The problem with these pesky timezone changes is that when something really, really exciting happens in Tokyo – such as, you know, the cross-country course being opened for walking – it does so in the middle of the damn night and then you get an Olympic adrenaline rush that totally wipes your sleep schedule off the board. Honestly, though, I can’t begrudge a 2 a.m. embargo lift – it’s all part of the joy and the madness of this extraordinary week (and jolly good prep for some all-nighters to come)! Are you guys committing to a sleepless week? Let me know what you’ve got on your snack menu if so, because I’m thinking that a solitary bag of Haribo isn’t going to cut it for me once we get to cross-country day…!
Yesterday in Tokyo:
- Great British diver Tom Daley finally won a gold medal after taking bronze at both London and Rio. He and diving partner Matty Lee topped the leaderboard in the men’s synchronised 10m platform in what isn’t just a landmark moment for the athlete, but a huge moment for gay athletes, too. Tom is one of Britain’s only openly gay high-profile sportsmen.
- Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic made another step towards his golden goal, and in other news, he’s like, really, really well-liked in the Olympic Village.
- Argentinian fencer María Belén Pérez Maurice might have lost the women’s sabre yesterday, but it wasn’t a total write-off of a day: moments after, and on live TV, her coach and boyfriend of 17 years Lucas Guillermo Saucedo popped the question. (She said yes!)
- Germany’s female gymnastics team bucked the long trend of tiny leotards and opted for full-coverage costumes in an act of protest against the overt sexualisation of their bodies. This is the first Games since former US coach Larry Nassar was sent to prison for sexually abusing hundreds of young gymnasts, and many competitors fear that not enough has changed.
- Speaking of gymnasts, 18-year-old Costa Rican competitor Luciana Alvarado found a creative way to circumvent the ban on political statements at the Olympics: she worked a raised fist into her floor routine. Attagirl.
- One journalist logged 17,000 airmiles in his quest to cover the golf, due to a Covid test that had been taken 39 minutes too early. We’re relieved to report our on-the-ground reporter, Sally, has made it through without any such issues.
- Japan leads the way in the gold medal table with 8 won so far – that’s already half their all-time high of 16. They’ve taken 13 medals total, while the US has 14 and China has an almost ludicrous 18. Despite the US being the second most successful country in both the gold and overall medal tallies so far, though, former president Donald Trump gave a speech blaming ‘wokeism’ for Team USA’s ‘failure’ at the Olympics. It…didn’t go over well.
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Holiday: It’s National Scotch Day. You know who likes a glass of the brown stuff? A certain Herr Jung. IS THIS AN OMEN?
Events Opening Today:
Events Closing Today:
News & Notes from Around the World (but mostly Tokyo, let’s be honest):
‘Recycled’ audiences, eco-friendly medals, and an Olympic architecture legacy that’s been kept in the family – these are just some of the extraordinary facts and stories that came out of the Games before they even began. [Tokyo 2020: All Your Key Olympic Questions Answered]
There’s a typhoon on its way to Tokyo. No one seems all that worried, least of all the surfers. They’re looking forward to riding some bigger-than-average waves. [Pandemic Olympics endured heat, and now a typhoon’s en route]
There’s no denying that this is an unusual Olympics, and The Observer‘s Andy Bull has nailed the vibe pretty perfectly. [Surreal spectacle of a superbly set up Olympics with no one here to enjoy it]
The Spanish dressage team has become the first to invoke the new substitution rule. They’ve subbed in Divina Royal, José Antonio García Mena’s reserve ride, after he did the Grand Prix on Sorento 15. [Olympic horse substitution rule activated for first time ahead of dressage team final]
There’s further research now to suggest that horses have the capacity to remember the people in their lives. Which means that there are probably a lot of horses out there complaining about how annoying I am on their WhatsApp group. [Hey, I Remember You: The Extraordinary Equine Memory]
Watch: A compilation of the best bits from yesterday’s sport at the Olympics. I can barely swim, but this makes me want to become a diver.