Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony to kick off Games hit by Covid, scandals, low support

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NBC News 23 July, 2021 - 10:02am 17 views

What time are the opening ceremonies on NBC?

NBC and NBCOlympics.com will broadcast the opening ceremony live, starting at 3:55 a.m. PDT on Friday. NBC will also broadcast three encores, starting with expanded coverage of the ceremony in prime time and two more replays. Live opening ceremony coverage: 3:55 a.m.–8 a.m. Los Angeles TimesWhen is the Olympics opening ceremony? Date, time, channel

Can I watch the Olympics on Peacock for free?

Taking place July 23rd through August 8th, the Olympic Games will be streamed for free on Peacock, with one exception: US men's basketball live coverage will require a premium subscription to the service. (Peacock Premium costs $5 per month, while going ad-free costs $10 per month.) The VergeOlympics opening ceremony: start time and how to watch live

Will the opening ceremony be on peacock?

While the streaming service Peacock will not stream the opening ceremonies, you can watch any sport for free on Peacock from July 23 to Aug. 8, with the exception of men's basketball, according to The Verge. The Indianapolis StarHow to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies in Indiana

Do Olympic athletes get paid?

Even when athletes win at the Olympics, the award money isn't life-changing. ... The USOPC's “Operation Gold” hands out $37,500 to gold medalists, $22,500 to silver medalists, and $15,000 to bronze in both the Olympics and, this year for the first time, the Paralympics. VoxHow much do Olympics athletes get paid for their talent? Not much.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics finally kicks off on Friday, having retained its name but little else in the year since it was delayed by Covid-19.

The Games will begin still in the shadow of that pandemic, with the Japanese capital under a state of emergency and many of the country's residents adamantly opposed to holding the world sporting event at all.

Yet Japan has staked its international reputation on making these Olympics a success, in spite of the coronavirus and the various scandals that have dominated the preceding weeks and months.

Instead of a 68,000-capacity crowd cheering as athletes from more than 200 countries parade with flags through Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, fewer than a thousand foreign dignitaries and diplomats, Olympic sponsors and members of the International Olympic Committee will be present as the Games officially begin.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito will be among the guests, as will first lady Jill Biden.

The rest of the world — including the Japanese public — will watch, and cheer, on TV or via streaming services.

NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, owns the U.S. broadcasting rights to the Games.

NBC’s live coverage in the U.S. will begin around 6:55 a.m. ET. And the ceremony will be rebroadcast in prime time at 7:30 p.m. ET and once more overnight.

Viewers will be treated to an extravagant re-enactment of a traditional Japanese festival, featuring hundreds of performers taking part in a tightly choreographed and well-rehearsed display of national pride, organizers said.

The traditional pomp and pageantry that accompany the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, symbolizing the start of the Games, will literally be a made-for-TV event as a result of the unusual circumstances of these most unusual games.

For the first time in Olympic history, each nation will be allowed to have two flag-bearers — a man and a woman — for the traditional Parade of Nations.

Carrying the Stars and Stripes will be the U.S. women’s basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez.

But there will be no roar of applause in the stadium for them, or for the final torch-bearer, the Japanese kabuki actor Nakamura Kankuro VI, when he performs what is called the “torch kiss” and lights the cauldron.

That will symbolize the opening of the first major global gathering since Covid-19 began its march, infecting nearly 200 million people and killing more than 4 million around the world.

The pandemic has consumed much of the buildup to the Games, which have also had to contend with the fallout from a series of scandals.

Just Thursday, on the eve of the opening ceremony, its creative director, Kentaro Kobayashi, was fired for a joke he made about the Holocaust during a comedy show in 1998. His predecessor had been ousted months earlier for comparing a female Japanese celebrity to a pig.

Composer Keigo "Cornelius" Oyamada also quit earlier this week after his admission that he bullied disabled classmates resurfaced and his music was removed from the opening ceremony's score.

The Olympic torch began its 121-day journey to the stadium in March from the Fukushima prefecture, a region that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown of three nuclear reactors that left some 22,000 people dead or missing.

That ceremony was also closed to the public because of the fear of spreading Covid.

As the first torch-bearer, the Japanese soccer star Azusa Iwashimizu set off running from a training center with 14 other members of the team that won the Women’s World Cup in 2011.

She was also carrying with her the hope that by now the pandemic would be tamed, if not contained.

But in an ominous sign of things to come, fans along the route in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures were warned to wear masks, practice social distancing and refrain from loud cheering to avoid infecting the torch-bearers racing by.

Now, fans have been banned from venues altogether.

In recent weeks, Japanese leaders and Olympic organizers have watched with alarm as Covid cases continued to rise and polls showed a stubborn resistance in much of the country to holding the Games in Tokyo.

That helped prompt Toyota, the biggest carmaker in Japan and a key Olympic sponsor, to yank Japanese TV ads related to the Games for fear of alienating its local market. Its top executives will not appear at the opening ceremony, though the company remains the supplier of the official vehicles being used in Tokyo.

Despite repeated assurances from Japanese officials and Olympic organizers that the Games would be “safe and secure,” dozens of people linked to the competition — including a dozen athletes — have already tested positive for Covid.

Two more athletes staying in the Olympic Village, a 109-acre waterfront section of Tokyo that had been sealed off to protect the 11,000 or so competitors staying there, tested positive Thursday.

Read full article at NBC News

Where is Michael Phelps now? Olympics legend focused on mental health and family

USA TODAY 22 July, 2021 - 08:01pm

Michael Phelps, regarded as the greatest Olympian of all time, now spends his time with family and focusing on his mental health.

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The Tokyo Olympics will be one of the most unique in history. Here's where the games stand with no fans, strict COVID-19 protocols and new sports. USA TODAY

Michael Phelps is arguably the greatest Olympian of all time by sheer number of Olympic medals won. His 28 medals spanning five Games is unrivaled, and no other Olympic athlete comes close to his 23 gold medals.

The 36-year-old Baltimore native is built for swimming. At 6-foot-4, Phelps’ large frame, broad shoulders and big hands and feet, which act like fins, make his body perfect for his chosen sport.

Phelps made his mark on the Games starting over 20 years ago at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when, at 15 years old, he became the youngest man on U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years (Ralph Flanagan was 13 at the 1932 Olympics). In Sydney, his highest place was fifth in the 200-meter butterfly – which would become his signature event – but that was the lowest Phelps would ever place in any Olympics.

Through the next four Games, Phelps would medal in every event he competed in except one, which was a fourth-place finish in the 400m individual medley at the 2012 London Games.

Phelps called it quits after competing in the 2016 Rio Games. In his final Olympic race – the 4x100m medley relay – the greatest swimmer of all time posted a 47.12 second run, the fastest 100 free split of his career, to truly go out on top. He added six medals (five golds) to his overall total in Rio

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, collecting 28 total medals in his career. Of those medals, 23 are gold, three are silver and two are bronze. He has 10 more medals than the next closest Olympian, former Soviet Union gymnast Larisa Latynina. No one comes close to his gold medal count, which is 14 more than Latynina’s nine, which is shared with three additional athletes.

Twenty years ago, 15-year-old Phelps set his first world record, swimming a 1:54.92 in the 200-meter butterfly in the 2001 United States Spring Nationals. That was the start of a record-breaking career, setting 39 world marks before his retirement. Phelps still holds four world records: 400m individual medley (Olympics), 4x100m freestyle relay (Olympics), 4x100m medley relay (World Championships) and 4x200m freestyle relay (World Championships).

Phelps was once the king of swimming’s butterfly, but in the years since his retirement, his individual records in that event are no longer the world standard. Phelps set his first 100m butterfly record in 2003, but it was broken by Ian Crocker a day later. He set it again in 2009, but Milorad Cavic of Serbia took it away the same month. Phelps took back the record once again during the 2009 World Championships and it stood for just under ten years before Caeleb Dressel swam a 49.5 in 2019, a record he’s held ever since.

In the 200m butterfly, Phelps first set the record in the long course in 2001, taking the title away from fellow American Tom Malchow. He broke his own record seven more times, swimming his best time of 1:51.51 in the 2009 World Championships. Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak dethroned Phelps in 2019 with a time of 1:50.73.

What. A. Race!! https://t.co/ZlRgZ2x4bf

Phelps has his own brand of swimwear and training gear. According to the Phelps Brand website, he “felt the swim gear available to competitive swimmers was lacking,” and he partnered with his coach Bob Bowman to bring their years of experience to the marketplace. The first Phelps product launched in 2015, and the brand was relaunched in July 2020.

In addition to his business, Phelps is engaged in a variety of philanthropy. He used his $1 million Speedo bonus after the 2008 Games to set up the Michael Phelps Foundation. In the years since, the organization has grown and currently focuses on water safety, healthy living and teaching kids to follow their dreams.

He joined the board of Medibio, an organization that focuses on the diagnosis of mental health disorders, in 2017. In 2018, Phelps revealed that he struggled with ADHD and depression and now works as a mental health advocate.

In his personal life, Phelps has three kids – Boomer, Beckett and Maverick – with wife Nicole. The couple is also self-proclaimed pet parents to their two dogs, Juno and Legend.

With Phelps, the question may be what he didn’t accomplish. He won more Olympic medals, World Championships, U.S. National Titles and captured more world records than any other swimmer in the history of the sport.

Phelps was named Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year eight times from 2003-2016. He’s also a four-time USOPC SportsMan of the Year, two-time Associated Press Athlete of the Year and was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2008.

He has also been an ambassador for Special Olympics, and he received the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion in 2019 for his advocacy work and openness about his mental health.

Phelps is on Twitter at @MichaelPhelps and Instagram at @m_phelps00.

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