Sport Olympics Rio Olympics 2016: Australia’s golden day sets the tone
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Rio Olympics 2016: Australia’s golden day sets the tone

Is this a sign of things to come? Photo: Getty
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UPDATE Australia has won a third gold medal to retain its position at the top of the medal table after the swimming team, led by the Campbell sisters, notched two gold medals on the opening day of competition.

In the space of less than an hour, Australia’s swimming team outdid their efforts at the 2012 Olympic Games. That was followed on day two by a gold medal in the shooting when Catherine Skinner, a trap shooter, defeated New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney in the final.

The 26-year old-Victorian was barely mentioned in pre-Games medal speculation, but she did not falter after being down by two shots against New Zealander Natalie Rooney going into the final round.

Divers Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith won Australia’s second bronze medal in the 3 metre synchronised diving.

After the swim team won only one gold medal in London, they headed to Brazil with a major point to prove.

Mack Horton’s superb success in the men’s 400m freestyle on Sunday (AEST) has hopefully set the tone for a great week in the pool.

Buoyed by Horton’s triumph, the golden girls of our women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team then came from behind to beat the United States on the back of breathtakingly fast efforts from sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell.

Australia tops the medal tally after the first day of action – thanks to a bronze in the men’s team archery event – ahead of the second-placed Hungary.

And while it is a position we expect to relinquish, the nation hopes it is given up eventually, and not instantly.

Horton – our first men’s individual gold medallist in the pool since Grant Hackett won the 1500m freestyle at the 2004 Games in Athens – timed his run to perfection to see off defending champion Sun Yang of China.

Horton said afterwards that there was a “rivalry between me and athletes who have tested positive“, referring to the Chinese swimmer’s 2014 doping ban.

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Mack Horton is all smiles after winning gold. Photo: Getty

Cate Campbell was also outspoken after Australia’s relay win, declaring American Katie Ledecky – a swimmer expected to dominate these Games – “had no chance” of catching her in the final leg of the relay.

A week of success?

Australian swimmers or teams go in as favourites with bookmaker Sportsbet in a further nine events in the pool in Rio de Janeiro.

Monday

Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay – 12.52pm (all times in AEST)
Can our men do what the girls did? This is set to be one of the best events of the Games, with the USA, France, Italy and Brazil all in the mix. Michael Phelps is expected to race with Team US, but the Aussies have the trump card: Cameron McEvoy.

Tuesday

Women’s 100m backstroke – Emily Seebohm 11.30am
She won the 100-200m backstroke double at last year’s world championship and seems set to put behind her silver medal – which she blamed on social media – in London with gold.

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Can Seebohm go one better in Rio? Photo: Getty

Men’s 100m backstroke – Mitchell Larkin 11.38am
While the 200m of this discipline is more his strength, Seebohm’s boyfriend is also the world champ over the shorter distance. He was named the 2015 male world swimmer of the year.

Thursday

Men’s 100m freestyle – Cameron McEvoy 12.03pm
An Australian hasn’t won this event since Michael Wenden in 1968. However 22-year-old McEvoy looks superbly placed to end that drought.

Friday

Men’s 200m backstroke – Mitchell Larkin 11.26am
Larkin won gold in this event at the Commonwealth Games and then broke the short course world record last November.

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Larkin is aiming for the 100-200m backstroke double. Photo: Getty

Women’s 100m freestyle – Cate Campbell 12.18pm
After charging home in the last leg of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay success, Cate is in good touch. Her younger sister, Bronte, might be her toughest opponent.

Saturday

Women’s 200m backstroke – Emily Seebohm 11.03am
Can Seebohm do the double? American Missy Franklin and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu – who broke a world record when winning the 400m individual medley on day one – will be tough opponents.

Sunday

Women’s 50m freestyle – Cate Campbell 11.03am
These Games are likely to be remembered as Cate’s if she finishes well on Sunday. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands are considered chances, but another Cate-Bronte double is just as likely.

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Aussies will hope for more Cate Campbell celebrations. Photo: Getty

Women’s 4x100m medley relay – 11.49am
With Cate Campbell bringing Australia home in the freestyle, who would bet against another Aussie gold? This has all the hallmarks of another Australia-US relay classic.

And that’s not all

While all of the above athletes or teams are favourites, several other Australian swimmers remain strong medal chances.

Here’s the other events you should keep an eye out for, with all times in AEST.

Women’s 200m freestyle – Emma McKeon – Wednesday 11.19am
Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay – Wednesday 12.38pm
Women’s 200m butterfly – Madeline Groves – Thursday 11.54am
Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay – Thursday 12.55pm
Men’s 50m freestyle – Cameron McEvoy – Saturday 11.44am
Men’s 1500m freestyle – Mack Horton – Sunday 11.11am
Men’s 4x100m medley relay – Sunday 12.04pm

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