Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 01, 8:18 a.m.
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TOKYO — The middle weekend of any Olympics is always a big one. Swimming wraps up, track gets going, and the team events approach their knockout stages. And it seems like the deluge of events at the Tokyo Games hits a peak on Sunday.
Here’s a roughly chronological look at a huge day at the Games — Sunday for those of us here in Tokyo, Saturday night into Sunday for those in the United States.
The final round of the golf competition begins at 7:30 a.m. in Tokyo (6:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday night). The medal contenders include Paul Casey of Britain, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Xander Schauffele of the United States and Rory McIlroy of Ireland.
You saw the BMX riders race, now see them do tricks on their bikes in the freestyle competition, which is new to these Games.
The final day of swimming includes some of the most anticipated events, including the blazing fast 50 meters for both men and women.
And there may be another gold for Caeleb Dressel in the men’s 50. As for the medley relay, the U.S. men have never lost it — ever. Could the streak be ended by Britain? (Finals start at 10:30 a.m. in Tokyo.)
For fighting enthusiasts, two American boxers, Duke Ragan and Richard Torrez, face off in the quarterfinals with a medal on the line. For the sailing set, two yachting golds will be awarded in the men’s and women’s one-person dinghy. And a gold medal will also be awarded in women’s springboard diving.
There will be three tennis finals. Alexander Zverev of Germany faces Karen Khachanov of Russia in men’s singles. The Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova plays Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in women’s doubles. And a Russian team will win mixed doubles, either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev or Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
The gymnastics event finals begin at 5 p.m. in Tokyo, 4 a.m. Eastern. The women will contest the vault and bars; and the men the horse and the floor exercise. Although eligible, Simone Biles will not compete.
In the Tokyo evening, early Sunday morning U.S. time, track finals include the men’s high jump with Ju’Vaughn Harrison of the United States starting a high jump-long jump double, and the always glamorous men’s 100 meters at 9:50 p.m. Japan time to round out a stellar day at the Games.
Here are some highlights of U.S. broadcast coverage on Saturday evening and overnight. All times are Eastern.
GOLF The American Xander Schauffele is one to watch as Round 4 of men’s individual stroke play gets underway at 6:30 p.m. on the Golf Channel. The event is also available for streaming on GolfChannel.com and NBCOlympics.com.
BASEBALL Mexico and Israel face off in the knockout stage after each team lost its previous matchup; both countries are making their Olympic baseball debuts in Tokyo. Fans can stream the action from Yokohama Stadium beginning at 11 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com. (The U.S. team, after its win over South Korea, the defending champion, will face Japan next week in Round 1 of the knockout stage.)
BEACH VOLLEYBALL NBC has the round of 16, including teams from the U.S., beginning at 8 p.m.
TABLE TENNIS The round of 16 for both the men’s and women’s teams begins at 9 p.m. on NBCOlympics.com.
BMX The men’s and women’s freestyle finals take off on CNBC, beginning at 9:10 p.m.
SWIMMING Caeleb Dressel won his first Olympic gold medal for an individual race on Thursday, setting an Olympic record in the 100-meter freestyle. As swimming concludes at the Tokyo Games, Dressel takes aim at another gold, this time in the men’s 50-meter freestyle final. Also on the broadcast schedule are the women’s 50-meter freestyle and the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter medley relays. NBC has all of the action beginning at 9:30 p.m.
TENNIS The medal matches for women’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s singles begin airing at 2 a.m. on the Olympic Channel.
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 — 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.
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.
TOKYO — When Laurel Hubbard, a 43-year-old weight lifter from New Zealand, makes her first attempt in the women’s heavyweight competition on Monday, she will become the first openly transgender female athlete to compete at the Olympics.
Yet she will do so amid a debate over whether she should be at the Games at all.
Athletes, advocates for women’s sports and fair-sport campaigners have questioned whether Hubbard, who competed in men’s competitions before quitting the sport more than a decade ago, has an unfair advantage. Others believe the Games’ binary categories fail to account for a diverse group of athletes.
Hubbard, who rarely speaks to the news media, declined a request for comment. But in 2017, she told Radio New Zealand that she did not see herself as a flag bearer for transgender athletes.
“It’s not my role or my goal to change people’s minds,” Hubbard said. “I would hope they would support me, but it’s not for me to make them do so.”
The New Zealand Olympic committee has shielded Hubbard since she arrived in Tokyo. Kereyn Smith, secretary-general of the committee, called Hubbard “quite a private person” and said she wanted her lifting to be the focus.
“She’s an athlete,” Smith said in an interview on Friday. “She wants to come here and perform and achieve her Olympic dream and ambition.”
Supporters of transgender athletes cheered her arrival.
“This moment is incredibly significant for the trans community, for our representation in sport and for all trans people and nonbinary kids to see themselves and know that sport is a place for them,” said Chris Mosier, a race walker who in 2020 became the first openly transgender man to compete in a U.S. Olympic trials.
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!”
Looks like I get to put a competition Leo on just one more time. Can’t wait to compete in vault finals. Doing this for us @Simone_Biles ❤️ It’s go time baby!
— MyKayla Skinner (Harmer) (@mykaylaskinner) July 31, 2021
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.