Artistic swimming has been an Olympic sport dominated by a single nation since 2000, and the 2020 Tokyo Games were no exception.
In both the duet and team competitions, athletes from the Russian Olympic Committee stood atop the podium, with the legendary Svetlana Romashina adding to her already impressive personal medal count.
Both events featured one fewer entry than usual, as one of Greece's swimmers tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the nation to withdraw from the artistic swimming competitions.
Russian athlete Svetlana Kolesnichenko won her first gold medal in the 2016 team competition, and this year pulled double-duty with a spot on the ROC duet team too. Her partner in the contest was the dominant performer Svetlana Romashina, who entered the 2020 Tokyo Games with five Olympic gold medals to her name. The pair performed a near-perfect spider-inspired routine, with plenty of changing paces and high difficulty maneuvers. In the preliminary round, they were the only duo to score a 97 - and they did it in both the free and technical categories. With a technical score in the final round hitting 98.8, it was another golden day for Russian athletes.
With the win, Romashina became the first woman to win three consecutive gold medals in the duet, an impressive feat for the swimmer who became a mother in 2017 before returning to world class competition in 2019.
Another swimmer who recently became a mother and then returned to competition was China's Huang Xuechen, who paired with Sun Wenyan to capture the silver medal. The podium finish tied Huang with the same number of artistic swimming medals as Romashina.
The final spot on the podium went to Ukrainian swimmers Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk, who earned the European nation its first ever medal in artistic swimming. Ukraine became the eighth different nation to win a medal in artistic swimming, which became an Olympic sport in 1984.
Americans Anita Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder finished 13th, just missing out on advancing into the medal round.
In a repeat from the duet final, the podium for the team competition was exactly the same; ROC got the gold, China took silver and Ukraine won the bronze medal.
The double-win in Tokyo for Svetlana Romashina gave her a grand total of seven gold medals in her Olympic career. She is now one of only four summer Olympians to win at least seven career Olympic gold medals without ever winning silver or bronze. Usain Bolt (JAM, track and field) and Ray Ewry (USA, track and field) have eight golds, and Caeleb Dressel (USA, swimming) has seven.
After the duet competition, Romashina was also briefly recognized as the oldest Olympic medalist in the sport, but that title now belongs to 35-year-old Kseniya Sydorenko of Ukraine's artistic swimming squad. The Ukrainian team scored 190.3018 in the final round, which was enough to keep them ahead of Japan and Italy for a 'bronze sweep' of the sport's two events.
The ROC team's scores of 97.2979 (technical) and 98.8000 couldn't be caught by any other team. China's total score of 193.5310 was enough to get Huang Xuechen her seventh artistic podium finish.