Olympics

TOKYO OLYMPICS: What you need to know right now

5 minute read
1/2

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Selemon Barega (ETH) celebrates after winning the men's 10,000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

July 30 (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic's dream of a Golden Slam was dashed in Tokyo on Friday when Germany's Alexander Zverev came from a set down to beat the Serbian top seed.

Here's what you need to know about the Tokyo Games:

NOVAK OUT

Djokovic had been aiming to become the first man to win Olympic gold in the same year as all four Grand Slams to match the feat only achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.

Fourth seed Zverev, however, is guaranteed at least a silver. The German visibly wept on centre court after his 1-6 6-3 6-1 win. read more

FIRST GOLD IN ATHLETICS

Selemon Barega of Ethiopia won the men's 10,000 metres gold medal, the first of the Olympic athletics programme, on Friday, defeating world champion and world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda.

Cheptegei's compatriot Jacob Kiplimo took bronze.

The 21-year old Barega's victory was secured on the last lap as he sprinted to the finish line to secure a shock win. read more

DOPING RAISES ITS HEAD

American swimmer Ryan Murphy stoked controversy when he raised the spectre of doping after losing his second Olympic title to Russian rival Evgeny Rylov.

Murphy, who won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, said his 200 metre backstroke final was "probably not clean" after he lost to Rylov, competing as part of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

Gold medallist Rylov responded by saying: "I always do the doping tests... I would not be able to forgive myself if I had taken something. I don’t know how to react to this. I haven’t been accused of anything." read more

BMX MARRED BY CRASHES

Colombian Mariana Pajon's long reign as queen of Olympic women's BMX racing was ended by British underdog Bethany Shriever in a gripping final on an accident-marred day in which American Connor Fields was taken to hospital after a horrible crash.

On a day in which several favourites were involved in crashes, the men's gold was won by Dutchman Niek Kimmann who edged out Britain's Kye Whyte in another thriller.

Sadly, a spectacular day of racing was overshadowed by the crash involving the 28-year-old Fields. A team official later told Reuters that Fields was awake in hospital. read more

UPSETS

The unpredictable nature of this Games due to COVID-19 disruptions and delay has created high drama at the top of the medal tally in the first week. China ended Day 7 of competition with 19 golds, while host nation Japan had 17 ahead of the United States with 14.

In soccer, Britain's women suffered heartbreak in extra time as a Sam Kerr double helped Australia to a 4-3 victory after her first goal in the 89th minute had brought the scores level at 2-2 to force the extra period. Later, the U.S. women, who have won four World Cups and four Olympic golds, managed to stave off the Netherlands in a penalty shootout. read more

In a surprise victory, world number eight Japan claimed the gold medal in the finals of the men's team epee event with a 45-36 victory over the Russians. Japan had trounced top-ranked France in the quarter-finals, and cruised to victory over South Korea in the semis. [L8N2P61F6]

Czech heavyweight Lukas Krpalek won gold in the men's judo +100 kg division. defeating Guram Tushishvili of Georgia in the final, after double Olympic champion Teddy Riner suffered a shock defeat in the quarters.

The final day of Olympic rowing also delivered thrills when Greece's Stefanos Ntouskos upset the favourites in the men's single sculls and Canada ended U.S. dominance of the women's eights. read more

RATINGS

The on-field action, however, has not translated to a ratings boost for broadcasters globally. Ratings data from the opening ceremony and first few nights of events indicate that the Tokyo Games are currently the least watched Olympics in recent history across Europe and in the United States. TV viewership is up in Australia and Japan. read more

THANK YOU

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has thanked the IOC for the inclusive policies that will allow her to be the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the Games on Monday in Tokyo.

Hubbard has not spoken to the media since her place on the New Zealand team was confirmed and on Friday a statement was read out on her behalf at an IOC briefing on inclusion.

"I see the Olympic Games as a global celebration of our hopes, ideals and values and I would like to thank the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible," she said.

'TWISTIES' EXPLAINED

Reuters columnist Karen Braun explains how the psychological phenomenon called the "twisties" that has beset U.S. champion gymnast Simone Biles could cause severe injury or even death.

Braun, who was a competitive gymnast for more than decade, said her relationship with floor exercise was damaged by the "twisties" as a senior in high school.

"I felt lost in the air. Was I trying to twist too early? Too late? Was I not getting enough air?," she writes.

"Am I suddenly trying to twist the wrong way? These confusing thoughts compounded in my head almost to the point I became afraid of the skill." read more

Editing by Leela de Kretser and Ken Ferris

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

More from Reuters