Kris Bryant homers in memorable Giants debut: 'I've had an unbelievable first day'


The Athletic 01 August, 2021 - 08:54pm 18 views

What number is Kris Bryant Giants?

Bryant's new No. 23 jersey was already present in large numbers around Oracle Park for his debut Sunday afternoon. The Mercury NewsKris Bryant joins the SF Giants, and he couldn’t be happier

When Will Kris Bryant join the Giants?

Kris Bryant will join Giants on Sunday, expected to be in lineup against the Astros. July 31, 2021 Updated: July 31, 2021 12:40 p.m. San Francisco ChronicleKris Bryant will join Giants on Sunday, expected to be in lineup against the Astros

Giants give Gabe Kapler a 'steak cake' for his 46th birthday

NBC Sports Bay Area 02 August, 2021 - 02:00am

They got back to their homer-happy ways in emphatic fashion, crushing five home runs to outslug the Astros, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Donovan Solano, Wilmer Flores, LaMonte Wade Jr., Darin Ruf and Mike Yastrzemski each homered for the Giants, who rank second in the Majors with 156 home runs this season, trailing only the Blue Jays (157). San Francisco and Houston combined for eight homers -- tied for the most in a single game at Oracle Park -- though the decisive hit didn’t end up leaving the yard.

Brandon Crawford snapped a 6-6 tie with a go-ahead single to right-center field in the sixth, capping a string of three consecutive two-out singles by the Giants. Ruf and Thairo Estrada also delivered base hits to set the table for Crawford, who leads San Francisco with 62 RBIs this year.

“I think Brandon just takes what the pitcher is going to give him in those situations,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, he’s hit some big homers with two outs as well, but from my perspective, I think he understands the situation, and he understands that scoring the run is the most important thing. Sometimes that’s a ball to the middle of the field on a line, and he’s done that job consistently for us all year.”

Dominic Leone, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee combined to pitch three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to lock down the win and help the Giants improve to 65-39 and even this three-game Interleague series. There was more to celebrate after the game, as the Giants commissioned a cake shaped like a tomahawk ribeye steak in honor of Kapler’s 46th birthday.

“I’m pretty sure nobody really ate it because everybody wanted to take pictures and was all in awe of it,” Wade said. “It was really cool to see. I’m glad we could get the win on Kap’s birthday.”

More good things await the first-place Giants on Sunday, when the newly acquired Kris Bryant is expected to arrive and play his first game for the orange and black. The 2016 National League MVP and four-time All-Star will only further lengthen San Francisco’s lineup and add another middle-of-the-order, right-handed bat to an offense that’s already known for its power.

Via the Instagram of protein fan @gabekapler, who turned 46 today. The SteakCake:

Solano put the Giants on the board with his fourth homer of the year and his first since June 26 in the second, but the Astros went ahead, 2-1, on Aledmys Díaz’s two-run shot off left-hander Alex Wood in the third. Wood nearly escaped without further damage, but errors by Solano at second and Flores at third led to an unearned run, extending Houston’s lead to 3-1.

Still, the Giants were able to capitalize on a defensive miscue from the Astros in the bottom of the third. After Ruf reached on an error by shortstop Carlos Correa, Flores quickly atoned for his airmailed throw earlier in the inning, launching a game-tying two-run shot off Astros right-hander Zack Greinke.

“It’s usually impossible to hit home runs here,” said Greinke, who gave up four homers in four-plus innings. “I would guess three of them might have been home runs, still, in any situation. The same thing with ours; a lot of ours were hit pretty good. I’ve never seen home runs hit like this, though.”

Flores’ afternoon ended shortly after hitting his 13th blast of the year, as he was removed from the game with lower back tightness. Estrada came off the bench in the top of the fourth to replace Flores, who is considered day to day.

None of the Giants’ homers were cheapies, but Wade’s two-run shot in the fourth was particularly impressive. Wade, who has emerged as the club’s breakout hitter this year, gave San Francisco a 5-3 lead in the fourth by bashing a 417-foot shot that sailed over the right-field wall and splashed into McCovey Cove.

Wade’s mother, Emily, happened to be standing out in the right-field arcade at the time and got a perfect view of her son’s first career splash hit. Cameras caught Emily jumping up and down and throwing her hands in the air as she watched the ball fly into the Cove at 107.8 mph.

“I was kind of laughing when I saw her out there,” Wade said. “Just typical of my mom. She can’t sit still at the games. I’m sure my dad just let her go do her thing, and then it just so happened that she was out there at the right time, so that was pretty cool.”

Acquired from the Twins in exchange for right-hander Shaun Anderson in February, Wade is now batting .258 with a .921 OPS and a career-high 13 homers over 54 games with the Giants this year. The 27-year-old hit two over 42 games with the Twins in his first two seasons in the Majors.

“I think the confidence is beginning to grow now,” Kapler said. “He’s starting to recognize that he is a power hitter, that he can drive the ball in the air to the pull side, that he can go deep to the opposite field, and that comes along with a package that’s pretty selectively aggressive. I think that’s a recipe for a quality Major League hitter.”

Olympics Live Updates: Simone Biles Plans to Compete on Balance Beam

ESPN 01 August, 2021 - 05:24pm

The event on Tuesday would be her last possible chance to compete at the Tokyo Games.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” U.S.A. Gymnastics said in a statement.

Last week, Biles competed in qualifying and in the team finals, but only performed in the first event of team finals — the vault — before withdrawing because she felt that she might injure herself if she continued, or at least jeopardize her team’s chances at a medal. Her teammates competed in the rest of the event without her, and she earned a silver medal with them.

Since then, Biles had backed out of all-around final and three event finals, which were the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and balance beam. Competing on Tuesday gives her a chance to win a gold at an Olympics where she had been expected to dominate. If she does win the event, it would also be redemption for her performance on the balance beam final at the 2016 Games, where she was the gold-medal favorite but came away with the bronze.

Biles’s performance in the balance beam will be the must-see event, starring the athlete who came into Tokyo as the face of gymnastics worldwide. She was expected to win the all-around and become the first woman in 53 years to repeat as Olympic champion in the all-around. She also was planning to perform her breathtaking and dangerous Yurchenko double pike vault, which is so risky that she could break her neck or ankles if she doesn’t rotate enough to land on her feet. If she had landed that vault at the Games, it would have been named after her.

Now she is considering retirement, though she has hinted that she might return as a vault specialist at the 2024 Games in Paris, to honor her French coaches. If that doesn’t happen, Tuesday’s balance beam final might be her farewell performance.

Camacho-Quinn, a University of Kentucky graduate, was the favorite coming in on the strength of a perfect season and an Olympic record of 12.26 seconds in the semifinal. But Harrison had the experience and had gotten the best of her in their meetings over the years.

Camacho-Quinn broke fast, then powered away after halfway to win comfortably in 12.37 seconds. Harrison was second in 12.52, three-hundredths of a second ahead of Megan Tapper of Jamaica.

“I am pretty sure everybody is excited” in Puerto Rico, Camacho-Quinn said. “For such a small country, it gives little people hope. I am just glad I am the person to do that.”

Camacho-Quinn had hit a hurdle and failed to qualify from the semifinals of this event in 2016. Her brother, Robert Quinn, is a linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

Harrison had been a medal favorite in 2016 but failed to qualify at the Olympic trials that July, before setting the world record at 12.20 later that month. “I missed out in 2016, so to come here and get a medal for my country, I couldn’t be happier,” she said Monday.

A full plate of track includes the long jump and steeplechase for men, and the discus, 100-meter hurdles and 5,000 meters for women. The long jump and hurdles are Sunday night, U.S. time, with the other events in the early hours on Monday.

The U.S. beach volleyball team of April Ross and Alix Klineman, still undefeated in Tokyo, plays in a round of 16 match against Lidianny Echevarria Benitez and Leila Consuelo Martinez Ortega of Cuba on Sunday night U.S. time.

And the U.S. men’s baseball team faces Japan at 6 a.m. Eastern; the loser won’t be eliminated but will have a much shorter path to the gold medal.

Because of an editing error, the headline on an earlier version of this article misstated the soccer team that the U.S. women will play. It is Canada, not the Netherlands.

The sprinter, Kristina Timanovskaya, announced on Sunday night via Instagram that she had sought protection in Japan because she feared for her safety in Belarus, where the country’s strongman leader, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, in power for 27 years, has sought to stifle any dissent.

“I am afraid that in Belarus they might put me in jail,” Ms. Timanovskaya told the independent Belarusian news portal “I am not afraid that I will be fired or kicked out of the national team, I am worried about my safety. And I think that at the moment it is not safe for me in Belarus.”

The Belarusian National Olympic Committee, which is run by Mr. Lukashenko’s eldest son, Victor Lukashenko, said on Sunday that it had withdrawn Ms. Timanovskaya from the Games because of her “emotional and psychological state” after consulting with a doctor.

Ms. Timanovskaya denied being examined by any doctors and said she was in good physical and psychological health. She said she had been forcibly removed from her country’s team because “I spoke on my Instagram about the negligence of our coaches.”

In a video taken at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, she asked the International Olympic Committee for support. In a statement, the I.O.C. said it was researching the situation.

“The I.O.C. has seen the reports in the media,” the statement said, and “is looking into it.”

Ms. Timanovskaya, 24, was to participate in the Olympic Games for the first time this summer in the 200-meter sprint. But she said was informed that she would be running the 4x400-meter relay race because some team members had not taken enough antidoping tests to qualify for the event.

On Sunday night, Raven Saunders, a U.S. shot putter, delivered the first political demonstration on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics when she raised her arms and crossed them in the shape of an X shortly after receiving her silver medal.

She made the gesture as the ceremony concluded, during a session for photographers after the medals were handed out and the Chinese national anthem had been played for the winner, Gong Lijiao.

As Saunders left, she told reporters that her act was “for oppressed people.”

Mark Adams, the chief spokesman for the I.O.C., said on Monday that leaders of the two organizations and World Athletics, track and field’s international governing body, were in talks.

“We want to fully understand what is going on with the matter and take it from there,” Adams said.

Kate Hartman, the chief spokeswoman for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said the organization’s leaders had pointed out to I.O.C. officials that Saunders did not perform her demonstration during the awarding of the medals or the playing of the Chinese anthem.

“That is important to us,” Hartman said.

In a statement on Monday, the U.S.O.P.C. said it was still discussing what happened with the I.O.C. and other groups.

“Per the U.S.O.P.C.’s delegation terms, the U.S.O.P.C. conducted its own review and determined that Raven Saunders’ peaceful expression in support of racial and social justice that happened at the conclusion of the ceremony was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration,” the organization said in a statement.

The I.O.C. and the U.S. Olympic Committee have conflicting rules and views regarding the exercise of free speech during the Games, and even how penalties should be meted out.

The I.O.C., which prohibits demonstrations on the podium or during competition, said on Sunday night that an athlete’s national Olympic committee is required to issue any required punishment. U.S. officials have said they will not punish any athlete for exercising the right to free speech that does not express hatred.

Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said last week that international Olympic leaders “have the authority and the jurisdiction and a unique set of sanctions. We sit in a different seat.”

If the I.O.C. orders the Americans to punish an athlete and they refuse to do so, they would be in violation of the Olympic charter.

Also on Sunday, Race Imboden, an American fencer, went to the podium at a different venue after the United States took the bronze medal in foil with a circled X written on his hand. But Hartman said no one had complained about the episode.

Asked what would happen next, Hartman said, “Now we wait.”

By waiting, though, the U.S. Olympic Committee is behaving far differently that American Olympic leaders did in 1968 and 1972, when they moved quickly to punish Black athletes who demonstrated on the podium or did not behave according to the I.O.C.’s standards, forcing them to leave the Games.

World Athletics is also highly unlikely to discipline athletes because the federation does not have any rules against demonstrations on its books. Sebastian Coe, the federation’s president, said this year that he was “reluctant to discourage athletes from expressing their views, and I sense that the current generation is more willing to speak out than some previous generations were.”

U.S. officials are trying to eliminate the free speech issue before the Summer Games come to Los Angeles in 2028.

Hubbard, 43, is one of 10 competitors scheduled in the heavyweight division and has an outside chance at a medal. But no matter where she finishes, she is certain to draw attention because of her participation.

While supporters of transgender athletes have hailed Hubbard’s appearance at the Olympics, athletes, some advocates for women’s sports and fair-sport campaigners have questioned whether she has an unfair advantage. Hubbard competed in men’s competitions before she took a break from the sport two decades ago and transitioned.

Hubbard, who rarely speaks to the news media, said in 2017 that she did not see herself as a flag-bearer for transgender athletes.

The New Zealand Olympic committee has shielded Hubbard since she arrived in Tokyo. Kereyn Smith, secretary general of the committee, called Hubbard “quite a private person” and said she wanted her lifting to be the focus.

In recent years, weight lifting was more likely to make headlines because athletes were caught using performance-enhancing drugs. After decades of rampant doping, bribery, vote-rigging and corruption at weight lifting’s highest levels, the International Olympic Committee took action last year by threatening to drop the sport from the Games in the coming months if the International Weightlifting Federation does not introduce a host of fixes, including rigorous drug testing measures and governance changes.

Hubbard’s presence has changed the subject in a big way, at least for now. For the competition on Monday night, there were twice as many requests for seats in the press tribune as there were seats. Credentials to enter the mixed zone, where members of the media can interview athletes were distributed 10 hours before Hubbard and her competitors were set to face off.

Hubbard won junior titles in men’s competitions before her transition, but stopped weight lifting in her 20s because, she told an interviewer, “it just became too much to bear” as she struggled to cope with her identity. She resumed competing in 2012, five years after she transitioned. When she won three titles in 2017, her performances triggered a firestorm on social media.

The International Olympic Committee has left it up to sports federations to decide whether and how transgender athletes can compete, and Hubbard has met all the requirements set by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Last week, officials from the I.O.C. said they would soon adopt new guidelines, originally developed in 2015, governing the participation of transgender women in Olympic sports because they consider the current rules outdated.

On Monday, the world’s fourth most populous nation notched another badminton victory when Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu claimed gold in the women’s doubles event. It was the first gold for Indonesia at the Tokyo Games and the eighth in the country’s Olympic history.

Polii and Apriyani overwhelmed the former world champions, Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China, in straight sets, 21-19, 21-15, delivering precision strikes of the shuttlecock combined with fluttery shots that left their opponents lunging in vain. Toward the end of the match, Polii had to race off court midrally to change her racket because of a busted string but returned to win.

Badminton is a national sport in Indonesia, where shuttlers take whatever space they can find to play: a clearing in a palm-oil plantation, a jetty on a far-flung island or a strip of cement between high rises. The Olympic sport’s medal count is dominated by Asian countries, like China, Indonesia and South Korea.

Polii, 33, is a badminton veteran, having first competed in the 2012 London Games. But her debut was inauspicious. To secure a better draw, she and her partner tried to lose an early match, Olympic organizers determined. The Indonesians, along with several other pairs, were disqualified.

Unsporting behavior has plagued badminton in recent months. The sport’s governing body this year banned three Indonesian players for life for match-fixing and betting. Another five were fined and suspended for up to 12 years.

After the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she and her former partner made it to the quarterfinals, Polii was getting ready for retirement. But Apriyani, a decade younger, convinced her to stick it out for one more Olympics. They came into the competition in Tokyo unseeded.

Indonesia has been consumed by the coronavirus, which has made the country one of the most dangerous places in the world. The Delta variant is coursing through the sprawling archipelago as vaccination rates remain low.

Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia will play in the bronze medal match in the men’s singles event on Monday night, but the only hopes for a badminton gold rested with Apriyani and Polii. (Indonesia has also won bronze in women’s weight lifting and has medal hopes in another women’s weight lifting class.)

“The wait for gold ended this afternoon,” President Joko Widodo of Indonesia wrote on social media. “This win is Indonesia’s independence gift two weeks early.”

Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, although it has a significant Christian minority and adherents to other faiths. While sectarian tensions have simmered over the years, sometimes with fatal consequences, badminton doubles players have often been from mixed backgrounds, like Apriyani, a Muslim, and Polii, a Christian.

After the pair’s victory on Monday, a politician from an Islamist party praised them on Twitter.

“This gold medal is a sweet gift for Indonesia, which is still fighting against the pandemic,” wrote Mardani Ali Sera, a lawmaker for the Prosperous Justice Party. “Thank you to all Indonesian athletes who have fought and are still fighting. Indonesians are supporting and praying for you.”

So Tanaka, a two-time All-Star who posted a 3.74 earned run average with the Yankees, returned home. The right-hander signed a two-year deal with the Eagles. An added benefit: Because the Nippon Professional Baseball league takes an Olympic break, Tanaka was allowed to pitch for his country again. Major League Baseball doesn’t pause its season for the Olympics, nor does it permit players from 40-man rosters to participate.

“I didn’t come home because I wanted to participate in the Olympics, but I thought I would have a chance to participate if I’m in Japan,” Tanaka said in Japanese. “I wanted to be selected.”

He had many motivations. The 10th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan — and specifically the Sendai area, where the Eagles play — is not lost on Tanaka. And the last time he was on Japan’s Olympic roster in 2008, he was 19, which was also the last time baseball was played in the Summer Games. Japan failed to win a medal then.

This time around, Tanaka, 32, said the experience has been very different. “I was the youngest, now I’m the oldest,” he said. “I feel the different roles I play.”

To win its first two games against the Dominican Republic and Mexico, Japan used two talented young pitchers — Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 22, and Masato Morishita, 23. Facing a tougher assignment against the United States, Manager Atsunori Inaba tabbed Tanaka, who knows a few of the opposing hitters, such as Todd Frazier, a former Yankees teammate.

Back in New York, where Tanaka was well liked in the clubhouse, teammates such as Gerrit Cole have kept tabs on his performance this year. Tanaka, who has a 2.86 E.R.A. in 85 innings with the Eagles this season, has done the same with the Yankees and the M.L.B. standings, including the play of Los Angeles two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, a leading American League M.V.P. contender.

Asked over the weekend what he thought of Ohtani’s season, Tanaka answered in English before departing for the team bus: “amazing.”

A’ja Wilson remained the American star with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Breanna Stewart had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The U.S. team, made up of a full complement of top-tier W.N.B.A. stars, took some time to pull away, trailing by 3 after one quarter as France shot well from 3-points. The U.S. efforts to get the ball in to their bigger players were successful, but thwarted on several occasions by missed layups. The U.S. led, 50-44, by the half.

France took the lead by a point with nine minutes to play before a Jewell Loyd 3 put the United States ahead for good. For the rest of the fourth quarter, the U.S. depth and talent seemed to reassert itself, resulting in the final, reasonably comfortable 11-point margin.

France, which was led by 15 points from Endy Miyem, had an especially high incentive to stay close in the game. A loss by 14 or less would guarantee that the team would advance to the next round. “We were completely aware, yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Gabby Williams of the French team. “It was 10 minutes by 10 minutes and just trying to focus on staying with them.”

The U.S. women have not lost a game at the Olympics since 1992, a run that stands at 52 games.

“Obviously, it wasn’t a must-win, but we always want to win,” Stewart said. “This is where we start to peak.”

The U.S. advances to a quarterfinal game on Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.

BASEBALL The U.S. baseball team, featuring former M.L.B. players Todd Frazier and Edwin Jackson, will face Japan in the playoff round live at 6 a.m. on Monday on NBC Sports.

WOMEN’S SOCCER Australia takes on Sweden in one semifinal at 7 a.m. on Universo (and streaming on Peacock or A replay of the other semifinal game, a matchup between the United States and Canada, will air at 10 a.m. on NBC Sports.

WEIGHT LIFTING Finals in the women’s 87 kilogram weight class will begin at 6:50 a.m., and can be streamed on Peacock or USA Network will air the event at 9 a.m., with replays at 2:30 p.m.

GYMNASTICS Coverage of the men’s finals in vault and rings will air during NBC’s daytime coverage, which starts at 12 p.m.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne of the United States play a round of 16 match against Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany, streaming live on Peacock at 9 a.m. and replayed on NBC Sports at 5 p.m.

TRACK AND FIELD The Americans Brittney Reese and Tara Davis contend for gold in the women’s long jump final, which starts live at 9:50 p.m. on NBC. In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, at 11:20 p.m., Rai Benjamin of the United States looks to get ahead of Karsten Warholm of Norway, the current world-record holder.

DIVING Qualifying in the men’s 3-meter springboard will air during NBC’s daytime coverage that starts at 12 p.m. The event’s semifinals will stream live on Peacock at 9 p.m.

EQUESTRIAN A replay of the team and individual jumping and eventing finals will air at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports.

So far, at least 281 people with Olympic credentials, including 27 athletes, have tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan. Others have tested positive before their departure to the Games and are not included in the chart below.

Note: Data is shown by the date in Tokyo when a case was announced. Some athletes tested positive before arriving in Japan.

Sources: Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and staff reports.

By Jasmine C. Lee and John Yoon

Tokyo and the rest of Japan are experiencing the worst surge of the pandemic. On Saturday, officials in Tokyo reported more than 4,000 new infections, the first time the city’s daily count had surpassed that figure.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Friday that the government would expand a state of emergency to four areas besides Tokyo, and that the restrictions in the capital would be extended until the end of August — past the conclusion of the Olympics and into the start of the Paralympic Games.

With only 28 percent of the population fully vaccinated, the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus has taken root in Japan. More than three-quarters of cases in Tokyo are now being caused by the variant, according to the health ministry.

“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked him.

Assured that they could, Tamberi and Barshim embraced, their bromance on display.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Barshim said. “We’re always together.”

Barshim was so excited, he broke his sunglasses.

“It’s OK,” he said. “I’ve got like 50 pairs.”

After missing the 2016 Olympics because of a leg injury, Tamberi kept his cast and wrote “Road to Tokyo 2020” on it. When the Games were postponed last year, he scratched out “2020” and wrote “2021.” On Sunday, he took the cast with him to the stadium as a reminder of his hard work.

“Olympic champions,” Jacobs said, “for us and for Italy.”

Jacobs set a European record in the men’s 100-meter dash on Sunday, finishing in 9.80 seconds, to win the gold medal.

Jacobs, a 26-year-old sprinter and long jumper, was born in El Paso to an Italian mother and an African American father. When his father, a soldier in the United States Army, was transferred to South Korea, he and his mother moved to Italy.

His parents separated when he was an infant, but Jacobs reconnected with his father for the first time a year ago, according to The Associated Press. After his 100-meter-dash victory on Sunday, he said that finding his father was part of his mental preparation for the Games.

“I never saw my dad from that time,” Jacobs said. “But I started to speak with him one year ago for the first time. This helped me arrive here with a good mentality.”

Jacobs, whose Instagram handle is @crazylongjumper, a moniker he has inked on his body, along with the names of his three children and his partner, began competing in athletics at 9 years old, gravitating to sprinting and long jump, according to the Tokyo Olympics website.

He made his first impression at the national level while competing in long jump. In 2016, he won the Italian Athletics Championships in long jump with a distance of 7.89 meters.

In 2018, he claimed his first 100-meter-dash title and began closing in on the event’s difficult 10-second barrier. And this year, in May, he set the Italian record in the 100-meters with a time of 9.95 seconds and became the 150th person in history to finish the race in under 10 seconds.

With the Italian record secured, Jacobs set his sights on the Olympics. From the first time he stepped on the track, he told Corriere Della Sera, he dreamed of becoming an Olympian.

“On my bedroom wall I had the newspaper page of the famous Carl Lewis commercial with him wearing stiletto heels in the starting blocks,” he said. “But my idol as a child was Andrew Howe who, like me, is mixed race and half-American. I could identify with him.”

Her Olympics just keep getting better.

Last week in the all-around final, Andrade, 22, won the silver medal, finishing just behind the American Sunisa Lee. She dedicated that silver medal, the first Olympic medal of any color for Brazil in women’s gymnastics, to her country, her coaches and her medical staff, which had helped her get to these Games after yet another serious injury to her right knee.

Andrade won with a score of 15.083 points. MyKayla Skinner of the United States, who is retiring after these Olympics, finished second, for the silver medal. Yeo Seo-jeong won bronze for South Korea, and is the first medalist for South Korea in women’s gymnastics.

That last-minute effort to compete in Tokyo was worth it: Andrade’s best performance at her last Olympics, the 2016 Rio Games, was 11th in the all-around.

Her first of two vaults was a Cheng, which is a roundoff onto the springboard, a half twist onto the vault, and a front layout with 1½ twists. Her second was an Amanar, which is a roundoff onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vault, and a back layout with 2½ twists. She didn’t stick either landing, but her execution and height helped her get high scores.

With Simone Biles out of the competition with a mental health issue, Andrade’s toughest competition going into the vault were two Americans: Jade Carey and Skinner.

Carey, who finished second in vault qualifying last week, appeared to adjust her run-up to her first vault — which was supposed to be a Cheng, but she ended up bailing out of it and completed only a Yurchenko tuck, which is one somersault with no twists. Stunned and nearly in tears, she kept her composure long enough to perform a second vault, but that landing had one big step to it. Her overall score, 12.416 points, left her out of the medals.

Skinner was just as stunned, but in a the opposite way. Last week after qualifying, she thought her Olympics was over — and her career was over — when she finished fourth in the vault. Because only two gymnasts per country advance to the finals in the all-around and each apparatus, she was left out of the finals after Biles and Carey had finished ahead of her in qualifying.

In an Instagram post, Skinner, who is 24 and was an alternate at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, said she was heartbroken at how these Olympics turned out for her.

“This closes the book on my gymnastics career, and my only regrets were things outside of my control. So no regrets,” she wrote. “For now I will just try to fill the hole in my heart.”

But on Saturday, when Biles withdrew from the vault, Skinner gained the chance to dress in her competition leotard one final time and see if she could win.

She posted on Instagram once again: “Doing this for us @Simone_Biles. … It’s go time baby!”

At last, Skinner — whom Lee called the team’s “grandma” because she has so much experience on the national team — will go home to Arizona with a long-awaited Olympic medal around her neck.

'Right over my head!': LaMonte Wade Jr. gives his parents a thrill in Giants' homer-fueled win

The Athletic 01 August, 2021 - 02:09am

‘Right over my head!’: LaMonte Wade Jr. gives his parents a thrill in Giants’ homer-fueled win

Sports Stories