Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 01, 3:52 a.m.
TOKYO — Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica on Saturday repeated as the Olympic champion in the women’s 100 meters, outsprinting a field that included Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a two-time former champion.
Thompson-Herah finished in 10.61 seconds, breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s Olympic record by a hundredth of a second in a time that made her the second-fastest woman in history.
It was a Jamaican sweep of the medals: Fraser-Pryce took silver in 10.74, and Shericka Jackson won bronze.
Fraser-Pryce had been seeking her third Olympic gold in the event after winning back-to-back titles at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. She won bronze in the 100 meters at the Rio Olympics in 2016, finishing behind Thompson-Herah and Tori Bowie of the United States.
On Saturday, Thompson-Herah edged ahead of Fraser-Pryce about halfway down the track and held her off, triumphantly raising her left arm as she crossed the finish line. She then fell to the track in apparent disbelief.
Teahna Daniels, the lone American in the race, finished seventh.
The final on Saturday was missing two notable figures: Sha’Carri Richardson, the U.S. champion, who is serving a monthlong suspension for testing positive for marijuana, a banned substance; and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, who was suspended by antidoping authorities on Saturday for testing positive for human growth hormone.
A deep pool of talent remained. Thompson-Herah seemed to send a message by winning her semifinal heat in 10.76 seconds, despite slowing a few meters from the finish.
Fraser-Pryce, meanwhile, came through her semifinal heat in 10.73. Both runners appeared primed for a showdown. They delivered.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou
Ajla del Ponte
The women’s 100-meter final was preceded by the first mixed-gender 4×400 relay in Olympic history. In a stunner, Poland won gold in a tight finish with the Dominican Republic in second, and the United States in third.
And in first-round heats of the men’s 100-meter dash, all three Americans — Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley and Ronnie Baker — made it through to the semifinals, though Bromell, one of the favorites to win gold, labored to a fourth-place in his heat and advanced based only on his time.
Katie Ledecky of the United States swam to her second gold of the Games in the women’s 800 meters, a victory made all the more satisfying because it was at the expense of her rival Ariarne Titmus of Australia. Caeleb Dressel of the United States won his third gold medal, setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly.
But there was disappointment for the U.S. swimmers in the new mixed medley relay: Ryan Murphy had the team in the lead after the opening backstroke leg, but they faded on the breaststroke and butterfly, all the way to last place at one point. Dressel’s freestyle anchor could pull them to only fifth. Britain won the event.
In track and field, Elaine Thompson-Herah defended her title in the 100-meter dash and led a Jamaican sweep of the podium with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson. Poland won the first mixed-gender 4×400 relay, followed by the Dominican Republic and the United States.
More mixed-gender events on Saturday: Spain won in trap shooting, with tiny San Marino in second and the United States third. Earlier, Alessandra Perilli had won San Marino’s first-ever medal in the individual event. Now she has two.
In the mixed triathlon relay, Britain beat the United States for gold, and France surprised Japan in the judo team competition.
The U.S. baseball team defeated South Korea, 4-2, and won its group.
Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain defeated Novak Djokovic to win the bronze in men’s tennis. Djokovic withdrew from his bronze medal mixed doubles match.
And no one bounced better than Ivan Litvinovich of Belarus in men’s trampoline; Dong Dong of China was second for his fourth career medal in the event.
TOKYO — Belinda Bencic of Switzerland won gold in the women’s singles tennis tournament on Saturday night, beating Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and positioning herself to be one of very few players to win singles and doubles gold in the same Olympics.
Bencic edged out Vondrousova in a tight third set to win the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, breaking Vondrousova’s serve quickly in the eighth game of the final set after taking an extended break during a changeover to have the big toe on her right foot heavily bandaged by a trainer.
Bencic did not seem frustrated by the medical timeout. As the trainer wrapped the toe, she bounced in her seat to “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco, which played over the stadium’s loudspeakers. She then played with extra aggression to push ahead.
Vondrousova had a break point against Bencic in the final game but could not convert and then had errors on the next two points to give Bencic the win.
“If I end my career without winning any additional matches then I would still be happy because what I’ve reached today, this is something no one can take away from me anymore,” said Bencic, who is ranked No. 12 in the world with four titles on the women’s tour, having earned more than $618,000 in prize money.
Bencic said she was uncomfortable early in the match, because of the heat, the timing on her shots and her efforts to gain an upper hand on Vondrousova. “I was already at the limit of my powers,” she said, having won a tight first set and being quickly overwhelmed in the second. But, she said, she focused on her game and not the result.
The medical break in the third set allowed Bencic to regroup, treat a blister and get the break she needed to win.
“This stuff happens in tennis. She had a great game after,” said Vondrousova, who said she kept in contact with Bencic, a friend and practice partner, throughout the tournament. Both players said they spoke before their showdown, and Bencic said Vondrousova’s friendship was important in a sport that can be sometimes lonely.
“You could see it on the court — we weren’t really opponents,” Bencic said.
Bencic is scheduled to play in a women’s doubles final on Sunday, partnering with Viktorija Golubic on Sunday against the top-seeded team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
If Bencic can win the doubles gold, she would be only the fourth woman to win both singles and doubles at the same Games, a feat last accomplished by Serena Williams in 2012 in London.
Bencic said she would play as hard as she could yet was also happy that she was guaranteed at least a silver in doubles.
“I’m super excited for it and I will give all the energy that I have left in me,” she said.
Bencic had hoped to also play mixed doubles in tandem with Roger Federer, but he chose not to play in Tokyo while dealing with an injured knee.
Bencic said that Federer, who has 20 Grand Slam singles titles, wrote to her on Saturday.
“He said that this is the perfect day to reach my dreams,” she said.
Bencic’s showdown with Vondrousova, which featured the players mostly trading powerful groundstrokes, was far more quiet and subdued than what Tokyo organizers had hoped for, even with restrictions on fans because of the coronavirus pandemic. The stands were nearly empty, and the scattered moments of applause from Swiss and Czech delegations and volunteers were far more fleeting than the buzz of cicadas (a summer fixture in Tokyo) and the rumbling of cars on a nearby freeway.
The allure of the tournament for casual fans was all but erased during the week, when Vondrousova routed Naomi Osaka in the third round, dashing the hopes of many Japanese for a signature Olympic moment of a gold for Osaka, one of the country’s biggest sporting stars. Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, lost to Vondrousova in about an hour and said afterward that the weight of the challenge played in to her defeat.
“I should be used to it by now, but the scale of everything is a bit hard because of the break that I took,” she said after a defeat that drew harsh criticism in Japan, perhaps undercutting efforts in the country to highlight the racial diversity of its athletes.
Earlier on Saturday, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine came back from a bad first set to defeat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan for bronze, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Alexander Zverev of Germany and Karen Khachanov of Russia will face off in the men’s final, scheduled for Sunday.
TOKYO — Pablo Carreño Busta, a highly ranked Spaniard who has twice reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open but never broken through in a big way on the professional tour, outlasted Novak Djokovic, the top men’s player in the world, to win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.
Soon after Carreño Busta won a marathon match that lasted 2 hours and 39 minutes, Djokovic withdrew from his bronze medal match in mixed doubles, assuring that he would end the Olympics without a medal of any color despite his ambitions to win all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic men’s singles gold in the same year.
Djokovic and his partner, Nina Stojanovic, withdrew on Saturday night with what was announced as a left shoulder injury for Djokovic, and he told reporters that he was disappointed but pleased with his effort during the Games.
“It’s a must to always give your last source of energy that you have left. I’ve done that and the result wasn’t great,” Djokovic said. He added: “The exhaustion, both mental and physical, got to me and it’s unfortunate that the most important matches just didn’t deliver. But I gave it all.”
The walkover meant that Ashleigh Barty, the top-ranked women’s player who was upset in Round 1 of the women’s singles tournament, and John Peers won bronze for Australia in mixed doubles.
Carreño Busta won, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3, in a contest that had several long rallies, highlights and gamesmanship between the players. Djokovic, though, unraveled in the third set, chucking one racket out of frustration onto a concourse above a section of empty seats and banging another against the net post in front of the chair umpire after losing the first three games.
After winning, Carreño Busta dropped to the floor and spread out his arms and legs, much like Djokovic has done time and again after securing one of his 20 Grand Slam victories. After getting up, Carreño Busta greeted Djokovic at the net, then lay on the floor again in front of his courtside bench.
“I thought especially about my family, about all the people that love me, that suffer next to me, that sacrifice themselves to support me,” Carreño Busta said through an interpreter. He added: “I’ve come to Tokyo in a good physical and mental moment.”
Djokovic, who won singles bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and lost a bronze medal match in London in 2012, had already fallen short in his attempt to be the first man to complete a Golden Slam, needing a gold for Serbia along with a U.S. Open win later this summer. Djokovic — who is 34 and the most dominant professional player right now — has already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon in 2021. The U.S. Open begins in late August, and he will certainly be the top favorite there because of the Grand Slam structure requiring three sets to win each match — and because he is so difficult to beat on hardcourts.
It was the second win for Carreño Busta against Djokovic. Last year, Carreño Busta was outplaying Djokovic in the U.S. Open when Djokovic hit a ball out of frustration that nailed a line judge in the throat. Djokovic, the clear favorite in the tournament, was immediately disqualified.
Both players were eliminated in their semifinals on Friday, seemingly as favorites. Yet it will be Alexander Zverev of Germany (who beat Djokovic) facing Karen Khachanov of Russia on Sunday for the gold.
Carreño Busta, 30, is ranked 11th but has only two wins on the professional tour. He won the first set after securing an early break of Djokovic’s serve. Djokovic won the second in a tiebreaker by outlasting Carreño Busta in several long rallies, including one that could have given Carreño Busta the win in straight sets.
Both players dealt with stifling heat throughout the contest: 90 degrees and humid, even in the shade of center court, with what felt like the full force of the sun bearing down on the hardcourt for the first two hours. It was only at the beginning of the third set that their court was fully covered in shade.
Tennis players up and down each draw have struggled throughout these tournaments to cope with the heat. Their only moments of relief on center court, it seems, come when they sit under large white umbrellas on each changeover, where they can have a cold drink and use a large hose that blows cold air.
Djokovic and other players had complained about the conditions earlier in the tournament, and successfully lobbied to move starting times later. If the move made a difference, it was marginal at best.
Carreño Busta said he was having his own frustrations and doubts until he went ahead in the third set.
“The first game of the third set gave me hope to believe in my game,” he said. “And yes, I swatted my way though this match.”
The fastest Olympic sprint was Usain Bolt’s 100 meters at the London Games, averaging more than 23 miles per hour for 9.63 seconds. Marathoners, who run for two hours, top out at around half of Bolt’s speed.
The 100 meters and the marathon are at either end of the Olympic spectrum of running races. The sprints (100, 200 and 400 meters) are strictly about power and mechanics. The endurance races (1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters and the marathon) are all about the supply and demand of energy. The 800-meter race, while just two laps around the track, sits between them, the painful middle ground between a pure sprint and pure endurance.
We invited three elite runners — TyNia Gaither, a 100-meter runner, Olivia Baker, an 800-meter runner, and Jared Ward, a marathon runner — to run on the world’s fastest treadmill.
The common thread in all the events is speed. In the end, it’s the only measure that matters; whoever crosses the finish line first wins. There is a single factor that determines a runner’s speed, regardless of distance: how much force they deliver into the ground relative to their weight, said Peter Weyand, one of the world’s foremost experts on how to run faster.
Simone Biles, the superstar American gymnast, will not compete in Sunday’s event finals for vault and uneven bars at the Tokyo Games, according to U.S.A. Gymnastics. Earlier this week, she withdrew from the event finals and the all-around final, citing mental health reasons, and she is still eligible for finals in the floor exercise on Monday and the balance beam on Tuesday.
MyKayla Skinner, the American who had the fourth-highest score on vault during qualifying, will take Biles’s place in the vault final. Skinner did not initially secure a spot in the final because each country is allowed only two gymnasts in each final, and Biles and Jade Carey had qualified ahead of her.
“Can’t wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us,” Skinner said on Twitter, mentioning Biles. “It’s go time baby!”
Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos of France will take Biles’s place in the bars finals.
In an emailed statement on Saturday, U.S.A. Gymnastics said Biles “will continue to be evaluated daily” to determine whether she will compete in the floor exercise and the balance beam or whether her Tokyo Games are over.
“We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances,” the statement said.
Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, won a silver medal with her U.S. team in the team final after backing out of the event once it began. After performing the vault, she said she had gotten lost in the air and could no longer gauge where her body was in relation to the ground. She said she didn’t think it was safe for her to continue and said she didn’t want to risk losing a medal for the U.S. team by not being able to perform well. Instead, she left her teammates to compete without her and cheered them on from the competition floor.
Two days later, Biles also did not compete in the all-around final because of the issue, which can be described as a mental block. In an Instagram story on Friday, she said that the problem was still plaguing her.
“Literally can not tell up from down,” Biles wrote in the Instagram story. “It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”
Biles, who came into the Tokyo Games undefeated in the all-around since 2013, had been expected to become the first woman in 53 years to win back-to-back all-around Olympic titles. Instead, Biles’s teammate, Sunisa Lee, of St. Paul, Minn., went on to win the all-around on Thursday. Lee will compete for her next medal on Sunday on the uneven bars, her specialty.
Katie Ledecky, the U.S. swimmer, has always tried to distance herself from the field, and the Tokyo Olympics have been no exception.
She won two gold medals this week, in the 800-meter freestyle and the 1,500-meter freestyle, which is a new Olympic event for women this year. That gives her six Olympic gold medals in individual events over her career, the most of any female swimmer, and more than any man except Michael Phelps, who has 13.
She has seven total gold medals, including one she won with the U.S. 4×200 freestyle relay team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. She also has three silver medals — two earned in Tokyo this week, one in Rio — for a total of 10 medals overall.
Ledecky, 24, said Saturday that she intended to continue competing, and to qualify for the 2024 Games in Paris. She is still the world’s best female distance swimmer, but a new generation of athletes is catching up with her, and even overtaking her, especially in the shorter races.
Here’s a look at Ledecky’s decorated career, and the new competition she faces:
TOKYO — It was the Katie and Caeleb Show, an ongoing series at swimming, as the Americans continued their medal haul at the Olympics.
Caeleb Dressel won his third gold medal of these Olympics, setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 49.45 seconds. He will look for his fourth gold on Sunday, the meet’s final day, in the 50-meter fly.
Katie Ledecky finished her meet at the Tokyo Games with a gold medal in one of her signature races, the women’s 800-meter freestyle, becoming the first swimmer to win the event in three consecutive Olympics.
She finished in 8 minutes 12.57 seconds, beating rival Ariarne Titmus of Australia by 1.26 seconds. And while Ledecky is finished in Tokyo, floating away with two gold medals (the other in the 1,500 free) and two silver medals, she said she is already looking forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, just three years away, and toying with the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
“I’m definitely going through Paris,” Ledecky said. “And maybe beyond, as well. We’ll see.”
Dressel finished the 100 fly on the best possible note — a world record — but had more swimming to do. He cruised through a semifinal heat in the 50 free, and will be favored to win another gold on the meet’s last day.
He then joined the American team in the final of the inaugural mixed 4×100 medley relay, swimming free in the final leg, but it was not enough to earn the United States a medal. Britain won, with a world record, followed by China and Australia. The United States was fifth, three seconds behind the winners.
|Men’s 100m Butterfly||
|Women’s 200m Backstroke||
|Women’s 800m Freestyle||
|Mixed 4×100m Medley Relay|
The Americans had hoped for another medal or two in the 200-meter women’s backstroke, but ended up fourth and fifth. Kaylee McKeown of Australia won in a time of 2:04.68.
Simone Manuel of the United States failed to qualify for the 50-meter freestyle final after finishing 11th out of 16 swimmers in semifinal heats in a time of 24.63 seconds. It was the only individual event for Manuel, who shockingly did not qualify for the Olympics in the 100 free, her signature event and one where she won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Alen Hadzic, an alternate on the U.S. Olympic fencing team who is accused of sexual misconduct, has been ostracized in Tokyo and prevented from staying in the Olympic Village.
On Friday, his teammates protested his presence face to face — or, more precisely, mask to mask. During introductions for the team épée competition, three U.S. fencers wore pink masks, apparently in support of sexual assault victims, while Hadzic was left wearing a black one. A photograph of the unsettled team showed the fencers standing in stark contrast.
“Kudos to the team for taking a stand,” tweeted Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a bronze medal in the women’s saber competition in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and became the first Muslim woman to represent the United States at an Olympics while wearing a hijab.
#TeamUSA men’s epee team wore pink masks for their opening match at the Olympics as a show of support for sexual assault victims. Alen Hadzic— their teammate accused of rape and sexual assault— is on the left. Kudos to the team for taking a stand. #BelieveWomen pic.twitter.com/yRI4azelKN
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) July 30, 2021
Hadzic, 29, who grew up in Montclair, N.J., has been accused of sexual impropriety by three female fencers in incidents that took place between 2013 and 2015. At least two of the accusers knew Hadzic during their careers at Columbia University.
On June 2, Hadzic was temporarily suspended from fencing by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent nonprofit created in 2017 to safeguard athletes from sexual, emotional and physical abuse.
Hadzic, who has denied the accusations, appealed to an arbitrator, who ruled that the suspension was “inappropriate to the allegations” and restored his Olympic eligibility. His inclusion on the team, the arbitrator wrote, would not be “detrimental to the reputation of the United States or his sport.”
But the U.S. team has shunned Hadzic in Tokyo. USA Fencing, the national governing body, informed Hadzic that his teammates had “expressed concerns for their safety and well-being arising from your presence.” He flew to Tokyo separately from the team, and his attempt to secure housing in the Olympic Village was denied in an arbitration hearing in Tokyo after teammates objected. He has been staying at a hotel.
Jacqueline Dubrovich, a member of the U.S. Olympic fencing team, posted on Instagram that the mask-wearing on Friday was “performative activism” that “does not address the issue at hand here.”
In an apparent reference to the Hadzic case, Dubrovich wrote that those who “enabled and protected a violent predator are not being held accountable,” adding, “Female athletes were not protected & our safety was deemed unimportant.”
Hadzic told USA Today on Saturday that he did not realize what was happening with the mask protest until he was sent a photograph after the United States lost its team match to Japan on Friday. He told the newspaper that his teammate Curtis McDowald had handed out the masks before the match, and, when Hadzic asked if there was an extra pink one, was told no.
Hadzic told USA Today that he later confronted another épée fencer, Jake Hoyle, and told him that he was “embarrassed” to be Hoyle’s teammate. Hadzic said he also confronted his teammate Yeisser Ramirez and “chewed him out.”
New Zealand’s women’s rugby sevens team captured the gold medal on Saturday, beating France, 26-12.
Fiji beat Britain to capture the bronze medal. The U.S. women’s team, which had hoped to be in medal contention, lost to Australia, 17-7, and finished in sixth place, the same as the U.S. men’s side.
The gold medal game was tight at the start. The French matched an early try by New Zealand but missed the conversion to trail, 7-5. New Zealand added a try when Gayle Broughton dove headfirst over the end line just near the left flag, and it built a 19-5 lead just before halftime with another try and conversion.
The French narrowed the lead to 19-10 with a try 90 seconds into the second half. But New Zealand added another with under three minutes remaining to expand the lead again.
New Zealand won the silver medal at the Rio Games in 2016, the first Olympiad to include rugby sevens.
The U.S. men’s and women’s teams were ranked second in the world in 2019 and spent a good portion of 2020 in isolation. They were able to travel to Spain this year and competed in a tournament in Los Angeles. But the lack of competition may have hurt.
That was no excuse for Chris Brown, the head coach of the U.S. women’s team.
“Quite honestly, if you look at the quarterfinal where we missed our opportunity, a lot of that came down to a poor tackle rate defensively, but also the wrong game plan from me in how to attack them in the first couple of minutes,” Brown said. “And that guts me, because we played nine quarterfinals over the last year, and it’s the first one we lost.”
TOKYO — When love’s arrow struck, Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das were ready with their own quivers. Known as Dee-Das in India, the couple are one of two pairs of married archers at the Tokyo Olympics.
Both halves of the couple advanced into the individual archery event, with Das falling in the 1/8 elimination round on Saturday to Takaharu Furukawa of Japan, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist.
Waving the Indian flag in the stands, under a broiling sun, was Kumari, the world No. 1, who had reached the quarterfinals the day before. She was beaten by An San of South Korea, who went on to take the gold medal.
“We are a powerful couple,” Das said after his elimination on Saturday. “We lost in this Olympics here, but from now we will play the game differently. We have learned so many things in the past few years, and we know how to deal with the pressure.”
India’s Olympic imprint is small, especially given its large population. Apart from men’s hockey, the country has won only one other gold medal, in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event in the 2008 Beijing Games. In Tokyo, India’s archers were considered among the country’s medal hopefuls but failed to make it to the podium rounds. So far, India has won a silver medal in women’s weight lifting and is assured a medal in women’s boxing.
Archery is a supremely mental sport. Going into the competition on Saturday, Das inked the word “calm” on his hand as a reminder to not let the pressure erode his confidence. The divergence between a win and a loss in archery is measured in millimeters.
“They help each other with the nerves,” said Mim Bahadur Gurung, the Indian archery coach, referring to the support the couple give each other. “It is easy to be nervous in archery.”
In the earlier rounds in Tokyo, contested on an artificial island built from waste landfill, Das had dispensed with the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Oh Jin-hyek, who is part of South Korea’s strong archery squad. Unusually, none of the Koreans were in medal contention in the men’s individual event, although the team won gold on Monday.
The other married archers who competed in Tokyo are Florian Unruh and Lisa Unruh of Germany. A silver medalist in the women’s individual event at the 2016 Rio Games, she was part of the German women’s team that won bronze in Tokyo on Sunday. He made it to the quarterfinals on Saturday, after having upset another Korean Olympic gold medalist.
With Covid-19 raging in India and the government keen to raise its Olympic profile, the archery team was dispatched to an army sports institute in the city of Pune to train for eight months. Being away from family for so long was difficult, but Kumari and Das had each other.
In June, they won gold in the mixed team event at an archery World Cup competition. But Das’s shooting was considered erratic in the run-up to the Games, and they were not paired for competition in Tokyo. Kumari and her mixed team partner, Pravin Jadhav, made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Korean rivals.
Das and Kumari had originally planned to get married around the time of the Tokyo Olympics. But the Games were delayed, and they decided to marry last year. On one ring finger, Das wears his wedding band. On the other, he has a golden band with the Olympic rings.
“Now it’s over,” he said, “but we’ll be back in three years.”
TOKYO — It starts with a bounce.
It’s more like a little hop, the kind you might tentatively take on a neighbor’s backyard trampoline. Then the bounces get higher, far higher than seems safe. “Kids, I’ve told you to be careful on that trampoline,” you have the urge to call out.
After about 10 bounces, with the athletes a dizzying 30-plus feet in the air, the tricks begin — 10 in a row, without a break: somersaults, twists, triple somersaults, triple twists. Suddenly, this sport that maybe didn’t seem much like a sport is one of the most impressive things you’ve ever seen.
That’s Olympic trampoline gymnastics.
Athletes are judged on the difficulty and execution of their moves, as well as how long they are in the air and “horizontal displacement,” or how close to the center of the trampoline they land on each bounce.
Concern about safety is not misplaced. For each routine, a spotter stands by holding a mat, ready to quickly break a fall if an athlete looks like they will miss the trampoline. The second qualifying routine of Aliaksei Shostak of the United States ended abruptly when he landed too close to the edge and one of his legs wedged between the trampoline and the matted rim around it.
Despite several similar mishaps in the men’s competition on Saturday, the gymnasts all walked away unscathed.
The event was expected to be a replay of 2016, with all three medalists from the Rio Games — Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus, and Dong Dong and Gao Lei of China — in the mix.
But Gao, the reigning world champion, strayed too far off-center in his second qualifying routine, landing with a thud well off the mat. He was shockingly out of the final.
Hancharou was the defending champion and Dong the Olympic legend, having won the 2012 gold and a 2008 bronze as well as his 2016 silver.
But it was a young gun who triumphed over both of them: Ivan Litvinovich of Belarus, just 20, had the highest difficulty score, and his towering bounces gave him the best flight time score. Dong placed second ahead of Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand, and Hancharou was fourth.
“I’m very happy with my results, and also my elements were really difficult,” Litvinovich said. “But I think I can do more.”
Zhu Xueying led a Chinese 1-2 in the women’s event on Friday. “The most important thing was to keep myself calm,” she said. Maybe easier for the athletes than the spectators.
Track and field’s drug testing agency temporarily suspended a Nigerian sprinter after a failed drug test, the first drug-related suspension of an active athlete at the Tokyo Games.
In a statement, the Athletics Integrity Unit, which runs the antidoping program for the sport, said that a sample collected from the sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, during an out-of-competition test on July 19 had tested positive for growth hormones. Okagbare, 32, won her opening heat in the women’s 100 meters on Friday in 11.05 seconds and had been scheduled to run in the semifinals on Saturday.
Okagbare’s suspension was not the first testing-related problem for Nigeria’s track and field competitors at these Games.
On Thursday, the Athletics Integrity Unit declared 20 Olympic track and field athletes ineligible to compete because they had not met out-of-competition testing requirements leading up to the Olympics. Of the 20 athletes, 10 were from Nigeria.
The Athletic Federation of Nigeria, the governing body for sports in the country, issued a statement attributing the problem to an administrative failure and not to any positive tests for banned substances. The athletes were declared ineligible to compete because they had not completed the required three out-of-competition tests, the organization said.
“The A.F.N. bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances will not be negatively impacted,” the organization said.
In a separate statement, the country’s ministry of sport also clarified that none of the 10 athletes in question had tested positive for a banned substance.
Chioma Onyekwere, a Nigerian discus thrower who is ranked No. 16 in the world and whose event was scheduled for Saturday, was among those disqualified. She said she and her teammates who were affected by the ruling had learned of the news on Thursday night from officials with the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Athletic Federation of Nigeria.
“I think we were all shocked,” Onyekwere said. “Everyone was in disbelief that this could be happening.”
On Friday, all 10 of the athletes who had been disqualified from the Games held a protest in Tokyo, where they walked through the Olympic Village with signs that read “All we wanted to do is compete” and “Why should we suffer because of someone else’s negligence?”
“It is a painful thing to be at your peak and not be able to compete,” Onyekwere, 23, said from her room in the Olympic Village as she watched her competition live on her computer. Already the Nigerian record-holder in women’s discus, Onyekwere had wanted to break the African record at the Games, she said.
Tokyo would have been all 10 athletes’ debut on the Olympic stage.
“It hurts,” Chidi Okezie, who had been set to compete in the 4×400-meter mixed relay, said in a message, adding a broken heart emoji.
Now, because they are not competing, the athletes have to leave Tokyo on Sunday.
On Thursday, before Okagbare’s suspension was announced, the youth and sports ministry issued a statement saying that 12 athletes from the country’s track and field team had been cleared to participate in the Games.
The world’s antidoping organizations have long struggled to oversee consistent testing across numerous countries, a challenge made worse by the pandemic. In the months before the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, more than 1,900 athletes across 10 key sports — including track and field, weight lifting and cycling — were not tested, a failure that doping officials vowed would not be repeated in the next Olympic cycle.
A cluster of coronavirus cases has emerged among police officers providing security at the Tokyo Games, sending 50 officers into quarantine as the Olympics reach their midway point and the city grapples with a surge of infections.
Kazuhiro Kimura, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, said that 14 officers who were assigned to guard Olympic competition venues had become infected and were in quarantine. Another 36 officers were identified as close contacts and also quarantined.
According to the police, four officers developed symptoms on July 23, the day of the opening ceremony. Officials did not disclose which venues the officers had been assigned to, but said that they wore masks while on duty and did not have contact with members of the public.
Tokyo 2020 organizers on Saturday reported 21 new infections among people credentialed for the Games, bringing the total number of reported cases connected to the Olympics to 246, including 26 athletes.
Tokyo and the rest of Japan are experiencing the worst surge of the pandemic. On Saturday, officials in Tokyo reported more than 4,000 new infections, the first time the city’s daily count had surpassed that figure.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Friday that the government would expand a state of emergency to four areas besides Tokyo, and that the restrictions in the capital would be extended until the end of August — past the conclusion of the Olympics and into the start of the Paralympic Games.
With only 28 percent of the population fully vaccinated, the highly contagious Delta variant has taken root in Japan. More than three-quarters of cases in Tokyo are now being caused by the variant, according to the health ministry.