TOKYO — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:
Biles, Ledecky headline Day 2 of Olympics
Two of America’s star Olympians headline Sunday’s events at the Tokyo Games as Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky both begin their quests to rewrite the record books.
Simone Biles makes her first appearance for Team USA when women’s gymnastics qualifying begins. Biles already has four Olympic gold medals and is chasing Shannon Miller’s record of seven medals won by an American woman.
Sunisa Lee, who edged Biles in the all-around during the second night of Olympic Trials, and teammate Jordan Chiles will likely challenge each other for the Americans’ second spot in the all-around finals. Grace McCallum rounds out the four-woman U.S. team while MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey will compete as individuals.
The Americans are heavily favored to win a third straight Olympic title and qualifying will be streamed on Peacock at 2:10 a.m.
Ledecky, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, came to Tokyo attempting to break the all-time record of eight gold medals won by a U.S. woman. The first of her five scheduled events is the women’s 400-meter freestyle.
Although Ledecky is considered the best women’s distance swimmer in the world, she is expected to face a fierce challenge from Ariarne Titmus of Australia. Ledecky has won six total medals in her first two Olympics and she won her first gold medal at the London Games in 2012 when she was just 15 years old.
In men’s competition, two-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel is expected to be part of the 4x100m freestyle relay. Dressel is thought to be the successor to Michael Phelps and won a record eight medals at the 2019 world meet. Other swimming medals will be awarded in the women’s 100 meter butterfly and the men’s 100 meter breaststroke. Live coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
U.S. downs France in men’s volleyball opener
After a long wait to get on the court, the U.S. men’s volleyball team made quick work of France in its Olympic opener.
The U.S. didn’t take the court until 11 p.m. local time in the final match of the opening day of pool play but set the tone early by scoring the first five points of the match. The Americans won the match 25-18, 25-18, 25-22, as they try to build on their bronze medal performance in 2016.
The other winners in the opening day of men’s competition were defending champion Brazil, Italy, the Russians, Japan and Iran.
Rough start for Dalhausser
Beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser has had a rough start to the Tokyo Games.
The four-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist has been in modified quarantine because he is considered a close contact of Taylor Crabb, the U.S. beach volleyball player who withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Dalhausser sat near Crabb on a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco before heading over to Japan.
Dalhausser and teammate Nick Lucena practiced together only twice from the time they arrived in Tokyo until their opening match on Saturday.
The Americans lost to defending bronze medalists Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer of the Netherlands. The Dutch won 21-17, 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park venue.
Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi of China beat Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada 18-21, 21-15, 15-11 earlier.
U.S. First Lady makes an appearance
Members of the U.S. swimming team cheered and chanted from the stands for U.S. first lady Jill Biden, who sat across the pool and waved as swimming kicked off.
Without fans in the 15,000-seat Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday, masked teams had ample room to spread out in socially distanced seats above the deck. The U.S. contingent waved tiny American flags and pounded red-white-and-blue Thunderstix, while the Germans spread their large-sized flag over two rows of seats.
Waiting for the session to begin, the Americans chanted “Dr. Biden, Dr. Biden” and clapped.
None of the usual electricity that typically courses through the Olympic pool was present. Teams shouted the names of their swimmers during the race, when the sound of water splashing was easily heard and music blasted.
Earlier in the day, Biden watched a 3-on-3 basketball game with French President Emmanuel Macron and hosted a softball watch party at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.
From NBA Finals to Tokyo
SAITAMA, Japan — The U.S. men’s basketball team is finally together.
Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday — the trio of U.S. Olympians who were in the NBA Finals and therefore have not been around their Tokyo Games teammates — arrived in Japan on Saturday night, less than 24 hours before the Americans’ scheduled Olympic opener against France.
How much they play on Sunday remains unclear. U.S. coach Gregg Popovich has said he would gauge their role based on how they were feeling after the flights.
“You’re talking about three true professionals, three extremely, extremely competitive guys that wouldn’t be on their way here if this didn’t mean something,” U.S. forward Draymond Green said Saturday. “They all just finished competing in the NBA Finals, just finished completing an NBA season. … I have a lot of respect for those guys for not only committing to do this but actually keeping their word.”
Middleton and Holiday initially flew from Milwaukee to Seattle on Friday evening, making that trip a day after the Bucks had their championship parade to celebrate topping Phoenix in six games for the NBA title. Booker flew from Phoenix to Seattle, getting there Friday night a few minutes after the Bucks arrived.
Booker hopped on the plane with Middleton and Holiday, and it took them about nine hours to get from Seattle to Tokyo. They landed shortly before 11 p.m. local time Saturday, or about 22 hours before the U.S.-France game is scheduled to begin.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys for seeing it through, seeing their commitment through,” Green said. “And it’s on us to make sure that we do our parts and making sure that they are rewarded with what with what they ultimately came here for, which is to help us compete and win a gold medal.”
It has been an unprecedented period of preparation for the U.S. men in their quest to win a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. The 12-player team was formally unveiled on June 28; since then, Bradley Beal (virus-related) and Kevin Love (injury-related) were removed from the roster, replaced by Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee.
The three NBA Finals players have been gone, and U.S. wing Zach LaVine missed the team’s flight to Tokyo on Monday because he was in the health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus. After a number of negative test results was cleared to fly over separately and rejoined the team in time for opening ceremony and Saturday’s practice.
Like Green, LaVine said he believes the decision by the NBA Finals trio to come to Tokyo barely a few days after the series and long postseason run ended only speaks to their level commitment.
“I think they’ll be ready to go, and we’ll see what happens,” LaVine said. “But as for the team, I think we have to be ready for everything. If they’re not ready to go, then we have to go out there and perform still.”
The U.S. wasn’t the only team pulling off a last-second roster maneuver. Spain, which ruled Juancho Hernangomez of the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the Olympics earlier this month because of a dislocated shoulder — only to then put him on the Tokyo roster because it felt he was healing well ahead of schedule — announced that he is not playing after all.
Jorge Garbajosa, the president of Spain’s basketball federation, said the Timberwolves would not clear Hernangomez and forced the reigning World Cup champions to replace him. Spain said Xabi Lopez-Arostegui was on his way to Tokyo to take the roster spot.
Original Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/other-sports/2021/07/24/tokyo-olympics-roundup-phil-dalhausser-gets-off-to-rough-start-jill-biden-makes-an-appearance/