U.S. begins pursuit of softball gold with win over Italy on first day of play at Tokyo Olympics

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ESPN 21 July, 2021 - 12:28am 16 views

What time is the Olympic opening ceremony?

How to watch the Opening Ceremony. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone in the U.S., which means the Opening Ceremony will be broadcast live as it's happening on Friday, July 23 at 7 a.m. ET on NBC. Yahoo SportsHow to watch the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony and Games

Will the Tokyo Olympics happen?

Still under the banner of Tokyo 2020, they'll now take place from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. ... Take a look here at all the venues where athletes from around the world will be competing at the culmination of their years of training and devotion to their sport. CNETTokyo Olympics, one year late, are finally about to happen

Is USA Softball on TV?

Most Team USA softball games will be broadcast on NBC Sports. You will also be able to stream games live on the NBC Sports app and Peacock. 11 p.m. Sporting NewsUSA softball schedule: How to watch every 2021 Olympic team game from Tokyo

As Australia's Olympic heroes arrive in Tokyo, fans go into meltdown over bizarre 'anti-sex' beds

Daily Mail 21 July, 2021 - 04:10am

By Sam McPhee For Daily Mail Australia

Australians have gone into meltdown over the Olympic village's bizarre 'anti-sex' cardboard beds as the nation's athletes arrive in Tokyo.

The beds, which are designed to fall apart if there are sudden movements, have earned the nickname because they don't allow for amorous activities when the Olympics are famous for athletes hooking up in the village.

Aussie fans reacted to the images of their stars' sleeping setups by doubting the frames will stop them from getting physical. 

'I wonder if the most physically gifted people on the planet can figure out how to have sex standing up,' one person tweeted.

'Great gesture... until the athletes finish their said events and the 1000's of condoms handed out all over the village are put to use,' former basketball star Andrew Bogut added. 

Australia's Olympic heroes have arrived in Tokyo ahead of the upcoming games as fans have gone into meltdown over the village's bizarre 'anti-sex' cardboard beds

Beds made of cardboard for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic villages are displayed in Tokyo in this picture taken on September 24, 2019

Aussie fans reacted to the images of their stars' sleeping setups by doubting the frames will stop them from getting physical

The already-postponed Olympics have got off to a disastrous start with a coronavirus leak in the athletes village.

There are growing fears of a potential mass outbreak after four athletes have already tested positive, with hundreds more isolating awaiting results.

The Tokyo Games has sold itself as the most eco-friendly games in history, with medals made from recycled phones in addition to the infamous cardboard 'anti-sex' beds.  

In January last year officials denied the beds weren't suitable for post-competition revelry - saying they would hold up, provided only two people were on them.

Manufacturer Airweave said at that time that the bed frames can withstand up to 440lbs (200kg), more than enough to accommodate two people.

'We've conducted experiments, like dropping weights on top of the beds,' the Airweave spokesperson said.

'As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load.' 

Rhys McClenaghan, 21, filmed himself jumping on the 'sustainable' cardboard beds in the Athlete's Village on Sunday to debunk 'fake news' claims that the frames are unstable and cannot support 'strong physical activity'

The footage even drew a response from the official Olympics Twitter thread which said 'thanks for debunking the myth... the sustainable beds are sturdy!'

Cardboard beds in the athlete's village at the Tokyo Olympics are sturdy enough for sex, organisers said, alongside a video of Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan jumping on one

A photo from yesterday shows one of the cardboard beds in Tokyo. After the competition ends, athletes have been known to become promiscuous, with condom companies boasting every year about how many prophylactics they've dished out 

Airweave, the company which makes the 'sustainable' beds, previously said they can hold up to 440lbs (200kg) - which should be enough for at least two people  

Aussies weighed in on the beds, making light of the frames and doubting they'll do anything to prevent the world's best athletes from having a good time

One person said popular furniture chain IKEA should look to start offering the beds as a part of their range

Aussies weighed in on the beds, making light of the frames and doubting they'll do anything to prevent the world's best athletes from having a good time.  

'Thank goodness 'moving your mattress onto the floor' isn't a thing anyone has ever thought to do,' one person tweeted. 

'The anti sex beds at the olympics just fuel a competition over who can f*ck in the most outrageous position/place,' another posted on social media. 

'Sorry babe, I can't tonight I'm sleeping on my Japanese Olympic cardboard anti-sex bed,' a Twitter used joked. 

One person said popular furniture chain IKEA should look to start offering the beds as a part of their range, writing: I'KEA start selling the Olympic anti-sex bed and call it Knütstorp'   

Wimbledon champion Ash Barty arrives in Tokyo ahead of representing Australia at the Olympic Games where she is favourite for gold

Australia's best athletes arrive in Japan with high hopes for the female athletes in particular to bring back a chest of gold medals

Infections are also threatening to de-rail the event for competing athletes, after a Czech beach volleyball player tested positive at the Olympic Village.

Ondrej Perusic submitted 'a positive sample during everyday testing in the Olympic Village on Sunday, July 18', Czech Olympic team head Martin Doktor said.

'He has absolutely no symptoms. We are dealing with all the details and... naturally, the anti-epidemic measures within the team,' he added.

Doktor said the team was also seeking the postponement of Perusic's first game at the Olympics with his teammate David Schweiner, scheduled for July 26.

'We are now looking into the possibility of postponing the games or other options that would allow the boys to start the tournament later on,' he added.

Perusic, 26, said he was 'very upset' but said he understood health was a priority.

'For now, I don't see this as the end of the world or a tragedy,' he said.

'I was vaccinated and I tried to comply with the public health standards.

'Unfortunately, I think I made a mistake somewhere and got infected. It's my responsibility above all,' he said.

On Saturday, the Czech Olympic Committee reported a staff member had tested positive for Covid-19 upon landing in Tokyo for the Games that start on Friday.

Perusic's case appears to be the fourth in the Olympic Village after the infections of two South African footballers and their team's video analyst.

Meanwhile Czech volleyball player Ondrej Perusic (pictured right after getting his second Covid jab) tested positive for the virus Sunday in the latest case to affect athletes

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Pac-12 on the ground in Tokyo to provide coverage of its athletes and coaches at the Summer Games

Pac-12.com 21 July, 2021 - 04:10am

For a lone reporter in Tokyo, strategy would be essential under normal conditions. This year, most plans will end in a crapshoot. The upside is that readers can expect a serendipitous potpourri of Pac-12 coverage.

In the first week, we already have our eye on former CALIFORNIA rower Kara Kohler who will try to capture the first U.S. Olympic gold in history in women’s single sculls. Her heats are the morning of the Opening Ceremony and it’s been a nine-year drought since her last Olympic appearance, in 2012, where she won bronze in quad sculls as a rising junior with merely two years of rowing experience. She missed the cut for Rio in 2016, struggled to return, and is now a legitimate medal contender.

Also in rowing, Pac-12 athletes will be coxing both U.S. eight boats. Julian Venonsky (California) and Katelin Guregian (WASHINGTON) will discuss their role and the post-Rio rule change that allows men to cox women and vice versa. Also expect a feature on Brooke Mooney (Washington), a powerful ex-skier in the women’s eight who set a world record at the Olympic distance (2,000 meters) on the ergometer, in March.

In triathlon two days later, ex-COLORADO runner Morgan Pearson, who scored two eye-popping podium finishes in 21 days this past May/June against the world’s best triathletes, may well become the first American man to seize a triathlon medal since the sport’s Olympic debut in 2000. Teammates say he’s revitalized the team and instilled toughness and confidence – despite his older brother’s unexpected death on March 1. Pearson has a second shot at a medal on July 31, in the new co-ed relay event.

As men’s gymnastics begins, look for a mind-probing piece on Brody Malone, the new U.S. and two-time NCAA all-around champ and rising STANFORD senior who hopes to bag some medals in just his third international competition. We’ll also have insight from Malone’s college coach Thom Glielmi, also the U.S. men's gymnastics head coach in Tokyo, who guided the small-town Georgia native to No. 1. On Monday, July 26, the day of the men’s gymnastics team final, the U.S. women’s softball team faces Japan in a key round-robin rematch, 13 years after Japan prevented an American gold-medal four-peat before softball disappeared from the program, only to return for a cameo in Tokyo. Eight Pac-12ers are on the 15-member U.S. team and assistant coach Laura Berg played in all four Olympic tournaments ever held and is the world's most decorated softball Olympian. Berg now coaches OREGON STATE and gave us the lowdown on who’s who for the U.S.

On July 27, the lone Pac-12 diver on the U.S. team, Delaney Schnell of ARIZONA, tries to upset the Chinese dominance in the 10m platform like she nearly did at the 2019 world championships by taking bronze, marking the first individual U.S. women’s world medal in that event in 14 years.

Swimming will also dominate first-week headlines as the U.S. team features 13 swimmers with Pac-12 ties. Most notably, world record holders Regan Smith and Katie Ledecky of Stanford, and Cal’s Ryan Murphy will compete in multiple events. So, too, will Katinka Hosszu, Hungary’s “Iron Lady” and USC alum who is aiming for four medals in her fifth Games. At least one Pac-12 swimmer has been around even longer: 37-year-old Ous Mellouli of Tunisia who will complete his sixth Olympics on August 5 in the open water 10km, the very last swimming event. In 2012 London, the former Trojan captured medals both in the pool and open water.

When track begins on July 30, Grant Fisher (Stanford) and Joe Klecker (Colorado) give the Pac-12 a 1-2 punch in the first medal event, the men’s 10,000m, but the next day, the men’s grueling 800m heats will feature one of the most colorful and charismatic characters to emerge at the U.S. Olympic trials, NCAA champ Isaiah Jewett (USC) who sees his entire race through anime. Wait for that story, especially if he makes the final on August 1st – the same day the women’s steeplechase opens with Rio bronze medalist, CU's Emma Coburn, and fellow Buff Val Constien. We’ve teed up a story that will explore why and how Colorado has produced four of the nine U.S. Olympians in that event since its Olympic debut in 2008.

The Pac-12 is also a triple threat in women’s beach volleyball not only thanks to the exciting international emergence of Kelly Claes (USC) and Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) and 3-time U.S. Olympian April Ross (USC) and her new Olympic partner Alix Klineman (Stanford)…but also Latvia’s Tina Graudina, the first NCAA beach player to qualify for the Olympics. Graudina qualified for Tokyo as a USC sophomore in 2019. She and her partner will be the first women to represent Latvia in Olympic beach volleyball. We’ve already chatted in-depth with three of those players.

And we haven’t even mentioned water polo. The US women have never missed an Olympic podium and will vie for a three-peat in Tokyo – aided by the intriguing leftie Stephania Haralabidis, a Greek-born USC grad. She is just one of a dozen Pac-12ers on the strongest team in the world. The U.S. men’s roster, features 10 Pac-12 players, including 21-year-old Hannes Daube, an emerging star who played in Greece during the COVID pandemic, while preserving his two remaining years of NCAA eligibility at USC. Learn more about them during Week 2.

Finally, on August 8… in the men’s marathon, the entire U.S. men’s contingent is Pac-12. Before they lace up, they’ve agreed to fill us on what they’ve been doing while since the Olympic cauldron was lit.  

Those are just a few stories you can expect to see here from Pac-12’s reporter on-site and on-the-pulse of the long-awaited 2020 Tokyo Games, in 2021.

Texas to Tokyo Olympics

KXAN 21 July, 2021 - 04:10am

Tokyo Olympics: ‘Even if 50% of India’s shooting contingent perform to their potential, we will bag 4 golds’

Gulf News 21 July, 2021 - 02:35am

Indian fans meanwhile will be hoping that this time finally an exclusive club is breached. As a single member of that club, shooter Abhinav Bindra agrees and admits that he would love some company. The five-time Olympian is the only individual gold medallist the country has produced.

In an interview with Jyotsna Mohan, he talks of India’s chances at the games especially from the strong shooting contingent, his transition out of sport, what pandemic life has been like and whether he still shoots occasionally.

Yes, I would like more success to happen and would like to see more of our athletes win gold medals of which I am quite hopeful will happen at Tokyo. But it has been five years since I transitioned out of sport, the Rio games were my last Olympic Games and I have let go off the past. Sports taught me a lot, there was a little bit of success in it, had tons of failure as well alongside it and I look back at it differently now.

I look back at sports more dispassionately because I have exited my investment of sorts and I look back at it not in terms of the few medals that I won which hang on a wall but in terms of the relationships I was able to build- relationship with my mom, relationship with my dad, I went with my mom as a 12- year-old boy to Germany and the bond that I was able to build with her staying in a little lonely sports hostel, relationships that I was able to build with coaches, some who I got along with and some who I didn’t get along with, relationships I was able to build with my competitors and of course the memories I had.

That’s what I remember and that’s what I look back at with great amount of fondness, the values that sport instilled in me. I think that is what will remain with me forever. Of course, the outcome is great, but I have let go of the past and I don’t really look back at my success or my sporting career with too much seriousness.

For example our shooting contingent has 15 members, 8 of which are world no 1 or world no 2. Even if 50% of them perform to their potential, we have 4 gold medals right there and it is not just in shooting but in other sports where we have world class athletes who won championships at the elite level going into these games and these athletes also represent a new India, a generation which is far more self- confident and has far more belief than my generation or at least me.

I was far more defensive in nature and a chicken-hearted person but I see a different generation today and I see girls and boys of today not just in sports but also in society with the kind of exposure that was not there earlier. Many things have contributed to that and I as a fan think we will have our best ever Olympic outing.

But that is part and parcel of sport and I think it depends on individuals. But you are also making a larger point on pressure athletes have to face and I fully agree that we have unique lives because here we have to constantly face success and we have to constantly face failure and both of them have challenges. Dealing with success is hard, not just failure.

Athletes have physiological pressure in training which is intense and it also has an impact on the mindset and mental health because you are pushing your body to such extreme limits and if you don’t recover physically then it will impact you, mentally as well.

Lack of sleep, impending end of career, constant travel, different time zones- there are a lot of challenges in an athlete’s journey and lot of red flags where we are vulnerable. An athlete is perceived to be almost superhuman and there is a large misconception in society that athletes have that armour and are mentally strong but in reality we are a vulnerable because we live in an uncertain world and some cope better than others but it is challenging all the same.

Pandemic has been challenging for everyone mentally and I think the only silver lining has been the destigmatising of mental health to a great degree because the naysayers and sceptics of mental health suddenly have issues themselves. People are talking much more openly about mental health and we are seeing the same in the sports world. There are two aspects to mental health in Indian sport and perhaps even organisations.

One is reactive- of getting resources when an athlete suffers. But I think a great amount of effort also needs to be put in prevention and that can only happen when we create environments that are psychologically safe.

There is tremendous pressure on athletes and the whole environment has to be an enabling one, where it is OK to have the courage to pick that athlete up when they are down and continue to see hope in them when they feel hopeless. We are consistently out of our comfort zone and when you do that you give yourself a chance of failing and falling down.

That’s where the work needs to be done, it is also about advocacy and education. As we are barely days from Tokyo I am sure the athletes have to endure uncomfortable questions like ‘go for gold’ or that ‘you are our only hope.’ This is not the type of conversation you should be having with an athlete. That is why it is also about education.

I retired in 2016 and one of my competitors and three time gold medallist from Italy Niccolo Campriani also retired at the same Olympics. We really became friends after our sporting career ended and both of us were highly inspired by the first ever refugee team that took part in the Rio Games, these are human beings who have gone through immense hardship in life and found refuge in sports.

Nico wanted to do something for this cause and set up a programme in Lausanne where he works for the IOC. We started out with a selection of 25 refugees and picked three of them and trained them in our common sport, shooting. It has been an incredible journey where we have seen the true power of sport which lies not in winning gold but in changing people’s lives in a positive manner.

It has been so heartening and fulfilling to see how sport has impacted these three human beings who were low, depressed and been through so much hardship and from one day to another suddenly had a glitter in their eyes and a goal. Now two of them have made it to Tokyo. We aren’t looking at them becoming champions in Tokyo they didn’t get enough time, but they have become champions in life which is perhaps much more important.

No I don’t think so. I am trying to create a new identity for myself as well, my career in sport is over and I don’t want to hold on to that anymore. To move forward I have to almost forget the past. I am trying to set up a business and trying to have a little bit of success in these challenging times. My primary outreach to sport is through my Abhinav Bindra Foundation where we bring science and technology into training.

We have about 60 athletes in our programme from the ages of 11-15 because I want to work at the grass roots and give them access to absolute best global practice. I am also looking at how sport can play a more meaningful role in society and I think it really can because we have a very young population in India, majority of our population is below the age of 30 and they need to imbibe the values of sport.

We have to become a more inclusive and sporting society and there is no better way than sport to instill honesty, integrity and of having the ability to listen to different perspectives with values of friendship and respect something that is rarely seen today.

I am of course looking at creating a sustainable and meaningful livelihood.

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Tokyo boss won't rule out cancellation of Games

ESPN 20 July, 2021 - 07:36am

TOKYO -- The chief of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee on Tuesday did not rule out a last-minute cancellation of the Olympics, as more athletes tested positive for COVID-19 and major sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday's opening ceremony.

Asked at a news conference whether the global sporting showpiece might still be canceled, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and liaise with other organizers if necessary.

"We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," Muto said.

"We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises."

COVID-19 cases are rising in Tokyo, and the Games, postponed last year because of the pandemic, will be held without spectators. Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimize health risks.

There have been 67 cases of COVID-19 infections in Japan among those accredited for the Games since July 1, when many athletes and officials started arriving, organizers said Tuesday.

Japan, with a vaccination program that has lagged that of most other developed nations, has recorded more than 840,000 cases and 15,055 deaths, and Games host city Tokyo is experiencing a fresh surge, with 1,387 cases recorded Tuesday.

Muto, a former top financial bureaucrat with close ties to Japan's ruling party, is known for his careful choice of words, while officials are facing a domestic public angry about coronavirus restrictions and concerned over a possible spike in cases triggered by Games attendees arriving from abroad.

Organizers, for whom International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said canceling the event had never been an option, have promised to keep the Games "safe and secure."

But experts see gaps in an Olympic "bubble" that mandates frequent testing and has been designed to limit participants' movements.

Seiko Hashimoto, who sits alongside Muto as organizing committee president, said that safety measures introduced to reassure the Japanese public had not necessarily done so and that she was aware that popular support for the Games had dropped.

"I really want to apologize from my heart for the accumulation of frustrations and concerns that the public has been feeling towards the Olympics," Hashimoto told the same news conference.

The first major test of how an Olympics can be held in the midst of a pandemic may well come in the men's soccer tournament, when Japan faces a South Africa side that could struggle to field 11 players due to the coronavirus.

That match is due to take place Thursday, a day before an opening ceremony that top sponsor Panasonic Corp. as well as Fujitsu Ltd. and NEC Corp will skip. Toyota Motor Corp. dropped all TV ads linked to the Games on Monday.

Bach, who Kyodo news agency said would meet Japan's Emperor Naruhito on Thursday, said on Tuesday that organizers could never have imagined the "unprecedented challenges" of bringing the global event to Tokyo, praising the "heroic efforts" of medical personnel and volunteers around the world amid the pandemic.

Two members of Mexico's Olympic baseball team tested positive for COVID-19 at the team hotel before their departure for Tokyo, the country's baseball federation said Tuesday.

The athletes, Hector Velazquez and Sammy Solis, who tested positive on July 18, have been isolated, as have all team members pending results of more tests, the federation said.

Kenji Shibuya, former director of the Institute for Population Health at King's College London, said that the organizers' bubble system was already "kind of broken."

"My biggest concern is, of course, there will be a cluster of infections in the [athletes] village or some of the accommodation and interaction with local people," he added.

Hashimoto said members of the public were concerned "because they feel that the current situation appears to show that the playbooks that were meant to guarantee security is not providing a sense of safety."

In a poll in the Asahi newspaper, 68% of respondents expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organizers to control coronavirus infections, with 55% saying they were opposed to the Games going ahead.

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