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Gray skies and green water at the Rio Games

Taiwan's Guan-lin is silhouetted as he prepares to shoot during an elimination round of the individual archery competition. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)
Taiwan's Guan-lin is silhouetted as he prepares to shoot during an elimination round of the individual archery competition. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)
By Arnie Stapleton Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO – Skies and pools both darkened Wednesday as the sun-splashed Olympics in Rio de Janeiro gave way to gray clouds and murky green waters.

The Rio Games were drenched in rain and continued questions about why the diving well and water polo pools look so much like neglected aquariums.

The U.S. men’s basketball team got its first good test in fending off Australia 98-88 behind Carmelo Anthony’s 31 points. Anthony hit a flurry of 3s after the Americans, who barely broke a sweat in their first two games, trailed early in the fourth quarter.

The third day of the men’s water polo tournament began in green-tinged water, though not nearly as dark as the neighboring diving pool at the aquatics center. It was crystal blue the day before.

Water quality has been a major issue surrounding the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but in the ocean and lagoons, not pools.

A decrease in the alkaline level in the diving well Tuesday afternoon led to the green color, organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said. He added that the pool for water polo and synchronized swimming is being affected in the same way but “we expect the color to be back to blue very shortly.”

A U.S. pool expert said that might not be so easy: “Once you get behind, it gets hard to get back in front of it,” said Jerry Wallace, chairman of the California Pool & Spa Association, a trade group.

Rio organizers insisted the athletes weren’t at risk in the green pools.

They were on the waters and slippery roadways, though.

Strong winds rattled palm trees along the coast and whipped up waves on the scenic lagoon where rowing was postponed for a full day for the second time this week. With winds too blustery, rowers packed up their oars for the day as cyclists hit slick roads on skinny time-trial bikes unsuited to harsh weather conditions.

Under dark skies, the cyclists faced lashing rain and wind on the time-trial course along Rio’s southern coast. The conditions might have cost Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands a medal. She slid off the road and got tangled in weeds before finishing fourth.

American Kristin Armstrong won the race.

With the cooler weather, away went the bare skin and out came the full leggings and long-sleeve shirts in beach volleyball as temperatures dipped into the lower 60s after sunset, the coldest night yet.

Even after a grueling night at the pool, Michael Phelps cruised through the preliminaries of the 200-meter individual medley.

With a dazzling 15.8 on the high bar, Kohei Uchimura, the superstar gymnast from Japan, won the men’s all-around title on Wednesday night, edging Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine by less than a tenth of the point to capture his second straight Olympic gold.

Defending champion Mexico was eliminated from the men’s soccer tournament with a 1-0 loss to South Korea. In boxing, Kansas fighter Nico Hernandez is guaranteed to win at least a bronze and become the first American to medal in the Olympics since 2008.

Other highlights from Day 5 at the Rio Games:

Ebner eliminated: Nate Ebner, the safety for the New England Patriots who took a break from training camp to fulfill his Olympic dream, sprinted from almost halfway to score a try in the right corner against Fiji to make it 24-19, piling the pressure on Madison Hughes. But the U.S. captain and goal kicker missed the conversion from out wide, leaving the margin at five. Less than that and the Americans would have advanced.

Rowing at risk : Twenty-two races, including the first two medal races, were postponed in the regatta but international rowing federation director Matt Smith said there’s still room on the schedule without having to resort to drastic measures – even if competition is also called off Thursday.

Life’s a beach: The American beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson were eliminated from the Olympics on a tiebreaker. That’s the first U.S men’s team to fail to advance out of pool play since the 2004 Athens Games.

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