China and Russia, two of Tokyo's top Olympic medal contenders in men's artistic gymnastics, put down markers on Saturday, dominating the first of three qualifying subdivisions. Early action on opening day at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre produced little drama as the athletes expected to battle for podium places over the next 11 days looked poised to qualify with the minimum of fuss. Still, qualifying will provide a glimpse at where the fights will be with eight nations advancing to Monday's team final by the end of the day.
Mykayla Skinner finally made the U.S. women’s Olympics 2020 gymnastics team after being left off the Rio 2016 squad. The 24-year-old Arizonan’s vault is good enough to land her on the podium alongside teammate Simone Biles, but she might not get the chance to try. What happens in the qualification round on Sunday will decide whether a gymnast like Skinner will walk away from the Tokyo Games with a medal or nothing at all.
Helen Glover’s hopes of capping a remarkable return with an historic third successive Olympic gold medal were dealt a hefty blow on a disappointing Saturday morning for Britain’s rowers when her pairing with Polly Swann only just managed to scrape through to the semi-finals as the slowest qualifiers. After almost five years out to start a family, Glover raised expectations that she might again stand atop the Olympic podium when she and Swann won the European title earlier this year. However, the
Australia powered past hosts Japan 5-3 in a thrilling opening match of the men's hockey tournament at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, while India fought back from a goal down to beat New Zealand. Australia's 'Kookaburras' trailed 3-2 at halftime after conceding three goals in quick succession not long before the break but kept fighting to turn the tables in the final two quarters. The Australians pulled level in the 34th minute after Blake Govers scored a penalty corner and went ahead on the sun-drenched pitch of the main stadium with a backhand shot from captain Aran Zalewski that flew high in the net.
Anna van der Breggen knows that if she is to celebrate her final year as a professional cyclist with a second successive Olympic title she will have to beat a team mate on Sunday. The 31-year-old world champion, along with 2012 Olympic winner and three-time world champion Marianne Vos, Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering, will form a fearsome quartet over the hilly 136 km course. Van der Breggen won in Rio after race leader Van Vleuten suffered a horrific crash on the descent to Copacabana.
TOKYO (Reuters) -The United States suffered a surprise loss to Indonesia in the mixed-team archery competition on Saturday, dashing the 8th-ranked pair's medal hopes. Indonesian pair Diananda Choirunisa and Riau Salsabilla, ranked 36th in the world leading into the event, now go on to the next round to face Turkey in a quarter-final, ahead of the final later in the day. "Honestly, I'm so shocked ... like I completely expected us to win a medal today," American world No.1 Brady Ellison said after the defeat.
Canada took advantage of a pair of throwing errors and piled on Australia to secure a 7-1 win on Saturday to start the third set of softball games at the Tokyo Olympics. Australia's second loss in the six-team tournament leaves them in fourth place with two games to go. A stolen base and an Australian throwing error led to Canada's first run.
American surfer Caroline Marks eyes the Pacific Ocean carefully before expertly catching a wave and launching into a routine of slashing turns and jumps, fine-tuning her tricks ahead of surfing's long-awaited Olympic debut on Sunday. The campaign to have the sport included in the Games was going on long before the 19-year-old was born, and she and her fellow surfers are hoping for the big waves they need to showcase the best of their sport at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach. "I'm super-excited," New Zealander Billy Stairmand told Reuters after his final training session at the beach.
TOKYO (Reuters) -When women's weightlifting was introduced as an Olympic sport in 2000, Papua New Guinea's then 16-year-old Loa Dika Toua became the first-ever female Olympian lifter. Wearing her country's flag colours of red and black, Toua grabbed the bar with a scream, lifted 167 kg in total and smiled in joy, making a heart gesture with her hands at the television camera that she said was for her children.
TOKYO (Reuters) -China's Yang Qian claimed the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday after prevailing in a battle of nerves with Russian Anastasiia Galashina in the women's 10-metre rifle competition. Galashina barely made it to the final, grabbing the last of the eight qualifying slots, but was in pole position for gold until she cracked under the pressure. Yang was not immune to the pressure at the Asaka Shooting Range but her below-par final shot of 9.8 was still enough to snatch the gold with an Olympic record total of 251.8.
TOKYO (Reuters) -Syria's Hend Zaza, at 12 the youngest athlete competing at the Tokyo Olympics, exited the table tennis tournament in the opening round on Saturday, snapping a selfie with her Austrian opponent to remember the occasion. Zaza was battling an opponent more than three times her age in 39-year-old Liu Jia in the women's singles preliminary round but showed no sign of nerves, maintaining her composure despite a 4-0 defeat. "It was very tough to mentally be prepared for (the Olympics) but I think I somehow managed to overcome this, and this is the part that I think I did the best during the match," Zaza told reporters after the match.
Power, who was widely viewed as the top-ranked prospect due in part to his combination of size, mobility and poise, spent last season playing for the University of Michigan. The left-handed defenseman grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, about 90 miles (144 km) from Buffalo, and had three goals and 13 assists in 26 games last season as a freshman with Michigan and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2021 world championship. Buffalo may have to wait to see Power in their lineup as the 6-foot-6, 213-pound defenseman said recently he was leaning toward playing his sophomore season at Michigan and would not make a decision until after the draft.
No Russian man has won a swimming gold in the Olympics since the Atlanta Games in 1996 when Alexander Popov and Denis Pankratov both topped the podium twice. The best chance of Russia breaking their barren spell is the 200 metres backstroke where Evgeny Rylov is favourite to beat the American defending champion Ryan Murphy. Rylov has beaten Murphy in the last two World Championships and holds five of the fastest swims in the history of the event.
TOKYO (Reuters) -Dutch rower Finn Florijn Olympic dream was shattered after the young rower tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after competing in the men's single sculls race. "I wasn't completely satisfied with my race, but I was hopeful to do better in the rematch," said Florijn, whose father was also an Olympic rower. Florijn was scheduled to take part in the repechage race on Saturday, which gives competitors another chance to qualify.
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A four-time champion in Canada, Djokovic is at the Tokyo Olympics where he will try to keep alive his hopes of achieving a 'Golden Slam' - victories at all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single year plus an Olympic singles gold. "It would have been fantastic to have hosted Novak," Karl Hale, tournament director of the Aug. 9-15 National Bank Open, said in a news release.