Japan was planning Thursday to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and expand the measure to four other regions as the nationwide number of new daily coronavirus cases soared past 10,000 for the first time, officials said.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said his government would ask a panel of experts Friday to broaden the state of emergency beyond the capital, even as authorities sought to downplay the outbreak’s effect on the Olympics Games in Tokyo.
The fresh surge has cast a shadow over the Games, where strict protocols have kept athletes and other visitors separate from the rest of the city. Olympic organizers Thursday announced 24 new coronavirus cases linked to the Games, as well as two hospitalizations, marking the largest single-day increase of the events.
Israel seemed poised for perhaps the biggest upset in Olympic baseball history Thursday when Ryan Lavarnway homered in the top of the ninth inning to force extra innings against South Korea, which won the gold medal the last time baseball was contested at the Olympics in 2008.
But in the bottom of the 10th, with runners on first and second to start the inning, Israel reliever Jeremy Bleich hit two batters on consecutive pitches, forcing in the winning run for South Korea in a 6-5 victory to open Group B play.
Still, it was an impressive Olympic baseball debut for Israel, which is ranked last of the six teams in the field and comprises only four players native to the country. The rest are American players whose Jewish descent allowed them to gain Israeli citizenship.
Lavarnway, the 2007 NCAA batting champion who has played for eight MLB teams (including Cleveland last month), also homered in the sixth inning while Ian Kinsler — a four-time MLB all-star who announced his retirement in late 2019 — did so in the third.
Israel faces the United States in Group B play on Friday at 6 a.m. Eastern in the Olympic opener for the Americans.
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Sunisa Lee wins gold medal in women’s gymnastics all-around final
TOKYO — Sunisa Lee, an 18-year-old from Minnesota, won the Olympic all-around title in a competition that came down to the final routines. Team USA has won every all-around title at the Games since 2004, and even after Simone Biles withdrew as she continues to work through mental health struggles, the Americans’ streak remains intact.
Rebeca Andrade of Brazil had an opportunity to climb ahead of Lee with her floor routine, but she went out of bounds twice and finished fewer than two tenths behind. Lee earned a 57.433, and Andrade finished with a 57.298. With an immense amount of pressure during the final rotation, Lee hit her floor routine with poise and earned the best score she has gotten on that apparatus at these Games.
TOKYO — Asked if she had a favorite of the four Olympic medals she has won across three Summer Games, Australian canoeing legend Jessica Fox didn’t hesitate: the gold she won Thursday at Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, not just for its color but for the history it carries.
Fox became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s canoe slalom Thursday when she bulldozed the artificial whitewater course in Tokyo with a clean run in 1:05.04, besting silver medalist Mallory Franklin of Britain by 3.64 seconds, bronze medalist Andrea Herzog of Germany by 6.09 seconds and making history in the meantime. Women have competed in kayak slalom since the event was made a permanent part of the Olympic program in 1992 for both men and women. But canoe slalom hasn’t been an option until these Games.
Its addition is the product of the International Olympic Committee’s push toward gender parity at the Olympics.
Novak Djokovic edged closer to staking his claim to men’s tennis history, advancing to an Olympic semifinal in his pursuit of a Golden Slam.
Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked player and the Games’ top seed, advanced to the medal round of the Olympic tournament with a 6-2, 6-0 quarterfinal victory over Japan’s Kei Nishikori on Thursday.
Djokovic, winner of the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon, is pursuing the Golden Slam, which consists of winning the sport’s four major pro tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in singles. Only Steffi Graf has won the five tournaments in the same calendar year. One Grand Slam tournament, the U.S. Open, remains on the 2021 tennis calendar. It begins Aug. 20.
In his Olympic semifinal, the Serbian player will face either Alexander Zverev of Germany or Jeremy Chardy of France. Djokovic’s two biggest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, are not playing in the Olympics. Djokovic and those two men are tied for the most Grand Slam titles with 20 each.
After winning Wimbledon, Djokovic had expressed uncertainty about playing in the Games because of travel restrictions on his support team because of the coronavirus pandemic. “My plan was always to go to [the] Olympic Games,” he said after the Wimbledon final, “but right now I’m a little bit divided. It’s kind of 50-50.”
Within several days he had made up his mind, and the Golden Slam pursuit was on.
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U.S. team advances to final of first Olympic mixed medley relay
TOKYO — In the first mixed medley relay in Olympic history, the United States took the second overall spot during its preliminary heat to secure a place in Saturday’s historic final. The event has been contested at world championships and other meets in past years, but it was added to the Olympic program for the first time this year.
Team USA used a lineup of Regan Smith (backstroke), Andrew Wilson (breaststroke), Tom Shields (butterfly) and Abbey Weitzeil (freestyle) in prelims, and their time of 3 minutes 41.02 seconds trailed only Britain (3:38.75) in prelims.
Lineups are expected to change considerably from prelims to the final, as teams test out different race strategies — with each squad consisting of two women and two men, but with no rules on who swims which leg — and navigate their swimmers’ busy schedules.
The event is one of three making its Olympic debut this year, along with the women’s 1,500 freestyle and the men’s 800 freestyle.
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German cycling official sent home after yelling racial slur during competition
Despite his apology, a German cycling official was sent home Thursday after shouting a racial slur during an Olympic race.
“The team leadership at the Olympic Games in Tokyo has decided that Patrick Moster cannot continue his work as national team leader cycling and will return to Germany,” the team said in a statement.
The incident occurred during the men’s individual time trial while German cyclist Nikias Arndt was reportedly trying to make up ground on Algeria’s Azzedine Lagab and Eritrea’s Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier.
Daniil Medvedev managed to win his battle against the heat Thursday, but Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta was another matter.
The sixth-seeded Spaniard advanced to a men’s tennis semifinal against Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) upset of Medvedev, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, at Ariake Tennis Park. A berth in the final would place Carreño Busta in the rarefied Spanish Olympic territory occupied by Rafael Nadal, who won gold in singles and doubles in 2008.
“With Rafa there are always more medal options,” Carreño Busta, 30, said just before the Olympics began, “but he is not there and we must forget about it, focus each one on their matches, and in any case we have a great team, we have players who can be at the top, so to support and focus on who have come.”
Medvedev came in at a distinct disadvantage, with matches on consecutive days and the stifling heat and humidity taking a punishing toll on him. His struggle was so apparent at one point Wednesday that the chair umpire asked him if he could continue with the match and was told, “I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, are you going to be responsible?”
Medvedev beat Italy’s Fabio Fagnini, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, but said he felt “darkness” in his eyes.
“I didn’t know what to do to feel better,” he said. “I was ready to just fall down on the court.”
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Americans Rhyan White, Phoebe Bacon advance in 200-meter backstroke
TOKYO — Americans Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon took two of the top four spots during preliminary heats of the women’s 200-meter backstroke at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Thursday and cruised into Friday’s semifinals.
White, a 20-year-old Utah native, finished tied for second overall with a time of 2 minutes 8.23 seconds, trailing only top finisher Kaylee McKeown of Australia (2:08.18), the top overall seed entering prelims.
Bacon, an 18-year-old from Bethesda, Md., who committed to swim for the University of Wisconsin, finished fourth in 2:08.30.
Follow along here for live updates from the women’s gymnastics all-around final
TOKYO — World record holder Caeleb Dressel of Team USA tied the Olympic record in preliminary heats of the men’s 100-meter butterfly Thursday night at Tokyo Aquatic Centre, clocking a time of 50.39 seconds. The time tied Joseph Schooling’s record from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Dressel, 24, will head into the semifinals Friday as the top overall seed, trailed by Kristof Milak of Hungary (50.62). Milak, who won gold in the 200 fly Wednesday, is considered Dressel’s top competition.
Dressel has already won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, the second of them coming Thursday morning in the 100-meter freestyle. He is entered in six events here, including relays, and has a legitimate shot at golds in all six.
Katie Ledecky sails into the final of her signature event
TOKYO — American distance champion Katie Ledecky sailed through preliminary heats Thursday night and into the final of the women’s 800-meter freestyle, an event in which she owns the top 24 times in history.
Ledecky, 24, posted a time of 8 minutes 15.67 seconds, about a second and a half ahead of Team USA teammate Katie Grimes, who finished second at 8:17.05. They will top the field for the 800 free final Saturday, Ledecky’s last swim of the Olympics. Ledecky is the two-time defending Olympic champion, reigning world champion and current world record holder in the event.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, who defeated Ledecky in a stirring duel in the 400 free earlier in the meet, is considered one of Ledecky’s top challengers in the 800. She finished sixth in qualifying at 8:18.99.
Ledecky’s swim came about seven hours after she anchored the U.S. women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay squad to a silver medal with a blistering leg that out-split every other swimmer in the race. It was Ledecky’s third medal of the Olympics and the ninth of her career.
TOKYO — Two months ago, American middleweight boxer Troy Isley got a second chance at a lifelong dream when a canceled qualifying tournament allowed USA Boxing to add him to its team more than a year after he lost in the U.S. Olympic trials.
Isley, 22, who had already turned pro, leaped at the opportunity to come back, saying a gold medal was the thing he had always wanted most. After his first Olympic fight this week he vowed to win the tournament for his hometown of Alexandria, Va.
Then, Thursday night, he lost his round-of-16 fight, 3-2, to Gleb Bakshi, who is representing the Russian Olympic Committee. Afterward, he was distraught, crying at times uncontrollably while passing through the media mixed zone.
“Because this is the dream I wanted. I wanted to win a gold medal, and I fell short,” he said. “I had all eyes on me, and I still fell short.”
The fight was close, with both boxers landing heavy blows. Isley said that after losing the first round, he was sure he had done enough to win the last two of the three-round bout.
“I probably landed cleaner shots. He probably outworked me, but he didn’t land more shots than me,” Isley said. “Like, look at his face. Look at mine.”
A few feet away, Bakshi spoke with reporters with giant welts under both eyes. As he talked, Bakshi held a cold slab of metal against one of them.
“I was expected to do better,” Isley said through tears. “I underachieved.”
How Katie Ledecky helped the United States win another silver medal
TOKYO — Relays require a different calculus than the rest of Katie Ledecky’s races. In the emotion of the moment, when your result impacts not only your own medal hopes but those of three teammates, it’s pointless to worry about stroke rates or overall race strategy. You might be forced to take off, as Ledecky did Thursday afternoon in the final of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics, buried deep in third place. There’s only one strategy available at that point.
“I knew I was just going to let it go,” she said, “and go for it each lap of that race.”
Starting from Lane 5, swimming the anchor leg in a race in which Team USA was trailing Australia by a second and a half and China by nearly two, Ledecky unleashed the full fury of the most powerful female freestyle stroke in history — simultaneously pulling off her most impressive single swim of the Olympic meet and pushing Team USA to a silver medal that seemed nearly impossible when she dove into the water.