Packers reportedly close to agreement with star quarterback
NFL Network reported Rodgers says he is close to returning
Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy remains hopeful quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play for them this season, but says he doesn’t know whether the three-time MVP will arrive for the start of training camp.
“We’ve been in constant communication,” Murphy said Monday after the NFL’s only publicly owned team held its annual shareholders meeting. “It’s been obviously months. I’m hopeful that we can have it all resolved.”
From Turkish volleyballers to German judokas, the Olympic village in Tokyo has been in thrall to the Serbian world No 1
After Novak Djokovic took his first small step towards a gold medal on Saturday, his defeated first-round opponent, the world No 140 Hugo Dellien of Bolivia, could not stop himself from speaking his heart as they embraced at the net: “It’s a dream for me,” he said to Djokovic. “I want to remember my whole life that I played with you.” Dellien asked Djokovic for his T-shirt and they later posed for a photo.
Only occasionally on the regular tour does Djokovic come up against an opponent starstruck enough to ask for photos or a souvenir of their encounter after being blitzed off the court. But in Tokyo, where everyone seems to want a piece of the best player in the world, Dellien simply blends in with the crowd. Since Djokovic’s arrival here, it is unlikely there has been a more popular athlete in the Olympic village.
The differing treatment of a black female athlete and a white male in the run-up to the Olympics show the double standards that permeate sport
In seemingly less time than Sha’Carri Richardson’s world-stopping, 100m triumph at the US trials, the matter of her Olympic-disqualifying suspension for a positive marijuana test has transformed routine sports talk fodder into a full-blown ethical debate for a divided nation.
In her defense marijuana is legal in a host of states across America, including Oregon, where Richardson went full That Girl while stamping her ticket to Tokyo. But on the flip side this is still America, the puritanical-feigning, War on Drugs-waging nation that’s been championing for marijuana’s inclusion on Wada’s banned substance list ever since Cheech & Chong started lampooning weed as the palliative of choice for the chronically lazy.
The Australian drew first blood but there is plenty more water to be covered in the box office Olympic series with her US rival
After losing to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in the women’s 400m freestyle, American Katie Ledecky departed the press conference tent at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre with a message: “See you in a few hours.” The five-time Olympic gold medallist was speaking to the gathered media, but she might as well have been talking to Titmus. This isn’t over yet.
The Ledecky v Titmus rivalry will define the Olympic swim meet. Only “rivalry” is not quite the right word. Over the past two years, ever since Titmus beat Ledecky at the 2019 world championships and the American failed to shake her opponent’s hand, the duel between them has been given much oxygen. In the pool, it is certainly box office – one of the best swimmers in history, the reigning queen of the pool, and a young prodigy eager to take the crown.
Daley and Matty Lee pip China to synchronised diving gold
‘I hope any LGBT person can see … you can achieve anything’
“I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”
Amber English won the third gold of the Games for the US shooting team, who back home have joined forces with an ultra-conservative college
It was a rough winter for the US shooting team, with some members sent to practise in an abandoned Macy’s department store when the pandemic closed their training centre. At least in Tokyo they have acquired some high-end baubles.
Amber English won the women’s skeet gold medal on Monday and Vincent Hancock triumphed in the men’s event, a day after Will Shaner was victorious in the men’s 10-metre air rifle. All set Olympic record scores.
Argentina’s Maria Belen Pérez Maurice suffered defeat in the women’s saber on Monday in Tokyo, although it appears she won’t be changing coaches anytime soon.
Pérez Maurice had just lost to Anna Marton of Hungary in the round of 32 when her coach, who is also her boyfriend of 17 years, proposed to her. Luckily for Saucedo, seeing as the proposal was on live television, Pérez Maurice said yes.
US win 1-0 over Reggae Boyz in Gold Cup quarter-finals
Americans will face Qatar in Thursday’s semi-final match
Matthew Hoppe scored his first international goal on a header in the 83rd minute and the United States beat Jamaica 1-0 Sunday night to reach the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Hoppe, making his second international appearance, nodded home a cross from Cristian Roldan from just inside the six-yard box, and the US eliminated the 45th-ranked Reggae Boyz for the third straight Gold Cup.
Emma McKeon and men’s relay team add bronze medals
The reign of American swim queen Katie Ledecky is over – at least for now. The five-time Olympic gold medallist was beaten by Australian 20-year-old Ariarne Titmus in the much-anticipated women’s 400m freestyle final at Tokyo 2020, with Games debutant Titmus outlasting her more experienced rival to come within a quarter of a second of a new world record.
When Titmus set the previously-second fastest time in history at the Australian swim trials in June, she delivered a message to her American rival. “Well, she’s not going to have it all her own way I guess,” said the Tasmanian. Those words took on new meaning on Monday.
Britain’s Daley adds gold to bronzes won in Rio and London
On a day of vertiginous pressure at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre Tom Daley and Matty Lee took the gold medal in the men’s synchronised 10m platform by one point from Chinese world champions Yuan Cao and Aisen Chen.
The British pair took the lead with three dives remaining, producing a performance of relentless high scoring as the Chinese, who had led from the first round cracked unexpectedly.
Host country sets aside its concerns – at least for now – to cheer wins in judo and skateboarding
Two days of Olympic sport in Tokyo have created a moral dilemma for millions of people in the host country who had hoped the day would never come when Japan’s athletes would win their first gold medals of the summer.
Having invested so much in opposing the Games, would it then be possible, in good conscience, to take pleasure in the feats of the athletes once they became an inevitability?
Gold medal is one of four for Team USA on day two of Olympics
Lee Kiefer wins third USA gold in Olympic fencing history
Will Shaner claims title in men’s 10m air rifle
Anastasija Zolotic won the United States’ first gold medal in women’s taekwondo by beating Russian Olympic Committee team athlete Tatiana Minina 25-17 on Sunday to claim the featherweight division title.
The 18-year-old Zolotic lets out a primal scream as she pulls on her helmet before each round. The Florida native has been telling friends and family since early childhood that she would be an Olympic champion, and she needed only one trip to the Games to make it happen.
Biles leads all around qualifiers but US make minor errors
Shifting picture of women’s gymnastics landscape emerges
As Simone Biles walked off the podium following her opening floor routine of her Tokyo Olympics, she laughed bitterly to herself. She had overpowered her third tumbling pass so much that she ended up rebounding the floor and flying so far out of bounds that she cleared the raised floor. She was not happy. But what initially seemed to be an aberration in her first rotation of USA’s qualifying round turned out to be a reflection of the whole day.
With every passing rotation, the errors for USA piled up, culminating in an event that has not occurred over their past decade of dominance – for the first time since 2010, USA qualified in second for a major team final after scoring 170.562 as Russian Olympic Committee finished the day in the lead with 171.629.
US men’s team had suffered defeats in Games build-up
For the first time since 2004, the US men’s basketball team have lost in the Olympics. And the US team’s quest for a fourth consecutive gold medal is already in doubt. France, the team that knocked them out of contention in the Basketball World Cup two years ago, dealt the US a major blow once again. Evan Fournier’s three-pointer with just under a minute left put France ahead in what became a 83-76 win over the Americans on Sunday in the opening game for both teams at the Tokyo Olympics.
The US had won 25 consecutive Olympic games, last losing at the Athens Games 17 years ago, when they had to settle for the bronze medal. Fournier, who plays for the Boston Celtics in the NBA, had 28 points for France, while Rudy Gobert scored 14 and Nando de Colo had 13. Jrue Holiday had 18 points for the US, Bam Adebayo had 12, Damian Lillard 11 and Kevin Durant had 10. The US have won two and lost three of their games this summer.
Osaka plays first match since she pulled out of French Open
Win comes two days after No 2 seed lit the Olympic cauldron
In the two months since Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to protect her mental health, after all the noise that followed her decision not to attend press conferences there, she has been everywhere and nowhere at once. As she rested at home, the Tokyo media blitz planned long ago went into overdrive. There were magazine covers, a Netflix documentary and Olympic commercials, then on Friday she stood in the Olympic Stadium with the world watching as she lit the Olympic cauldron.
Two days after headlining newspaper front pages around the world even more than for her four grand slam titles, Osaka returned to the place where she is most comfortable, the tennis court, and she produced a solid opening win as she defeated Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4 to reach the second round.
Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated thinking she had won
Kiesenhofer was only member of breakaway not reeled in
Anna Kiesenhofer caused one of the biggest upsets in Olympic road racing history on Sunday, taking advantage of a tactical mistake by experienced riders to win the women’s road race title in bizarre circumstances.
The Austrian was involved in the lead group right from the start of the 137km race, before embarking on a sustained period of disciplined solo cycling so brilliantly executed that her pursuers simply forgot she was ahead of them.
American ‘deeply disappointed’ to be replaced by Patrick Reed
‘No material time’ for Spain to find replacement for Rahm
Bryson DeChambeau tested positive for Covid-19 before leaving the United States for the Olympics and will miss the Tokyo Games. He’ll be replaced by Patrick Reed. Spain’s Jon Rahm, the world No 1, will also miss the Olympics after testing positive
The pair were due to make their debuts in the Games when the men’s event starts on Thursday at Kasumigaseki Country Club and would have been among the frontline contenders to claim a podium position.
Closing birdie for the exciting 18-year-old Thai, Atthaya Thitikul. She signs for a 65, and is the new clubhouse leader at -14. She left a couple of shots out there on the greens, too. Back on 16, Ayaka Furue sends a tramliner into the cup for a second birdie in ta row, while her playing partner Minjee Lee leaps into the lead after sticking her tee shot to six feet and making the putt. This, it’s fair to say, is heating up nicely.
-17: Lee (16) -16: Noh (14) -15: Lee6 (14) -14: Thitikul (F), Furue (16) -13: Maguire (F), Hall (F), Ko (14)
Minjee Lee can’t quite reach the par-five 15th in two, but gets up and down to birdie anyway. She grabs back a share of the lead. Birdie too at 15 for the Japanese debutant Ayaka Furue, who has been quietly hanging around at the fringes, but is now making a belated move. Meanwhile it’s pars all round for the final group at 14. Lee6 in particular was unfortunate not to make her birdie putt.
-16: Lee (15), Noh (14) -15: Lee6 (14) -13: Maguire (F), Hall (F), Thitikul (17), Furue (15), Ko (14)
Teenager insists he ‘just worked hard’ to improve performance
Overhauls Australian and American rivals in thrilling last 50m
Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui caused one of the biggest stirs of the Tokyo Olympics so far with a stunning 400m freestyle gold medal – but insisted his massive personal best was purely down to “hard work”.
The 18-year-old summoned a thrilling last 50m to come home in 3min 43.36sec to overhaul the Australian Jack McLoughlin, who took silver, and American Kieran Smith, who won bronze. What made the Tunisian’s performance even more impressive was that his PB at the start of the 2021 was six seconds slower at 3:49.90. And while he had improved that to 3:46.16 in the build up to Tokyo, he was still ranked just 16th in the field.
Spurs’ new managing director of football brings an eye for talent and will go to remarkable lengths to land his targets
To understand the type of character Tottenham have hired in Fabio Paratici it helps to turn back the clock to 2013. The man appointed by Spurs last month as their managing director of football was then in a similar role at Juventus and he had the signing of Carlos Tevez in his sights.
Tevez was with Manchester City and when Paratici decided the moment had come to buy him he devised a plan: a secret meeting with the striker was arranged at a London restaurant opened specially for him at 1am. Paratici can accurately be described as an inventive workaholic utterly determined in his pursuit of success.
One down, two to play. There were moments when the British & Irish Lions were swaying on the brink but, to their immense collective credit, they dug in to secure the most priceless of first Test victories. Not for 83 years have the Lions overturned a bigger half-time deficit against major southern hemisphere opposition and a first series win in South Africa this century is now a mere 80 minutes away.
Few could have foreseen the final outcome when South Africa trotted in 12-3 ahead at the interval with their so-called ‘Bomb Squad’ available to rumble on in the second half. Instead the Boks’ best-laid plans blew up in their faces as the Lions superior fitness and the home side’s recent shortage of match practice combined to turn the contest completely. Warren Gatland’s selection and modus operandi, not for the first time, proved spot on.
The Dutch midfielder looks forward to a new adventure with Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG after a difficult final season at Anfield
For Georginio Wijnaldum, it came to feel like a divide and it was entirely stark, shaping what was a tumultuous climax to his time at Liverpool. On one side, there was Jürgen Klopp and the players, together with the matchgoing fans, while on the other, there was the Fenway Sports Group ownership and the club’s followers on social media.
Wijnaldum felt only love and support from the former and he will never forget the Anfield send-off they afforded him during and after the final game of last season against Crystal Palace. The 30-year-old midfielder’s contract was due to expire and it had been clear for some time that he would depart as a free agent. The only question concerned where he would go and that was answered last month when Paris Saint-Germain stepped in front of Barcelona to secure him on a three-year deal.
The Norwegian must now deliver silverware to an expectant Old Trafford after earning himself a contract extension
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has little patience for those who complain about the frequent presence of rain clouds in the skies above north-west England. “We have a saying in Norway that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” says Manchester United’s manager.
When Solskjær took caretaker charge of United in December 2018, Sir Alex Ferguson’s one-time super-sub striker swiftly decided the squad was dressed inadequately and inappropriately for the task in hand.
The alert I get when an opponent has made their move gives me the shot of excitement I used to get from social media notifications
Lord help me, I am in the whirlwind throes of the beautiful game. Online chess. The ancient pastime enjoyed a boom late last year. And I got caught squarely in its blast. Chess.com, the internet’s leading chess platform, saw an eruption in activity, triggered by lockdown idleness and (my own personal inciting event) Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, which landed in October 2020, and showed the world that chess is actually really cool. As long as you ignore the actual chess and focus instead on the narcotic-fuelled psychodrama of a very beautiful woman and put the kid from Love Actually in a cowboy hat, for some reason.
But there was enough actual chess in the show to reawaken my old love for the game. I’d played a lot as a child, as you can probably tell from my face. I played in the school club and entered competitions. I collected sets, including a Simpsons one and a Lord Of The Rings one, allowing me to play the pieces from one board against those of the other. No, I didn’t go out much as a kid. But how could I when I was busy battling the dark forces of Sauron with an army of Barts?
Montreal choose player who was convicted of crime last year
Logan Mailloux asked teams not to select him in NHL draft
Buffalo Sabres select Michigan’s power with first overall pick
The Montreal Canadiens stunned the rest of the NHL on Friday night by taking Logan Mailloux with the second-to-last pick in the first round of the draft.
Mailloux, who was criminally convicted in Sweden last year for sharing an explicit photo of a woman performing a sex act without her consent, asked teams not to select him. A player cannot remove himself from the draft.
Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais, the world No 11 who is regarded as the top European surfer in the Tokyo Games, has announced that he tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the sport’s Olympic debut.
“This is likely the saddest video I’ve ever had to post. In 2019 I qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were postponed because of Covid-19. And now, because of the virus I won’t be able to compete nor represent my country,” Morais stated on Instagram.
Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza, who is the youngest competitor in Tokyo, has just launched her Olympic campaign at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The 12-year-old is facing Austria’s Jia Liu in the women’s singles preliminary round.
Zaza, who was her country’s female flag bearer in the opening ceremony, becomes the fifth-youngest known Olympian in history and the youngest since Romanian figure skater Beatrice Hustiu in 1968.
Forward should enhance the team and the glamour factor but more signings are needed to make United champions again
Jadon Sancho is a £73m signing who may go down as a steal as his Manchester United career unfolds. Even before the former Borussia Dortmund forward pulls on the United shirt, his price appears akin to a Black Friday buy.
For £8m more than a centre‑back, Rúben Dias, cost Manchester City, Ole Gunnar Solskjær acquires a 21-year-old who joins Mason Greenwood as a “generational” footballer who can light up the attack for a decade. If Sancho is integral to a 21st title for United, it will cast the fee as more apt with a decimal point between its digits.
Based on your answers, we’ll help you find your top 10 Olympic sports as the Games get underway in Tokyo
The Olympics are upon us and even if there are no fans at the stadiums this year due to Covid-19, there are more than 300 events to watch on TV from the comfort of your sofa. Of course, you may have minor things like a job, family or life to spend your time on which is why we’ve produced a handy quiz to narrow down the events that most suit you. Just answer the questions below to see if you should be tuning into the marathon or modern pentathlon.
Club announced intention to change name in December 2020
Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will be called Guardians.
The ballclub announced the name change Friday with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks, ending months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop logos and names considered racist.
Coach was riding his bike when he was hit by a car
New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp died on Thursday of injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while riding a bicycle near his home in California. He was 58.
“Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) was called back home to Heaven, where he will be reunited with his Dad,” his family said in a statement. His family added that Knapp never regained consciousness after being hit by a car in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday. He was surrounded by wife Charlotte, daughters Jordan, Natalie and Camille, his mother and brother when he died.
Winger joins on contract to 2026 with option for further year
Sancho describes moves as ‘a dream come true’
Jadon Sancho has completed his transfer to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund for an initial £73m. The 21-year-old winger has signed a five-year contract with an option of a further year.
The former Manchester City player has sealed the move less than a fortnight after he was among three England players to miss a penalty in the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy. Sancho underwent his medical once the tournament had been completed, the framework of the deal having been agreed at the end of May and confirmed by the clubs at the start of June.
Work on community football clubhouse in Manchester will link to archive of messages left on his portrait in nearby Withington
Marcus Rashford has spoken of how a Manchester mural and its “outpouring of support really lifted” him at one of his “lowest points”, as a new tribute was painted on the wall of a community football clubhouse reading: “Hope Beats Hate”.
The new mural in south Manchester links to a digitised archive of the messages left on the one showing the footballer’s face a couple of miles away in Withington.
Medals out of recycled phones, sewage-stopping sand and virtual clapping in the shadow of Covid-19 add up to a very different Olympic Games
The greatest impact of Covid on the Games, other than the fact it is being held a year late, will be the absence of spectators. Venues won’t be silent, however, with “an immersive sound system” playing “sound created from previous Olympic Games” – which means that vocal ticket holders from many events at London 2012 will, in a manner of speaking, get to attend a second Olympics – while those watching at home will be able to “clap virtually” using an app.
Son says committing to 10-year stay at club was easy
Spurs standing by Kane stance after report City deal close
Tottenham have given a new four-year contract to Son Heung-min and maintain they have no plans to sell Harry Kane.
Son has signed a deal that is due to extend his stay at Spurs to 10 years. The 29-year-old, who joined from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, has scored 107 goals in 280 games and formed a lethal partnership with Kane.
Olympians are likely to test boundaries with protests and demonstrations as the Games become increasingly political
As the Rio Olympics dominated the sports world’s gaze five years ago, an NFL quarterback began a series of protests against racism that rippled across America and the world and will leave an indelible mark on this year’s Games.
Colin Kaepernick last made an NFL appearance in the 2016 season, but the legacy of his activism was evident even before the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Players from several women’s football teams, including the US and Britain, took a knee before their games on Wednesday at the start of the first Olympics since the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
For a first taste, this is an excellent curtain-raiser from Sean Ingle, who explores that fine line between opposing an Olympics replete with problems and controversy and being drawn in by the sporting narratives.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Olympic Games. We’re here to provide you with 24-hour rolling coverage of all the highs and lows and in-betweens of perhaps the strangest instalment since the very first in Athens in 1896. This is the “Tokyo 2020” of 2021. The Games that couldn’t happen a year ago because of Covid-19, and the Games many believe shouldn’t happen even now as the pandemic continues to cut a swathe through Japan. Signs of a fifth wave are everywhere in the host nation, where infection and death tolls are rising and vaccination rates remain low, and the capital will be under a state of emergency for the entirety of competition. That’s before mentioning the spiralling financial cost.
But, as International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said, “there is no Plan B”. And so, organisers have pressed on, and almost 80,000 athletes, officials, support staff and yes, us the media, have either arrived or will touch down imminently. The local mood is one of derision, to the point that one of the Olympics’ biggest sponsors, Toyota, announced it will not run Tokyo 2020-related adverts. In such an environment controversy already abounds, likewise with athletes taking the knee, super quick super spikes, and all the others which have unfortunately become something of Olympics tradition such as doping, corruption and the status of Russian athletes, some of whom will compete but under a neutral flag.
IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers overturn opening-day ban
Olympics tweet picture of GB’s Lucy Bronze taking knee
The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organisers have performed a U-turn over their stance to stop their social media teams from posting pictures of athletes taking the knee at these Olympic Games.
The days when a Ryan Lochte night out or athlete bed-hopping made headlines appear numbered in a much changed Olympic village
It’s that time again. Time to embrace our inner Olympic judge. Time to contemplate the mating habits of the Great American Athlete.
The game began in earnest a few days ago as the first pictures from inside the athletes’ village dorms whipped around the web – and this time there was no getting past the bed. Not only did the mattress appear to be the furthest thing from “Olympic” size. (Technically, that’s a queen). Not only did the bed look for all the world to be sitting on the box in which it was shipped. No, it also seemed like the kind of thing that could barely hold the weight of one sleeping person, let alone two in the mood for a late night.
She’s out of the Olympics, but the US sprinting star’s ‘extra’ style makes an important statement about black womanhood
Despite not being part of Team USA after a failed drugs test, Sha’Carri Richardson made a reappearance yesterday in an advert for Beats by Dre soundtracked by a new song from Kanye West. With her trademark long nails, long lashes and fire-cracker hair, Richardson has underlined the point that, Olympian or not, she is one of 2021’s most electrifying style icons.
Head of organising committee apologises for latest scandal to hit preparations for the Olympic Games
Preparations for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics have been thrown into further turmoil after the show’s director was sacked over a joke about the Holocaust he made in the late 1990s.
Kentaro Kobayashi, a popular entertainer, was dismissed after a video clip resurfaced online of a skit in which he joked about a game he called “let’s play massacre the Jews”, prompting laughter in the audience.
Chile announced on Thursday that its citizens and foreign residents would be allowed to travel outside the country if they were fully inoculated against coronavirus, a fresh perk for Chileans participating in one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns.
In early July, health officials began to relax some restrictions, including those on movement inside the country, as the vaccination programme has begun to pay dividends.
Thursday’s figure of 39,906 new cases of Covid reported for the UK is lower than Wednesday’s, when 44,104 cases were reported, and is the fifth day in a row that cases have remained below the 54,674 cases reported on 17 July.
Optimists may hope this is an early sign that the tide is beginning to turn, and that cases are peaking. Prof Eric Topol, the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, tweeted along hopeful lines: “This could turn out to be the best Covid news of the day,” he wrote, adding along with the prayer hands emoji that new cases in the UK appear to be starting their descent.
I would caution that this may just be a temporary slowing in reports before we start to see a return to exponential growth towards the end of next week as a result of the ending of restrictions last week.
If such a perturbation as the Euros caused only a temporary acceleration in the increase in case numbers despite games continuing this may bode well for the impact of 19 July. It could suggest we will see only a short-term boost towards the end of next week followed by slowing or even a decline in the days following.
Time will tell.
It is positive news that the sustained rise in cases in recent weeks seems to have dropped off. But it is too early to say whether this trend will continue. It will likely taketwo to three weeks before we can fully assess the impact on transmission of step 4 combined with the start of the school holidays.
Sport by sport, event by event, our team assess who will be picking up the Olympic medals Team USA will claim in Tokyo
These Olympics are more unpredictable than usual due to the absence of many qualifying events over the last year, but the United States should lead the pack in both most overall medals and total golds. BG
Massacres, doping and overspending have marred Games over the years and this time it is Covid that hangs overs Tokyo 2020
As it is now, so it has always been. Eighteen months after the first modern Olympic Games, at Athens in 1896, the entire organising committee resigned en masse because they thought the job was impossible. The country was, in the phrase of the prime minister, Charilaos Trikoupis, “regretfully bankrupt”. He told the fledgling International Olympic Committee that the economic situation meant there was no way the Games could go ahead. The IOC’s founder, Pierre de Coubertin, heard but didn’t listen. Instead he got to work, wheedling, cajoling, politicking, pushing ahead regardless.
“To those who followed closely the preliminaries, it appeared certain that the Games would be a disastrous failure,” wrote the British competitor George Robertson, who took part in the discus. “This was not the case.” Coubertin won the support, and financial backing, of the Greek royal family. And Trikoupis lost a general election in 1895, to a rival who had publicly backed the Games.
The US were comfortably outplayed by their opponents in their campaign opener. But they have come back from adversity before at the Games
Norway 2-0 USA. That was the score of the US women’s soccer team opener the last time the Olympics were played in Asia. The distance from Qinhuangdao, site of that 2008 game, to the final in Beijing seemed vast, and not just because the buses were so slow.
The result was no fluke. The US women by that point were a faint echo of their past selves. Without a professional league, the sport in the United States was in the doldrums. It seemed at the time that women’s soccer had used up its Warholian 15 minutes of fame.
The greatest Olympic film was made by not chasing the glory shot. Tokyo 2020 documentary makers should do the same
The official film of the ’64 Olympics opens with a match cut; it jumps from the blazing white sun to a wrecking ball demolishing a bomb-ruined block of Tokyo city. Walls fall, dust rises. The ’64 Olympics cost $2.8bn, which made them the most expensive in history. They came on a wave of poured concrete, 100km of new super highways, a new sewage system, two new subway lines, a new monorail to the refurbished airport, a new Shinkansen line to Osaka. The Games were, sports historian David Goldblatt wrote, “both an instrument and symbol” of Japan’s rapid economic development and its post-war rehabilitation.
In the era of the much-maligned superteam, the Greek star has the extraordinary skills to show a hometown hero can still win the game’s biggest prizes
Laughing and smiling and dancing and hugging and I love you mans and chest bumps and tears and roars to the sky and arms raised in triumph, the Milwaukee Bucks, powered by the excellence of Giannis Antetokounmpo are NBA champions.
On a night where no other Buck was able to score more than 17 points, Giannis produced a masterpiece against the Phoenix Suns. Fifty points. Fourteen rebounds. Five (!) blocks. Seventeen-of-19 from the line. Hellacious defense. Violent attacks to the rim. He was everywhere and did everything for his team. As close-out performances go, it ranks among the finest in NBA finals history.
World champions lose for first time since January 2019
Megan Rapinoe said “it is what it is, we got bopped” after two goals from the striker Stina Blackstenius helped Sweden to a stunning 3-0 defeat of the United States at the Tokyo Stadium in their opening game of the Olympics.
“I wouldn’t say they’ve got in our heads,” said the forward of the team that knocked them out of the Rio Olympics at the quarter-final stage and more recently earned a 1-1 draw against the world champions, ending a winning streak that stretched back to January 2019.
IOC and Tokyo 2020 organisers gave instructions on Tuesday
Reference made to images from Team GB v Chile football match
The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organisers have banned their social media teams from posting pictures of athletes taking the knee at these Olympic Games, the Guardian can reveal.
An insider said the message was delivered from on high on Tuesday evening Tokyo time, with a specific reference to Team GB’s women’s first football match against Chile, just hours before it kicked off in Sapporo on Wednesday.
The face of Tokyo 2020 has had a turbulent year so far but has a habit of dropping into big events and producing her best
Back in the spring of 2019, Naomi Osaka was coming off consecutive grand slam titles and digesting her newfound presence as a leading name in world sport when the subject shifted to the seemingly imminent 2020 Olympics. In order to represent Japan there, the then 21 year-old Osaka would have to attempt to gain full Japanese citizenship after her 22nd birthday.
The decision, which received prominent attention, was widely framed as a difficult choice between being American or Japanese, speculation that soon reached her in a press conference at the Miami Open. Despite recent discourse, Osaka rarely exhibits her frustration in front of the media. This time, however, it was clear: “I made comments about it already so if you want to read those comments …” she responded curtly. “I’m kind of over repeating myself all the time, so … I mean, I’m not trying to be rude.”
Rosie Gallegos-Main has worked with wrestling team since 2009
Athletes and officials are under strict restrictions in Japan
The chiropractor for the American women’s wrestling team has apologized after comparing Olympic Covid-19 protocols to Nazi Germany in a social media post.
Rosie Gallegos-Main, a chiropractor for women’s wrestling since 2009, said in a letter to the USA Wrestling Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee on Wednesday that she was sorry “for my poor judgment and my choice to share this message.”
After finally moving past outdated notions of consequence and loss based on little to no actual evidence, we’re on the cusp of the most open and progressive era of male pro sports in history
Luke Prokop of the Nashville Predators became the first active player under an NHL contract to come out as gay on Tuesday, only a month after Carl Nassib became the first NFL player to do so. To me, someone who has loved and admired sports his whole life, this is historic and groundbreaking news. But to the next generation of young sports fans and players, including my nephews and nieces, this is the new normal. Though it’s just a start, it is difficult for me to express how much joy the idea of that future gives me.
Sensationalist headlines and the constant fear of a phone ping have added to Games jitters and clouded sporting anticipation
In Tinderbox Tokyo, on the eve of the first sporting action of these troubled Olympics, everyone appears to have the jitters. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, admits to sleepless nights. Athletes and journalists increasingly fear their Games could end with a ping on their phone and a 14-day spell in quarantine. And when Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo organising committee, was asked on Tuesday whether the Games could yet be cancelled, his vague reply became interpreted as a hint the Olympics could yet be in peril at the 11th hour.
Such headlines did not merely jump the gun. They also pole‑vaulted spectacularly clear of the cavalry.
Messi is still a free agent and Barça will only be able to announce his deal once the club clear some of their debt
Lionel Messi is unemployed. Don’t worry: he will still be at Barcelona next season, or he should be, and he will certainly be OK. The question now may be: will they? And if he plays at the Camp Nou, if they are able to cut costs and raise the funds that they desperately need to balance the books and allow him to re-sign and begin an 18th season at the club where now more than ever he is their everything, if they can somehow, somewhere find over €100m and fast, who will play alongside him?
A year after he tried to walk away, Barcelona insist that they are no longer concerned about Messi leaving. Last week, with pressure building and sponsors expressing uncertainty, they let it be known that they had reached an agreement on a deal that would keep him there until he is 39, new president Joan Laporta’s key electoral promise finally fulfilled. Except that it is not quite, not yet. The agreement has not been made official and nothing has been signed, for one simple reason: it can’t be.
Model, who is black and Filipino, is also the first ever trans woman of color to be featured in the magazine
Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue has unveiled its first ever transgender cover star, Leyna Bloom.
The model follows in the footsteps of model Valentina Sampaio, who was the first trans model to appear in the pages of the magazine last July. Bloom, who is black and Filipino, is also the first ever trans woman of color to be featured in the magazine.
Even faster sprint spikes could mean Bolt’s world records fall
100m and 200m holder says it’s ‘laughable’ they are allowed
Usain Bolt said that advances in spike technology that could help wipe out his world records are laughable and that the new shoes also give an unfair advantage over any athletes not wearing them.
After athletes ripped through the record books in distance running with carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes, the technology has now moved into sprint spikes, where – although there is less time in a race for the advantage to make an impact – it is still enough to make a difference.
With Covid cases mounting and local resistance escalating ever higher, the hope is that the actual action beginning on Wednesday will dampen down the criticism
The Olympic softball teams of Japan and Australia will have to produce something close to a classic this week if they are to divert attention from an increasingly chaotic build-up to the Tokyo Games.
In normal times memories of the scandals that blighted preparations for the Games – from allegations of vote-buying during the bidding stage to high-profile resignations over sexism – would shrink into the background as soon as the first pitch is delivered at the Azuma baseball stadium in Fukushima on Wednesday in the opening action from the Olympics.
David Lappartient discusses suspicions around the Tour de France champion’s team principal, the return of the Women’s Tour and taking the world championships to Africa
David Lappartient, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), insists there is “no reason to have doubts” over the performances of the Tour de France winner, Tadej Pogacar.
The 22-year-old retained the title he first won last year after building a commanding lead in the race following a prodigious display of climbing through the Alps and Pyrenees. The leader of the UAE Emirates team was asked repeatedly about his performances as the Tour reached a climax and consistently maintained his innocence with regard to doping. “We have many [doping] controls to prove them wrong,” the Slovenian said. “For example, I had three controls in one day – two before the stage and one after. So I think that gives enough weight to prove them wrong.”
Female official made comment at English Championships
Breen: ‘Would a male competitor be similarly criticised?’
The double Paralympic world champion Olivia Breen says she was left speechless and outraged after being told that her competition briefs were “too short and inappropriate” by an official while competing at the English Championships on Sunday.
Whistling Straits may suit Pádraig Harrington’s team and Jon Rahm is world No 1 but there are eight Americans in the top 10
Predicting the outcome of a Ryder Cup based on preceding major championships can be an ill-advised process. Francesco Molinari had just won the Open when Europe hosted the US in Paris three years ago but the visitors were firm favourites by virtue of six major wins from the previous eight. The Europeans duly prevailed comprehensively.
Pádraig Harrington, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, looked concerned enough with his playing of the Open’s closing 36 holes in four over par long before Collin Morikawa lifted the Claret Jug on Sunday. Harrington would never say this publicly – even if Europe tend to revel in the role of underdog for the biennial joust – but the nature of Morikawa’s latest triumph looked ominous in respect of Whistling Straits in September. The 24-year-old sits atop the US Ryder Cup qualification table. Jon Rahm, the US Open champion, has returned to No 1 in the world but eight Americans and a South African complete the top 10. Stars and stripes sit alongside 14 of the top 20.
The drivers are blaming each other for their British Grand Prix collision and neither will back down on the track either
There was an almost inescapable inevitability to the clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix. The two drivers are locked in a fierce fight for the Formula One world championship. They are competitive, determined and, crucially, unwilling to yield to one another for fear it would expose a chink that could be exploited. The irresistible force and the immovable object butted heads and when neither gave way at Silverstone the nature of their title fight fundamentally changed.
Defender open to starting a new chapter in Premier League
United confident that personal terms would not be a problem
Manchester United are preparing to make a bid to Real Madrid for the centre-back Raphaël Varane. The France international has one year left on his contract and would like to play in the Premier League.
Madrid have offered the 28-year-old world champion a contract extension but he has yet to accept it and is considering his options after 10 years at the club, having won three La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues in that time.
Collin Morikawa set his sights on further major glory in the immediate aftermath of winning the Open Championship. He made history at Royal St George’s by becoming the first debutant to win both the US PGA Championship and the Open. Morikawa’s victory was by two shots from Jordan Spieth. He is now halfway towards a career grand slam of majors.
South Africa footballers quarantined after positive tests
Team GB’s preparations for the Olympics have been plunged into chaos after six athletes and two staff members from the athletics squad were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a member of the public who had Covid-19 on their flight to Tokyo.
The news, which broke late on Sunday afternoon in Yokohama after the athletes had finished training for the day, stunned officials who immediately rushed to ensure that the athletes and staff members were confined to their rooms.
Mark Cavendish beaten by Wout Van Aert on Champs-Élysées
Tadej Pogacar secures second consecutive overall Tour title
Mark Cavendish failed at the last to break Eddy Merckx’s longstanding record of 34 career stage wins after being outsprinted by Wout Van Aert in the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées.
Cavendish had been widely expected to surpass Merckx’s record with a fifth win on the Champs-Élysées and a 35th stage win of his career, but Belgian national champion, Van Aert, winner of Saturday’s time trial stage to St Emilion, led out the sprint and held off Cavendish, to clinch his third win of this Tour.
Congratulations to Collin Morikawa, then, on his first Open title and his second major championship! Commiserations to Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen, who ran him close. Thanks for reading this blog. See you again at St Andrews for the 150th Open this time next year? Hope so!
Morikawa becomes only the sixth player to shoot four rounds under 70 at the Open. His rounds of 67, 64, 68 and 66 put him on an elite list that includes Greg Norman (1993), Nick Price (1994), Tiger Woods (2000), Henrik Stenson (2016) and Jordan Spieth (2017). He’s also third on the all-time lists of fewest career starts to win a second major. His two-from-eight record equals that of Bobby Jones, and is only bettered by Gene Sarazen (four) and Walter Hagen (six). This is not bad company to be keeping.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner furious after Max Verstappen crash
Hamilton now seven points behind the Dutch driver in title race
Joyous and revelling in his success after a gladiatorial victory in the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton ran to his adoring crowd clutching the union flag, arms spread wide as if he would bellow: “Are you not entertained?” They were indeed, on their feet and thunderous in their acclamation having witnessed a race for the ages.
Silverstone boasted drama, incident, controversy and a racing comeback worthy of a world champion who has reignited his title fight after giving definitive notice he will not yield an inch further this season.
From Beatlemania in the Budokan to the origami-inspired Aquatics Centre via perhaps the greenest Olympic stadium
The US$1.4bn Olympic stadium, called koku-ritsu or “national” by locals, is a building of its time. Some 70,000 cubic feet of forest-certified wood – mainly cedar – from each of the 47 Japanese prefectures were deliberately used in the design eliminating the need for imported timber which would have had a greater environmental impact. The Olympic cauldron will come to light using hydrogen at the opening ceremony 23 July, offsetting carbon emissions. The roof’s giant glass-like solar panels will fuel electricity, and rain water from the roof and pavements will be collected in underground tanks and irrigate the turf on the stadium’s playing fields which will be used for the Game’s athletics and football events.
Mikal Bridges tries one of those rare Phoenix threes and he makes it. Paul decides to adds one himself and it’s merely an eight-point lead and there’s still plenty of time here on the clock. The Bucks take a timeout. This could be a fun ending, folks!
Bucks 108-94 Suns, 8:51, 4th quarter
Holiday is also dishing assists here, as he finds Middleton who extends the Milwaukee lead. Booker can’t connect on his end, the Suns take advantage. Holiday adds to his point total and the Bucks are cruising.
Washington DC police say stadium employee among victims
Fans leave stadium after shots heard during Saturday’s game
The Major League Baseball game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was suspended in the sixth inning on Saturday night after police said there was a shooting outside Nationals Park.
Two people were shot, said Dustin Sternbeck, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman. Investigators believe, based on preliminary information, that one of the victims was an employee at the stadium, he said. Washington DC police later tweeted that “two additional victims associated with this incident walked into area hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds.”
The Euros showed that conservatism still dominates international football, but there are signs the club-style cohesiveness shown by Spain and Italy may be taking over
The broken glass has been cleared. Wembley Way is no longer sticky underfoot. As the sense of shame and disappointment fades, and the knee-zjerk panaceas melt away, it is perhaps worth reflecting that Euro 2020, however disgracefully it ended, was one of the great tournaments, perhaps the best since Euro 2000, and asking what that might mean for next year’s World Cup and beyond.
There was a long period in which international football represented the pinnacle of the game; that was where you saw the greatest concentration of the best players. Then in the late 70s, as coordinated systems of pressing became more widespread and time spent on the training ground developing mutual understanding became increasingly important, the club game took over. Tactically speaking at least, international football could be seen to lag a few years behind. More recently, international and club football have felt like different forms of the same sport, as remote from each other in strategy and feel as limited-overs and Test cricket.