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Tokyo Olympics Fears grow over sewage leakage and E.Coli – ‘Smells like a toilet’

Tokyo Olympics Fears grow over sewage leakage

The Odaiba Marine Park is set to be the venue for both the swimming leg of the triathlon and the open water swimming competitions. However, concerns have been raised by local residents and now olympians about the smell surrounding the area.

One athlete said that the venue “smelled like a toilet”, according to the Asahi newspaper.

Fears are mounting that there could be a dangerous level of E.coli in the water if the smell emanating is from a sewage leak.

Following concerns raised by the athletes, the hosts have started work to clean up the water, however, the smell remains, along with fears of E.coli contamination.

Tokyo distributed 22,200 cubic metres of sand into the bay to help support water-cleaning organisms.

READ MORE: Olympics schedule: Great Britain in football action on Wednesday

To combat the E.coli levels in the water they created a three layer polyester screen and built storage tanks to hold wastewater.

Heavy rain is forecast in the Japanese capital from July 27, which would worsen the situation.

Justin Drew, Australian Triathlon team leader, said that their team will monitor the water quality two times a day leading up to the competition.

“We are confident in the measures put in place by (the Tokyo organising committee) including the installation of a triple filter screening system for this year as opposed to a single filter used last year for the Test Event,” Mr Drew told Fox Sports.

“There are daily checks of water quality and water temperatures and [The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games] has plans in place to address any issues surrounding the water in the build up to competition days.

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“These challenges are part of putting on races in a big city – we’re are just going to get on with preparing to compete.

“We will continue to monitor and be provided with regular daily checks on the water as well.”

The triathlon starts on July 26 and with the high rainfall due to start the next day its fuelling concerns about sewage leaks.

These are not the first complaints about the water quality in the area.

The Odaiba Marine Park is an urban beach in the centre of Tokyo and in 2019 the swimming leg of the Paratriathlon World Cup was forced to be canceled due to dangerously high levels of E.coli.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

1 year later and 150 miles from Tokyo, Olympics set to get underway

A softball tripleheader, which includes Team USA facing Italy, will kick off the Olympic competition in Japan.

FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Skippy the yellow kangaroo with green paws was affixed to the first base dugout railing, watching the Australia Spirit become the first team to work out at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, seven weeks after they became first foreign athletes to arrive at the Olympics.

Coach Laing Harrow hit grounders and flies to his women starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, exactly 24 hours before the eighth-ranked Aussies step to the plate when host Japan, the No. 2-ranked softball team, throws the very first pitch of the very first event of the pandemic-delayed Olympics.

The Games of the 32nd Olympiad were to have started last July 22 but were pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite many in Japan questioning whether it is wise with the virus still raging in the country, the International Olympic Committee is pushing ahead.

This ballpark, located about 150 miles north of Tokyo and similar to a big league spring training camp, has only several handfuls of the 11,000 athletes who are converging on the Tokyo Games. The stadium, 42 miles northwest of the location of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, will host the first two days of the softball tournament and the opening day of the baseball event on July 28, with the remainder at the home of the Central League’s Yokohama DeNA BayStars, a big ballpark 17 miles from the capital.

In their bright yellow jerseys, the Aussies were excited to be about to get underway.

“It was disappointing for the girls, obviously, being postponed for a year,” Harrow said. “Some of them would have had plans from after August 2020. And, sure, it wasn’t in their plans to continue to be in the gym every day and training every day. But overall, the girls have really handled that well. And I think one thing we’re very good at is being adaptable.”

The top-ranked United States, seeking to regain the gold medal it lost when it was upset by Japan 3-1 in the 2008 final in Beijing, opens against No. 9 Italy in the second game of a tripleheader that ends with No. 5 Mexico against third-ranked Canada.

Host Japan took batting practice next on a broiling day with 95-degree heat and high humidity, followed by Italy, the United States, Mexico and Canada.

A 15-woman U.S. roster includes a pair of veterans: 38-year-old left-hander Cat Osterman, the last holdover from the 2004 gold medal-winning team, and 35-year-old left-hander Monica Abbott, who joined Osteman on the 2008 team.

Outfielder Janie Reed is the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Jake Reed, who made his big league debut July 6, had six appearances and was optioned Monday to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

“The aspect of having 16 months, 17 months now since the decision to delay the Olympics has probably caused some environmental things to happen,” U.S. coach Ken Eriksen said. “Number one, the natural order of aging another year for some of the players as far as either enhanced, or maybe it has brought in some consternation, especially emotionally.”

The American team trained in the U.S. through June 20 and started in Japan on July 5 in Iwakuni, 525 miles southwest of Tokyo.

Canada’s team dispersed last March, didn’t gather again until January and landed in Japan on July 6.

“We relied on what many people did, just Zoom calls and just virtual communication and trying to stay connected, but fortunately this time gave way to a lot more individual preparation and a lot of learning and a lot of people pursuing knowledge and just continuing to perfect their craft,” said Canada outfielder Victoria Hayward, who trains at Proswings in Longwood, Florida, to take advantage of better weather. “So we feel very fortunate that we had a little bit of extra time to sharpen our axes and to work together and then in 2021 we’ve been able to be together for a majority of the year unbroken.”

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Tokyo 2020 chief not ruling out 11th-hour cancellation

There have been nine more positive cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of people affected to 67; Toshiro Muto says he will keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers if necessary

Last Updated: 20/07/21 12:17pm

Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto

Tokyo organising committee CEO Toshiro Muto

The head of the organising committee for the Tokyo Olympics has not ruled out a last-minute cancellation of the Games.

Rising coronavirus cases have presented organisers with mounting challenges, with nine more positive cases in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of people affected to 67.

Asked at a news conference if the Games, which are due to open on Friday, might still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers 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,” said Muto.

“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 rising 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 minimise the risk of further infections.

The opening ceremony will also take place without major Olympic sponsors, dealing another blow to a slimmed-down Games as more athletes tested positive for the coronavirus.

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

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Tokyo Games Push On Despite Coronavirus Cases

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

NBC will show more than 7,000 hours of coverage of the Tokyo Olympics across its platforms, including NBC stations, cable channels, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.

The opening ceremony for the Olympics is scheduled for Friday night in Tokyo. But the 13-hour time difference with Tokyo means it will be Friday morning in the United States.

NBC will have a live morning broadcast of the ceremony, starting at 6:55 a.m. Eastern time. Savannah Guthrie, the anchor for “Today,” and NBC Sports’s Mike Tirico will host the ceremony.

Afterward, NBC will also broadcast a special edition of “Today” that includes athlete interviews, followed by an Olympic daytime show.

Similar to years past, the network will air a packaged prime time version of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday. Coverage will also be replayed again overnight for viewers who missed earlier broadcasts.

Though the opening ceremony is Friday, the first competitions begin on Wednesday in Japan.

Softball, which is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, kicks off the events with a match between Japan and Australia at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. (The game begins in Japan on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Japan Standard Time.) The U.S. softball team will also play ahead of the opening ceremony, facing Italy at 11 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. Both games will air on NBC Sports.

In addition to NBC Sports, Olympic events will be shown on the Golf Channel, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network, Telemundo and USA Network.

After the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Games will stretch across 16 days, culminating in the closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — Alone in a mostly bare room, my passport and press credentials confiscated, it seemed prudent to let my colleagues know where I was. Immediately.

“I am being detained by the authorities,” read the brief text I tapped out on my phone from deep inside one of Tokyo’s international airports late Monday night.

Was my trip to the Tokyo Olympics, years in the planning and still only a few hours old, over before it had begun?

For most of this year, rising coronavirus infection rates in Japan have caused grave concern and significant debate among citizens here about the wisdom — and the public health risks — of allowing hordes of athletes, officials and news media members into the country.

To assuage those concerns, Japan has thrown up numerous safeguards and hurdles to ensure that only a few, or preferably zero, Covid-positive people enter the country during the Games. Before even boarding a plane for Tokyo, for example, news media members, athletes and visiting officials had to produce two negative virus tests, download health-tracking apps onto their phones and agree to use them, fill out a slew of forms and print a stack of documents.

The strategy has not been foolproof — two athletes joined the list of Olympic positives on Tuesday — but it is thorough, which helps explain why I had been asked to surrender my passport and media credential and left to sit, alone, wondering whether I was about to be sent home on the next flight.

The pre-departure requirements had only been the start. Upon arrival at the airport in Japan, a 10-stage process began. At most of the steps a cheerful worker asked for one, two or maybe three documents to inspect. At another, a roomful of news media members from around the world spit into tubes for a third Covid test.

At one station, a bright yellow sheet reading OCHA — the name of a tracking app — was handed to each visitor. Two stations later, we were ushered to an attendant whose main job seemed to be to scrutinize the yellow sheet we had all just received.

I had spent the better part of a week gathering documents and test results and preparing for the process, and things seemed to be going smoothly until Step 8. There, a worker inspected my already heavily-scrutinized documents and abruptly ushered me out of line. “Your name on your passport and your credential don’t match,” she explained.

On one document I was Victor Mather, on the other Victor Mather III.

The “III” seemed to befuddle several inspectors, and my explanation about being named for both my father and my great-grandfather made little impact. I was taken to the bare room to wait, while my guide — and, more worryingly, my documents — disappeared.

Relief came after a somewhat anxious 30 minutes: The always polite and friendly attendant returned, handed back my documents, and put me back in line. I’m still not exactly sure what sealed my reprieve, but I finally got out of the airport three hours after my plane touched down. I had made it to the Olympics.

You can’t blame Japan for being deeply concerned about an onslaught of people from all over the world during a pandemic. The rigorous process will no doubt do a good job in keeping out many of those who might spread coronavirus. And perhaps a few Jrs., III’s and IV’s.

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

TOKYO — The Olympic Games may profess to be about noble ideals like excellence, friendship and respect. But you had better believe you can still bet on them.

There are many great teams arriving at the Olympics, of course, and at least a few look really hard to beat. But which one is the biggest favorite, the true stone-cold lock?

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

Prefer the South Korean women archers? They have won eight straight team titles, every one ever contested at the Games. They are an even bigger favorite than the U.S. women’s soccer team at -261.

How about the American women’s softball team, whose sport is returning to the Games after 13 years? They are -294. And the U.S. men’s basketball team, despite a couple of stumbles over the past week and the loss of several players to coronavirus protocols, is -329.

But despite the high-profile success of these teams, we haven’t even gotten to the biggest favorites. The Sinkovic brothers of Croatia seem nearly unbeatable in the coxless pair rowing event. They are listed at -693.

And don’t bet against Russia in artistic swimming (formerly synchronized swimming): Its team is -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 the last six Olympic gold medals and the last three World Cup titles. It arrives with a roster in which every player is an international star, names like A’ja Wilson and Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird.

Their odds at this writing are -1,938. In plain terms, you would have to risk $ 1,938 to collect a measly hundred bucks if they win another gold.

On the one hand, it might seem to be the easiest hundred you’ll ever make.

Gwen Berry turned away from the American flag during the U.S. National Anthem as a form of protest during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The separation of sports and politics has long been one of the most carefully protected, and fiercely debated, values of the Olympic Games. Rules exist to police that divide, and athletes have been punished — and even ejected from the Games — for breaking them.

But in a move reflecting the influence of a remarkable, ongoing outpouring of activism from athletes, the International Olympic Committee recently released new guidelines offering Olympians a chance to “express their views” on the field of play before the start of a competition, including during athlete introductions.

Under the new rules, athletes competing this month at the Summer Games in Tokyo now will theoretically be allowed to wear an article of clothing (a shirt with a slogan or a glove, for example) or make a symbolic gesture (like kneeling or raising a fist) to express their views on an issue before the start of their events.

They still will not be allowed to conduct any sort of demonstration on the field of play, on the podium during medal ceremonies, in the Olympic athletes’ village or at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.

It was a small but symbolically significant concession, softening the I.O.C.’s longstanding rule against protest at the Games, but it fell short of what many athletes, including many from the United States, had called for in recent months.

It was, however, notable, particularly considering that the I.O.C. earlier this year had reaffirmed its ban on protests and political messages at the Olympics after growing calls from broad segments of its athlete population for more leniency on such issues. But the organization had also signaled a desire to look for new and creative ways to allow for self-expression, and it apparently found one.

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

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

In a statement, Team USA said it was hopeful LaVine could take up his place in Japan later this week. The U.S. men’s basketball team had reshuffled its roster last week after it lost guard Bradley Beal to health and safety protocols and forward Kevin Love withdrew from participation.

U.S. women’s basketball also suffered a blow with the news that Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the 3×3 Olympics team, would miss the Games following a positive test result. Samuelson said she was fully vaccinated.

“Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope someday soon, I can come back to realize that dream,” Samuelson, 24, wrote in an Instagram post.

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

Despite being vaccinated, Kara Eaker, 18, of Grain Valley, Mo., began a 10- to 14-day quarantine, her coach, Al Fong, said in a text message. He added that she “feels fine.”

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Fong said that Leanne Wong, another alternate and Eaker’s teammate at his GAGE Center gym in Blue Springs, Mo., was also under quarantine, expected to last until about July 31, because she is considered a close contact. Wong, who is 17 and from Overland Park, Kansas, said at the Olympic trials last month that she had not been vaccinated.

The opening ceremony is Friday and the first competitions are Wednesday. But organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are struggling to manage public anxiety about the Games after a cluster of coronavirus cases that threaten to overshadow the festivities.

As about 20,000 athletes, coaches, referees and other officials have poured into Japan in recent days, more than two dozen of them have tested positive for the virus, including three cases within the Olympic Village. An additional 33 staff members or contractors who are Japanese residents working on the Games have tested positive.

Olympics organizers have said their measures — including repeated testing, social distancing and restrictions on movement — would limit, but not eliminate, coronavirus cases. The Games, originally scheduled for 2020, were postponed a year in the hopes the pandemic would have eased and they could herald a triumphant return to normal.

Instead, they have become a reminder of the staying power of the virus and have fed a debate over whether Japan and the International Olympic Committee have their priorities straight.

Nneka Ogwumike, right, watching Nigeria’s exhibition against the U.S. this week in Las Vegas alongside her sisters Erica, left, and Chiney.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nneka Ogwumike’s last-ditch efforts to take the court in Tokyo were crushed on Monday night after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected her request to play for Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team.

Ogwumike, winner of the W.N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2016 and a former No. 1 overall draft pick, was not selected for the U.S. team, a decision that stunned the basketball world. But Ogwumike, who was born and raised in Texas to Nigerian parents, applied to compete for Nigeria, where she has dual citizenship. Chiney Ogwumike, also a former No. 1 overall draft pick and Nneka’s younger sister, applied alongside her sister to play for Nigeria.

FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, denied Nneka’s request, citing her “significant involvement” with U.S.A. Basketball. Chiney, who has spent significantly less time with the U.S. national team, was cleared to play for Nigeria as a naturalized citizen.

The Ogwumikes turned to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, hoping the Swiss-based panel that is considered the final arbiter of disputes in international sport would allow both of them a spot on Nigeria’s roster until a hearing could occur.

Ogwumike’s appeal to FIBA was based on the governing body’s regulations that allow exceptions “in the interest of the development of basketball.” Nigeria is currently ranked No. 17 in the world and the addition of the Ogwumikes would have made the country a medal contender, said Dawn Staley, the coach of the U.S. team. It would also have given a continent that has never won an Olympic medal in men’s or women’s basketball a huge boost.

In the end, Chiney and Erica Ogwumike, a former standout at Rice who is a medical student, are on Nigeria’s roster.

Elizabeth Williams, a center for the Atlanta Dream, had also filed a petition with the court to play for Nigeria but the court rejected her petition as well on Monday.

As part of Toyota’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games, much of Tokyo’s taxi fleet was replaced with a sleek, new Toyota model.
Issei Kato/Reuters

Toyota said on Monday that it had decided against running Olympics-themed television advertisements in Japan, a symbolic vote of no confidence from one of the country’s most influential companies just days before the Games begin amid a national state of emergency.

The Japanese public has expressed strong opposition to the Games — delayed for a year because of the pandemic — with many worrying that the influx of visitors from around the world could turn it into a Covid-19 superspreader event, undoing national efforts to keep coronavirus levels low.

Toyota will refrain from airing television ads at home during the Games, and its chief executive, Akio Toyoda, will not attend the opening ceremony, a company spokesman told local news media during an online news conference.

“Various aspects of this Olympics aren’t accepted by the public,” said the spokesman, Jun Nagata, according to the business daily Yomiuri Shimbun.

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

The company had prepared ads for the event but will not air them because of concerns that emphasizing its connection to the Games could create a backlash, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Toyota will continue its commitments to supporting Olympic athletes and providing transportation services during the Games, a spokesman said.

The company’s decision is “a big body blow to the Olympics,” said David Droga, the founder of the Droga5 ad agency.

“You’d think that Toyota would be through thick and thin all in, but obviously the situation is more polarizing than we realize,” he said.

The vast majority of the Japanese public is opposed to holding the Games — set to begin on Friday — under current conditions, polling shows, with many calling for them to be canceled outright.

The Japanese authorities and Olympic officials have played down the concerns, saying strict precautions against the coronavirus will allow the Games to be held safely.

Anxieties have continued to mount, however. This month, Tokyo entered its fourth state of emergency in an effort to stop a sudden rise in virus cases as the country faces the more contagious Delta variant. Cases, which remain low in comparison with many other developed nations, have exceeded 1,000 a day in the city, raising apprehension that measures that had succeeded in controlling the spread of the coronavirus could be losing their effectiveness.

Further complicating the situation is a steady drip of news reports about Olympic staff and athletes testing positive for the illness after arriving in Japan.

Toyota became a top Olympic sponsor in 2015, joining an elite class of corporate supporters that pay top dollar for the right to display the iconic rings of the Games in their advertising.

Until the pandemic hit, the company was one of the most visible supporters of the Olympics. In the run-up to the event, much of Tokyo’s taxi fleet was replaced with a sleek, new Toyota model prominently featuring the company’s logo alongside the Olympic rings. And the company 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 could prompt other brands to follow suit, but several advertising experts do not expect a ripple effect.

“If you’re a Coca-Cola type, I don’t think it’ll be a retreat — the benefits of being a global sponsor will still work its magic in the U.S. and all the other countries,” Mr. Droga said. “It’s different when you’re in the center, actually in Japan, because that’s where the biggest contrast is going to be, where the Olympics aren’t like previous Olympics.”

Many companies are afraid of sacrificing more exposure, said Rick Burton, a sports management professor at Syracuse University and the chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.

My guess is that they’re going to try and push through so that they don’t lose the investment completely,” he said. “There’s an interesting calculus: If I pull out, how does that get translated in every language? In certain countries, it could seem like I did the right thing, but in others, it could be that I abandoned the one thing that gave the world hope.”

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This post originally posted here Coronavirus Search Results

Olympic athletes test positive in Tokyo days before Games

A Czech beach volleyball player and a US women’s gymnastics team alternate were confirmed to have COVID-19 Monday.

TOKYO, Japan — A third athlete at the Olympic Village in Tokyo has tested positive for COVID-19, with the Czech Republic team reporting the case Monday of a beach volleyball player who could miss his first game.

A positive case of an alternate for the U.S women’s gymnastics team was confirmed by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Family members and a coach confirmed the affected gymnast was Kara Eaker. Olympic champion Simone Biles was not affected by the result, nor were any of the other gold medal favorites on the team. Eaker has been put in isolation.

Czech beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič could miss his opening game on Monday after a PCR test confirmed his infection. Perušič and his playing partner are due to the begin their Olympic program against a team from Latvia.

Czech team leader Martin Doktor said in a statement they would ask to postpone the game until the infected player is cleared to play.

Perušič, who said he has been vaccinated, is the second member of the Czech delegation to test positive in Tokyo after a team official’s case was reported Saturday.

He is the third athlete who was staying at the village to test positive. Two South African men’s soccer players had their COVID-19 cases announced Sunday.

The players and a team video analyst who tested positive one day earlier were moved to the “isolation facility” managed by the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

Their 21 close contacts around the South Africa team now face extra scrutiny before their first game Thursday against Japan in Tokyo. The monitoring regime includes daily testing, traveling in a dedicated vehicle, training separately from teammates not affected and being confined to their rooms for meals.

“Although you are a close contact, you are able to do the minimum that you need to do so that you can continue your preparation for the Games while you are being monitored,” said Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games operations director.

Earlier Monday, before the Czech case was reported, Tokyo Olympic organizers confirmed three new COVID-19 cases, including a media worker arriving in Tokyo and a Games staffer or official in the Chiba prefecture.

Both people, who were not identified, went into a 14-day quarantine, organizers said.

The Tokyo metropolitan authority reported 727 new COVID-19 cases Monday, which was the 30th straight day the tally was higher than the previous week. The count was 502 last Monday.

The games open Friday with no fans in nearly all event venues, including at the opening ceremony, amid a state of emergency in Tokyo, and a slower than hoped for vaccine rollout. Japanese authorities said Monday 21.6% of the nation’s 126 million population is fully vaccinated.

The total of Games-related infections was officially 58 since July 1 before the two new cases were announced. They should be added to the official tally on Tuesday.

These resulted from 22,000 people arriving in Japan since July 1 with 4,000 of those staying in the village, Ducrey said. About 11,000 athletes are scheduled to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Simone Biles asks fans to ‘tell me a secret’ to fight Tokyo boredom, report says

The world’s top gymnast is limited to her hotel room and practice while under Olympics COVID protocols, so she posted a question on Instagram.

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles is getting ready to win what could be a rare second Olympic all-around gold medal. But before that happens, she has to wait around in Tokyo under strict COVID-prevention rules.

That prompted Biles to reportedly posted in an Instagram Story recently: “Tell me a secret – I’m bored.”

Reuters reports Biles is unable to go anywhere but her hotel or practice, prompting the callout that was quickly responded to by her 4.4 million followers. And some of their comments were pretty deep.

One person reportedly announced they were pregnant, which got a “Congrats!” from Biles.

Another reportedly told the gymnast they had not told their father they were gay.

“Tell him, be free, be yourself. I support you,” Biles reportedly responded. “For anyone else struggling with telling family or friends, just know I will always welcome you with open arms on my page and platforms.”

Other secrets revealed to Biles reportedly included someone who was spending their inheritance on presents for their mothers and someone who said they muted a close friend on Instagram because “she posts the dumbest things.”

Biles concurred.

“Me too. Sometimes it’s needed,” she reportedly said.

Because it was posted to Instagram Story, the post automatically disappeared after 24 hours.

Biles, coming off her 7th U.S. gymnastics title, is in good position to repeat her haul of five medals from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. 

The women’s gymnastics team final is a week from Tuesday and the individual all-around is two days later. The individual apparatus finals are during the second week of the Games.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

EU power grab: Brussels demands flying EU flag at Tokyo 2020 Olympics ceremony

European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa wrote a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach asking for the Slovenian team to carry the EU flag.

Slovenia is currently holding the EU Council’s rotating presidency. The two chiefs said that carrying the EU flag at the Olympics opening ceremony would “render Slovenian athletes ambassadors for European unity and the values underpinning our Union, which match those of the Olympic movement”.

They wrote that the flag could stand as a “symbol of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and solidarity”.

They added: “We will fully support you in any way you see appropriate in introducing this special and historical gesture.”

They added that the gesture could “serve as a powerful representation of how unity and peace must be celebrated through this event, fundamental as they are to both the European and Olympic spirit”.

“We believe that, as two organisations united by these shared values, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee are uniquely positioned to promote peace and understanding at a time when the world needs it most”, Mr Jansa and Mr Schinas wrote.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

It is not the first time the EU has made such a demand.

In 2004, then European Commission President Romano Prodi called for athletes from EU member states to showcase the EU flag as well as their own national flag during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

The idea was praised by France’s Europe Affairs Minister Clement Beaune.

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He wrote: “Full support, dear Schinas.

“A beautiful symbol, in addition to our national flags.”

With just four days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo, 68 percent of respondents in an Asahi newspaper poll expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organisers to control coronavirus infections, with 55 percent saying they were opposed to the Games going ahead.

Three-quarters of the 1,444 people in the telephone survey said they agreed with a decision to ban spectators from events.

As COVID-19 cases rise in Tokyo, which is under a fourth state of emergency, public concern has grown that hosting an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan’s capital and introduce variants that are more infectious or deadlier.

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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Japanese public will warm to the Games once competition begins and as Japanese athletes begin winning medals.

“We will continue to co-operate and work closely with organisers such as Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020, and the IOC to ensure we have a safe and secure environment for the Games,” government spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a regular briefing.

Games officials on Sunday reported the first COVID-19 case among competitors in the athletes’ village in Tokyo where 11,000 athletes are expected to stay during the Games.

Since July 2, Tokyo 2020 organisers have reported 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists.

Any major outbreak in the village could wreak havoc on competitions because those either infected or isolating would not be able to compete.

Olympic officials and individual event organisers have contingency plans to deal with infections among athletes.

A Tokyo 2020 spokesperson said the village was a safe place to stay, adding the infection rate among athletes and other Games-related people visiting Japan was nearly 0.1 pct.

On Sunday six British track and field athletes along with two staff members were forced to isolate after someone on their flight to Japan tested positive for COVID-19.

“Many athletes may have parties or ceremonies before they go to Tokyo where there may be cheering or greeting. So they may also have a risk to get infected in their own countries,” said Koji Wada, a professor at Tokyo’s International University of Health and Welfare and an adviser on the government’s coronavirus response.

The latest surge in cases in Tokyo comes after four earlier waves, the deadliest of which was in January.

New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo reached 1,410 on Saturday, the most since the start of the year, with new infections exceeding 1,000 for five straight days.

Most of those new cases are among younger people, as Japan has succeeded in getting most of its vulnerable elderly population vaccinated with at least one shot, although only 32 percent of the overall population has so far received one.

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Coco Gauff out of Tokyo Olympics after positive COVID test

Gauff, 17, made the announcement on social media Sunday.

Editor’s Note: The video above is from July 2019.

American tennis star Coco Gauff will not be participating in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, after testing positive for COVID-19, the 17-year-old confirmed on social media Sunday.

“I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Gauff said in an image shared on Twitter and Instagram. She goes on to add, “I want to wish Team USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family.”

Gauff was set to make her Team USA debut in Tokyo, alongside Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula and Alison Riske for women’s singles.

Gauff was also expected to team up with Nicole Melichar in the women’s doubles competition. According to NBC Sports, Gauff would have been the youngest tennis player in the Olympics since 2000. In her social media post, Gauff said she hopes she’ll have “many more chances” to represent Team USA in the future. So far there’s been no word on who might replace Gauff.

In a statement on Twitter Sunday, the USTA said, “The entire USA Tennis Olympic contingent is heartbroken for Coco.”

Gauff is currently ranked 25th in women’s singles by the Women’s Tennis Association. Her last match was a loss in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon where she fell to 22-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany.

The Tokyo Games are scheduled to start their first events Wednesday, while the country of Japan is under a state of emergency because of the rising number of coronavirus cases. Earlier in the weekend, two South African soccer players  became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to test positive for COVID-19. A South African video analyst has tested positive as well.

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Why Russia’s name, anthem and flag are banned from Tokyo Games

Russia is serving a 4-year competitive ban for doping.

Russia is competing under another new name at the Tokyo Olympics, the latest fallout from the Games’ longest-running doping saga.

You won’t see the Russian flag above any podiums but the national colors are on the uniforms.

Doping cases old and new still cast a shadow over the team. Two swimmers from the Tokyo team have been suspended for cases dating back years and two rowers tested positive last month.

REBRANDING RUSSIA

This time it’s not Russia, or even the Olympic Athletes from Russia. It’s the Russian Olympic Committee.

Officially the athletes will represent not their country, but the ROC, and Russia’s name, flag and anthem are banned. Critics point out that it will be hard to spot the difference when Russian teams are wearing full national colors.

The new rules — an evolution of the “OAR” restrictions used at the 2018 Winter Olympics — are a confusing patchwork of dos and don’ts.

Russian red, white and blue on uniforms are fine — the blocks of color on the official tracksuits form one big flag — but not the word “Russia,” the flag itself or other national symbols. The artistic swimming team said it’s been blocked from wearing costumes with a drawing of a bear.

Official Olympic paperwork and TV graphics will attribute Russian results to “ROC” but won’t spell out the Russian Olympic Committee’s name in full. Gold medalists will get music by Russian composer Tchaikovsky instead of the country’s national anthem.

NEARLY AT FULL STRENGTH

Despite the name change, Russia will have a nearly full team at the Olympics after sending depleted squads to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

This time, only track and field and weightlifting will impose limits on Russian squad size. They are the two sports with the largest numbers of doping cases — from Russia and elsewhere — in recent Olympics. Russian officials have selected a 10-person track team that includes three world champions.

Russia is sending more than 330 athletes to Tokyo, with the exact number still unclear because of uncertainty surrounding the rowing team. That’s about 50 more than in 2016, when the doping-related restrictions hit harder across multiple sports, but still the second-lowest number since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The team ranges from 16-year-old gymnast Viktoria Listunova to 56-year-old dressage rider Inessa Merkulova.

The ROC team is targeted to finish third in the medal count and gold medals are expected in Russia’s usual strongest sports like gymnastics, artistic swimming, wrestling, fencing and judo.

Only Russian athletes in track and field have had to undergo special vetting of their drug-testing histories or possible involvement in past cover-ups. World Athletics has its own sanctions against Russia, including an “authorized neutral athlete” certification program. Only athletes with that status were eligible for Tokyo.

Weightlifting has its own system of doping sanctions, restricting team sizes based on past misdeeds. Russia can enter one male and one female lifter for Tokyo, but avoids the outright bans from Olympic weightlifting imposed on the most persistent offenders like Thailand and Romania.

DOPING DISPUTES

The latest rules on Russia’s name and image were set last year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a ruling that satisfied almost nobody.

As so often with Russia, the sanctions aren’t as much about doping as about the cover-up.

Just when Russia was patching up relations with the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 by allowing it access to the Moscow anti-doping lab’s files, WADA investigators spotted strange anomalies in the data. Evidence had been deleted and spurious information added, including fake messages designed to tarnish the name of WADA’s star witness, former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.

WADA said the edits were made while the lab was sealed off by a Russian law enforcement body. Russia denied wrongdoing.

The CAS ruling was hailed as a partial victory in Russia, which had its initial four-year sanction cut to two. It was criticized by some anti-doping figures who wanted neutral-color uniforms at the Olympics and stricter vetting to ensure doping suspects couldn’t compete.

NEW CASES

Russia was back to court ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, but on a smaller scale than its big legal battles from 2016 and 2018.

Swimming governing body FINA had provisionally suspended swimmers Alexander Kudashev and Veronika Andrusenko because of evidence from WADA’s investigation of the Moscow lab data. But CAS on Sunday cleared both swimmers to compete at the Games.

Last week, Russia cut two rowers from its Tokyo squad after revealing they both tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in June. That prompted Russia to withdraw from the men’s quadruple sculls competition when it became clear a substitute boat was not competitive.

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Tokyo Olympics crisis: First competitors contract COVID-19 as pressure mounts on Japan PM

Two athletes from the same country and competing in the same sport staying in the village in the Harumi waterfront district tested positive for the virus, organisers said without offering additional details. Organisers today reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics, including a third athlete not staying in the village, down from 15 new cases a day earlier.

South Africa also reported three positive cases in its soccer squad – two players and an analyst.

It was not immediately clear if those cases were identified as part of the same testing programme.

An International Olympic Committee member from South Korea tested positive for the coronavirus on landing in Tokyo.

Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic athlete, is double-jabbed, underlining the infection risk even from vaccinated attendees.

And on Friday it was announced a Nigerian delegate to the Olympics had become the first visitor to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19, broadcaster TV Asahi said on Friday.

The new infections are testing the layered testing regime designed to ensure Covid cases are quickly caught and isolated. Proponents argue that the growing number of cases underscores the strength of the testing system.

JUST IN: Vaccine ‘shortage’ blamed for delay to offer children Covid jabs

Mr Suga has said Japan would take thorough steps to strengthen border controls against the coronavirus.

Public support for his cabinet has slid to 35.9 percent, a Kyodo poll showed on Sunday, the lowest since he replaced Shinzo Abe as the country’s leader in September.

A mere 29.4 percent think the fourth state of emergency, which began last Monday, is effective, according to the poll.

The rainy season ended in Tokyo on Friday, bringing blue skies and intense heat, another potential problem for organisers.

The burden on participants has been increased by virus countermeasures like masking.

David Hughes, chief medical officer at the Australian Olympic Committee, said: “While we have been dealing with Covid matters, we haven’t taken our focus off the heat.”

Officials point to heat countermeasures including the distribution of drinks and salt tablets and the use of misting towers and cooling vests.

The delayed Olympics was intended to showcase a modern, diverse Japan at a time of rising regional rivalries – but the pandemic has left the country hosting a pared-down event.

Athletes continue to question the compromises organisers have made, with Maya Yoshida, captain of Japan’s soccer team, calling for the decision to hold the Games behind closed doors to be reconsidered.

Postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer Olympics have little public support in Japan amid widespread fears about a further spread of the coronavirus.

Critics on Thursday submitted a petition against the Games that has garnered more than 450,000 signatures this month.

Organisers have imposed Olympics “bubbles” to prevent further transmissions of COVID-19, but medical experts are worried they might not be sufficiently tight.

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