.

The Australian moved into the top three at the 150m mark and powered home in a time of 2:06.38, beating Arno Kamminga and Matti Mattsson to top spot.

Ash Barty has followed up her shock women's singles defeat by crashing out of the women's doubles after an epic clash with Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

World number one Barty was stunned in the first round of the women's singles on Sunday by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo but teamed up with Storm Sanders in the doubles, with the Australian pair reaching the quarter-finals.

However, Krejcikova and Siniakova proved too strong in a three-set thriller, winning 3-6 6-4 10-7.

"You never quite have their measure,” Barty said. "It's disappointing but there's only a couple of points in that match, here and there and it's a different result.

"We did everything right today but just weren't able to win those big points when it mattered most."

Barty's medal hopes are now entirely focused on the mixed doubles, where she has partnered with John Peers.

Andy Murray's bid to become the first male to win four Olympic tennis medals ended with defeat to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dogic in the men's doubles.

Murray, teaming up with Joe Salisbury, went down in two hours and 18 minutes after also winning the first set. The Croatian pair won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had withdrawn from the men's singles on Sunday due to a right quad injury, preferring to focus on playing doubles. TeamGB have not fielded a mixed doubles team.

 

TITMUS DOUBLES UP, LEDECKY LIFTS FOR GOLD

Ariarne Titmus backed up her women's 400m freestyle gold medal from Monday with another triumph, getting the better of rival Katie Ledecky to win the 200m free.

The 20-year-old Australian won the final ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey and Canada's Penny Oleksiak, while Ledecky finished back in fifth.

Ledecky would claim her sixth Olympic gold medal, triumphing in the women's 1500m free, with the US claiming a rare one-two as Erica Sullivan grabbed the silver ahead of Germany's Sarah Kohler.

After being beaten twice by Titmus earlier in the meet, Ledecky said: "I approach each race with a belief in myself. It's the attitude I've always had that's why I've been so successful. Anything can happen, [the attitude I go in with is] I can beat the world record in this race. 

Japan's Yui Ohashi won the women's 200m individual medley, Hungarian favourite Kristof Milak powered to victory in the men's 200m butterfly and Great Britain triumphed in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay.

 

STEERING ERROR COSTS GB IN ROWING

Australia claimed two gold medals in the rowing at Sea Forest Waterway as Great Britain were left to lament a wayward finish in the men's four final.

Australian quartet Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill won in 5:42:76 ahead of Romania and Italy who claimed silver and bronze respectively.

Italy's late charge almost saw a collision with Great Britain, who finished in fourth, after veering towards the neighbouring Italian boat, narrowly avoiding a clash of oars.

GB's Oliver Cook, who steered the men's coxless four, told BBC Sport: "I do (have the steering). I need to diagnose it but I feel I screwed up a bit and as I was closing in at the end and taking big strokes at the end going for the line I forgot the steering and that’s what cost us to be honest, cost us a medal."

Australia also won the women's four narrowly ahead of the Netherlands by 0:34 seconds, with Ireland claiming the bronze more than five seconds back.

Romania secured its first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the women's double sculls final, while France triumphed in the men's equivalent.

The Netherlands and China triumphed in the men's and women's quadruple sculls finals respectively.

 

RADRADRA DREAMING OF FIJI SEVENS GOLD

New Zealand will take on 2016 gold medalists Fiji in the final of the men's rugby sevens on Wednesday evening.

Fiji went through to the gold medal match with a 26-14 triumph over Argentina, who will take on Great Britain for bronze.

New Zealand were too strong for the British, winning 29-7 in their semi-final, with two tries each to captain Scott Curry and Regan Ware.

Former NRL star Semi Radradra, who plays for Fiji after switching codes in 2017 and scored a try against Argentina, said: "Playing in the Olympics is a blessing for me. I never knew I would be here.

"I think it is everyone's highlight to win a gold medal in the Olympics. That is our aim and we try to give back to our people at home."

USA RESTORES CONFIDENCE IN BASKETBALL

Team USA restored some confidence following their first-up loss to France with a comprehensive 120-66 thrashing of Iran in men's basketball.

USA played fast throughout, wasting no time in offense, with Damian Lillard top scoring with 21 points, all from beyond the arc.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had eight assists along with his 13 points while Devin Booker, who played in the NBA Finals last week, scored 16 points and had five rebounds and three steals.

USA head coach Gregg Popovich rotated his roster on and off the court, sharing minutes, as hos team piled on 38 points in the last quarter to round out a comprehensive victory.

In Group B, Germany defeated Nigeria 99-92 despite Jordan Nowra's 33-point haul.

Katie Ledecky called on a source of inspiration close to home as she ended her wait for a gold at the Tokyo Games with victory in the women's 1500m freestyle final.

Ledecky, who Olympic great Micheal Phelps hailed as "the best female swimmer that we have ever seen", had endured a frustrating start to the Games, failing to defend the 200 metre and 400m free golds which she won at Rio 2016.

Australia's Ariarne Titmus has instead enjoyed the breakthrough to stardom this time around, but Ledecky finally struck gold in Tokyo as she powered to glory in the maiden women's 1500m event.

It took her total of Olympic golds to six – the 24-year-old becoming the fourth female swimmer to reach that mark, after compatriots Jenny Thompson (eight) and Amy van Dyken (six), and Germany's Kristin Otto (six).

Ledecky, who clocked in at 15:37.34, is also just the fourth American woman to claim six golds, after Thompson, Van Dyken and Allyson Felix.

Erica Sullivan clinched silver to seal a one-two for Team USA, and Ledekcy revealed her thought process following a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 200m race.

"After the 200, I knew I had to turn the page very quickly and in the warm-down pool I was just thinking of my family," said Ledecky, who has now won gold medals at three different Games, following success in London, at the age of 15, and Rio.

"Each stroke I was thinking of my grandparents. They're the toughest four people I know and that's what helped me get through that.

“It means a lot. People maybe feel bad that I'm not winning everything, but I want people to be more concerned about other things in the world. People are truly suffering. I'm just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA.”

Sullivan's silver handed the USA's first one-two finish in a women's swimming race since Sydney 2000, when Brooke Bennett and Diana Munz wrapped up the top prizes in the 400m freestyle.

“I'm so happy to go one-two with Erica," Ledecky added. "It is the first women's 1500m (freestyle in Olympic history) so I couldn’t have a better outcome than that. I’m so, so happy."

Sarah Kohler completed the podium to become the first German swimmer to win an Olympic medal since 2008.

Ariarne Titmus stole the show again in the pool at Tokyo 2020, while Yui Ohashi also doubled up and Katie Ledecky got herself on the gold trail.

Australia's Titmus was back competing against Ledecky just two days on from their epic in the 400m free, though the latter was not in medal contention this time in the shorter 200.

However, the American – who has previously described herself as a "distance swimmer with a sprinter's mentality" – did become a six-time Olympic gold medallist on Wednesday.

Here's a round-up from the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

TERRIFIC TITMUS DOUBLES UP

Wednesday's 200m freestyle race was billed as Titmus versus Ledecky II, with the former upstaging her American rival in the 400m free in a thriller two days earlier.

This time Ledecky was off the pace down in fifth and it was Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey providing the test as Titmus had to pull one out of the bag again to get the gold.

A storming last 50m propelled her to a new Olympic record time of 1:53.50 and cemented her status as a breakout star.

"I could see I was trying to mow Siobhan down on the third 50. I had no idea where she was on the last lap. I knew I had Penny [Oleksiak, bronze] covered but Siobhan was the person that was there," Titmus said.

"I felt a little bit that was there. I felt a little bit - my legs started to go a bit but I'm happy to get it done."

Titmus joins Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe as the only Australians to complete a 200/400m freestyle double at a single Games.

JOY OF SIX FOR LEDECKY

She may have been unable to retain two of her titles from 2016 but the awesome Ledecky added to her gold medal haul with a dominant win in the first ever women's 1500m free Olympics final.

The American came home in 15:37.34 to lead a US one-two from Erica Sullivan.

Ledecky has now won gold medals at three different Games, having also topped the 800m free podium at London 2012.

OHASHI MARVELS IN IM ONCE MORE

Another star of these Games has been Ohashi, who will have delighted the Japanese fans watching at home after adding to her 400 individual medley crown in the shorter 200m race.

A race tipped to be wide open proved to be so with Ohashi battling stroke-for-stroke down the final 50m with American Alex Walsh, who was pipped by just 0.13 seconds.

Walsh's compatriot Kate Douglass rounded off the podium in third.

MILAK MAULS RIVALS

You can never be fully certain of an outcome in any sport but Kristof Milak was about as close to a shoo-in in the men's 200m butterfly as you can get.

So it proved to be. The Hungarian at least had the good decency to allow his rivals to believe they had a chance before absolutely blasting them out the water with his trademark finishing power.

Milak came home in a time of 1:51.25, a new Olympic benchmark and only half a second off his own world-record time. Japan's Tomoru Honda took silver from lane eight, some 2.48 seconds adrift.

DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR DEAN AS TEAMGB STAR IN RELAY

There was to be no record for TeamGB in the men's 4x200 free but they utterly dominated the competition to bring home gold in a time of 6:58.58.

Tom Dean, champion over the distance in the individual race on Tuesday, anchored the first leg before James Guy hit the front on his stint.

Matt Richards further stretched the advantage and Duncan Scott – who took silver behind Dean – brought it home in style with the Russian Olympic Committee over three seconds behind to take silver.

Australian swimming star Ariarne Titmus says her gold medal winning heroics are yet to fully sink in after de-throning Katie Ledecky to win the women's 200m freestyle on Wednesday.

Titmus edged out Ledecky in Monday's women's 100m freestyle final and backed that up with her second gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Australian won in 1:53:50, setting a new Olympic record, as she edged out Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey by 0.42 seconds.

Canada's Penny Oleksiak claimed bronze, with five-time Olympic gold medallist Ledecky finishing down in fifth.

Titmus looked calm and composed in the pool after winning her second gold, with further races to come into the 4x200m freestyle relay and 800m freestyle.

"I don’t think it'll settle in until I get home and have a rest," Titmus told Australian TV network 7 after the race. "When you're in this situation you have to compartmentalise everything.

"I think once I stop racing, I think I'll release everything. On to the relay and 800m now. I don't want to ruin the rest of my meet by celebrating too hard. I'm proud with what I've achieved."

Haughey led Titmus at the final turn but the Australian stormed home over the last 50m, similar to Monday's win over Ledecky, although she said her "legs started to go".

"I was trying to mow Siobhan down in the third 50," Titmus said. "I had no idea where she was in the last five.

"I knew I had Penny covered but Siobhan was the person that was there. At the end my legs started to go but I'm happy to get it done."

She added: "Before we left, Sydney went into lockdown, it's really sad. I'm happy that the Olympics are here and we can hopefully bring some excitement to loungerooms.

"I'm fortunate to be here. I'm from a small town in Tassie [Tasmania]. It goes to show, if you believe you can do something, you can 100 per cent do it if you work for it."

There was plenty of drama in Tokyo on Tuesday and that is set to continue as the Olympic Games ramps up further on Wednesday.

A titanic tussle in the swimming pool should be well worth watching, but action on the bikes and in the basketball court will also draw plenty of eyes.

Stats Perform guides you through the events not to be missed.

TITMUS OUT TO TOP LEDECKY AGAIN

Katie Ledecky is one of the dominant forces in the pool, taking gold in each of her prior four individual Games finals since her 2012 debut as she headed to Tokyo, but she was upset in the 2020 opener.

Ariarne Titmus, the 20-year-old Australian, beat the United States' world record holder by more than half a second in the 400m freestyle final.

Now, Titmus is coming for Ledecky's crown again as the pair do battle in the 200m freestyle, where another victory would send a significant message.

TOUR STARS TAKE ON TIME TRIAL

There are no shortage of big names in the men's time trial, with a number of Grand Tour winners involved – including Geraint Thomas, no doubt determined to put on a show after his fall in the road race.

The last two men to head out perhaps represent the most likely Olympic champions, though, as Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna go for gold.

Van Aert won the final two stages of the Tour de France, including a time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

FOCUS ON THE FOUR

The first rowing medals of the Games are to be handed out on Wednesday, and the women's four – back in the Olympics for the first time in 30 years – should provide plenty of intrigue.

World champions Australia changed their line-up for the Olympics, having not competed internationally since taking their title in 2019. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, world silver medallists and back-to-back European champions, have been dominant.

The two teams won their respective heats, but Australia's time of six minutes and 28.76 seconds was an Olympic best and almost five seconds quicker than the Dutch. Whether that chasm will remain when the boats are side by side is another matter.

TWO-WAY TUSSLE IN THE GYM

There is more gymnastics action to look forward, with the men's individual final taking place.

Home hope Daiki Hashimoto qualified with the best score and was outstanding for Japan in the team event, yet could only take silver as the hosts were pipped by the Russian Olympic Committee.

It was Nikita Nagornyy's floor routine which sealed that Russian success and he will be bidding for another gold, having trailed Hashimoto in second in qualification.

CAN DREAM TEAM RECOVER FROM NIGHTMARE START?

The United States' latest men's basketball title defence started in miserable fashion with a defeat to France, the team who eliminated them at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

It was Team USA's first Olympics loss since 2004, but it is highly unlikely a second will follow as they face Iran. A big performance is needed regardless to calm the critics.

While France delivered the upset in the basketball, they face their own humiliation in the football. Only a two-goal win against hosts Japan, themselves needing a point, will secure progress through Group A for Les Bleus.

The Tokyo Olympics are now in full swing and there are another 22 gold medal events to come on an action-packed Tuesday at the Games.

Plenty of focus will be on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre once again, where four medals are on the line, while the women's triathlon will also take centre stage.

Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Katie Ledecky are just some of the superstar names that will be in action on the fourth full day of the 2020 Games.

Stats Perform picks out of some of the standout action to look out for.

 

CAN BILES PUT BLUNDERS BEHIND HER?

Biles struggled to find top gear in her Games entrance on Sunday, albeit making it through to each of her finals, and there is no room for any slip-ups in the women's team final.

The Russian Olympic Committee finished above the United States at a major event for the first time since 2010 in qualifying, setting up an intriguing battle in the final.

The pressure is on Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum and indeed Biles, the latter of whom is aiming to add to the four golds won in Rio five years ago.

 


USA-JAPAN MEET IN SOFTBALL FINAL

Team USA's women's softball team recovered from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in their final round-robin game and finish top of the standings.

Japan finished second and the two sides are therefore set to face off in a huge gold medal match at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.

Mexico and Canada meet in the bronze medal contest earlier on Tuesday in a tasty warm-up match for the main event.


LEDECKY AND TITMUS RESUME RIVALRY

After winning four golds in Rio five years ago, Ledecky had the chance to add four more to her collection in Tokyo.

She fell short in the first of those events, however, with Australia's Ariarne Titmus taking gold in Monday's gripping 400m freestyle final.

While a medal is not on the line on Tuesday, Ledecky will be eager to lay down a faster time than her rival in the 200m freestyle heats ahead of Wednesday's showpiece.

 

OSAKA GOES AGAIN

Face of the Games Okaka followed up lighting the Olympic cauldron on Friday with victories over Zheng Saisai and Viktorija Golubic in her first two matches in the tournament.

The four-time grand slam winner has a quick turnaround in matches as world number 41 Marketa Vondrousova awaits in the third round on Tuesday.

Fellow home favourite Kei Nishikori is also in action in the men's event, with Marcos Giron standing between him and the last 16.

WOMEN'S TRIATHLON TOUGH TO CALL

There was drama before the men's triathlon had even officially got underway on Monday, with an inflatable boat carrying photographers causing a false start.

Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt won the competition and now it is over to the women, with 54 athletes in contention to claim gold.

The field is wide open this time around, though the likes of Katie Zaferes and Georgia Taylor-Brown, of Team USA and Great Britain respectively, will have their eyes on the top prize.

 

Ariarne Titmus said staying composed was the key to her victory over Katie Ledecky in a captivating women's 400 metre freestyle final.

In what was billed as one of the races of Tokyo 2020, both women produced a performance straight out of the top drawer in a battle that went down to the wire.

World champion Titmus was back by around six lengths at one stage as Ledecky stormed out of the blocks.

The American world record holder, who set her benchmark when winning gold at Rio 2016, would be reeled in by a determined Titmus, though, and the Australian held on to win a thriller.

"Honestly, at the 200 metre [mark] I was a bit worried, but I did not come to the Olympic Games unprepared," said Titmus, who became the third Australian woman to win gold in the event, after Lorraine Crapp and Shane Gould.

"I had to trust myself and stay as composed as I could. Use the speed that I have. And all that against a woman who has an amazing back end of her race. I'm really proud."

Titmus is also slated to race in the 200m and 800m free races at Tokyo 2020 and says the celebrations are on hold for now.

"It is the biggest thing you can pull off in your sporting career, so I'm over the moon," she added.

"I'm trying to contain it as much as I can. I have a big programme ahead of me, but I can enjoy this afterwards."

Ledecky had never been beaten in an individual Olympics race and swam her second ever fastest time in the 400m free.

The American concedes her rival was just better on the day.

"She definitely swam a really smart race. She was really controlled up front," Ledecky said.

"I felt smooth and strong. I looked up at 300m, and she was right there, so I knew it would be a battle to the end. I didn't feel like I died or really fell off. She just had a faster final 50 or 75m and got her hand to the wall first."

When asked if this was her toughest race, Ledecky, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, replied: "I guess. 

"I've had some tough ones over the years. It was certainly a tough race and I delivered. I couldn't do much better than that. 

"It was a tremendous race, a lot of fun. I can't be too disappointed. It was my second-best swim ever (over 400m freestyle). I felt like I fought tooth and nail and that's all you can ask for."

Ariarne Titmus defeated Katie Ledecky in a thrilling women's 400 metre freestyle final that lived up to its billing, while the brilliant Adam Peaty made history by becoming a double Olympic champion.

A star-studded cast in the pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Monday did not disappoint, with Canada's Maggie McNeil adding to her World Championship title in the women's 100m butterfly.

And in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay, Caeleb Dressel – tipped to be one of the stars of the pool – earned his first gold of the Tokyo Games.

TITMUS AND LEDECKY PUT ON A SHOW

The only disappointment about the women's 400m free was the fact no fans were in attendance to witness a battle for the ages.

The pre-race hype centred around whether it would be Ledecky, who had never lost in an individual Olympic event, or Australia's world champion Titmus that would be prevail.

Ledecky held a six-tenths lead after 200m and looked well on course to defending the title she won at Rio 2016 in a world-record time of 3:56.46.

But Titmus came storming back and a stunning 28.67 split on the way home was enough to fend off Ledecky – whose 3:57.36 was her second fastest time in the 400m free.

Titmus' 3:56.69 is second only to Ledecky's world record and she becomes the third Australian to win gold in the event.

PERFECT PEATY DOUBLES UP

There was no world record over three races for Peaty but his utter dominance of the men's 100m breaststroke shows no sign of abating as he became the first Briton to ever defend an Olympics swimming title.

Five years on from winning gold in a world-record time at Rio 2016 (a benchmark he has since beaten twice), Peaty swam a 57.37 to stand atop the podium again ahead of Arno Kamminga – the only other swimmer in history to go under 58 seconds.

It was perhaps not quite the time Peaty, who had designs on another world record, wanted but it still represents the fifth fastest time in history and edged his previous season best of 57.39.

Peaty unleashed an almighty roar after his win and later said to BBC Sport: "I haven't felt this good since 2016. It just means the world for me.

"Thank you to the nation for being behind me. This victory wasn't mine - it was a great swimming team, my family, my friends."

Peaty is now only the second man to defend an Olympic breaststroke title, and just the fourth swimmer from Great Britain to win multiple golds in the Games.

MAGIC MAGGIE

Maggie McNeil completed a world and Olympic double in the women's 100m butterfly in an incredibly tight race.

The Canadian was down in seventh but propelled towards the front after a brilliant turn and managed to hold off China's Zhang Yufei to earn gold. 

The top four all ranked inside the top seven swims in the 100m butterfly of all time, with McNeil's 55.59 the second fastest ever. Australia's Emma McKeon took third, with Torrie Huske of the USA just 0.1 off the podium.

DRESSEL UP AND RUNNING

America's big men's hope in the pool at these Games is Dressel, who has been touted as the successor to the legendary Michael Phelps.

The 23-year-old is top seeded in three individual events and raced in the first of potentially four relay events on Monday as the United States romped to victory in the 4x100m freestyle.

Joined by Blake Pieroni, Bowen Becker and Zach Apple, the US came home in a time of to 3:08.97, with Italy and Australian rounding out the podium. 

Elsewhere, Duncan Scott of Great Britain went fastest in the men's 200m freestyle (1:44.60) semi-finals ahead of American Kieran Smith (1:45.07), while world record holder Ryan Murphy led the way in the 100m backstroke semis.

In the women's 100m backstroke semi-finals, Regan Smith set an Olympic record time of 57.86 and Tatjana Schoenmaker went quickest in the women's 100 breaststroke semi-finals ahead of rival Lilly King.

The third full day of the Tokyo Olympics sees 21 gold medals up for grabs during a packed programme.

Plenty of eyes will be on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, where four swimming golds will be on the line, while the first women's skateboarding champion will be crowned.

The rugby sevens event gets under way and the men's triathlon will also take place.

Stats Perform picks out some of the standout action.

 

LEDECKY STEPS UP GOLD QUEST

After winning four golds in Rio five years ago, Katie Ledecky has the chance to add four more to her collection in Tokyo, starting with the women's 400m freestyle.

The United States competitor set a world record time in the event in 2016, but she will face a big challenge from Australia's Ariarne Titmus this time.

Titmus was marginally faster than Ledecky in the heats, though whether that edge will count for anything on the day remains to be seen.


WILL IT BE ANOTHER PEATY BLINDER?

Great Britain's Adam Peaty is nothing short of a phenomenon in the world of swimming and will be looking to retain his 100m breaststroke title.

Peaty qualified for the final in a dominant manner, his time of 57.56s just two hundredths of a second off his own world record pace.

Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands is expected to be Peaty's biggest threat, having produced a personal best of 57.80s in the previous heat.


MORE SEVENS HEAVEN FOR FIJI?

Fiji's triumph in the men's rugby sevens was one of the more remarkable stories of the Rio Games and the islanders will now be out to retain their title in Tokyo over the coming weeks.

They begin their group campaign on Monday with games against tournament hosts Japan and then Canada later in the day.


MEN'S TRIATHLON WIDE OPEN

The men's triathlon is a tough one to call, with back-to-back champion Alistair Brownlee not taking part in this year's event.

The likes of Alex Yee, Kristian Blummenfelt, Morgan Pearson and Tyler Mislawchuk are among those to watch in one the standout events at any Games.


BILES SURVIVES, NOW MEN MUST THRIVE

After Simone Biles struggled to find top gear in her Games entrance on Sunday, albeit making it through to each of her finals, Monday's gymnastics event is the men's team final.

Japan are the defending champions and led the way in qualifying, but they are expected to face stiff competition from China and the Russian Olympic Committee team. Watch out for Russian maestro Nikita Nagornyy and Japan's Daiki Hashimoto among a star-studded cast.


OSAKA BACK IN ACTION

It is proving to be a busy Games for Naomi Osaka, who followed lighting the Olympic cauldron on Friday with a first-round tennis win on Sunday.

Japan's four-time grand slam winner is back on court on Monday, looking to inch closer to the women's singles final. Awaiting her is Swiss world number 50 Viktorija Golubic, and it will be their first match encounter. Men's title hopefuls Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are among those also due in action.


WOMEN'S SKATEBOARDING MAKES ITS DEBUT

Japan's Yuto Horigome made history on Sunday by winning the first Olympic gold in men's skateboarding. On Monday, it is the turn of the women.

Among those competing in the event are Kokona Hiraki of Japan and Team GB's Sky Brown, who are aged 12 and 13 respectively.

After plenty of falls and drama in the men's equivalent, expect more of the same in this inaugural event. 

Michael Phelps hailed Katie Ledecky as "the best female swimmer that we have ever seen" as the American looks to add to her haul of five Olympic golds in Tokyo.

Ledecky won the gold medal in the 800m freestyle race at London 2012 at the age of 15 and went on to scoop four golds in the Rio Games five years ago.

The 24-year-old will be aiming to defend her titles in the 200m, 400m and 800m individual freestyle races, as well as the 4x200m freestyle relay.

A new event has also been added in for the women at this year's Games, with the 1500m freestyle up for grabs.

Given her achievements so far, Ledecky may well have Phelps' all-time Olympic record of 23 gold medals in her sights.

Phelps, who also holds the record for the most gold medals in individual events (13) and Olympic medals in individual events (16), believes Ledecky already has to be considered one of the greats.

"Katie and I have known each other for a long time," the 36-year-old said in a Panasonic Instagram live interview. "She is hands down the best female swimmer that we've ever seen.

"I always say one thing for her is just be her. As long as she's being herself and preparing for what she has to do, everything else will happen how it's supposed to.

"She's somebody that understands what to do in this setting and she's going to go out there and have some fun and we're going to see a lot of fast times."

 

Phelps also suggested Ledecky, and other athletes competing for the top prizes in Tokyo, must go into "autopilot" in order to keep their composure when it counts.

He added: "You've done the hard work, now it's just time to let it all show.

"Go out there, have some smiles, have some laughs and perform.

"From [Athens] 2004 on, I feel I was almost on autopilot because the preparation was done. All I had to do was just get on the blocks and race."

Olympics great Marc Spitz believes Michael Phelps' record of 23 gold medals will be broken by a future swimming sensation.

For the first time since 2000, the Games will happen without Phelps as a factor in the pool, and it will be the likes of Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel who draw much of the global focus.

Phelps landed six golds at the Athens 2004 Games, then a record eight in Beijing four years later, surpassing Spitz's all-time best haul of seven in a single Olympics, which dated back to Munich in 1972.

Another four gold medals followed at London 2012, before Phelps signed off from the Olympics with five triumphs in 2016 at Rio.

"Records are made to be broken, a point in case being Michael breaking my record that took over 30 years to do. Stories will still continue to be written about athletes that will challenge those that came before them," Spitz said.

Spitz described Phelps' contribution as "overwhelming".

"I don't want to diminish the value of any one of Michael's medals, but the young swimmers are looking at that as a benchmark," Spitz said, speaking courtesy of Laureus.

"They shouldn't consider themselves a failure because they can't quite stay on a career for as long as he did. But someday, someone will break that record unless they change the sport of swimming where some of those events aren't competed in and they make the programme so it has less events.

"Michael took what I had done and concentrated on how he could make and create his own journey. That became the gold standard then.

"The reason people think maybe my seven gold medals were so great were that somebody actually challenged it and then broke that record. Michael’s record will go down in the same way and somebody else will be inspired by what he’s done."

 

According to Spitz, Tokyo 2020 is unlikely to see such feats achieved, but he highlighted freestyle and butterfly maestro Dressel as a swimmer capable of great things at the Aquatics Centre.

Dressel won two relay gold medals five years ago in Rio but topped the podium six times at the 2019 World Championships, including four individual wins.

Spitz also earmarked Ledecky, already a five-time Olympic champion, as another American swimmer who could enjoy a golden Games.

"From a swimming point of view, there's some outstanding names," Spitz told Stats Perform.

"Katie Ledecky comes to mind in women's swimming. She's going to go down as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. The margins of her victories are enormous, it's incredible, it's epic in some of these performances.

"She was there during the Michael Phelps era, and there's also Caeleb Dressel who is ... I don't want to say a replacement for Michael Phelps. He's his own man and rightfully so he should be.

"He's dominated the distances and the strokes he's participated in over the last number of years. There's other people from around the world that will give those two athletes certainly a run for their money.

"The point is that I think we won’t be void in the sport of swimming with names and stories to tell."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.