Storm’s Katie Lou Samuelson to miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19

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The Seattle Times 19 July, 2021 - 01:38pm 6 views

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U.S. men's basketball team builds momentum with win over Spain in final game before Tokyo Olympics

ESPN 19 July, 2021 - 08:10pm

LAS VEGAS -- Team USA built some needed momentum for the Olympics with a quality win over current world champion Spain, 83-76, on Sunday night in its final exhibition game before heading to Tokyo.

After falling behind by as many as nine points in the first half, Team USA showed off its shooting muscle in a second half and started to resemble the type of squad coach Gregg Popovich envisioned when picking the roster.

"We're getting better with each passing day," said Popovich, who will fly across the Pacific Ocean on Monday with a team that has had just six practices and four games. "Less is more. Reinventing the wheel is the worst thing you could do with this group."

Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Zach LaVine combined for nine 3-pointers and Keldon Johnson -- who was promoted to the senior team Friday after Kevin Love's departure -- immediately showed how fresh and young legs can make a difference.

Johnson, who plays for Popovich's San Antonio Spurs, scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and was a team-best plus-18, as his aggression in running the floor and within the offense stood out. The large crowd at Mandalay Bay rewarded Johnson with an ovation after he checked out in the fourth.

"Keldon Johnson just played a solid basketball game," Popovich said. "He shot it when he was open and when he did go to the bucket he was very physical."

LaVine, who like Johnson has the advantage of having more rest because his Chicago Bulls missed the playoffs, also showed great energy as he has through the past two weeks in Vegas. Though he sometimes has drawn Popovich's ire with defensive lapses, his athleticism is needed and it showed with two more power dunks on his way to 13 points.

The Americans are dealing with an array of challenges, from losing Bradley Beal and preparation time because of COVID-19, to fatigue from the compacted season that has affected their conditioning, to a lack of depth as three core players are playing in the NBA Finals.

The disruptions have left them not looking like any national team of the modern era and it has shown this past week in Las Vegas, where they went 2-2 and rarely looked like the overwhelming gold medal favorites they have been installed as.

They don't have the personnel or the manpower to play the up-tempo attack that former coach Mike Krzyzewski made a trademark in winning the past three golds, at least not until reinforcements arrive. Their pace at times is downright slow, leaving them to rely on players unfamiliar with each other to react and read in the half court.

But they do have firepower, as Durant ended with 14 points and Lillard added 19. The two have carried the team's offense.

Spain was led by Ricky Rubio's 23 points.

The Americans open Olympic pool play Sunday against France in Saitama, outside Tokyo. Depending on when the Finals end and travel schedules, they could play that game with just nine players.

"We've been preparing for France for two years," Popovich said. "I think about it every day."

Want to feel the Olympic spirit? Here's how to celebrate Team USA without being in Tokyo

USA TODAY 19 July, 2021 - 08:10pm

Despite no international fans being allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics, there are several other ways for Americans to embrace the Team USA spirit.

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International fans can't travel to Japan for the Olympic Games, but here are some tips to experience a little bit of Japanese culture in the states. USA TODAY

When athletes from around the globe walk into Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23, there won't be any fans there to greet them. 

International fans were barred from the games in March, but the decision to not allow any spectators at the games was made July 8 following an announcement that Tokyo was re-entering a state of emergency due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The millions of spectators that typically flock to the Olympic games to attend one of the highest-profile sporting events in the world will instead add on to the billions who watch the games on TV. 

INSIDE SCOOP TO TOKYO, TEXTED TO YOU:Sign up for Olympic texts, where we’ll be your official guide to the Games.

If you're wanting to embrace the Olympic spirit, though – and not spend the whole two-week period glued to your couch – there are other games-adjacent trips and activities you can plan. 

Here are some ways you can get into the Team USA spirit without being in Tokyo: 

If you're interested in learning about the history of the Olympics and Paralympics – which are set for Aug. 24 through Sept. 5 in Tokyo – plan a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to visit the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum. 

The museum opened in July 2020, but waited to celebrate with a grand opening until July 2021. A variety of events to celebrate the new museum and the start of the Olympic games will occur weekly through Labor Day, including Olympian meet-and-greets. Some of the autograph sessions already on the museum's calendar include American actress and judoka Hillary Wolf-Saba, three-time Olympic swimmer Susan Rapp, and Olympic wrestling bronze medalist J'Den Cox. 

From July 29 to August 1, the USOPM will also host its Tokyo Games Fan Fest, a free event on the museum plaza for visitors to enjoy live entertainment, food and drink and watch the Olympics on a 50-foot screen. 

Can't make it to any of the special events? The museum itself is still worth the trip, with 12 exhibits and galleries including Athlete Training, which features interactive sport demonstrations of key skills needed to succeed in Olympic sports, an exhibit on the geo- and sociopolitical history of the games entitled The World Watches, and the Medal Collection gallery courtesy of the Crawford Family U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Archives. 

The museum is open seven days a week, and tickets range from $14.95 to $24.95. For more information, visit the USOPM website

The United States has hosted the Olympic Games eight times over the event's 125-year-long modern history, the most of any country. Both the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics have been held in the U.S. four times in locations from coast to coast. 

All eight host cities still have relics of their Olympic history to visit that would make for good day, weekend or week-long trips. 

In Los Angeles, where the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics took place, a lot of the Olympic venues are familiar places. The L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Rose Bowl Stadium, The Forum and Dodger Stadium were all used as competition sites for various sports. Olympic fans could also choose to visit places like the Hollywood Bowl, where John Williams debuted his "Olympic Fanfare and Theme," UCLA's campus, which served as the Olympic Village in 1984 or the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles. 

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, which hosted the 1996 Olympics, features The Fountain of Rings and the city's Olympic rings statue. The Olympic Cauldron is on display further south in Savannah, Georgia, at Riverfront Plaza, where the yachting events at the games were held.

St. Louis was the first U.S. city to host the Olympics in 1904. Forest Park, where diving, swimming and water polo took place, is still a popular tourist spot today. 

Winter Olympic venues might not be quite the same during the summer, but Lake Placid, New York (1932 and 1980), Squaw Valley, California (1960) and Salt Lake City, Utah (2002) also all offer tourist attractions and opportunities to experience pieces of Olympics past. 

In an effort to keep fans around the globe engaged during the games despite not being able to attend, the Tokyo Organizing Committee has prepared two initiatives. 

Fans can share messages of support for athletes of any country through the Tokyo 2020 "Share the Passion" project. Video and text messages shared on social media with designated hashtags have the chance to be shared on the big screen at competition venues. 

There's also official music for the Olympics – "2020beat." As part of the games' "Make the Beat" campaign, fans can submit videos of them performing the simple clapping rhythm or remix the beat into their own song according to certain guidelines.

Hey Miraitowa and Someity, how’d we do recreating the @tokyo2020 beat?! 😂🙌🏻 Can’t wait for the games!!! #tokyo2020#2020beatpic.twitter.com/jfkA5LJQ82

Some regular attendees of the games might be missing the camaraderie that comes with watching live. The at-home solution? Host a watch party. 

There are several online guides available with ideas on how to make a party gold-medal worthy, including recipes for Olympic-themed decorations, snacks and drinks. A watch party could also be as simple as inviting a few friends over to watch your favorite Olympic events. 

The key will be knowing what time events will air in the U.S. because of the 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and the East Coast. NBC has a full schedule available online with TV listings starting July 20. USA TODAY Sports will be providing daily "what to watch" guides ... so stay tuned! 

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Dress like an Olympian: Olympic fashion for the whole family

TODAY 19 July, 2021 - 08:10pm

5 travel essentials you won't want to leave home without this summer

Whether you're an avid sports watcher or don't know the difference between a goal and a touchdown, the Olympics has the power to bring people together. From fan-favorites such as gymnastics, swimming and track to newer events such as skateboarding and surfing, everyone will be rooting for Team USA.

With less than a week to go before the opening ceremony in Tokyo, however, you might be looking for ways to show your support for the athletes competing.

Fashion and lifestyle expert Amy E. Goodman shared with Hoda & Jenna how you and your family can show off your Team USA spirit through fashion. Read on to shop stylish dresses, Tokyo Olympics caps, adorable swimsuits for the kids and more.

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