6 to Watch

6 to Watch: Basketball 3×3's Debut, First Medals, South Florida Volleyballer and More

First gold, 3x3basketball debut and South Florida star on the schedule for Day 1 in Tokyo

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Now that the Opening Ceremony is in the books, it's time to get to the competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

Day 1 will see the first medals of the Olympics awarded in a number of sports including air rifle, weightlifting and fencing.

There are also several new sports making their Olympic debuts in Tokyo, and Friday is when you can first catch the exciting action, starting with 3x3 basketball.

And don't miss South Florida's star beach volleyball player in his first match in Tokyo.

Here are our 6 things to watch on Day 1 of the Tokyo Olympics:

1. 3x3 basketball makes Olympic debut in Tokyo

The women’s 3x3 basketball tournament will tip off at 9:15 p.m. ET on Friday. The U.S. women’s team will take the floor for the first time against France on Saturday at 4:55 a.m. ET, followed by a game against Mongolia at 8 a.m. ET. 

Chicago Sky center Stefanie Dolson, Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray, Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum and Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young will make up the inaugural Team USA 3x3 roster. Young was named a replacement for Seattle Storm guard Katie Lou Samuelson, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

Watch Team USA battle France live online here. 3x3 basketball will be featured in TV coverage on NBCSN (12 a.m. to 2 a.m. ET), USA 2 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. ET) and NBC (10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET).

Kelsey Plum and Allisha Gray, right, of the USA Women's National 3x3 Team smile during USAB Womens 3x3 National Team practice at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images
Kelsey Plum and Allisha Gray, right, of the USA Women's National 3x3 Team smile during USAB Womens 3x3 National Team practice at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on July 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

MORE: Guide to New Sports at the Tokyo Olympics

2. Who will win the first gold medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Less than 24 hours after the Tokyo Opening Ceremony, the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics will be awarded -- and it could go to Team USA.

On Friday at 9:45 p.m. ET, the women’s 10m air rifle finals will begin. Ginny Thrasher earned gold for Team USA in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where it was also the first medal event of the Games. In Tokyo, Americans Mary Tucker and Ali Weisz are strong contenders to reach the podium in their Olympic debuts.

The next medal event to commence will be the men’s road race in cycling, which begins at 10 p.m. ET. After that, medals will be awarded in weightlifting, archery, judo, fencing and taekwondo.

Watch live online here, or during TV coverage on NBCSN (12 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. ET) or NBC (10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. ET).

Mary Tucker of the Kentucky Wildcats competes during the Division I Men’s and Women’s Rifle Championship held at the French Field House on the Ohio State University campus on March 13, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
Mary Tucker of the Kentucky Wildcats competes during the Division I Men’s and Women’s Rifle Championship held at the French Field House on the Ohio State University campus on March 13, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.

3. Dalhausser and South Florida's Lucena return to the Olympics

Phil Dalhausser and South Florida's Nick Lucena will be back in the pit at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Beach volleyball star April Ross will be heading to the Tokyo Olympics with partner Alix Klineman, and she says finding that perfect partner is a lot like dating. "You end up texting people just saying, 'Hey, what's your plan? Do you want to get on the sand and try out? Maybe we should sit down and talk," said Ross.

The American men’s beach volleyball duo won its pool in the preliminary round at the Rio Games before losing to eventual gold medalists Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt of Brazil on their home court in the quarterfinals. Lucena helped convince Dalhausser, who won gold with Todd Rogers at the 2008 Beijing Games, to return for another Olympic run.

Lucena is from Fort Lauderdale and attended Florida State University.

Dalhausser and Lucena, both 41 years old, will start Pool D play against Dutch pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen on Saturday. Pool D also features returning gold medalist Alison with a new partner, Álvaro Morais Filho, and Argentinian pair Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso.

MORE: How to Watch Beach Volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics

Watch live at 8 a.m. ET on USA, or stream online here.

Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena celebrate in the finals against Trevor Crabb (not pictured) and Tri Bourne (not pictured) during the Porsche Cup on Aug. 2, 2020, in Long Beach, California.
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Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena celebrate in the finals against Trevor Crabb (not pictured) and Tri Bourne (not pictured) during the Porsche Cup on Aug. 2, 2020, in Long Beach, California.

4. Team USA looks to continue win streak in softball tournament

After going 2-0 to start the Olympics, the U.S. softball team will look for another win early Saturday morning. Team USA has two shutout wins under its belt, against Italy on Tuesday night and then against Canada on Wednesday evening.

The Team USA Softball team defeated Canada in their second game of the Tokyo Olympics. U.S. starting pitching remained dominant as starting pitcher Monica Abbott pitched through the 6th inning

Cat Osterman, who started against Italy, and Monica Abbott, who went the distance against Canada, have given up just two hits combined through two games. At the plate, Michelle Moultrie, Janie Reed and Amanda Chidester have driven in one run apiece for Team USA.

Next up for Team USA is a matchup against Mexico on Saturday. Mexico is 0-2 so far in Tokyo with a shutout loss to Canada and a 3-2 defeat against host nation Japan.

Watch live at 1:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, or stream online here.

Getty
FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 22: Pitcher Eujenna Caira #29 of Team Canada and Haylie McCleney #8 of Team United States react after McCleney scored in the fifth inning during the Softball Opening Round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

5. Swimming heats begin early on Saturday morning

The swimming competitions at the Tokyo Games will make a splash beginning Saturday morning.

Action will begin at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday with heats in six events: men’s 400m IM, women’s 100m butterfly, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 400m IM, men’s 100m breaststroke and women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

The finals for the men’s 400m IM, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 400m IM and women’s 4x100m relay will take place Saturday night beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Chase Kalisz (men’s 400m IM); Torri Huske and Claire Curzan (women’s 100m butterfly); Kieran Smith (men’s 400m freestyle); Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger (women’s 400 IM); Michael Andrew (men’s 100m breaststroke); and Abbey Weitzeil and Erika Brown (women’s 4x100m relay) will be among the top Americans to watch on the first day of the swimming competitions.

What are the swimming styles a swimmer must cover in a relay race? Simone Manuel breaks down swim relays with Legos.

One of the biggest questions going into Tokyo was whether or not Simone Manuel would be included in the women’s 4x100m relay team. The four-time Olympic medalist took gold in the women’s 100m freestyle and 4x100m relay in Rio, but she failed to qualify in the 100m freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. She secured her spot on the Olympic swimming team by winning the 50m freestyle at the trials, but it remains unclear if she will get a chance to go for another gold as part of the relay team.

Watch the opening heats live beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday ET on USA, or stream online here.

Chase Kalisz of the United States reacts after competing in a semifinal heat for the Men's 200m individual medley during Day Five of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 17, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Chase Kalisz of the United States reacts after competing in a semifinal heat for the Men's 200m individual medley during Day Five of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 17, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska.

6. USWNT aims for bounce-back performance vs. New Zealand

The U.S. women’s national soccer team was dealt an eye-opening defeat to kick off the Olympics, falling to 2016 silver medalist Sweden in a 3-0 rout. The loss snapped a 44-game unbeaten streak and was the first time the team lost by multiple goals in a major tournament since 2008.

Now, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Co. will try to rebound against New Zealand, which lost to Australia in its opening game. You can stream the contest here

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy gives three ways she expects the U.S. women's soccer team to improve against New Zealand in its second match at the Tokyo Olympics. The USWNT lost its opening match to Sweden, 3-0.

With just two group stage games left and only the top two teams from each group earning automatic qualification to the quarterfinals, the USWNT could use a three-point result after coming up empty against Sweden.

Watch Team USA face New Zealand live at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN, or stream online here.

Lindsey Horan #9 of Team United States is challenged by Sofia Jakobsson #10 of Team Sweden during the Women's First Round Group G match between Sweden and United States during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.
Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Lindsey Horan #9 of Team United States is challenged by Sofia Jakobsson #10 of Team Sweden during the Women's First Round Group G match between Sweden and United States during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.
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