There's a whole lot going on every day at the Tokyo Olympics. Here, we'll keep you up-to-date with everything you need to know.
Olympic story of the day: Japan really did it
As we near the close of the most unusual Olympic Games in history, we have to say this: Japan pulled it off. Tens of thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries in dozens of events spread out across the country in the middle of a pandemic, and every single medal to date has been awarded. All the way through, the Japanese people have exhibited resilience and good humor, as Dan Wetzel writes:
Japan didn’t get the Games it wanted. It didn’t get the tourist dollars or the ticket money or the packed entertainment districts. It didn’t get the fun for the locals cheering in the stands.
It didn’t get the pictures splashed across television and social media of a modern, clean, friendly, beautiful metropolis for all the world to see.
It did get something else, though. It did get something significant. It got to show the spirit of their people, of accomplishing a task, of meticulous planning, of efficiency in the face of chaos.
Under the most duress, the Japanese came through. In the toughest of circumstances, they shined.
Heat wins gold
The heat in Tokyo has wilted many an Olympian, and on Thursday Tokyo organizers bowed to reality, moving the gold medal women's soccer match from Friday morning to Friday evening. With temperatures expected to hit a heat index of 97, players from both Canada and Sweden had requested the change, which Tokyo organizers originally resisted. In semi-related news, the USWNT won bronze behind vintage performances from Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd.
Men's hoops advances, as expected
Team USA's men's basketball team is in an unwinnable situation. If they lose, they're national disgraces; if they win gold, well, that's what they were expected to do. Even so, they've managed to find something in themselves, stepping up to erase a double-digit deficit against Australia and win going away. Kevin Durant & Co. might never be mentioned in the same breath as the Dream Team or the Redeem Team, but they're fighting through tougher competition than either of those legendary squads faced, and they're one win away from another Olympic gold.
Leaping out from under a famous name
It's tough enough living as the child of someone famous, but when that famous person is your coach, life gets exponentially trickier. Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former NFL star quarterback Randall, is at the Tokyo Games with designs on a medal in the high jump. Randall is here too as Vashti's coach, and the relationship between the two is the fascinating subject of an in-depth Henry Bushnell story.
Vashti moved out of the family home three years ago, first into an apartment, then into her own Vegas house. As she climbed high jump rankings, and shed “Randall Cunningham’s daughter” as her primary moniker, she also climbed into her very own adult life. She spends downtime at two downtown Vegas resale shops that her friends own. She’s into photography — she wants to someday work for National Geographic — and street-style fashion.
And all of that time away from the Cunningham facility has allowed her to cherish the benefits of dad-as-coach. The respect that they have for each other. The ability to speak their minds. The willingness to admit when they’re wrong. Their relationship allows Randall to criticize, and Vashti to respond sarcastically, or to scream “DAD!” when she feels that he’s crossed a line.
Dark days for men's track
The American men's 4x100 relay team was terrible on Thursday, so terrible it drew the ire of legendary sprinter Carl Lewis.
"Over the last 30 years the U.S. men's 4x100 team has been a carnival of mistakes at the two major international events, the Olympics and World Championships: dropped batons, end-of-exchange-zone violations, beginning-of-exchange-zone violations, one weird one when a runner in another lane ran into an American and injured him," Shalize Manza Young writes. "They haven't won a gold medal at the Olympics since 2000, a streak that will continue after Thursday's inexcusable performance."
Robots on the march
Finally: if you've been paying close attention to the track & field events, you've noticed the little remote-control cars zipping around ferrying thrown javelins and discuses back to competitors. They're called Field Support Robots, and they're using a form of high-level artificial intelligence:
— Darryll Colthrust (@dcolthrust) August 3, 2021
Probably only a few years before Team Field Support Robot has its own squad of athletes that will win every gold of the Games.
Photo of the day
Mathilde Gros of Team France prepares to invade Earth ... or to start the team cycling event, whichever.
GIF of the day
Kieran Woolley of Team Australia with the unconventional "take out the cameraman" maneuver at the men's skateboarding park prelim. Ouch.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.
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