Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles starred in the main events of these Games. But China and Russia loomed menacingly, and in equal measure. More to the point, though, events to date have seen China and Russia triumph as much as they have seen Osaka and Biles fail. But the way the United States has underperformed will probably be the most enduring story of these Games.
This is a fairly detailed account of how it all happened, and what it all means – complete with recitations of real-time comments I posted on news sites like The New York Times and BBC. And, with all due respect to Osaka and Biles, I cover the role other Olympians like Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia, Flora Duffy of Bermuda, Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, and Sydney McClaughlin of the United States, as well as the specter doping, played.