Entering Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Games, the United States maintains a healthy nine-medal overall lead but, as of publishing, Thursday owns only one more gold over closest rival China. With stars Michael Phelps, Lilly King, and Katie Ledecky in the middle of heats and qualifying rounds, the swimming team couldn’t further enrich Team USA’s medal tally on Day 5 but that could change later Thursday night.
Though it made five more trips to the medal podium on Day 5, the U.S. saw its overall medal lead over the Chinese dip by one, and now possesses 32 total and 11 gold, compared to 10 gold and 23 overall medals for China.
On Day 5, American Kristin Armstrong secured the women’s individual time trial gold in cycling, beating out Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya and the Netherlands Anna Van Der Breggen to further Team USA’s effort.
The Chinese, however, have shone brightest of late in the weightlifting competitions. Yanmei Xiang secured the women’s 69-kilogram gold and Xiaojun Lyu racked up silver in the men’s 77-kilogram events Wednesday.
Japan has climbed up medal count standings the last couple of days and now sits third behind China with 18 medals, including six gold and 11 bronze. The Japanese moved one spot ahead of fourth-place Australia after Kohei Uchumura secured his second-straight gold in the men’s all-around artistic gymnastics finals, overcoming silver medalist and the Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev, and Great Britain’s bronze victor Max Whitlock.
Great Britain’s Jack Laugher and Chris Mears also made national history by winning the men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard gold, the first outright victory for their country in any diving event.
Japan also provided one of the biggest upsets at this year’s games and could claim another medal on Day 6. It stunningly overcame France in the men’s rugby sevens, setting up a semifinal against Fiji on Thursday with Great Britain and South Africa battling in the other semifinal, and the medal final taking place later in the evening.
Meanwhile, Hungary remains in the top five with five golds and seven total medals, but sixth-place Russia is closing in with four golds and 15 overall medals.
The U.S. swimming delegation still has several opportunities to build their team’s overall lead as the events enter the final three days. Both the women’s 200-meter breaststroke and the men’s 200-meter backstroke will take place Thursday night.