Tokyo Olympics Live Updates: Covid News & More

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The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday in Tokyo.
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — The U.S. men’s national basketball team traveled to Tokyo on Monday without guard Zach LaVine breaking into coronavirus health and safety protocols.

Team USA said in a statement that it hopes LaVine can rejoin the team in Japan this week. The USA men’s basketball team changed its roster after losing guard Bradley Beal to health and safety protocols last week, and forward Kevin Love withdrew from participation.

US women’s basketball has also been hit by news that Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the 3×3 Olympic team, will miss the Games following a positive test result. Samuelson said he was fully vaccinated.

“It’s been my dream to compete in the Olympics since I was little and I hope one day I can come back to fulfill that dream soon,” said 24-year-old Samuelson. She wrote on her Instagram post.

Earlier on Monday, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed that an alternate on the women’s gymnastics team had tested positive for coronavirus while training in Chiba prefecture outside Tokyo.

Although 18-year-old Kara Eaker from Grain Valley, Mo. has the vaccine, her coach Al Fong said in a text message that she has begun a 10- to 14-day quarantine. He added that he “feels good”.

Credit…Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Fong also said that Leanne Wong, another alternative and Eaker’s teammate at the GAGE ​​Center gym in Blue Springs, Mo., is also under quarantine and is expected to last until July 31, as it is considered close contact. Wong, 17, of Overland Park, Kansas, said he wasn’t vaccinated at the Olympic trials last month.

The opening ceremony is on Friday and the first competitions are on Wednesday. But Tokyo Olympics organizers, delayed a year by the pandemic, are struggling to manage public anxiety about the Games after a string of coronavirus cases threaten to overshadow the festivities.

More than two dozen of them have tested positive for the virus, as nearly 20,000 athletes, coaches, referees and other officials have flocked to Japan in recent days. three cases Inside the Olympic Village. 33 additional staff or contractors, who are Japanese residents working on the games, tested positive.

Olympic organizers have said their measures, including repeated testing, social distancing and movement restrictions, will limit, but not eliminate, coronavirus cases. The Games, originally scheduled for 2020, have been postponed for a year in hopes that the pandemic will subside and they herald a triumphant return to normalcy.

Instead, they became a reminder of the virus’s enduring power and discussion On whether Japan and the International Olympic Committee clearly set their priorities.

Nneka Ogwumike, right, watches Nigeria's exhibition against the USA this week in Las Vegas with sisters Erica, left, and Chiney.
Credit…Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nneka Ogwumike’s latest effort to take the field in Tokyo was crushed Monday night after the Court of Arbitration for Sport denied her request to play for the Nigeria national women’s basketball team.

Ogwumike, who won the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2016 and was the former #1 overall draft pick, was not selected for the USA team in a decision that shocked the basketball world. But Ogwumike, born and raised in Texas to Nigerian parents, applied to compete for Nigeria, where he holds dual citizenship. Chiney Ogwumike, who is also a former #1 overall pick and Nneka’s younger sister, applied with her sister to play for Nigeria.

FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, rejected Nneka’s request, citing his “significant involvement” with USA Basketball. Having spent significantly less time on the US national team, Chiney was granted permission to play for Nigeria as a naturalized citizen.

Ogwumikes turned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in hopes that the Switzerland-based panel, considered the ultimate arbitrator of disputes in international sport, would grant both a place in Nigeria’s squad until a hearing takes place.

Ogwumike’s appeal to FIBA ​​was based on the governing body’s regulations that allowed exceptions “in terms of the development of basketball”. Team USA coach Dawn Staley said Nigeria is currently ranked 17th in the world and the addition of Ogwumikes would make the country a medal contender. It could also be a huge boost to a continent that has never won an Olympic medal in men’s or women’s basketball.

Finally, a former standout Chiney and Erica Ogwumike, a medical student at Rice, are on Nigeria’s roster.

Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams also submitted a petition to the court to play for Nigeria, but the court also rejected her petition on Monday.

Russians Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina won double gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016.  Romashina is back this year with a new partner.
Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

TOKYO – The Olympic Games can claim to be about noble ideals such as: excellence, friendship and respect. But you better believe you can bet on them anyway.

Of course, there are many great teams coming to the Olympics, and at least a few of them seem really hard to beat. But which one is your biggest favorite, real stone cold lock?

Let’s start with the American women’s soccer team. With the 2019 World Cup win and stars like Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe leading their re-squad, the Americans are the clear favorites of the women’s tournament. By Pit, a Curaçao-based site that offers odds at nearly every Olympic event, the team’s odds are -157; this means you have to bet $157 on the team to win $100.

Prefer South Korean women archers? They have won eight straight team championships, each of which was debated at the Games. They’re even bigger favorites than the US women’s soccer team in -261.

How about the American women’s softball team whose sport is returning to the Games after 13 years? They are -294. And the US men’s basketball team, though a couple of stumbling during the past week and losing a few players to coronavirus protocols, is -329.

But despite the high-profile success of these teams, we didn’t reach even the biggest favourites. The Croatian Sinkovic brothers look almost unbeatable in the armless double rowing race. They are listed at -693.

And don’t bet against Russia in artistic swimming (formerly synchronized swimming): -900 in the duet and -1,200 in the team event.

Which brings us to the biggest favorite of them all. The United States women’s basketball team has won its last six Olympic gold medals and its last three World Cup titles. A’ja Wilson and Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi come with a roster where each player is an international star, including Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird.

Their odds in this post are -1,938. In simple terms, if they win another gold, you have to risk $1,938 to collect a hundred dollars.

On the one hand, it may seem like the easiest facial you’ll ever do.

As part of Toyota's sponsorship of the Olympic Games, much of Tokyo's taxi fleet has been replaced with a sleek new Toyota model.
Credit…Issei Kato/Reuters

Toyota said on Monday it has decided against broadcasting Olympic-themed television commercials in Japan; This resulted in a symbolic vote of no confidence by one of the nation’s most influential companies a few days before the Games began during a national state of emergency.

The Japanese public has expressed strong opposition to the Games, which have been postponed for a year due to the pandemic, concerned that the influx of visitors from around the world could turn it into a Covid-19 super-spreader event, frustrating national efforts to maintain coronavirus levels. low.

A company spokesperson told local media at an online press conference that Toyota will refrain from airing television commercials at home during the Games and that its CEO Akio Toyoda will not attend the opening ceremony.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, spokesperson Jun Nagata said, “Several aspects of these Olympics are not accepted by the public.”

Toyota Motor North America said in a statement that ads will continue to appear in other markets. “In the US, the campaign has already been shown nationally and will continue to be shown as scheduled with our media partners during the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the statement said.

The company had prepared ads for the event, but speaking on condition of anonymity as it was not authorized to promise, a person familiar with the company’s thinking said it would not post them because of concerns that highlighting its connection to the Games might provoke a backlash. public.

A spokesperson said Toyota will continue its commitments to support Olympic athletes and provide transportation services during the Games.

David Droga, founder of Droga5 advertising agency, said the company’s decision was a “huge body blow for the Olympics.”

“You’d think Toyota would leave everything behind, but frankly, the situation is more polarizing than we realize,” he said.

The vast majority of Japanese people oppose the holding of the Games, which, under the current circumstances, will begin on Friday, under polling demonstrations, and many of them directly call for its cancellation.

Japanese officials and Olympic officials downplayed the concerns, saying strict measures against the coronavirus would allow the Games to be held safely.

But concerns continued to rise. Tokyo this month fourth state of emergency To stop a spike in virus cases as the country is facing the more contagious Delta variant. Cases, which remained low compared to many other developed countries, exceeded 1,000 per day in the city, raising concerns that measures that managed to control the spread of the coronavirus may be losing effectiveness.

Complicating the situation further is a constant stream of news about Olympic staff and athletes who tested positive for the disease after arriving in Japan.

Toyota was top Olympic sponsor in 2015, joining an elite class of corporate backers who paid top dollar for the right to showcase the Games’ iconic rings in their advertisements.

Until the pandemic hit, the company was one of the most visible supporters of the Olympics. At the start of the event, much of Tokyo’s taxi fleet has been replaced with a sleek new Toyota model that prominently features the company’s logo next to the Olympic rings. The company has pledged to make the event a showcase for its technological innovations, including self-driving vehicles to ferry athletes around the Olympic Village.

Toyota’s move may prompt other brands to do the same, but many advertising professionals don’t expect a ripple effect.

“If you’re the Coca-Cola type, I don’t think it’s going to be a pullback – the benefits of being a global sponsor will continue to work their magic in the US and all other countries,” said Mr. Droga. “It’s different when you’re in the center, actually in Japan, because that’s where the biggest contrast will be, where the Olympics are not like the previous Olympics.”

Rick Burton, professor of sports management at Syracuse University and head of marketing for the US Olympic Committee at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, said many companies are afraid of compromising more risk.

“My guess is they will try to push it so they don’t lose the investment completely,” he said. “There is an interesting calculus: If I remove it, how does this translate into every language? In some countries it may seem like I did the right thing, but in others I may have abandoned the only thing that gave hope to the world.”



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