Olympics open with upsets, more athletes testing COVID positive

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Japan Declares State of Emergency in Tokyo, , All Spectators Banned From Olympics.The new state of emergency was declared on July 8 by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.It will run from July 12 through Aug. 22. The Olympic Games are scheduled to open July 23.While organizers of the games previously announced that up to 10,000 spectators could attend the games.in light of the state of emergency declaration the committee decided all spectators will be banned from the games.A very heavy judgement was made. , Seiko Hashimoto, Organizing Committee President, via 'The Washington Post'.I am sorry to those who purchased tickets and everyone in local areas, Seiko Hashimoto, Organizing Committee President, via 'The Washington Post'.The new state of emergency was declared inJapan's capital due to rising infection rates likely caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.A number of restrictions were already in place for spectators, .including a mask mandate and moratoriums on both cheering and public post-Game gatherings.Sponsorship rights for the Games paid by close to 60 companies are estimated to be a record-breaking $3 billion

TOKYO — Competition is underway in the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexican Olympic baseball players Héctor Velázquez and Sammy Solís have tested positive for COVID-19 and been isolated at their rooms in the team hotel in Mexico City. The Mexican Baseball Federation and the Mexican Baseball League issued a joint statement saying that the two had positive PCR tests when reporting on Sunday but are asymptomatic.

The federation canceled Monday night’s training session at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, and PCR tests were given to all players and team coaching staff.

Velázquez, a 32-year-old right-hander, pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2017-19 and Solis, a 32-year-old left-hander, pitched for the Washington Nationals from 2015-18.

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Sweden has once again stunned the United States at the Olympics, this time with a 3-0 victory in the women’s soccer tournament.

The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak.

But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Brazil Games in the quarterfinals, for the earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever.

Then in April, Sweden played the United States to a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which snapped a winning streak dating back to January 2019, when the United States lost to France in the run-up to the World Cup.

The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.

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Britain has opened the Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 2-0 victory over Chile.

Lauren Hemp’s header put the ball in front of Ellen White for a close-in goal in the 18th minute. White’s second goal was a volley to the far post in the 75th.

Chile, ranked No. 37 in the world, was making its Olympic debut. Known as La Roja, Chile qualified for Tokyo by beating Cameroon 2-1 in an intercontinental playoff.

Britain’s roster for Tokyo is composed mostly of English players, but Kim Little and Caroline Weir are from Scotland and Sophia Ingle is from Wales.

Because British Olympic teams include Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all four must be in agreement to participate. The only other Olympics that has included a British team was London in 2012.

England, ranked No. 6, was among the top three UEFA finishers at the 2019 World Cup, which earned Britain its spot.

Britain faces Japan and Chile plays Canada on Saturday in Sapporo as group play continues.

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Sweden has surprised the top-ranked United States with a goal in the 25th minute to lead 1-0 at halftime of the Olympic women’s soccer tournament on Wednesday.

Sweden famously knocked out the Americans in the quarterfinals of the Brazil Games, for the earlies U.S. Olympic exit ever.

The Swedes dominated the U.S. in the opening half at Tokyo Stadium, going ahead on Stina Blackstenius’ header into the far corner off a cross from Sofia Jakobsson. The United States looked stale, with its best chance coming on a Rose Lavelle shot that hit the post.

The United States is unbeaten in 44 straight games, and was vying to become the first team to win Olympic gold after a World Cup victory.

Sweden won the silver in Brazil, falling to Germany in the gold medal match.

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A Chilean taekwondo athlete and a Dutch skateboarder are the latest Olympians to test positive for coronavirus at the Tokyo Games.

Chilean athlete Fernanda Aguirre says in an Instagram post she is “devastated” and says “I feel so much sadness, anguish, frustration.”

She adds “it’s something that angers me a lot and I feel it’s just unfair that my dream is crushed after so much sacrifice.”

Aguirre was training in Uzbekistan prior to coming to Tokyo. The Chilean Olympic Committee says she tested negative before her flight but then positive at the airport in Japan. She’s asymptomatic but won’t be able to compete because she will have to spend at least 10 days in quarantine.

Dutch Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs likewise says she is “heartbroken” after being sent into quarantine. She won’t get to compete in the street discipline in skateboarding

Jacobs revealed the positive test in an Instagram post Wednesday. The Dutch team says she will quarantine for 10 days. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports she was removed from the Olympic village.

Looking to the future, the 31-year-old Jacobs says “I will need some time to let my broken heart heal and recover from this. Let’s go Paris 2024.”

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An American beach volleyball player is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan, USA Volleyball said on Wednesday, three days before the start of play at the Tokyo Olympics.

The national federation did not identify the athlete, citing privacy concerns. But another player told The Associated Press that Taylor Crabb was in quarantine. The other player spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.

NBC4 News in Los Angeles first reported late Tuesday night, Wednesday in Japan, that Crabb tested positive and quoted his brother, fellow beach volleyball pro Trevor Crabb, as saying the first-time Olympian is “fine and healthy and should be allowed to play in my personal opinion.”

Taylor Crabb’s would-be teammate, four-time Olympian Jake Gibb, did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment. The Orange County Register reported that Tri Bourne would replace Taylor Crabb and join Gibb in Tokyo for their first match on Sunday.

Although beach volleyball teams go through the qualifying process as pairs, international volleyball federation rules allow a player to be replaced up until Thursday evening. Gibb and Crabb had been scheduled to play their first match on Sunday night.

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, practices at the Ariake Tennis Center ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, practices at the Ariake Tennis Center ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Credit: Alex Brandon

Credit: Alex Brandon

British and Chilean soccer pl

ayers have taken a knee before kickoff in their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics.

The British women kneeled first, followed by their Chilean counterparts at the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday.

They were the first soccer players at the Olympics to perform the anti-racism gesture after the International Olympic Committee relaxed the rules on protests being allowed by the IOC.

FIFA has approved players taking a knee since some teams started doing it last year, particularly in England, where most of the British players are from.

The United States has begun its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal with a dominating performance from Cat Osterman, who lost the championship game 13 years ago.

She pitched one-hit ball over six innings and struck out nine to beat Italy 2-0 Wednesday.

Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.

Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics.

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, left, practices at the Ariake Tennis Center ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Caption
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, left, practices at the Ariake Tennis Center ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Credit: Alex Brandon

Credit: Alex Brandon

American swimmer Becca Meyers has pulled out of the Paralympics because she says the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee won’t let her bring her mother to Tokyo as her personal care assistant.

Meyers, who is deaf and blind as the result of a rare genetic disorder, won three gold medals at the last Paralympics. She says in a statement that the USOPC had approved her mother to act as her assistant at all international meets since 2017.

The USOPC says that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are increased restrictions on delegation size at the Tokyo Games. That’s left the federation only one slot for a PCA who will have to assist 34 Paralympic swimmers. The USOPC says the PCA has more than 27 years of coaching experience and 11 years with para swimmers.

Meyers, 26, says she made the decision to drop out because she is “speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through.”

Japan's coach Asako Takakura watches her team against Canada during a women's soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Sapporo, Japan. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
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Japan's coach Asako Takakura watches her team against Canada during a women's soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Sapporo, Japan. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Credit: Silvia Izquierdo

Credit: Silvia Izquierdo

Equestrian Australia says it has provisionally suspended a member of the Olympic show jumping team over a positive test for cocaine.

The governing body says Jamie Kermond returned a positive A-sample for a metabolite of cocaine following a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia on June 26.

It says Kermond was banned from competing at the Tokyo Olympics but had the right to have his B-sample analyzed.

The 36-year-old Kermond was expected to make his Olympic debut at Tokyo.

The Australian Olympic Committee says in a statement that it’s aware of Kermond’s provisional suspension and that its selection committee will meet to consider his status on the team.

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The head of the World Health Organization says the Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by how many COVID-19 cases arise because eliminating risk is impossible.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an International Olympic Committee meeting that how infections are handled is what matters most.

“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he said.

The number of Games-linked COVID-19 cases in Japan this month was 79 on Wednesday, with more international athletes testing positive at home and unable to travel.

Teammates classed as close contacts of infected athletes can continue training and preparing for events under a regime of isolation and extra monitoring.

Mexico players gather on the field following their 3-0 loss to Canada in their softball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Caption
Mexico players gather on the field following their 3-0 loss to Canada in their softball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Fukushima , Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Credit: Jae C. Hong

Host Japan is off to a winning start as the Tokyo Olympics get underway, beating Australia 8-1 Wednesday in softball behind 39-year-old pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who won the 2008 gold medal game against the United States.

The game was played in a nearly empty stadium. Fans were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many in Japan have questioned whether the Olympics should take place at all with low levels of vaccination in the nation.

Ueno allowed two hits over 4 1/3 innings and struck out seven, throwing 85 pitches for the win.

Minori Naito and Saki Yamazaki hit two-run homers off loser Kaia Parnaby. Yu Yamamoto, who had three RBIs, added a two-run drive against Tarni Stepto in the fifth that ended the game under a rout rule.

Japan is defending softball gold medalist after upsetting the U.S. in the 2008 final. Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. They already have been dropped for the 2024 Paris Games but are likely to be restored for 2028 in Los Angeles.