China Wins Three Olympic Golds in 15 Minutes As U.S. Faces Uphill Task To Catch Up

China began running away with the gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday, after the country won three golds in the space of 15 minutes, leaving the U.S. trailing behind.

Team China gave a strong performance in the men's gymnastics rings, with Liu Yang and You Hao claiming the gold and silver medals.

Liu scored 15.500 points to finish top, followed by You with 15.300 points. Eleftherios Petrounias, the defending champion from Greece, took bronze with 15.200 points. Liu secured China's first artistic gymnastics gold medal in Tokyo.

China also beat Germany to win the Olympic gold in the women's team sprint. The Chinese pair of Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi broke their own team sprint world record with a time of 31.804 seconds to beat Lithuania in the first round at the Olympics on Monday. The previous record was 32.034 set by Zhong and Gong Jinjie at the 2015 world championships. Those two won the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro five years ago — the first gold for China in a cycling event.

Meanwhile, Wang Zhouyu won the women's 87kg weightlifting gold medal, hoisting a total of 270kg, winning China's sixth gold in weightlifting in Tokyo. Ecuador's Tamara Yajaira Salazar Arce bagged silver with 263kg, while Crismery Dominga Santana Peguero from the Dominican Republic came third with 256kg.

Wang dominated both the snatch and clean and jerk categories. She lifted 120kg in her third attempt in snatch, and 150kg in her second attempt in clean and jerk—which won her the gold. Wang was previously world champion in this category in 2019.

Following those victories, China now is leading the pack with 28 gold medals. The United States is trailing behind on 21, followed by Japan with 17 golds.

However, the United States is leading on total medals, with 62, compared to China's 60 and the Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC's) 48.

Also on Monday, Team USA's Jade Carey took home her first Olympic medal after winning gold in the woman's individual floor exercise final. The 21-year-old, who failed to get in the top three in the individual all-around and the vault finals, came first with a score of 14.366, ahead of Vanessa Ferrari, of Italy, who won silver with a score of 14.200. Mai Murakami, of Japan, and Angelina Melnikova, of the ROC, tied for bronze with a score of 14.1665.

Chen Yu Fei of China also won gold in women's single badminton. The top seed beat Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan 21-18, 19-21, 21-18.

Yang Liu of Team China gymnastics
Yang Liu of Team China competes during Men's Rings Final on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 2, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Liu won the gold for China on Monday. Jamie Squire/Getty