Olympics 2021: 5 unmissable Day 3 events and when to watch

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Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus, pictured here at the 2019 world championships.
Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus at the 2019 world championships. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

One of the most eagerly-anticipated duels of the Olympics is the headline act on Day 3, as once again much of our attention focuses on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. 

But there’s plenty to choose from to cure your Monday-itis.

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Here are five events to look out for on Day 3 of the Tokyo Olympics.

Men’s Team, Archery, from 10.30am (gold medal match at 5.40pm) AEST

Let’s ease into the day, though, out at the archery, where the men in green and gold will be in with a medal chance today. 

Our team of Alec Potts, Ryan Tyack and Taylor Worth took bronze in this event in Rio, and Tyack and Worth are back again in Tokyo with David Barnes in a bid to improve on that result. 

This will be Barnes’s first Olympics since Athens 2004.

The Americans will be hard to beat, but the Aussies are in with a chance of bringing home another medal, and this is one to keep an eye on throughout the day. 

Quarter=finals are from 2.45pm AEST, semis from 4.17pm and the bronze medal match at 5.15pm.

Japan v USA, Softball, 11am AEST

It’s been a complicated relationship between softball and the Olympics over the years. 

They just can’t seem to commit to each other. First introduced in Atlanta 1996, softball (only played by women at the Olympics, men only play baseball, but that’s a story for another day) has been off the schedule for the past two Games.

No surprise it’s back in Tokyo given the Japanese love of baseball and softball. 

We have a battle of the heavyweights here as the number one and two ranked nations in the world meet in their last opening-round matches, in what might well be a preview of tomorrow’s gold medal match.

Women’s 400m freestyle final, 12.20pm AEST

This is the big one. Make sure you’ve got your Vegemite sandwich ready to go because lunch will be taken in front of the TV today. 

Ariarne Titmus set up a mouth-watering clash with American legend Katie Ledecky when she stole her 400m freestyle crown at the 2019 world championships.

She also hammered home her intentions for Tokyo by clocking the second-fastest 200m freestyle time ever when she swam a 3min 56.90sec at the Australian Olympic trials. 

That was a mammoth 2.35sec faster than Ledecky’s best this year. 

“Medals aren’t won at trials,” Ledecky said in response, adding to one of the biggest rivalries in world swimming today. This is not to be missed.

Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay final, 1.05pm

It’s been more than 20 years since we smashed the US like guitars with gold and a world record in Sydney, but this remains one of those highly anticipated events on the swimming schedule.

Australia has managed bronze twice (Beijing and Rio) since 2000, and will be among the medal contenders again in Tokyo. 

The Russians and Americans look set to battle it out, Caeleb Dressel now the headline act for Team USA following the retirement of Michael Phelps.

Kyle Chalmers, Matthew Temple and Cam McEvoy will spearhead the Aussie charge, with Alexander Graham or Zac Incerti in contention for the other spot.

Spain v Norway, Handball, 5.15pm

Let’s be honest, handball is probably the one Olympic sport that just doesn’t hit the radar in Australia. 

Pick any other sport and it seems we’re right there, battling away to win something on the world stage. 

Sure, we have national men’s and women’s handball teams but, with all due respect, they’re a long way off Olympic standard.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give it a go, though. Maybe we just need to spend some time watching how the world’s best do it to appreciate the sport for what it is. 

Handball is essentially water polo without the water, and Spain and Norway are both ranked in the top six in the world.

It’s time we gave it a go. And who knows, maybe with a bit of funding, the Aussies might be around the mark for Brisbane 2032.

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