Olympics 2021 Live: U.S. Beats Canada in Softball

by WDC News 6 Staff

Present time in Tokyo: July 22, 1:22 p.m.

Credit score…Jae C. Hong/Related Press

TOKYO — Behind the highly effective left arm of Monica Abbott, the top-ranked United States softball group sneaked by third-ranked Canada, 1-0, on Thursday at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

Abbott tossed a complete-game shutout, permitting only one hit, strolling three and hanging out 9. The day earlier than, her fellow American ace Cat Osterman tossed six scoreless innings and struck out 9 whereas surrendering only one hit to Italy. Abbott got here in for the ultimate inning to safe the 2-0 win.

So in two video games, Osterman, 38, and Abbott, 35 — who each performed within the final Olympic softball match, in 2008 — have mixed to permit simply two hits, quit three walks and strike out a whopping 21 batters.

Pumping 70-mile-an-hour fastballs, Abbott vexed Canada’s offense all recreation on Thursday. And when she did cough up successful within the sixth inning, her teammates got here to the rescue.

With a runner on first base, Canada’s beginning pitcher, Sara Groenewegen, smacked a double into the right-center area hole. However heart fielder Haylie McCleney chased down the ball and fired it to second baseman Ali Aguilar, who relayed it to catcher Aubree Munro in time to nab a sliding Joey Lye at dwelling.

The defensive play preserved Abbott’s gem, and Ken Eriksen, the group’s head coach, caught together with her for the ultimate inning.

On offense, the U.S. threatened with base runners all through the sport however struggled once more to transform its possibilities. Its lone run got here within the fifth inning, when McCleney reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Janie Reed.

Dealing with Jenna Caira, Amanda Chidester slapped a ball to proper area for a single that scored McCleney. Standing at first base, Chidester pumped her arms and shouted towards her teammates.

No softball video games are scheduled for Friday because the match shifts to Yokohama Baseball Stadium, nearer to Tokyo. The U.S. will subsequent play on Saturday, going through Mexico. After every group performs 5 video games, the highest two groups within the six-team area advance to the gold medal recreation.

Outside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The decision to hold events without spectators has proved divisive.
Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Occasions

Extra athletes have been in motion on Thursday in Tokyo, the second full day of Olympic competitors earlier than Friday’s opening ceremony, with softball video games within the morning and males’s soccer kicking off later within the day.

Off the sphere, organizers are nonetheless struggling to reassure residents that the hundreds of arriving athletes gained’t worsen the unfold of Covid-19 in Tokyo. And a brand new rash of instances has sidelined extra gamers and groups, together with Mexico’s complete baseball squad, which is now in quarantine again dwelling and ready for clearance to journey.

Whereas solely two sports activities — soccer and softball — have formally began play, there are already indicators that gamers will make the most of guidelines that permit for extra activism and protests earlier than the beginning of a recreation. On Wednesday, members of 4 girls’s soccer groups took a knee earlier than their matches.

The U.S. women’s soccer team began the tournament the way it had ended the 2016 games in Rio: by losing to Sweden.

Again then, the quarterfinal loss price them an opportunity on the gold medal. This time, the 3-0 defeat on Wednesday ended the group’s streak of 44 straight video games and not using a loss. The U.S., which has gained 4 gold medals, was one of many favorites to win all of it, coming off a title within the 2019 World Cup.

The U.S. aspect now has two days to regroup earlier than its subsequent match, on Saturday towards New Zealand. That and Tuesday’s match with Australia are seemingly must-wins if the U.S. girls wish to acquire sufficient factors to qualify for the subsequent spherical, the place they might face powerhouses like Britain, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Having delayed these video games by a yr due to the pandemic, Tokyo organizers made some main concessions for the occasion to occur this yr, together with barring spectators, which has proved divisive. However the steps have completed little to assuage the considerations of individuals throughout Japan, the place numbers of instances are rising.

Athletes who’ve examined constructive for the coronavirus

Scientists say that constructive assessments are expected with daily testing programs, even among the many vaccinated. Little info on severity has been launched, although public reviews recommend that instances amongst athletes have usually been gentle or asymptomatic. Some athletes who’ve examined constructive haven’t been publicly recognized.

July 21

Sweet Jacobs



Pavel Sirucek

Desk tennis

Czech Republic

July 20

Kara Eaker


United States

July 19

Ondrej Perusic

Seaside volleyball

Czech Republic

Katie Lou Samuelson

Three-on-three basketball

United States

July 18

Coco Gauff


United States

Kamohelo Mahlatsi


South Africa

Thabiso Monyane


South Africa

Amongst athletes, officers and others working on the Video games, 86 people have examined constructive for the coronavirus as of Thursday, together with eight athletes, in line with Tokyo 2020’s database. That tally doesn’t embody those that examined constructive earlier than arrival in Japan. Two gamers on Mexico’s baseball group examined constructive earlier than the group’s scheduled departure to Tokyo, forcing the team into quarantine in Mexico City. A number of gamers, including some from the U.S., will miss the Video games after constructive assessments.

Simply two weeks in the past, the English males’s soccer group grabbed headlines when its gamers knelt to spotlight racism earlier than video games within the Euro 2020 match. Whereas the group misplaced the championship to Italy, it helped highlight causes that were important to the players and drew the ire of some politicians in England.

On the Olympics, organizers relaxed guidelines, permitting gamers to protest earlier than video games, though not throughout play or on the awarding of medals. To this point, the ladies’s soccer groups from Chile, the US, Sweden and Britain have taken a knee.

Viewers ought to put together for extra protests on Friday on the opening ceremony and over the approaching weeks of occasions, in line with Tommie Smith, who famously raised a fist to spotlight the oppression of Black People when he was awarded the gold medal for the 200 meters in monitor and area in Mexico Metropolis in 1968.

Learn the New York Times interview with him on what to expect.

The 2020 video games haven’t even formally began, and we’re already speaking concerning the host for 2032: Brisbane. It’s the third-largest metropolis in Australia, situated on the nation’s east coast close to the browsing meccas of the Gold Coast. It’s the third time Australia will host the video games.

The choice to call Brisbane because the 2032 host in all probability didn’t come as a shock to at least one particular person: John Coates. He’s one of many vice presidents for the Worldwide Olympic Committee, which wrote the brand new guidelines for choosing a bunch. He additionally occurs to move the Australian Olympic Committee, the group that pitched the bid.

Learn Tariq Panja’s profile on Coates and how he led the charge to bring the Games back to Australia.

Canada and the United States faced off on Thursday after each won their first game of the tournament.
Credit score…Jorge Silva/Reuters

TOKYO — It’s Thursday on the Olympic Video games, or as it’s formally recognized, “Day Unfavorable 1.” (The opening ceremony is on Friday.)

The fireplace hose of sports activities that may begin spewing on Saturday remains to be however a trickle, however there are a number of occasions of notice.

The Tokyo morning options three extra softball video games. The USA beat Canada, 1-0, as pitcher Monica Abbott tossed a complete-game shutout. Mexico-Japan and Australia-Italy matchups comply with.

Then within the Tokyo afternoon and night, soccer resumes, this time the boys as an alternative of the ladies. The USA didn’t qualify for the boys’s match, which is made up largely of youthful professionals.

The highlights of the eight video games are Mexico-France in Tokyo at 5 p.m. (4 a.m. Japanese on Thursday) and Brazil-Germany in Yokohama at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Japanese on Thursday). Within the 2016 Video games in Rio, Brazil beat Germany within the gold medal recreation in a penalty shootout.

Right here’s find out how to watch in the US:

All instances are Japanese.

  • U.S. and Canada at 8 p.m. on Wednesday on NBC Sports activities Community.

  • Japan towards Mexico at 11 p.m., on NBCSN.

  • Italy towards Australia at 2 a.m. Thursday on NBCSN.

  • Mexico towards France at 4 a.m. on USA Community.

  • Brazil towards Germany at 7:30 a.m. on USA Community.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday evening in Tokyo. However the time distinction with Tokyo means it will likely be Friday morning in the US.

NBC could have a reside morning broadcast of the ceremony, beginning at 6:55 a.m. Japanese time. Savannah Guthrie, the anchor for “Right this moment,” and NBC Sports activities’ Mike Tirico will host the ceremony.

Much like years previous, the community will air a packaged prime-time model of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Japanese on Friday.

Along with NBC, Olympic occasions can be proven on the Golf Channel, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports activities Community, Telemundo and USA Community. Occasions will even be streamed on NBCOlympics.com, NBCSports.com and Peacock, the community’s streaming platform.

After the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Video games will stretch throughout 16 days, culminating within the closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Ona Carbonell competing in Gwangju, South Korea, at the world championships in 2019. 
Credit score…Clive Rose/Getty Pictures

The Spanish creative swimmer Ona Carbonell is expressing her “disappointment and disillusionment” that it isn’t sensible to convey her son to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics whereas she is breastfeeding him.

Carbonell stated in an Instagram video this week that she wouldn’t take her son, Kai, who is almost a yr previous, to the Video games. She stated she had to decide on between her household and her Olympic targets in creative swimming, the game previously often called synchronized swimming.

“Just a few weeks in the past, some feminine athletes began posting about this on social media,” she stated in Spanish within the video as she breastfed her son. “The topic was to decide on between household and breastfeeding or to take part within the Olympic Video games.”

“We have been instructed this was not appropriate,” she stated.

On the finish of June, the Tokyo organizing committee loosened a restriction on bringing infants who’re nursing to the Video games. However the circumstances imposed nonetheless made it tough for moms, Carbonell stated, as a result of youngsters must keep in a lodge outdoors of the Olympic confines and below strict quarantine.

“They wouldn’t be allowed to depart the lodge room in the course of the 20-ish days I’d be in Tokyo,” Carbonell stated. “For me to go and breastfeed Kai at any time when he wants it in the course of the day I must depart the Olympic villa, the group’s bubble, and go to their lodge, risking my group’s well being.”

Carbonell, 31, is competing in her third Olympics. She gained a silver medal within the duet competitors and a bronze medal within the group competitors in London in 2012, and positioned fourth within the duet competitors in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

In a message accompanying the Instagram video, she stated that whereas she had obtained “numerous expressions of help and encouragement to go to Tokyo with Kai,” she “needed to precise my disappointment and disillusionment that I’ll lastly must journey with out him.”

The Worldwide Olympic Committee didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark about her video.


An earlier model of this story described Carbonell’s statements incorrectly. She stated restrictions made it impractical to convey her son to Tokyo in the course of the Olympics. She didn’t say that she had been instructed that he was not allowed to come back in any respect.

Credit score…Jorge Silva/Reuters

After a 13-year absence, softball has returned to the Olympic stage, with one irritating distinction: The video games are being performed on baseball fields reasonably than ones for softball.

Fans and players alike expressed disappointment across social media this week. Among the many principal variations is {that a} softball area is smaller than a baseball area, normally with an infield completely composed of dust. Baseball diamonds are made from a mixture of dust and grass or synthetic turf.

Others, nonetheless, are much less bothered.

“I don’t care what the sphere seems to be like, we’re completely satisfied it’s again & we’ve been ready a really very long time,” Danielle O’Toole Trejo, who performs for Mexico’s nationwide group and can be a participant within the Athletes Unlimited pro league within the U.S., wrote on Twitter. “Our play WILL NOT change. We’re GOOD sufficient to adapt.”

In each the 2004 Athens Video games and the 2008 Beijing Video games, the host cities constructed softball fields as a part of their Olympics infrastructure.

Nonetheless, Jennie Finch, a former U.S. pitcher and Olympic gold and silver medalist, stated enjoying on baseball fields is regular, including that she performed on baseball fields many instances all through her profession.

For softball, the second is huge: It first grew to become an Olympic sport in 1996, and it appeared in every Summer time Video games by 2008, after which it was dropped.

It has a growing global footprint, and within the U.S., it’s a aggressive collegiate sport and not using a main league dwelling. Final August, softball was the inaugural sport in Athletes Limitless, however even that season was solely six weeks lengthy.

“Our sport wants this,” Finch stated in an interview this week. “It’s essential for our sport globally to be within the Olympic Video games and have our presence and have the platform to showcase how nice of a recreation it’s.”

Sweden celebrated its third goal against the United States.
Credit score…Doug Mills/The New York Occasions

CHOFU, Japan — 5 years. That’s how lengthy it had waited for this recreation.

5 years since the US girls’s soccer group’s hopes for an Olympic gold medal on the 2016 Rio Video games have been dashed by Sweden. 5 years since a defeat that compelled the People to look within the mirror and ask onerous questions on their age, dominance and future.

5 years of ready, solely to finish up proper again in the identical place.

The USA opened the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday precisely the place it ended the Rio Video games 5 years earlier: reeling from a humbling, embarrassing defeat to Sweden.

Again then, it was a loss on penalties in the quarterfinals. This time, it was not practically as shut: Sweden dominated the US, 3-0. Again then, Sweden had bunkered down and pissed off the People. On Wednesday, it merely dominated from one aspect of the sphere to the opposite.

“Did we anticipate this outcome tonight? No,” U.S. ahead Megan Rapinoe stated. “It’s irritating, and it’s irritating that it’s Sweden.”

“I don’t keep in mind the final time we gave up a aim,” she added. “So to surrender three will not be nice.”

Defender Kelley O’Hara acknowledged earlier than the sport that she and her teammates had been pining for one more shot on the Swedes on the Video games. “It’s what we’ve waited now 5 years for, to be again right here,” she stated.

They only by no means anticipated it to go like this.

Striker Stina Blackstenius delivered a aim in every half for Sweden, a glancing header within the twenty fifth minute and a point-blank end within the 54th that felt like a simply reward for a dominant efficiency on the tip of a Sweden assault that had the People on their heels virtually as quickly as the sport started.

The USA tried all the pieces to show the tide. Positional tweaks to attempt to support a midfield that was routinely overrun. Substitutions to refashion a largely toothless assault. Reinforcements to bolster a protection that was first stretched after which lower aside.

Even essentially the most dependable of veterans introduced on to assist appeared to have little impact. Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz — in her first look in months — got here on at halftime, however Sweden quickly doubled its lead. Rapinoe was inserted to supply a little bit of menace on the wing, nevertheless it by no means materialized.

Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos raised their gloved hands in protest at the 1968 Olympics. 
Credit score…Related Press

When the American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the medal stand on the Mexico Metropolis Video games in 1968 to protest the oppression of Black People, they gave voice to generations of the athletes keen to talk their minds, even because the Worldwide Olympic Committee and athletic federations attempt to curtail what they contemplate political demonstrations.

Whereas the U.S.O.P.C. said in December that it will no longer penalize athletes who protest, the I.O.C. reaffirmed that protests throughout Olympic occasions or the medal stand are prohibited. That rule can be examined when the Tokyo Video games open on Friday, Smith stated in a current interview, as a result of athletes in every single place have been woke up within the yr for the reason that killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Girls’s soccer gamers for Britain, Chile, Sweden and the US knelt before their games on Wednesday, which fell below a relaxed I.O.C. rule that permits for demonstrations earlier than the beginning of competitors.

In a wide-ranging dialogue following the discharge of “With Drawn Arms,” a documentary about his life, Smith stated it was fruitless for the I.O.C. to attempt to muzzle athletes.

“It’s a rational thought that there’s going to be some kind of change,” he stated. “I believe throughout the subsequent three weeks, we’re going to see some change in one thing. I don’t know from who. That’s why the longer term is so essential.”

Advertisers have spent more than $1 billion to run spots on NBC and its streaming platform.
Credit score…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Occasions

The Olympics have lengthy been an virtually ideal forum for companies selling themselves, with loads of alternatives to nestle advertisements among the many pageantry and the feel-good tales about athletes overcoming adversity.

However now, as 11,000 opponents from greater than 200 nations convene in Tokyo whereas the coronavirus pandemic lingers, Olympic advertisers are anxious concerning the greater than $1 billion they’ve spent to run advertisements on NBC and its Peacock streaming platform.

Calls to cancel the greater than $15.4 billion extravaganza have intensified as extra athletes take a look at constructive for Covid-19. The occasion can be deeply unpopular with Japanese residents and lots of public health experts, who worry it would change into a superspreader occasion.

The Olympics are already broken items,” stated Jules Boykoff, a former Olympic soccer participant for the US and an knowledgeable in sports activities politics at Pacific College in Oregon. “If this case in Japan goes south quick, then we may see some whipsaw adjustments in the best way that offers are lower and the willingness of multinational firms to become involved.”

Panasonic, a high sponsor, won’t ship its chief govt to the opening ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday. Neither will Toyota, certainly one of Japan’s most influential firms, which additionally said it had deserted its plans to run Olympics-themed commercials in Japan.

In the US, advertising plans are largely shifting forward.

For NBCUniversal, which has paid billions of dollars for the unique rights to broadcast the Olympics in the US by 2032, the occasion is an important income. There are greater than 140 sponsors for NBC’s protection on tv, on Peacock and on-line, a rise over the 100 that signed on for the 2016 Video games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Not being there with an viewers of this measurement and scale for a few of our blue-chip advertisers will not be an choice,” stated Jeremy Carey, the managing director of the sports activities advertising company Optimum Sports activities.

Chris Brandt, the chief advertising officer of Chipotle, stated that the state of affairs was “not ideally suited” however that the corporate nonetheless deliberate to run a campaign that includes profiles of Olympic athletes.

Tv has attracted the majority of the advert spending, however the quantity introduced in by digital and streaming advertisements is anticipated to rise. A number of forecasts predict that TV scores for the Olympics will lag these for the Video games in Rio and London, whereas the streaming viewers will grow sharply.

Advert company executives stated firms have been checking in for updates on the Covid outbreak in Japan and may fine-tune their advertising messages accordingly.

“Everyone seems to be just a little bit cautious,” stated David Droga, the founding father of the Droga5 advert company, which labored on an Olympics marketing campaign for Fb that showcases skateboarders. “Persons are fairly fragile in the meanwhile. Advertisers don’t wish to be too saccharine or too intelligent however are looking for that proper tone.”

Lucy Bronze of Britain took a knee before a match with Chile in Sapporo.
Credit score…Masashi Hara/Getty Pictures

Britain’s girls’s soccer group grew to become the primary athletes to make the most of the loosening of the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s decades-long prohibition towards expressions of protest.

Simply earlier than kicking off their 2-0 win over Chile, gamers on Crew GB dropped to at least one knee in a protest to advertise racial justice in a way that has change into frequent locations on soccer fields in the UK and elsewhere over the previous yr. Chile’s gamers joined the demonstration as nicely, and gamers from the United States and Sweden additionally knelt earlier than Sweden’s 3-0 win later Wednesday.

Such an motion would have led to extreme sanctions had the foundations not been modified within the lead as much as the Tokyo Olympics.

The gesture, which unfold throughout the sporting scene after the killing of George Floyd 14 months in the past, is prone to be repeated all through the video games as athletes throughout the spectrum have pushed for better rights of expression. These calls led to the organizer of the Olympics to water down Rule 50 of its constitution that banned any “demonstration or political, spiritual or racial propaganda.”

Nonetheless, for some athlete teams the I.O.C.’s change of stance has not gone far sufficient. Athletes won’t, for instance, be capable to categorical their protests on the medal podium. The I.O.C.’s guidelines additionally permit particular person sports activities federations to retain the ban. FIFA, soccer governing physique, has stated it has no issues with participant protests on the Video games. The identical goes for monitor and area. Nevertheless, swimming’s leaders have stated they won’t countenance any type of protest on the pool deck which, in line with the president of its governing physique, ought to stay “a sanctity for sport and nothing else,” the place there needs to be “respect for the better entire, not the person.”

The hodgepodge of laws raises the potential of some athletes being sanctioned for gestures that others could have made.

“There’s probably not a ‘one measurement matches all’ answer,” I.O.C. President Thomas Bach stated earlier than the Video games.

Nippon Budokan in Chiyoda ward in Tokyo on Sunday.
Credit score…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Occasions

The invention of remoted instances, even in vaccinated athletes on the Olympics in Tokyo, is completely anticipated, scientists say, and never essentially a trigger for alarm.

“This isn’t actually that a lot of a shock,” stated Angela Rasmussen, a virologist on the Vaccine and Infectious Illness Group on the College of Saskatchewan.

Nonetheless, these instances do increase thorny questions on find out how to design testing packages — and reply to check outcomes — at this section of the pandemic, wherein the patchy rollout of vaccines signifies that some individuals and communities are nicely protected against the virus whereas others stay in danger.

As Dr. Rasmussen put it: “When does a constructive take a look at actually point out that there’s an issue?”

Covid-19 assessments, which have been as soon as profoundly restricted, are actually extensively obtainable in a lot of the developed world, making it doable for organizations — together with non-public employers, faculties, skilled sports activities leagues and the Olympics organizers — to routinely display screen individuals for the virus.

Vaccination will not be required for Olympic contributors, and officers are relying closely on testing to maintain the virus at bay in Tokyo. These headed to the Video games should submit two unfavorable assessments taken on separate days inside 96 hours of leaving for Japan no matter vaccination standing, according to the Olympic playbooks, or manuals.

Not less than one of many two assessments should be taken inside 72 hours of departure. Individuals are once more examined upon arrival on the airport.

Athletes, coaches and officers are additionally required to take every day antigen assessments, that are much less delicate than P.C.R. assessments however are usually faster and cheaper. (Olympic employees and volunteers could also be examined much less continuously, relying on their stage of interplay with athletes and officers.) If a take a look at comes again unclear or constructive, a P.C.R. take a look at is run.

“Every layer of filtering is a discount within the danger for everyone else,” Brian McCloskey, the chair of the Impartial Skilled Panel of the Worldwide Olympic Committee, told reporters this week, including that the variety of confirmed infections to date are “decrease than we anticipated.”

Questions on transmission stay unsettled. Vaccinated individuals with asymptomatic or breakthrough infections should still be capable to cross the virus on to others, however it isn’t but clear how typically that occurs. Till that science is extra definitive, or till vaccination charges rise, it’s best to err on the aspect of security and common testing, many specialists stated.

However once you look that onerous for infections — particularly in a bunch of people that have just lately flown in from everywhere in the globe and have had various ranges of entry to vaccines — you’re all however destined to search out some.

Kang Can Young, a member of South Korea’s formidable national archery team, practices in her home country in April.
Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Occasions

For South Korean archers, successful Olympic gold medals feels virtually like a given — they’ve claimed 23 of the 34 golds awarded within the sport since 1984.

It’s attending to the Video games that’s robust.

Simply ask Chang Hye-jin, who gained two gold medals on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, or Ku Bon-chan, who pulled off the identical feat on the boys’s aspect. Neither champion made the lower this yr.

Or ask Kim Je-deok, 17, who this spring efficiently navigated the crucible of South Korea’s nationwide group choice match, which gathers the nation’s high 200 archers to vie for six tickets — for 3 males and three girls — to the world’s largest sporting occasion, with no regard for rankings or previous efficiency.

“As soon as-in-a-lifetime luck got here to me,” stated Kim, who just lately overcame a shoulder damage that may have saved him out of the Olympics if the occasion hadn’t been postponed by a yr.

The South Korean archers fired hundreds of arrows every over a number of rounds of grueling competitors unfold out over eight anxious months. For many who prevailed, the onerous half may now be over.

The South Korean archery group has gained gold medals at each Summer time Olympics since 1984. The ladies’s group has been significantly dominant, successful gold eight straight instances for the reason that group occasion made its debut in 1988 in Seoul. On the 2016 Video games, the boys’s and ladies’s groups swept the gold medals within the group and particular person occasions.

The group is known within the archery world for the depth and element of its preparations. Nationwide coaches make use of wind machines and pump synthetic noise (crowd sounds, digicam shutters) by audio system to simulate adversarial environmental circumstances athletes may encounter in competitions.

“Our aim is zero-defect coaching,” stated Jang Younger-sool, the vp of the Korea Archery Affiliation.

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