Olympics 2021 LIVE: Tokyo reports record high Covid cases as opening ceremony director fired over Holocaust joke
Watch live as Tokyo Olympics president holds press conference
The Tokyo Olympics continues today with softball on the agenda, while Germany meeting Brazil in Yokohama headlining a busy day of men’s football too. However the build-up continues to be overshadowed by news of emerging Covid cases among athletes and officials at the Games ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.
Tokyo’s coronavirus infections surged to a six-month high on Thursday with the host city recording 1,979 coronavirus cases just 24 hours before the Games’ officially begin. There have been a number of athletes reporting positive cases forcing them into isolation and potentially ending their hopes of competing, while the highly promising Team GB skeet shooter Amber Hill tested positive shortly before her flight and the “devastated” 23-year-old has been forced to stay at home.
The action started yesterday, when Great Britain opened the women’s football competition with a comfortable 2-0 win over Chile in Sapporo. A double from striker Ellen White secured the win and there were plenty of positives for head coach Hege Riise as Team GB opened their tournament with three points. The first big shock of the Games came shortly afterwards as the reigning world champions USA were humbled 3-0 by Sweden in Tokyo, as their 44-game unbeaten run came to an end.
Follow all the latest news and updates below.
Olympic champion Van Avermaet ready to ‘give it another go’
Olympic men’s road race champion Greg van Avermaet is in Tokyo ready to try and defend his title this Saturday.
The Belgian is at the race in support of his team leader Wout van Aert, but if the opportunity arises to try and win himself then there is no doubt he will take it.
Speaking on Twitter, he said: “Flashback time to Rio, where the Olympic dream became reality. Let’s try to give it another go with the team Saturday!”
Belgium boast a super strong men’s team for the 234 kilometre course including Van Aert and young superstar Remco Evenepoel.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 10:37
Most Indian athletes opt out of Olympic opening ceremony
Just 22 of India’s competing athletes will attend the opening ceremony in Tokyo on Friday, according to Times of India.
This is due to coronavirus fears given the number of positive cases which have already been confirmed within the Olympic village.
Along with the 22 athletes, six Indian officials will also attend the ceremony, a fraction of the original number.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 10:25
A look back at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Ahead of the official start of the Tokyo Olympic Games tomorrow, we thought we would take a look back at London 2012.
Compared with the fearful, glum atmosphere surrounding Tokyo due to the pandemic, 2012 could not have been more different.
But how did the Olympics in London unite a divided nation?
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 10:12
Murray vs Auger-Aliassime head-to-head
Andy Murray will face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Brit has only faced the 20-year-old Canadian once before, a meeting which came in the second round of the US Open last year.
Auger-Aliassime won the match 6-2 6-3 6-4 and would go on to reach the fourth round before being beaten by eventual champion Dominic Thiem.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 10:00
Coronavirus cases in Tokyo highest since January
The number of coronavirus cases in Tokyo is at its highest since January just days before the city is set to host the Olympic Games.
On Thursday, the Japanese capital registered 1,979 coronavirus cases just 24 hours before the opening ceremony.
The figure is 671 more than last Thursday as the transmission rate continues to skyrocket prior to the Olympics.
There have been doubts as to whether the Games could still be postponed or cancelled at short notice, but it appears now they are set to go ahead despite the pandemic.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 09:47
Olympic road races and time trials preview
The road cycling at the Olympic Games gets underway on Saturday as the medals begin to be dished out in Tokyo.
Lizzie Deignan is Britain’s big hope in the women’s road race on Sunday as she bids to go one step further than the silver medal she managed at London 2012.
The Yates brothers will lead the men’s road race team on Saturday as they look to upset the odds and win a medal.
And then the time trials on Wednesday will see the likes of Anna van der Breggen, Chloe Dygert, Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna looking to steal the show.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 09:45
Djokovic arrives in Tokyo for Olympics
The tennis world number 1 Novak Djokovic last week confirmed he would be attending the postponed Tokyo 2020 games. He tweeted that he had booked his flight and was proud to represent Serbia at the games in Japan.
The 34-year-old won his sixth Wimbledon men’s singles title on 11 July.
Several high-profile tennis players, including Roger Federer and Serena Williams, have said they would not take part in the Olympics which kick off on Friday.
Watch: Djokovic arrives in Tokyo for Olympics
Novak Djokovic was filmed arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Wednesday ahead of Olympics.The tennis world number 1 last week confirmed he would be attending the postponed Tokyo 2020 games. He tweeted that he had booked his flight and was proud to represent Serbia at the games in Japan.The 34-year-old won his sixth Wimbledon men’s singles title on 11 July.Several high-profile tennis players, including Roger Federer and Serena Williams, have said they would not take part in the Olympics which kick off on Friday.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 09:32
Tokyo’s unpopular Olympic Games lumbers towards opening ceremony with shrug and sadness
Be sure to check out our very own Vithushan Ehantharajah’s piece from Tokyo on what could have been at this summer’s Games.
Here’s a little preview: “To be in Tokyo this week is to operate in a state of perpetual quarantine. Or actual quarantine as one of the thousands of media to arrive on Monday or Tuesday.
“If, like many, this is your first trip to Japan, moving around the city feels like that specific privilege of losing deep into a game show. Happy to be there but pained by the loss of what you could have won.”
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 09:20
Key questions answered
Here are some of the most pertinent questions ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
- When is the opening ceremony?
- When do the events start?
- What is the time difference?
- What is the schedule for the Games and which sports are involved?
- When do the Games end?
Find out the answers to all of those questions by clicking on the link below.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 09:07
Olympics opening ceremony director sacked over historical Holocaust jokes
The director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been sacked after historical footage emerged of Kentaro Kobayashi making jokes about the Holocaust in the latest scandal to hit the Games.
A clip was widely shared on Japanese social media on Wednesday showing the comedian Kobayashi in a 1998 TV skit which included the line “Let’s play Holocaust”, and there were strong calls for his dismissal.
The Jewish human rights organisation Simon Wiesenthal Center released a statement condemning the jokes, saying: “Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide … any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews.”
Kobayashi’s sacking comes one day before the start of the opening ceremony, which had earlier this week lost its musical composer Keigo Oyamada, who resigned after it emerged he had bullied classmates and boasted about it in a magazine interview.
Dylan Terry22 July 2021 08:55