China's Tokyo Olympics delegation will be nation's biggest yet for an international sporting event

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South China Morning Post 14 July, 2021 - 11:28pm 21 views

What Time Is Opening Ceremony Olympics 2021?

When do the Olympics start in 2021? The 2021 Olympic Games will begin on Friday, July 23 with the Olympic opening ceremony. That will occur at 7 a.m. ET on Friday while it will occur at 8 p.m. local time in Tokyo. Sporting NewsWhen do the Olympics start? Opening ceremony date, time, schedule for 2021 Tokyo Games

When are the opening ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympics?

When does Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony start? The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place at Friday, July 23 at 7 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. PDT). CNETTokyo Olympics opening ceremony: Start time and how to watch

TOKYO -- Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will put their medals around their own necks to protect against spreading the coronavirus.

The "very significant change" to traditional medal ceremonies in the 339 events was revealed Wednesday by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

"The medals will not be given around the neck," Bach told international media on a conference call from Tokyo. "They will be presented to the athlete on a tray, and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.

"It will be made sure that the person who will put the medal on tray will do so only with disinfected gloves so that the athlete can be sure that nobody touched them before."

The Olympic approach is different from soccer in Europe, where UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has personally hung medals around the necks of players at competition finals in recent weeks.

Ceferin also shook hands with Italy's standout goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at the Euro 2020 medal and trophy presentation in London on Sunday. Donnarumma's save in a penalty shootout clinched the title for Italy against England.

Bach confirmed Wednesday that in Tokyo "there will be no shake-hands and there will be no hugs there during the ceremony."

Olympic medals are typically presented by an IOC member or a leading official in a sport's governing body.

The IOC had previously said medalists and ceremony officials would have to wear masks.

The Tokyo Olympics open July 23 in a state of emergency and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Read full article at South China Morning Post

Fewer than 1,000 VIPs may attend Olympic opening ceremony in person

Kyodo News Plus 15 July, 2021 - 12:33pm

Tokyo Olympics organizers are considering allowing fewer than 1,000 VIPs and foreign dignitaries to attend the opening ceremony in person, reducing from the already slashed figure of 10,000 and keeping the public out, sources with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

The organizers of the Olympics, to be held under a coronavirus state of emergency declared for the Japanese capital, have been attempting to cut the number of people physically attending the ceremony at the National Stadium on July 23, the sources said.

The Olympic opening ceremony in the 68,000-seat stadium is likely to be limited to guests connected to the games, including International Olympic Committee representatives and foreign dignitaries, while fans and sponsors' guests will be left to watch on television.

The organizing committee have already decided to hold the Olympics without spectators at venues in the capital and three surrounding prefectures as Tokyo entered a fourth state of emergency on Monday, after a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Olympic events will he held behind closed doors in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

The new state of emergency, under which restaurants and bars are asked to refrain from serving alcohol, runs through the Olympics to Aug. 22.

Arrangements are being made for Japan's Emperor Naruhito to attend the Olympic opening ceremony next week and declare the games open, while U.S. first lady Jill Biden is expected to be among the international guests traveling to Tokyo for the ceremony.

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Kyodo News Digest: July 14, 2021

Kyodo News Plus 15 July, 2021 - 02:02am

The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.

HIROSHIMA - A Japanese high court ruled Wednesday 84 people who were exposed to radioactive "black rain" after the 1945 U.S. bombing of Hiroshima outside an area currently recognized by the government should be eligible to receive state health care benefits.

The Hiroshima High Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, upholding a lower court decision last year and saying they should receive the same benefits as those provided for atomic bomb survivors who were in the zone where the state has recognized black rain fell.

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga agreed with the head of the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday to foster global solidarity by holding a successful Tokyo Olympics, despite concerns over a fresh surge of COVID-19 cases in the capital.

Thomas Bach, who is in the country ahead of the games' opening ceremony next week, assured Suga that adequate measures are in place to prevent athletes and staff participating in the Olympics from spreading the coronavirus.

TOKYO - The Japanese Association of Medical Sciences said Wednesday it has conditionally approved womb transplants to be performed in Japan on a clinical trial basis.

In a report compiled by the association's review panel, it said such transplants will be limited to a small number of cases. The procedure involves transplanting the uterus of a living donor to a woman who lacks a uterus so that she can give birth.

TOKYO - The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday the Refugee Olympic Team will currently not travel to Japan after an official with the delegation tested positive for the coronavirus.

The official had participated in the team's camp in Doha, attended by 26 of the 29 athletes, as well as 11 other individuals, ahead of the opening of the Olympics on July 23, according to the IOC.

TOKYO - The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 1,149 daily coronavirus cases Wednesday, topping 1,000 for the first time since May 13.

The capital, under a fourth COVID-19 state of emergency, has been facing a resurgence of the virus ahead of the opening of the Tokyo Olympics next week.

TOKYO - Japanese Emperor Naruhito is likely to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics next week and declare the start of the games, an official with knowledge of the planning said Wednesday.

Japan is proceeding with arrangements for his attendance at the ceremony on July 23, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

BANGKOK - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at an online meeting with his ASEAN peers on Wednesday, reiterated Washington's position that it will not accept China's unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, according to the State Department.

Blinken also expressed deep concern about a military coup that occurred in Myanmar earlier this year, and called for ASEAN to take coordinated action for the cessation of violence and return to civilian rule in the member country.

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Tokyo records highest number of Covid-19 infections in six months - just nine days before Olympics

Daily Mail 15 July, 2021 - 02:02am

By Ross Ibbetson and Rachael Bunyan For Mailonline

Olympic winners will have to put medals around their own necks because of Covid, the Games' chief said today as infections in Tokyo soared to the highest rate in six months. 

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said: '[The medals] will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself.'

It's a more cautious approach than at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley where players had medals draped around their necks by UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin. Ceferin also shook hands with Italy's heroic goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Bach, who was meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to discuss Covid safety, confirmed that in Tokyo 'there will be no shaking hands and there will be no hugs during the medal ceremony.' 

The worrying number of cases comes as International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (left) met Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (right) in Tokyo to discuss keeping the games from becoming a coronavirus super-spreader event

The Tokyo Olympics take place in nine days but Japan is gripped by a Covid-19 catastrophe

Tokyo reported 1,149 new cases on Wednesday, up from 830 recorded the day earlier. This was the highest figure since January 22 when 1,184 people tested positive. It also marked the 25th straight day that cases were higher than they were a week earlier.  

Bach and Suga have both pledged to make sure the Games do not turn into a Covid super-spreader event, despite Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures under a national government-imposed state of emergency. 

Suga asked Bach to ensure that the Olympics will be safe, particularly for the Japanese public, of which fewer than 20 per cent are fully vaccinated.

'To gain the understanding of our people, and also for the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games, it is absolutely necessary that all participants take appropriate actions and measures including countermeasures against the pandemic,' Suga told Bach. 

'As the host of the games, I do hope that the IOC will make the efforts so that all athletes and stakeholders will fully comply with these measures.'

Bach replied: 'We'd like to reaffirm all our commitment on the side of the Olympic community to do everything, that we do not bring any risks to the Japanese people.'

Bach pledged the Tokyo Olympics will be 'safe and secure' despite the Games opening with Tokyo and neighboring prefectures under a national government-imposed state of emergency

Four foreign electricians engaged in maintenance works for the Tokyo Olympic Games have been arrested for allegedly using cocaine, the Tokyo metropolitan police said on Tuesday.

The Olympics organisers confirmed that the four are employees of Aggreko Events Services Japan Ltd, which has been contracted for temporary electric power services for Games operations.

The arrests for violating drug laws are likely to be seen as an embarrassment for organisers of the Games, who have already been struggling with public opposition to the event amid fears that an influx of people from overseas would accelerate a spike in the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Wells, president of Aggreko Events Services Japan, said in a statement that the company is fully cooperating with the police investigations and the four employees have been removed from their current positions.

The suspects, two Americans and two British nationals, are in Japan for the Olympic-related works, said an Aggreko representative.

Public broadcaster NHK said the four denied the charges, but their urine showed traces of cocaine.

'Should the allegations turn out to be true, Tokyo 2020 will issue a strict warning to the company and advise them to take all possible measures to ensure that such an incident does not happen again,' the Games organisers said in an emailed statement.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said he hoped the organizers would firmly deal with the incident.

'It's really regrettable if it's true an act that violates the law has been committed,' he told at a media briefing.

But a coronavirus cluster at a hotel near Tokyo where dozens of Brazilian Olympic team members are staying has emerged, raising new concern about infections.   

Just over a week before the opening ceremony, new cases linked to the Games and spiking infections in the host city highlight the risks of staging the world's biggest sports event during a pandemic even without spectators in sports venues.

Seven staff at the hotel in Hamamatsu city, southwest of Tokyo, had tested positive for the coronavirus, a city official said.

But a 31-strong Brazilian Olympic delegation, which includes judo athletes, are in a 'bubble' in the hotel and separated from other guests and have not been infected.

Highly contagious virus variants have fuelled the latest wave of infections, and failure to vaccinate people faster has left the population vulnerable. 

Bach told Suga that 85 per cent of the athletes and officials living in the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay will be fully vaccinated. He said almost 100 per cent of IOC members and IOC staff were 'vaccinated or immune.' 

The IOC also says between 70-80 per cent of international medical representatives were vaccinated.

The IOC and Tokyo organizers last week banned fans from all venues in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures. A few outlying venues will allow some spectators, and fans from abroad were banned month ago.

About 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of others will enter Japan for the Olympics. The Paralympics will add about 4,400 more athletes.

Japan has attributed about 15,000 deaths to COVID-19, a number low by many standards but not as good as most of its Asian neighbors.

The Olympic torch relay has also been pulled from Tokyo streets, with the Tokyo government fearing the relay would draw crowds and circulate the virus. The opening ceremony is July 23 at Tokyo's new $1.4 billion National Stadium.

Bach is expected to travel Friday to Hiroshima, and his vice president John Coates to Nagasaki to use those two bombed cities as backdrops for promoting the Tokyo Olympics and the first day of the so-called Olympic Truce.

The Olympic Truce, a tradition from ancient Greece, was revived by a United Nations resolution in 1993.

Bach arrived in Tokyo last week and spent the first three days self-isolating in the five-star hotel that the IOC uses for its headquarters in Tokyo.

The IOC is pushing ahead with the Olympics, despite opposition in much of the Japanese medical community, partly because it is dependent for almost 75 per cent of its income on the sale of broadcasting rights. 

Medical experts are worried that Olympic 'bubbles', imposed by Tokyo 2020 Olympic officials in an effort to keep out COVID-19, might not be completely tight as movement of staff servicing the Games can create opportunities for infection.

The Olympics, postponed last year as the virus was spreading around the world, have lost much public support in Japan because of fears they will trigger a surge of infections. 

Bach praised the organisers and the Japanese people for staging the Games in the midst of the pandemic.

'These will be historic Olympic Games... for the way how the Japanese people overcame so many challenges in the last couple of years, the great east Japan earthquake and now the coronavirus pandemic,' Bach told reporters after meeting Suga.

When Japan was awarded the Games in 2013, they were expected to be a celebration of recovery from a deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011.

Japanese leaders had hoped the re-scheduled Games this year would be a celebration of the world's victory over the coronavirus but those celebrations are on hold as many countries struggle with new surges of infections. 

The coronavirus cluster at the Brazilians' hotel was found during routine screening required before staff started work, said city official Yoshinobu Sawada.

Many Olympic delegations are already in Japan and several athletes have tested positive upon arrival.

The refugee Olympic team has delayed its travel to Japan after a team official tested positive in Qatar, the International Olympic Committee said.

Members of the South African rugby team are in isolation after arriving, as they are believed to be close contacts with a case on their flight, said Kagoshima city, which is hosting the team.

The 21 members of the South African squad were due to stay in the city from Wednesday, but that plan has been halted until further advice from health authorities, said city official Tsuyoshi Kajihara.

Global interest in the Tokyo Olympics is muted, an Ipsos poll of 28 countries showed, amid concerns over COVID-19 in Japan and withdrawals of high-profile athletes, with the host country among the most disinterested.

The poll released on Tuesday found a global average of 46 per cent interest in the Games, and in Japan 78 per cent of people were against the Games going ahead.

With spectators barred from all Olympic events in Tokyo and surrounding regions officials are asking people to watch the Games on television and keep their movements to a minimum.

'Billions of people around the globe will be glued to their screens and they will admire the Japanese people for what they have achieved under these very difficult circumstances,' Bach said.

Among those will not be competing in Japan is former world number one golfer Adam Scott. He questioned whether holding the Tokyo Olympics was a responsible decision, pointing to fear among people in Japan as it battles its resurgence of infections.

Switzerland's Roger Federer became the latest big name in tennis to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics after the 20-times Grand Slam champion said on Tuesday that he had picked up a knee injury during the grasscourt season.

September 2013: Tokyo is awarded the 2020 Olympics after convincingly defeating rivals Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the Games for the second time, having first hosted them in 1964.

January 2020: The coronavirus is declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization as fears grow in Japan that the outbreak could threaten the Games.

February 2020: A number of international sporting events, including Olympic qualifying tournaments, are cancelled or postponed.

With under five months to go before the event, the deputy director general of the Tokyo 2020 Preparation Bureau at the city government says they have no Plan B for the Games despite alarm over the spread of the virus in Japan and elsewhere.

March 2020: Despite the organising committee stating earlier in the month that preparations would continue as planned and the International Olympic Committee saying it would proceed as per the original schedule, the Games are postponed by a year.

January 2021: Japan's government continues with preparations to hold the Games, repeatedly insisting it will hold the event amid the pandemic despite opinion polls showing a majority of Japanese want them postponed again or cancelled.

March: The Olympic torch relay kicks off, beginning a four-month countdown to the Olympics, although celebrations are scaled back because of coronavirus curbs.

Organisers say international spectators will not be allowed to enter Japan during the Games, with a decision on local fans to be made in June.

May 18: The Tokyo Medical Practitioners' Association throws its weight behind calls to cancel the Games, saying hospitals are overwhelmed as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 cases.

May 21: A Reuters survey finds nearly 70 per cent of Japanese firms want the Tokyo Olympics either cancelled or postponed.

May 26: The White House reaffirms its support for Tokyo's plan to hold the Games and for U.S. athletes competing there despite the issuing of a government advisory against travel to Japan.

An editorial in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, an official partner of the Games, calls for the Olympics to be cancelled, citing risks to public safety and strains on the medical system.

May 27: The head of a Japanese doctors' union says holding the Games in Tokyo could lead to the emergence of an 'Olympic' coronavirus strain, but a senior International Olympic Committee member says the Games will go on 'barring Armageddon'.

June 13: The Group of Seven wealthy nations say in a communique after a leaders' summit in Cornwall that they support the holding of the Tokyo Olympics this year.

June 23: Organisers release guidelines banning alcohol, high-fives and talking loudly for the reduced numbers of Olympic ticket holders allowed into venues, as Tokyo marks a month until the Olympics open.

June 29: Tokyo decides to move the first half of the 15-day Olympic torch relay scheduled to take place in the capital off public roads, the metropolitan government says, as coronavirus infection numbers show signs of surging again.

July 6: Organisers ask the public not to gather on the streets of Sapporo for the marathon and race walk, a decision World Athletics, the governing body for the sport, says is inconsistent with rules allowing up to 10,000 spectators in Tokyo venues, many indoors.

July 8: Olympic organisers decide to hold the Tokyo Games without spectators under coronavirus restrictions as Japan struggles to stem a new wave of infections with a state of emergency in Tokyo.

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Syrian athlete powers through to get to Olympics

AP Archive 15 July, 2021 - 02:02am

Michael Andrew, Olympic gold medal favorite, defends decision to remain unvaccinated for Tokyo

Yahoo Sports 15 July, 2021 - 02:02am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

With the opening ceremony less than 10 days away, Andrew defended his decision in an appearance on Fox Business, saying that he's concerned about how his body will react to it so close to the Olympics. 

"I'm an elite athlete. Everything we take and put in our body is very calculated. You know, with the period going into Olympic trials, I didn't want to risk any time out of the pool. And the fact that the effectiveness of the vaccine is lower than the risk of me getting COVID, I just realized it wasn't quite necessary and wasn't smart on my part in terms of preparation going into the games."

American Olympians aren't required to be vaccinated. While Andrew said he didn't want to "risk" missing any prep days leading up to the Olympics, remaining unvaccinated carries a lot of risk, especially with COVID-19 cases rising in Tokyo. If he tests positive, he could be removed from his events. 

"That's a risk I'm willing to take," Andrew said. "Obviously there's fear involved and there's nerves behind the decision," Andrew said.

Andrew's decision to eschew the vaccine has earned him a lot of criticism on social media, especially since it's been proven safe and effective. Despite the fact that Andrew has said that he doesn't plan to get the vaccine in even the "distant future," he told Fox Business that he doesn't consider himself to be anti-vax. 

"We aren't anti-vax. It's not that we're doing this intentionally," Andrew said. "It's an educated decision as educated as possible. But this is the first time I really received, I guess, like hate messages kind of things. It's been pretty interesting."

Andrew believes his ability to abstain from vaccination is a true representation of the privilege of America. 

"Going to the games not only unvaccinated, but as an American, I'm representing my country in multiple ways and the freedoms we have to make a decision like that," he said.

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The family of an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies in North Carolina says he died because of the officers' “intentional and reckless disregard of his life,” according to a $30 million civil rights lawsuit filed Wednesday. Several deputies surrounded Brown in his BMW before his car backed up and moved forward. Lawyers for the Brown family said the shooting was unjustified because Brown was trying to drive away — not toward the deputies.

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President Joe Biden’s plan to have teams go door-to-door to urge those unvaccinated for COVID-19 to get the shot is being rejected by the public even before it begins.

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Pope Francis was discharged from a Rome hospital and returned home to the Vatican on Wednesday, 10 days after undergoing surgery to remove half his colon. Francis, 84, stopped at St. Mary Major Basilica to give thanks for the success of the operation and pray for others before returning home, the Vatican said. Francis rode in the passenger seat of the Ford sedan, which left Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic around 10:45 a.m. (0845 GMT; 4:45 a.m. EDT).

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Senate Democrats announced late Tuesday that they'd reached a budget agreement envisioning spending an enormous $3.5 trillion over the coming decade, paving the way for their drive to pour federal resources into climate change, health care and family-service programs sought by President Joe Biden. The accord marks a major step in the party’s push to meet Biden’s goal of bolstering an economy that was ravaged by the pandemic and setting it on course for long-term growth — and includes a Medicare expansion of vision, hearing and dental benefits for older Americans, a goal of progressives. “We are very proud of this plan,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters.

Team USA is still in a feeling-out period when it comes to playing with each other, and one noticeable observation is that they're still in NBA mode.

Former Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers star Richard Sherman was arrested Wednesday after authorities said he tried to force his way into a family member's home in suburban Seattle and fought with officers, who used police dogs to apprehend him. Sherman was booked into the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle just after 6 a.m. on suspicion of so-called burglary domestic violence, according to online records. It wasn’t immediately clear if Sherman had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The postponed Tokyo Olympic Games will create new "stars and legends" despite a one-year delay, fragmented preparations and the absence of fans in the stadiums, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday. "These Games will have high sporting value under the circumstances," Bach told an online media roundtable. As cases rose, the government declared a new state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures last week and Olympics organisers announced no fans would be allowed at events in those areas.

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Bryson DeChambeau's claim that he shouts fore after stray shots "99 per cent of the time" has been ridiculed by Tommy Fleetwood's caddie in the build up to this week's Open Championship. The big-hitting American has been criticised by commentators and social media users for not shouting when his tee shots are heading towards spectators. DeChambeau was asked about the subject during a pre-tournament press conference at Royal St George's, where he is one of leading contenders for the last major ch

Tom Brady seemed to hit a nerve.

Steelers linebacker Cassius Marsh has spent time with seven different NFL teams, but his time with the Patriots stood out. And not in a good way. Marsh, who was traded to the Patriots in September of 2017 and cut by the Patriots in November of that year, said on Tom Segura’s podcast that the Patriots’ [more]

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