The latest news on the Tokyo Olympics, which are being held under severe restrictions after a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic:
Australia tied their record at 1-1 in Olympic softball with a 1-0 victory over Italy in Olympic softball. Jade Wall hit a scoring single in the second inning and Kaia Parnaby had three hits in the seventh. Australia are fourth among six teams after an opening loss to Japan, and Italy fell to 0-2.
Taylah Tsitsikronis passed Greta Cecchetti in the lead of second, advanced on Tarni Stepto’s pitch and scored on a two-strike inside shot from Wall, who beat the pitch in the first after second goalkeeper Andrea Filler’s dive, save for the setback.
Italy’s Giulia Longhi scored a single with two strikeouts in the seventh, pinch runner Fabrizia Marrone stole the second and Laura Vigna walked nine lengths.
Ellen Roberts, who played college ball for Memphis, made her Olympic debut after Parnaby threw 85 shots, and Marta Gasparotto took a third called-up.
U.S. beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb is sidelined from the Olympics after four positive COVID-19 tests, and Tri Bourne will take his place as partner to quadruple Olympian Jake Gibb when competition begins this weekend.
Crabb confirmed his withdrawal Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press, noting that he had been vaccinated and tested negative before leaving the United States but tested positive on arrival in Japan.
“I have no more symptoms, luckily, but deeply disappointed that I couldn’t join Jake on the sand and compete as a member of the USA team,” Crabb said. “I want Jake to be in his fourth Olympics and I want him to bring home a medal. Tri Bourne, an amazing athlete, person and close friend will compete alongside Jake and take my place on the USA team. “
The Olympic beach volleyball tournament kicks off Saturday at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, with Gibb and Bourne scheduled to play their first game Sunday night against Italy.
The International Olympic Committee has announced that it will begin including images of kneeling athletes in its official trailers and social media channels.
Players from five women’s football teams knelt in support of racial justice on Wednesday, the first day she was allowed at the Olympics after a decades-long ban.
But those images were excluded from the official Tokyo Olympics Highlights package provided by the IOC to media, including the Associated Press, who were unable to broadcast the games live.
Official Olympic social media also did not include photos of the athlete’s activism.
“The IOC covers the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will also be included,” the Olympic body said on Thursday in an apparent change in policy.
Host Japan beat Mexico 3-2 in softball to move to 2-0 at the Tokyo Games.
Mana Atsumi’s single squeeze Bunt with an out in the eighth inning marked automatic racer Eri Yamada.
Second-place goalscorer Haruka Agatsuma from Danielle O’Toole advanced Yamada to third, and Atsumi scored 0-1. Yamada was running down the field and slipped home before Amanda Sanchez’s throw.
Mexico, 0-2 in their first Olympics, tied the score at 2-2 when Yamada dropped Anissa Urtez’s volley down center in the seventh inning for what was deemed a single.
One of the social media sensations of the Rio Olympics will not be competing in Tokyo. Namibian Dan Craven has tested positive for COVID-19 in Spain, where the former professional cyclist lives with his family.
The moment was even more devastating.
Craven told the Namibian newspaper he tried to get a COVID-19 vaccine through Spain’s national health system, “but the bureaucratic system to register is just crazy.”
“Two hours after I tested positive,” Craven said, “I got a phone call telling me I could come and get the shot.”
The tall lanky rider with the bushy red beard said on his Instagram page that he caught the virus while training with three other people. He was supposed to have the only starting point for Namibia, where he was born, but tested positive in a pre-event test and will be replaced on Saturday in the race at Fuji International Speedway by Tristan from Lange.
Four other residents of the Olympic Village, including two athletes, have tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 91 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive since early July.
Skateboarder Candy Jacobs from the Netherlands and table tennis player Pavel Sirucek from the Czech Republic tested positive and had to leave the village to enter a quarantine hotel.
Two additional “games staff” – a category that includes coaches and team officials – staying in the village overlooking Tokyo Bay have tested positive.
The 91 cases do not include athletes who tested positive at home before their scheduled trip to Tokyo for events they will now miss.
The United States beat Canada 1-0 to a 2-0 start in Olympic softball.
Monica Abbott threw a hit and a drop to the center, Haylie McCleney and second baseman Ali Aguilar combined to knock out the potential equalizer at home in the sixth inning.
The Americans are just offensive enough as they try to reclaim the gold they lost to Japan in 2008.
Abbott struck out nine shots, walked three and needed 102 shots to throw the Americans’ second straight hit. Cat Osterman, 38, the senior Americans player, struck out nine strikes in six innings and Abbott pulled the side out in the seventh to complete a first 2-0 win over Italy on Wednesday.
Amanda Chidester hit an RBI single in fifth loser Jenna Caira who scored McCleney, who went 3 for 3 with a walk and hit base seven times in the two games.
The Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee fired the director of the opening ceremony over a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.
The chairman of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, said the director of the opening ceremony, Kentaro Kobayashi, had been sacked. Kobayashi has been accused of using a Holocaust joke in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play the Holocaust,” in one of his shows.
His dismissal comes the day before the opening ceremony Friday of the Games delayed by the pandemic.
Earlier this week, a composer whose music is expected to be used at the opening ceremony was forced to resign due to past bullying from his classmates, which he bragged about in magazine interviews.
Home hopeful Naomi Osaka will face China’s Zheng Saisai, 52nd, and Novak Djokovic will face Bolivian Hugo Dellien, 139th, in the first round of the Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo.
The draws took place two days before the opening of the game at Ariake Tennis Park.
Osaka returns to competition after withdrawing from Roland Garros after the first round to take a break for her sanity.
Djokovic is trying to become the first man to complete a Golden Slam by winning all four tennis majors and an Olympic gold in singles the same year.
Reigning Olympic champion Andy Murray had a difficult first round draw against Canada’s 15th Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Russian swimmer Ilya Borodin, European champion in the 400-meter individual medley, will miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus.
The Russian Swimming Federation said Borodin tested positive at a training camp in the city of Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East.
The positive test came shortly before he traveled to Japan with other Russian swimmers.
Federation Vice President Viktor Avdienko told state news agency Tass that Borodin had been placed in isolation, the rest of the team had tested negative and no one was considered to be close contact in the case of Borodin.
Jill Biden embarked on her first international solo trip as First Lady, leading an American delegation to the Tokyo Olympics.
Along the way, she stopped in Alaska, where she praised efforts to vaccinate residents of this remote and rugged state, but noted that the job was not finished.
She has a solid program for about 48 hours in the field in the Japanese capital.
She is due to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon and have dinner with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga.
She will host a virtual meeting with members of Team USA on Friday before meeting Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. She attends the opening ceremony of the Games in the evening.
She will also host a U.S.-Mexico Softball Watch Night at the U.S. Embassy for staff and their families, and cheer on U.S. athletes participating in several events before leaving Tokyo.
Australia’s top Olympic official and the current prime minister of Queensland, where the 2032 Summer Games will be held, have tested the old adage that sport and politics don’t mix.
Hours after Brisbane secured the rights to host the Games 11 years later following a vote by the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo on Wednesday, Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates had a public disagreement with the Premier of the State of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The problem at the late night press conference in Tokyo? Si Palaszczuk and other members of the city delegation are expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.
Palaszczuk said she would stay in her hotel room.
This did not suit Coates, a powerful IOC Vice President and one of the driving forces behind Brisbane who received the hosting rights so early with no real competition.
Coates told Palaszczuk that she and the others couldn’t stay home and sit in their rooms.