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= TOKYO 2020 =
From Lane One
If you think the furor over Russia and doping and sanctions is coming to an end, guess again.
In Tokyo, the Russian Olympic Committee has filed a protest against a Chilean journalist who has – they say – been badgering Russian tennis players about their uniforms and being out of compliance with the sanctions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
On Friday, the Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, told the TASS News Agency:
“We believe that the sports world has grown tired of this politicized Western campaign against global sports, in particular, of the biased and politicized pressure on Russian athletes.
“People around the world are seeing it all the more clearly that the biggest harm from the politicization of sports has been done to the reputation of international organizations, which often come as conductors of this policy. I mean, first of all, the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has dramatically lost its capability, with serious damage done to the authority of this organization.”
The Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened Russian “probation” for its state-sponsored doping program from four years to two in December 2020; the sanctions will end in December of 2022. The Russian flag and anthem may not be used and the team’s uniforms must represent the “ROC” or Russian Olympic Committee.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram account on Friday:
“With what incredible dignity our [athletes] are going through their trials in Tokyo, and not only in sports. I also have in mind the endless provocations, including information ones. True generosity of spirit.”
The latest dust-up was a comment by U.S. backstroke star Ryan Murphy, the Rio 2016 triple gold medalist who finished third in the 100 m Back and second in the 200 m Back to Russia’s Evgeny Rylov.
Sports Illustrated reported that after the 200 m Back final, Murphy was asked in the mixed zone about doping in swimming:
“When I’m asked a question like that, I’ve got about like 15 thoughts – and 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble. It is what it is. I try not to get caught up in that. It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year knowing that I’m in a race that probably isn’t clean.
“The people that know a lot more about the situation made the decision they did. It frustrates me. But I don’t have the bandwidth to train for the Olympics at a really high level and also people that are making decisions about those situations.”
Murphy explained further:
“I do believe there’s doping in swimming. That is what it is. I met the FINA executive director, Mr. [Brent] Nowicki [USA], at Olympic Trials, and he was asking me for my take. I was like, ‘OK, FINA needs to be a little more transparent both on the financial side and the drug side.’
“He said, ‘I think it’s going to take a long time to clear this sport of doping.’ When you hear that from the top, that’s tough to hear. Yeah, that’s what I believe.”
Rylov rejected any implication that he was doping and said he connected with Murphy later, according to the Russian Olympic Committee:
“We have exchanged messages along our Instagram accounts, clarifying everything personally to each other and agreed that it was a misunderstanding and that his words were misinterpreted.
“He was asked what he thought in general about possible doping abuse in the sport of swimming. He replied that in his opinion not all athletes in this sport are clean. He has the right to express his personal opinion and most likely it is a problem somewhere.
“However, he was misinterpreted and his words were used in regards to our swim race, which was the final of the 200-meter backstroke event. He wrote me a personal message and apologized for this misunderstanding at the news conference.
“I have already posted my personal opinion about this incident. Everything is all right now and there are no problems at all.”
Maybe Yogi Berra was only partially right. Maybe, it’s never over.
After seven full days of competition, 133 of 339 events (39%) have been completed in Tokyo. The current medals leaders:
1. 41: United States (14-16-11)
2. 40: China (19-10-11)
3. 34: Russian Olympic Committee (10-14-10)
4. 28: Japan (17-4-7)
5. 24: Great Britain (6-9-9)
So far, 70 countries have won at least one medal, including tiny San Marino – founded in 1291 – with a population of 33,600, thanks to Alessandra Perilli’s bronze in women’s Trap.
Our exclusive TSX team scoring uses the familiar collegiate system of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 per event to give a much better view of the relative achievements of the teams:
1. 514.5 United States
2. 423.5 China
3. 338.5 Russian Olympic Committee
4. 333.0 Japan
5. 304.0 Great Britain
6. 244.0 Italy
7. 222.5 Australia
8. 206.0 France
9. 189.5 Netherlands
10. 183.0 Germany
11. 173.5 Korea
12. 151.0 Canada
The placements among teams are staying fairly steady now, but this will be changed in the second week by the track & field results. Surprising results from Japan even on the first day of T&F show it might challenge the ROC for third, which would be – even with Russia under sanctions – a surprise.
There was a delay in a women’s Rugby Sevens game due to a lightning strike in the area and beach volleyball matches were completed in a downpour on Thursday, as the weather continued to impact the Games. The current forecast, in part due to Tropical Storm Nepartak, is for more heat and rain:
● 31 July (Sat.): 91 F ~ 75 F with thunderstorms
● 01 Aug. (Sun.): 91 F ~ 77 F and sunny
● 02 Aug. (Mon.): 87 F ~ 78 F and some thunderstorms
● 03 Aug. (Tue.): 88 F ~ 77 F and some thunderstorms
● 04 Aug. (Wed.): 91 F ~ 77 F and cloudy
● 05 Aug. (Thu.): 91 F ~ 78 F and cloudy
The forecast for the final weekend of the Games is for temps around 90 F and more rain.
Wednesday’s NBC Olympic viewership in prime time dipped a little from the early part of the week:
● 23 July (Fri): 8.2 million for the Opening Ceremony
● 24 July (Sat): 15.3 million
● 25 July (Sun): 19.2 million
● 26 July (Mon): 16.8 million
● 27 July (Tue): 16.2 million
● 28 July (Wed): 15.0 million
These numbers are for the “total audience” for primetime programming across NBC-NBCSN-CNBC-USA Network, but far behind the Rio 2016 numbers, in a better time zone. The comparable audiences from five years ago were (in millions): 23.5 ~ 31.8 ~ 31.5 ~ 36.1 ~ 28.6 for the first five days of competition.
~ Rich Perelman
= RESULTS: FRIDAY, 30 JULY =
● Archery: Women
South Korea’s San An, 20, completed a perfect Olympic Games in Tokyo. She led the Ranking Round and then won gold medals in the Mixed Team, Women’s Team and, on Friday, the individual gold medal.
An’s win was the ninth in the last 10 Games for Korea in this event, and she moved swiftly through the bracket, winning 6-2, 7-1, 6-4, and 6-0 against India’s Deepika Kumari in the quarterfinals. Then it got tougher.
In the semis against American Mackenzie Brown, the two were tied 4-4 and then 5-5 and went to a shoot-off. An shot 10 to Brown’s 9 and she moved on to the final, 6-5, against Russia Elena Osipova.
This was another nail-biter, as Osipova went up 5-3 after four ends, but An won the fifth end to tie at 5-5 and go to another shoot-off. She shot 10 again, to Osipova’s 8 and won the gold.
In the bronze-medal match. Brown faced Italy’s Lucilla Boari, the 2019 European Games silver medalist and lost, 7-1, and finished fourth. Nevertheless, this was a much better Games for Brown, who lost in the round of 16 in Rio and at 26, should just be hitting her prime.
● Athletics: Men’s 10,000 m
With world-record holder Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) leading the field, the question was whether this would be a fast, hard race where no one could keep up with him, or come down to a kicker’s sprint on the final lap. Cheptegei was sure to win the former, but his chances in a sprint were unsure.
So of course it ended up as a sprint on the final lap, with Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega leading a group of eight runners at the bell, with Canada’s Mo Ahmed and teammates Berihu Aregawi and Yomif Kejelcha just behind, then Cheptegei and teammate Jacob Kiplimo, American Grant Fisher and Kenya’s Rodgers Kwemoi.
Barega charged down the backstraight and Kiplimo and Cheptegei moved up to second and third on the final turn and into the straight. But Barega would not be denied and held on to win in 27:43.22, with Cheptegei sprinting in for second at 27:43.68 and Kiplimo third at 27:43.88. Aregawi was fifth (27:46.16) and Fisher was sixth in 27:46.39.
Barega covered the last lap in a speedy 53.94, but why did Cheptegei let the pace lag? That’s a question he will be asking himself for many days to come. For Barega, the silver-medal winner at 5,000 m at the 2019 Worlds, he is Olympic Champion at age 21 and gave Ethiopia its fifth Olympic 10,000 m champion in the last seven Games.
American Sam Kendricks, the reigning World Champion and Rio bronze medalist in the men’s vault, tested positive for the coronavirus in Tokyo and will not be able to compete at the Games, imploding what would have another great match-up with Swede Mondo Duplantis. The replacement could be Matt Ludwig, if he can get to Tokyo in time; vault qualifying is on Sunday.
● Badminton: Mixed Doubles
In a mild upset, second-seeds Yilyu Wang and Dongping Huang defeated Siwei Zheng and Yaqiong Huang in the all-Chinese final on Friday by 21-17, 17-21, 21-19. It’s a reversal of the 2019 Worlds, where Wang and Huang won bronze with Zheng and Huang the winner.
It’s the third-ever Olympic “sweep” for China in this event, which has now won four times out of seven editions in Olympic play.
Japan’s 2019 Worlds bronze medalists Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino swept aside Hong Kong’s Chun Man Tang and Ying Suet Tse, 21-17, 23-21, for the bronze medal.
● Canoe-Kayak: Men’s Slalom K-1
A clean run ensured a gold medal for the favorite, three-time World Champion and Rio 2016 bronze medalist Jiri Prskavec (CZE).
His 91.63 second time, with no penalties, was easily the best, ahead of Jakub Grigar (SVK), who moved up from fifth in Rio in 94.85 (also no penalties) and Hannes Aigner (GER: 97.11, no penalties). Prskavec was so good that he would have won even with one penalty.
In fact, the top five finishers all had penalty-free runs, and Michal Smollen (USA), the 2015 Worlds bronze medalist was a very creditable fifth.
Prskavec moved up from bronze in Rio, while 2018 World Champion Aigner won his second Olympic bronze, also in London in 2012. It was the first win in this event for the Czech Republic.
● Cycling: Men’s and Women’s BMX
Dutch star Niek Kimmann, the 2015 World Champion and 2019 runner-up, proved to be the master of the course at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, winning his quarterfinal, semifinal and the final to win the gold medal.
American Connor Fields, the Rio 2016 champion, qualified for the final through the first two races of his semifinal round, but then crashed hard on the third run and had to be taken to a hospital. He did not return for the final.
With seven riders, Kimmann managed to stay out of trouble and got to the line first in 39.053, followed by Britain’s Kye Whyte (39.167) and then Carlos Ramirez of Colombia (40.572).
These were the first-ever medals in BMX for the Netherlands and Great Britain, while Ramirez repeated his bronze-medal finish from 2016.
Unheralded Beth Shriever of Great Britain finished 17th and 15th in her two BMX World Championships appearances, but she got hot at the right time in Tokyo and won the gold medal.
Shriever won her quarterfinal and her semifinal, but against an outstanding field in the final, she stayed tall and got to the line in 44.358, just 0.09 seconds ahead of three-time World Champion Mariana Pajon (COL) and Dutch rider Merel Smulders, the 2018 Worlds silver winner.
American Felicia Stancil, who won her semifinal, finished fourth, behind Smulders by 44.721-45.131. Smulders joins her sister, Laura, as Olympic bronze medalists; Laura was third in London in 2012.
● Fencing: Men’s Team Epee
Nobody had Japan on the favorites list for medals, much a stunning victory for Masaru Yamada, Koki Kano and Satoru Uyama.
They sailed past the U.S. in the round of 16, 45-39, then shocked favored France, 45-44 in the quarters, upset Korea, 45-38 in the semis and won the gold over Russia, 45-38 in the final. Amazing.
Korea salvaged the bronze by beating China, 45-42, in the third-place match.
How crazy was this? Team Epee has been in the Games since London 1908; this was Japan’s first-ever medal in the event. Moreover, the medals by Japan and Korea were the first ever in this event by Asian entries; all prior medals had been won by European teams, the U.S. or Cuba!
● Gymnastics: Women’s Trampoline
China enjoyed a 1-2 finish with 2018 Worlds silver winner Xueying Zhu winning gold this time and 2014 World Champion Lingling Liu taking silver, 56.635-56.350.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Rosie MacLennan was gunning for three in a row, but ended up fourth, missing the bronze medal, 55.735-55.460 to Britain’s Rio silver medalist Bryony Page.
American Nicole Ahsinger was sixth at 54.350. This was China’s second Olympic win in this event and the second time it has won two medals.
● Judo: Men’s +100 kg
An intense quarterfinal match between two-time defending Olympic Champion and 10-time World Champion Teddy Riner of France and Russian Tamerlan Bashaev, the 2021 Worlds silver medalist, was in extra time. And Bashaev denied Riner history by executing a waza-ari at 4:29 for a golden score that sent Riner on a quest for bronze instead of gold.
This was perhaps the most noteworthy result of the men’s +100 kg tournament, but it wasn’t close to being finished. With all eyes now on Bashaev, he promptly got shellacked in the semifinals, 11-1, by Georgia’s Guram Tushishvili, the 2017 World Champion. In the other bracket, Czech Lukas Krpalek – the Rio 2016 100 kg gold medalist – was in overtime against Japan’s Hisayoshi Harasawa, the Rio runner-up in this class. And after 7:59 of struggle, Krpalek managed a waza-ari and moved on to the final.
The final could have been epic, but was not. Krpalek earned a place among the judo immortals with an impressive win by ippon over Tushishvili in 3:47; he’s now won consecutive Olympic gold medals at 100 kg and +100 kg.
In the bronze finals, Riner defeated Harasawa again, by ippon, in overtime, while Bashaev did come away with a bronze, beating Yakiv Khammo (UKR) by ippon.
● Judo: Women’s +78 kg
Japan finished the day of individual weights with a gold-medal performance from Akira Sone, the 2019 World Champion. She completed a difficult assignment with a golden-score ippon over Cuba’s two-time World Champion – and 2012 Olympic champ – Idalys Ortiz.
That gave Japan nine golds in the 14 weight classes in Tokyo: five wins for the men and four for the women, at the Nippon Budokhan Hall, the historic venue at which the first Olympic tournament was held in 1964.
Sone was outstanding, winning all four of her matches by ippon. Behind the top two, France’s Romane Dicko won a bronze over Turk Kayra Sayit. The other bronze went to Iryna Kindzerska (AZE), over Shiyan Xu (CHN).
● Rowing: Men’s Single Sculls-Eights
Nothing in Greek rower Stefanos Ntouskos’s resume would suggest an Olympic gold medal. He was sixth in the Single Sculls at the 2019 Worlds, fourth in this year’s European Championships and was on the sixth-place Fours team in Rio.
But after a slow start, he charged to the lead in the second 500 m, and won in an Olympic Best time of 6:40.45, shoving 2018 World Champion Kjetil Borch (NOR) to second (6:41.66) and returning Olympic silver medalist Damir Martin (CRO) to third (6:42.58).
Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen was fourth. For Ntouskos, it was a milestone: the first-ever Olympic Single Sculls medal for Greece.
Germany was certainly the favorite, winning three straight world titles, and taking the lead off the start. But New Zealand came on to take over at mid-race and put together the fastest 1,000 m in the middle of the race to claim the gold medal in a surprising 5:24.64, a scant 0.96 seconds ahead of the Germans.
Great Britain, defending Olympic champions, but only third in their semifinal, claimed the bronze at 5:25.73, just 1.09 behind the winners. The U.S., second in its semi, finished fourth in 5:26.75.
It was the New Zealander’s first Olympic medal in this event since 1976 and first win since 1972.
● Rowing: Women’s Single Sculls-Eights
Emma Twigg, 34, was 2014 World Champion and a four-time Worlds medal winner from 2010-14. But she was fourth in London in 2012 and again in Rio in 2016. That sent her into retirement for a couple of years, but she came back for Tokyo. She’s glad she did.
Twigg led the women’s final from start to finish and crossed first in 7:13.97, an Olympic Best time. Russian Hanna Prakatsen, who only emerged into world class earlier this year, moved from sixth to second at the line, but 3.42 seconds behind (7:17.39). Austrian Magdalena Lobnig, a two-time Worlds bronze medalist, won the bronze medal in 7:19.72.
Twigg won New Zealand’s first Olympic medal in the women’s Single Sculls.
The women’s Eight and appeared to be wide open, after New Zealand and the U.S. won the two semifinals. But it was Canada which took the lead right from the start, led every quarter of the race and won convincingly at 5:59.13. It was Canada’s first win in this race since 1992.
New Zealand did its best, moving from third to second in the last half of the race and closing to 91/100ths at the line, second in 6:00.04. It was their first-ever Olympic medal in this event.
The U.S., China and Australia battled for the bronze. The Chinese got into medal position after 1,000 m and had the quickest last 500 m of any team and finished in 6:01.21 for its first medal in this event since Seoul in 1988.
The American women, winners in 2008-12-16, was fifth for most of the race, but ended up fourth in 6:02.78, missing a medal by 1.08 for the first time after four Games. Australia was fifth.
● Shooting: Women’s 25 m Pistol
Russia’s 10 m Air Pistol winner Vitalina Batsarashkina doubled her fun by winning the 25 m Pistol event, winning a shoot-off by 4-1 over Korea’s Min-Jung Kim.
The 2019 Worlds silver medalist in this event, Batsarashkina was a point behind going into the eighth frame, but scored 5 to Kim’s 4 to get to the shoot-off. Her achievement of two pistol golds is remarkable: only the second time it had been done in Olympic history and not since Marina Logvinenko of the “Unified Team” did it in 1992.
China’s Jiaruixuan Xiao finished third at 29; defending champ Anna Korakaki (GRE) finished sixth.
● Swimming: Women’s 100 m Free-200 m Breast
Australia’s Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell had the seven fastest times of the year between them coming into Tokyo and McKeon took the lead quickly in the final and turned first in 25.08, but with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey – very tough in the semis – hanging in for second at 25.10 and Campbell third in 25.19.
Campbell challenged Haughey and then Haughey charged toward McKeon, but the places stayed the same at the touch, with McKeon setting an Olympic Record of 51.96, the no. 2 performance of all time.
Haughey set an Asian Record of 52.27 in second and Campbell finished in 52.52 in third. Rio co-champion Penny Oleksiak was fourth in 52.59 and world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom fifth in 52.68. American Abbey Weitzeil was in medal contention on the way home, but faded to eighth in 53.23.
McKeon’s win for Australia was its first in this event at the Games since 2004.
South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker, the 100 m Breast silver winner, was the overwhelming favorite and won, but she had to work for it.
American star Lilly King, who had never won a medal in this event, pushed hard from the start and was ahead of Schoenmaker and world-record pace at 50 m and 100 m and almost to the 150 m mark, where Schoenmaker finally got to the lead by 0.09.
King continued to push on the final lap, but Schoenmaker was a little better and touched first in a world record of 2:18.95, breaking the 2:19.11 by Rikke Pedersen (DEN) in 2013. King was second in 2:19.92, now the no. 7 performer of all time.
Behind them was a tight battle for bronze, with Russia’s 16-year-old Evgeniia Chikunova and American Annie Lazor. Chikunova was third for most of the race, but Lazor caught her at the 150 m mark and then pushed ahead just in the final meters to earn the bronze, 2:20.84-2:20.88.
● Swimming: Men’s 200 m Back-200 m Medley
Russian Evgeny Rylov won the 100 m Back and was the strong favorite in the 200 m Back over defending champ Ryan Murphy of the U.S.
Rylov took the lead from the start, but Murphy stayed close, trailing by 0.45 at the half and 0.72 at the 150 m mark. But Murphy kept coming and cut into Rylov’s lead over the final lap, but not enough to deny Rylov the win, finally 1:53.27-1:54.15, an Olympic Record for Rylov. It’s the no. 9 performance all-time for Rylov and the no. 2 performance – only he has gone faster – in 2021.
Britain’s Luke Greenbank was third almost all the way and won the bronze in 1:54.72, holding off American Bryce Mefford, fourth in 1:55.49.
Rylov becomes the seventh man to win the 100/200 m Back double in Olympic history, and moved up from bronze in Rio.
The script for the 200 m Medley final was clear: American Michael Andrew, 22, was going to lead but fade on the Freestyle leg.
And Andrew led after the butterfly leg, but unexpectedly lost the lead on the backstroke to China’s Shun Wang and actually faded to fifth. But Andrew came back on the breast leg, took over once again, but had only a 1.01-second lead on Wang, which was not going to be enough.
The field caught Andrew in 20 m on the free leg and the race for gold was between Britain’s 200 m Free silver winner Duncan Scott and Wang in the middle of the pool. Wang held on for a tight win in 1:55.00 – moving to no. 3 on the all-time list – with Scott at 1:55.28 and Swiss Jeremy Desplanches coming up to third in 1:56.17, ahead of Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:56.22).
Andrew ended up fifth in 1:57.31.
● Table Tennis: Men’s Singles
China’s Long Ma cemented his place as one of the greatest players in history with a 4-2 win over Zhendong Fan in the final: 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7 in 64 minutes.
It gave Ma a fourth Olympic gold, including back-to-back Singles titles in Rio and Tokyo, the first-ever two-time champion. He may yet win a another gold in the men’s Team event (where he has been a two-time winner already).
Germany’s Dmitrj Ovtcharov won a second career Olympic bronze – also in 2012 – with a 4-2 victory over Yun-Ju Lin (TPE).
● Tennis: Men’s Doubles
Top-seeded Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic won the all-Croatian men’s Doubles final over Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig, 4-6, 6-3 and then 10-6 in the first-to-10 tie-breaker.
Mektic and Pavic only began playing together this year and won the Wimbledon title; they claimed Croatia’s first gold in tennis, and Cilic and Dodig the country’s first silver. Croatia had previously won three bronzes.
Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus of New Zealand took the bronze-medal match against Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren, 7-6, 6-2. It’s the first time since 2004 that a U.S. team has not won a medal.
● Athletics: Qualifying in multiple events proceeded on Friday, with unusually fast times on the track, signaling we could be in for a special week.
A staggering 19 men ran under 8:20 in the 3,000 m Steeple in the heats and four of them did not qualify for the final! World leader Lamecha Girma (ETH) won the first heat in 8:09.83 (the no. 6 performance of the year!!), trailed by Japan’s Ryuji Miura with a national record 8:09.92 and Benjamin Kigen (KEN) at 8:10.80! Kenyan Abraham Biwott won heat two in 8:12.25, ahead of Getnet Wale (ETH: 8:12.55) and then favorite Soufiane El Bakkali won a more normal heat three in 8:19.00.
American Bernard Keter was sixth in heat two, but made it to the final on time. Trials winner Hillary Bor was second off the final water jump in heat three, but was out-sprinted and finished sixth in heat three and did not advance. Mason Ferlic ran 8:20.23 – his third-fastest time ever – and was eighth in heat one.
In the men’s 400 m hurdles heats, American Rai Benjamin strolled around the track in 48.60 to win heat five, a little faster than Norway’s Karsten Warholm’s 48.65 to win heat three. The qualifying leader was Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, who won heat one in an impressive 48.38, ahead of Brazil’s medal favorite, Alison dos Santos (48.42). Americans Kenny Selmon (48.61) and David Kendziera (49.23) also advanced to the semis.
In the men’s high jump, 13 qualified to the final at 2.28 m (7-5 3/4), including 2019 World Champion Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT), Americans JuVaughn Harrison and Shelby McEwen, Russians Mikhail Akimenko and co-world leader Ivan Ivanyuk, as well as Maksim Nedasekau (BLR), the other world leader at 2.37 m (7-9 1/4).
The women’s 800 m qualifying was led by Jamaica’s Natoya Goule in 1:59.83. Britain’s Jemma Reekie was the only other to break 2:00 (1:59.97) and Americans Ajee Wilson (2:00.02), Athing Mu (2:01.10) and Raevyn Rogers (2:01.42) also advanced easily.
The women’s 5,000 m heats were led by co-favorite Sifan Hassan (NED) in 14:47.89, ahead of Agnes Tirop (KEN: 14:48.01) in the first race. Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, the other favorite and world leader, won heat two in 14:55.74. Americans Karissa Schweizer (7th: 14:51.34 in heat 1) and Elise Cranny (4th: 14:56.14 in heat 2) both qualified for the final.
World Champion Yulimar Rojas (VEN) led the women’s triple jump qualifying at 14.77 m (48-5 1/2) ahead of Ana Peleteiro (ESP: 14.62 m/47-11 3/4), with American Keturah Orji the next-to-last qualifier at 14.26 m (46-9 1/2). Americans Jasmine Moore and Tori Franklin were 23rd and 25th.
The women’s shot put saw China post the top two qualifiers with favored Lijiao Gong leading at 19.46 m (63-10 1/4) and Jiayuan Song at 19.23 m (63-1 1/4). Americans Raven Saunders and Jessica Ramsey both made the final: Saunders was third at 19.22 m (63-0 3/4) and Ramsey qualified 10th at 18.75 m (61-6 1/4).
● Team/Baseball: The U.S. opened with an 8-1 victory over Israel (0-2) in Group B, thanks to six innings of one-run pitching from Joe Ryan and three hits from designated hitter Tyler Austin.
The U.S. plays Korea (1-0) for the Group B title on Saturday.
● Team/Beach Volleyball: The U.S. duo of Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne fell to Qatari stars Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, 21-18, 21-17 on Friday and finished 2-1 in Pool C. That’s good enough to move on to the round of 16 beginning on Sunday.
The U.S. women’s pair of April Ross and Alix Klineman finished pool play with a 3-0 record with a 2-1 win over Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands by 20-22, 21-17 and then 15-5 in pouring rain. That moves April/Alix to the round of 16, also starting on Sunday.
● Team/Basketball: The U.S. women went to 2-0 by whipping Japan, 86-69 in Saitama, using a 21-10 second quarter to forge a nine-point halftime lead. A’Ja Wilson had 20 for the Americans and Breanna Stewart had 15, as the U.S. extended its Olympic Games win streak to 51 in a row. Next up: France on Monday to complete pool play.
● Team/Football: The U.S. women needed penalty kicks to squeeze by the Netherlands after a 2-2 tie on Thursday and get to the semifinals against Canada on Monday.
Vivianne Miedema scored for the Dutch in the 18th minute for a 1-0 lead, but the U.S. rebounded with goals from Sam Mewis (28th) and Lynn Williams (31st) for a 2-1 lead. Miedema tied it in the 54th and after extra time, penalties were on.
Miedema’s first try was saved by U.S. keeper Alyssa Naeher and then the Americans converted four in a row, by Rose Lavelle, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe. When Naeher saved Aniek Nouwen’s shot, the U.S. was able to move on. Small consolation: Miedema leads the tournament with 10 goals.
Canada eliminated Brazil in the same way, winning on penalties, 4-3, after a scoreless game. Th Brazilians had a 3-2 lead in the shoot-out, but missed on their last two.
On the other side of the bracket, Australia needed two scores in extra time to beat Great Britain, 4-3. Sweden continued its impressive play with a 3-1 win over Japan.
● Team/Rugby Sevens: The U.S. women lost to Great Britain, 21-12, in the quarterfinals and now will play for fifth place. Great Britain will meet France and New Zealand and Fiji will play in the women’s semis. Britain got off to a 14-0 lead in the first half and was never challenged.
● Team/Volleyball: The U.S. men’s team was handled by Brazil in Pool B, 3-1 (30–32, 25–23, 25–21, 25–20) on Friday, falling to 2-2. The U.S. still have one game to play, against Argentina (2-2) and needs to win to move on to the playoffs. Russia (3-1) and Brazil (3-1) lead the group, with France also at 2-2.
● Team/Water Polo: The U.S. women rebounded after the tough loss to Hungary with an 18-5 rout of the Russian Olympic Committee to go to 3-1 in pool play. Stephanie Haralabidis and Maggie Steffens each had four goals for the U.S. Steffens now has 49 goals in Olympic play, a new individual scoring record.
The quarterfinals begin on 3 August.
● Tennis: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic lost his chance for a “Golden Slam” in 2021 with a 6-1, 3-6, 1-6 loss to Alexander Zverev (GER) in the men’s Singles semifinal. Zverev will play Karen Khachanov of Russia in the final.
Djokovic will also be playing for bronze in the Mixed Doubles as he and Nina Stojanovic lost to Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev (ROC) in the semis, 7-6, 7-5.
= PREVIEWS: SATURDAY, 31 JULY =
(21 events across 13 sports)
● Archery: Men
Great hopes for the U.S. and a tough draw in the men’s event, with Brady Ellison the reigning World Champion from 2019.
Ellison is a tough competitor and is primed to win here, but stuff happens and he will have his hands full. He’s in the round of 16 now, but has to face fellow American Jacob Wukie in an unlucky draw … for Wukie.
Threats to Ellison start with the 2011 and 2015 World Champion Woo-Jin Kim of Korea, 2019 Worlds silver medalist Khairul Anuar Mohamad (MAS) and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Taraharu Furukawa (JPN), plus multiple World Championships team medalists, such as Mauro Nespoli (ITA), and India’s Atanu Das.
World Archery World Cup stars who have not yet won World Championships medals included Turkey’s Mete Gazoz, Australian Taylor Worth and Brazil’s Marcus D’Almeida. But if Ellison is right, he’ll be hard to beat after a Rio bronze and team silvers in London and Rio.
● Athletics: Men’s Discus
There is no doubt whatsoever about the favorite in this event: it’s Sweden’s 2019 World Champion Daniel Stahl.
The giant Swede, all 6-7 and 342 pounds of him, was the only one to achieve the automatic qualifying standard of 65.00 m (213-3) and as the no. 4 thrower of all time with his 71.40 m (231-0) in July, he’s an overwhelming choice to win. Sweden has only one Olympic medal in this event ever, a 1972 bronze by Ricky Bruch.
His challengers will include no. 2 qualifier Andrius Gudzius (LTU), the 2017 World Champion and 12th in Rio; fellow Swede Simon Pettersson, no. 3 on the world list this season (69.48 m/227-11), Slovenian prodigy Kristjan Ceh, just 22 and no. 2 in the world in 2021 at 70.35 m (230-9) and Austrian Lukas Weisshaidinger, no. 4 on the world list at 69.04 m (226-6).
American Sam Mattis made the final as the no. 8 qualifier at 63.74 m (209-1), a season’s best, but Reggie Jagers was 19th and 2017 Worlds bronze medalist Mason Finley, 23rd. Also out of the final is Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres, finishing 13th; the 2019 Worlds silver winner, he has been troubled by injuries and just not in form.
● Athletics: Women’s 100 m
The heats were insane. American Teahna Daniels won heat one from Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith in 11.04, then reigning Olympic champ Elaine Thompson-Herah unloaded with a brilliant 10.82 (wind: +0.1 m/s) in heat two. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) then upped the ante, winning heat three in 10.78 into a 0.3 m/s headwind!
Jamaica’s two-time Olympic winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won heat five in 10.84, ahead of a national record 10.91 from Swiss Aja del Ponte! More normal times came in heat six from Blessing Okagbare (11.05) and heat seven, by Michelle-Lee Ahye (TTO: 11.06), Shericka Jackson (JAM: 11.07) and Jenna Prandini of the U.S. (11.11).
The semis and finals will take place on Saturday, and while the favorites have not changed, this track appears to be so fast that anything could happen. Florence Griffith-Joyner’s Olympic Record of 10.62 from Seoul in 1988 appears not out of reach.
Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah and Ta Lou are the medal favorites, but Asher-Smith will be pressing hard for a medal. The three Americans – Daniels, Javianne Oliver and Prandini – all got through, but are not expected to be in the medal hunt. Could either of the Swiss runners, del Ponte or Mujinga Kambundji (10.95) pull a shocker?
● Athletics: Mixed 4×400 m
The never-ending drama over U.S. relay teams continued in the heats of the Mixed 4×400 m on Friday.
In heat one, the U.S. team of Elija Godwin, Lynna Irby, Taylor Manson and Bryce Deadmon won in 3:11.39, but was disqualified for an out-of-the-zone pass from Godwin to Irby, something that should never happen on a 4×4. NEVER! That left Belgium as the winner of the heat in a national record of 3:12.75, with Jonathan Borlee on anchor.
Poland won the second heat in 3:10.44, ahead of the Netherlands (3:10.69).
However, the U.S. appealed the disqualification and about five hours later, the decision was reversed and the U.S. will be in the final.
The U.S. will be favored, but with potentially stiff competition from Jamaica and Great Britain. It is possible that Allyson Felix could run for the U.S. She has nine Olympic medals and if she were to win medals in three events – Mixed 4×400 m, 400 m and women’s 4×400 m – she would tie Paavo Nurmi (FIN) for the most medals won by one person in track & field with 12. Keep an eye on that U.S. line-up!
● Badminton: Men’s Doubles
This event has been held seven times in Olympic history, with Indonesia having won three times and two each for Korea and China (in 2012 and 2016).
The semifinals have Indonesia’s second-seeded Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in action with Yang Lee and Chi-Lin Wang (TPE) and China’s third-seed JunHui Li and YuChen Liu vs. Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh.
Certainly Indonesia and China will be expected to advance to the final, where they are old opponents and well known to each other. In fact, they were 1-3 in the 2019 World Championships with Ahsan and Setiawan the winners and Li and Liu the bronze medalists (but they did not meet in the semifinals).
Ahsan and Setiawan have won three world titles, in 2013-15-19, and Li and Liu have one, from 2018. Favor Indonesia for a fourth Olympic gold, but the Chinese are more than capable of what would be a mild upset.
● Fencing: Women’s Team Sabre
Having gone 1-2 in the individual event with Sofia Pozdniakova and Sofia Velikaya, the Russian Olympic Committee is a big favorite in the team competition. This is only the third time that the event has been held in the Games, and the Russians – including Velikaya – are defending champions from Rio.
The two Russian medalists will be joined by Olga Nikitina and the three of them were part of the reigning World Championships gold-medal team from 2019. OK, they are the favorites.
Chasing them will be the 2016 Rio bronze winners, the U.S., with Eliza Stone, Mariel Zagunis and Dagmara Wozniak. France and Korea were 2-3 at the 2019 Worlds; France has individual bronze winner Manon Brunet and an experienced team, that with Cecilia Berder and Charlotte Lembach that defeated Russia for the 2018 world title.
Korea, with Ji-Yeon Kim, is a definite medal threat, as is Italy, led by Irene Vecchi. A Russia-France final is the most likely outcome, but certainly not guaranteed.
● Gymnastics: Men’s Trampoline
The sixth edition of men’s Trampoline at the Games poses the question of who can beat Lei Gao?
He’s won four straight world titles, but won “only” bronze in 2016 in Rio. His teammate, Dong Dong, already has a full set of medals: the 2012 gold medalist, he won bronze in 2008 and the silver in 2016 and also owns three world titles.
The defending gold medalist, Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus, has not won a world title: he’s been second in 2015 and bronze in 2014.
There are other contenders: Russian Andrey Yudin, a Worlds bronze winner in 2015 and 2018, and teammate Dmitry Ushakov, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2017 Worlds silver medalist.
Beyond these medal winners, look for Allan Morante (FRA) and perhaps even American Aliaksei Shostak.
● Judo: Mixed Team
This is a new event, conjured up by the International Judo Federation to satisfy the International Olympic Committee’s thirst for mixed-gender events. It has three bouts for women and specific weight classes and three for men.
Twelve teams are shown on the entry list, with France, Russia, Brazil and Japan seeded directly into the quarterfinals. Japan won this event at the 2021 World Championships, beating France in the final, with Brazil and Uzbekistan (also entered) the bronze winners.
In fact, Japan has won this event all four times it has been contested at the Worlds: 2018-18-19-21. France has been the silver winner in 2018-19-21 and won bronze in 2017. Russia was a bronze winner in 2018-19, Brazil in 2019 and 2021 and Korea in 2018-19.
Another Japanese win seems certain given their domination of the tournament, but perhaps we’ll see Teddy Riner for France one more time?
● Rugby 7s: Women
The first Rugby Sevens Olympic tournament for women saw Australia defeat New Zealand, 24-17, in Rio with Canada third. The same is possible in 2021.
New Zealand, France and the U.S. all went 3-0 and won their groups, with the last game delayed due to lightning strikes in the area! However, once the quarterfinals got underway, there were more shocks, the first coming from Fiji, which defeated Australia, 14-12. New Zealand defeated Russia, 36-0 and will meet Fiji in the semis.
The U.S. then lost to Great Britain, falling behind 14-0 and losing, 21-12. The British will meet France, a 24-10 winner over China.
New Zealand – the Black Ferns – is the reigning World Champion from 2018 and the winner of the last World Rugby Sevens Series in 2019-20, finishing ahead of South Africa, Fiji and Australia. They remain favorites, although Fiji will provide a stiff test in the semifinals.
● Sailing: Men’s and Women’s RS:X
The medal races will be held on Saturday, but the men’s competition was settled long ago in favor of three-time World Champion Kiran Badloe (NED). Second in the 2018 World Sailing Championships, he won the class title in 2019-20-21 and dominated the racing in Tokyo. He will win short of a false start or disqualification.
Badloe won five of the first 12 races and was second in another, so he enters the Medal Race with an unbeatable total of 33 net points, ahead of Thomas Goyard (FRA: 52), Italy’s Mattia Camboni (54) and Pole Piotr Myszka (57). Those three should battle for the silver and bronze medals.
The women’s RS:X is led by China’s Yunxiu Lu, with two wins and six seconds and a net total of 30 points. But just four points back is Britain’s two-time European Championships medalist Emma Wilson with Rio gold medalist (and six-time Worlds medal winner) Charlene Picon (FRA) at 36.
Italy’s Marta Maggetti is fourth, but at 58 points, would have to inherit a catastrophe from those ahead of her to get into the medals.
● Shooting: Team Mixed Trap
A total of 16 teams are entered in an event with quite a bit of Olympic history. Although not held as a mixed-gender event, Team Trap was held in 1908-12-20-24 and brought back into the program for Tokyo. The U.S. won the last three events.
Slovakia, including Trap winner Zuzana Stefecekova and Erik Varga, won the 2018 World Shooting Championships gold, followed by Russia (Ekaterina Rabaya and Alexsey Alipov) and Great Britain (Kirsty Barr and Aaron Heading).
On the ISSF World Cup circuit in 2021, Russian, Indian and British teams managed wins; the teams from Russia (Alipov and Daria Semianova) and Great Britain (Kirsty Hegarty and Matthew Coward-Holley) are the same. Also a major threat: Italy’s Jessica Rossi and Mauro de Filippis.
Spain and the U.S. also have talented teams and could be medal contenders.
● Shooting: Women’s 50 m Rifle/3 Positions
A test of standing, kneeling and prone shooting, with Cuba’s Eglis Yaima Cruz the only returning Olympic medalist, a bronze in 2008 in Beijing.
From the more recent 2018 World Championships, Russia’s Yulia Karimona took the gold medal and Croatia’s Snjezana Pejcic won the bronze, to go with her silver in 2014.
But the stars of the show may come from the ISSF World Cups held earlier this year. Slovenia’s Ziva Dvorsak won in New Delhi in March, followed by Nina Christen (SUI), who also won a bronze medal in the second event in Croatia in June. Poland’s Aneta Stankiewicz took bronze in New Delhi, while Russians Karimova and Yulia Zykova went 1-2 in June.
Look for at least one Russian on the podium this time.
● Swimming: W 800 m Free-200 m Backstroke
The women’s 800 m will be the third match-up between American Katie Ledecky and Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, with Ledecky the two-time Olympic champion in this event. She’s already won the 1,500 m Free while Titmus took the 400 m Free; Titmus was second in the 200 m Free while Ledecky was fifth.
Ledecky led the qualifying at 8:15.67; she already had the top three times of the year, including the world leader at 8:13.64 in March and now six of the top seven. Katie Grimes of the U.S. had the no. 2 qualifier at 8:17.05, a lifetime best (and no. 15 all-time), followed by Italy’s Simona Quadarella (8:17.32), Sarah Kohler (GER: 8:17.33), with Titmus sixth (8:18.99).
There is enormous talent in this race, but Ledecky has to be the favorite. She not only won the 1,500 m, but her sensational 1:53.82 anchor on the American 4×200 m Free – passing Australia’s Leah Neale for second – has to give her more confidence in her speed. The U.S. went 1-2 with Erica Sullivan in the 1,500 m, with Kohler third, Quadarella fourth and Russian Anastasiya Kirpichnikova fifth.
Titmus has done 8:15.57 this season and did not look dominant during her 200 m Free leg on the relay. Ledecky knows, however, that she has to put this event away well before the final 50 m, or risk another Titmus late rush.
The 200 m Backstroke semifinals saw a tight battle between Australian vet Emily Seebohm and the two American swimmers, Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White. White got out fastest and was second to Bacon at the 100 m mark. But Seebohm picked it up on the third lap and moved into second at the final turn and dueled with Bacon to the final, getting the touch in 2:07.09 to 2:07.10. White was third in 2:07.28.
Semi two had Olympic favorite – and world leader – Kaylee McKeown, who trailed Canada’s 2019 Worlds bronze winner Kylie Masse until the 150 m mark, and then took over. But Masse came back and won in 2:07.82, with McKeown 0.11 back. China’s Yaxin Liu (CHN) was third in 2:08.65.
McKeown has the four fastest times in the world this year, but White, Bacon, Masse and Seebohm are all in the hunt for the medals, separated by less than a second on the 2021 world list.
● Swimming: Men’s 100 m Butterfly
Caeleb Dressel came in as the World Champion, owning seven of the top 10 marks of all time. He led the prelims in 50.39, equaling the Olympic Record, which didn’t last long.
In semifinal two, he took off as usual and challenged the world record before touching in 49.71, the third-fastest swim of all time and an Olympic Record. Noe Ponti (SUI) was second in 50.76.
Hungary’s Kristof Milak, winner of the 200 m Fly, won the first semi in 50.31, just 0.13 off his seasonal best. But neither he nor anyone else in field are a serious threat to Dressel. And his world record of 49.50 from 2019 could be in jeopardy.
● Swimming: 4×100 m Mixed Medley
This is a new event at the Games, but has been contested three times in the FINA World Championships, with Great Britain beating the U.S. in 2015, the U.S. beating Australia in 2017 and Australia beating the U.S., 3:39.08-3:39.10 in 2019.
Those are likely to be the contenders in Tokyo, but with other finals continuing, the question is who will swim? In the qualifying, Great Britain – with Adam Peaty and James Guy aboard – won heat one over the U.S. in an Olympic Record 3:38.75 to 3:41.02. China won the second semi over Australia, 3:42.29-3:42.35.
The U.S. strategy will be key? Where will Caeleb Dressel go: leading off in the Fly, or on anchor in the Free? Maybe Zach Apple, so great in the 4×100 m Free, on anchor? Which legs for the women: maybe Lydia Jacoby in the Backstroke?
Britain, Australia and the U.S. look like medalists, but who knows in which order.
● Tennis: Women
The women’s Singles title will be on the line with Elina Svitolina (UKR) and Elena Rybakina (KAZ) competing, and either will make history for their country as the first Olympic medal winners in this event.
Svitolina stands sixth in the WTA world rankings and Rybakina is 20th. Born in Russia, Rybakina switched to Kazakhstan in 2018 and has reached as far as quarterfinals of the French Open in 2021. Svitolina has been a Wimbledon and U.S. Open semifinalist, both in 2019, and won the WTA Finals in 2018.
The women’s bronze-medal match pits Belinda Bencic (SUI) and Marketa Vondrousova (CZE).
Bronze-medal matches will also be held on Saturday for the men’s Singles (Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. Pablo Carreno/ESP), the women’s Doubles and the Mixed Doubles.
● Triathlon: Mixed Relay
This is another new event for Tokyo and part of the IOC’s mixed-gender program, with 19 teams listed to start. This is a four-person event, in a true relay format on a shorter course.
This event has a long pedigree within the sport, with the International Triathlon Union has held a world championship since 2009. And in recent years, France has dominated.
Anchored by two-time World Champion Vincent Luis, the French squad won in 2018 ahead of Australia, in 2019 ahead of Germany and Australia and in 2020, beating the U.S. and Great Britain.
France has Luis on anchor, Australia has Jacob Birtwhistle, the U.S. has excellent women’s legs in Summer Rappoport and Katie Zaferes, and Kevin McDowell on anchor.
But the favorite – on paper – has to be Great Britain, with Worlds medal winner Jessica Learmonth and Olympic medalists Jonathan Brownlee and Alex Yee and World Champion Georgia Taylor-Brown. Wow!
Belgium and the Netherlands are medal possibilities, as is Spain with World Champions Mario Mola and Fernando Alarza on the men’s legs, but questions on the women’s side.
● Weightlifting: Men’s 81 kg and 96 kg
As in prior classes, China enters with the world-record holder and World Champion Xiaojun Lyu, who set the world 81 kg mark of 378 kg in 2019.
He’s the clear favorite, with five world titles: two at 77 kg – plus the London 2012 Olympic gold medal – and 2018 and 2019 at 81 kg.
Chile’s Arley Mendez won the 2017 world title at 85 kg and that year’s bronze medalist, Antonino Pizzolato is in the field. The 2019 bronze winner, Brayan Rodallegas (COL) is also in, as is the fourth placer, Rejepbay Rejepov (TKM)
American Harrison Maurus, 21, is the U.S. hope. He won the bronze medal in the 2017 Worlds as a teenager in the 77 kg class. He’s moved up in weight, but wants to be in the medal hunt.
In the 96 kg class, China does not have an entry and the favorite may well be Qatar’s Fares El Bakh, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist and the bronze medalist from 2017.
Also back is Georgia’s 2021 European Champion, Anton Pliesnol, the 2019 Worlds bronze medalist, and sixth-placer Boady Santavy (CAN), also fifth in the 2017 Worlds.
This is a thin field and opens the door for folks like Poland’s Bartlomiej Adamus, fourth in the 2021 European Championships, and Venezuela’s Keydomar Vallenilla, sixth in the 2018 Worlds and eighth in 2019.
= INTEL REPORT =
Some of Mexico’s teams have been having wardrobe issues.
The women’s softball team lost the bronze medal match to Canada, 3-2, and left Tokyo afterwards as required under the Olympic coronavirus regulations.
On Thursday, a Mexican boxer found the team’s uniforms in the trash in the Olympic Village. Brianda Tamara Cruz tweeted (in Spanish):
“This uniform represents years of effort, sacrifice, and tears. All Mexican athletes yearn to wear it with dignity, and today the Mexican softball team sadly left it all in the garbage of the Olympic villages.”
Why? Rolando Guerrero, head of the Mexican federation for softball, told TV Azteca:
“They had to make room in their luggage because for a softball team it’s not the same packing 33 bats, catchers’ equipment, game gear, three uniforms, and workout clothes … We won’t be going after anyone or responding or rebutting anything on social media. It was simply a matter of too much cargo.”
The Mexican Olympic Committee was upset, and while acknowledging that travel costs should not have been an issue, is considering disciplinary measures. Apparently the softballers did take some linens with them instead.
The men’s soccer team, which is in contention for medals, showed up for its opener against France with midfielder Erik Aguirre wearing a jersey on which the Mexico flag was embroidered upside down.
He got a corrected jersey for the second half, but the mix-up drew a lot of attention and may result in sanctions against the Mexican Olympic Committee or Chinese manufacturer Li-Ning. An ESPN report noted “Mexico has had issues with Chinese uniform brand Li-Ning, who is outfitting the team for the Tokyo Games, because the kit is not available for public purchase.”
Covid infections are up in Tokyo, with more than 3,000 cases identified in each of the last couple of days. The Olympic Village is at its peak, with both swimming and track & field now ongoing, so the numbers on Covid positives will be closely watched now.
The Tokyo 2020 report on Olympic-related infections showed the largest single-day total on 30 July at 27. Once again, the leading source was contractors – 15 – with four among “Games-concerned personnel,” three athletes, one journalist and four Tokyo 2020 volunteers. This brings the Games total go 220 through 30 July. Of these 110 are contractors (50.0%), 65 “Games-concerned personnel,” 23 athletes, 12 media and 10 Tokyo 2020 staff and volunteers.
The testing report by stakeholder group through 28 July:
● Athletes and team officials: 25 positives in 159,726 tests (0.02%).
● Media/Tokyo 2020 staff: 47 positives in 186,648 tests (0.03%).
The infection rate at the Games continues to be small, but with 1,900 track & athletes in or on the way to Tokyo, these numbers will be closely watched.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee reported one positive among 1,174 personnel in Tokyo on 29 July, the first positive since the 24th. Prior results: 1 in 1,038 athletes and officials on 24 July; 0 of 1,144 on 25 July, 0 of 1,172 delegates on 26 July, 0 of 1,175 on 27 July, and 0 of 1,214 for 28 July.
At the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals in Texas, the U.S. and Mexico won tight games to advance to yet another final against each other on Sunday.
The U.S. played Qatar scoreless through the half and all the way to the 86th minute, when Gyasi Zardes booted a Nick Gioacchini cross into the net for a 1-0 lead that stood up as the winner through five minutes of stoppage time.
Although the U.S. men had most of the possession in the game – 58-42% – the Qataris were the aggressors and tried 17 shots on goal to six. American keeper Matt Turner turned away two shots in the first 16 minutes that had real possibilities for Qatar and kept the U.S. in the game.
Mexico squeezed by Canada, 2-1, after taking a 1-0 lead at the half on a penalty kick – awarded after video review – by Orbelin Pineda in stoppage time at the end of the half, only to see the game tied by Tajon Buchanan at the 57-minute mark. The game looked like it was headed for extra time, but after 35 fouls in the game and a stoppage because of an anti-gay chant from Mexican fans created 15 minutes of stoppage time, Hector Herrera found the net at 90+9.
Mexico had 60% of the possession and a 14-9 edge in shots, but it took a late play to get to the Gold Cup final once again.
Mexico (8) and the U.S. (6) have won all but one of the 15 Gold Cup tournaments; the two have met in six finals, with Mexico winning five of the six, including 2019 by 1-0.
For our 649-event International Sports Calendar for 2021 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!