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Everything you need to know about the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

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The Tokyo Olympics are set to open July 23rd, nearly one year to the date after they were originally scheduled to begin before being postponed due to COVID. 

Over 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in 339 events during the course of the Olympics, which, despite being postponed, are still being branded as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

As the opening ceremony nears, here’s everything you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics. 

What are the dates? 

The Tokyo Olympics commence with the June 23 opening ceremony and will conclude with the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 8. The opening ceremony will be held on the evening of June 23 in Tokyo and will air at 7 a.m. EST in the United States.

How do I watch? 

NBC will provide primetime coverage for the games with additional streaming options available on, NBC Sports, and Peacock.

Will fans be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics? 

The Olympics will allow a limited number of local fans. International fans have already been barred from traveling to Japan for this summer’s Games because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Organizers say that nearly 3.7 million tickets have been sold to Japanese residents. Venues will allow up to 50% capacity but will be capped at a maximum of 10,000 spectators. Fans will not be allowed to cheer, must wear masks, and are being told to go straight home after each event. 

What is the COVID situation in Tokyo like? 

Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the region. The state of emergency is set to expire on July 12 despite scrutiny regarding the decision to hold the games. A month out from the Tokyo Olympics, only eight percent of the Japanese public is fully vaccinated, adding to public health concerns.  

When is Gymnastics? 

The women’s team final begins at 6:45 a.m. EST on July 27 and the all-around final will air at 6:50 a.m. EST on July 29. Individual events are scheduled for July 30, 31 and August 1. 

When is Swimming? 

Swimming events begin on the first day of athletic competition, July 24, and run through July 31.

When is Track and Field? 

The 100m finals will be July 31. The 200m, 400m, relays and more will begin August 2 and run through the end of the week.

When are the women’s basketball finals? 

The gold-medal game will air on August 7 at 10:30 p.m. EST. 

When are the women’s soccer finals? 

The USWNT will begin group stage play against Sweden on July 21 at 4:30 a.m. EST. The soccer tournament will culminate with the final, which airs on August 5 at 10 p.m. EST.

What sports have been added? 

The Tokyo Olympics will see the introduction of several new sports, including 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX and madison cycling. Host organizing committees are also allowed to add new sports to the Olympic program. In Tokyo, these sports include karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding, all making their Olympic debuts, while softball and baseball have also returned for the first time since 2008. 

The must-see athletes:

The Tokyo Olympics will feature both already-legendary female athletes competing for further Olympics glory, as well as several notable first-time competitors looking to break onto the global stage.

Simone Biles, gymnastics: 

Simone Biles is, by all accounts, the greatest gymnast of all time. With four elements bearing her name, Biles is truly in a league of her own. During the Tokyo Olympics the American icon will look to add to her five medals, including a second-consecutive all-around gold. 

Katie Ledecky, swimming:

At just 24 years old, Ledecky has dominated swimming for nearly a decade. In Tokyo, the two-time Olympian will look to add to her six medals, competing in the 200m free, 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free. 

Allyson Felix, track and field: 

Allyson Felix is on the precipice of an unprecedented comeback. The 35-year-old is set to race in her fifth Olympic games, only two years after giving birth to her first child. Felix will compete in the 400m in Tokyo, hoping to add to her nine medals and defy expectations for sprinters’ longevity.

Storylines to track: 

Volleyball: Can April Ross finally win that elusive gold? In 2016, Ross and beach volleyball partner Kerri Walsh-Jennings fell short in the semifinals, going on to win bronze in the third-place match. In 2012, Ross lost to Walsh-Jennings in the gold medal match, in what was the final competition for Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. Now, Ross and her partner Alix Klineman enter the Olympics as the favorite to win. It could be Ross’ best and last chance to finally claim that elusive gold. 

Skateboarding: The sport’s Olympics debut brings with it a generation of up-and-coming skaters ready to announce themselves to the world. Can 14-year-old Misugo Okamoto, 13-year-old Rayssa Leal or 12-year-old Sky Brown make themselves the face of the sport with a podium finish?

Gymnastics: The US Gymnastics team will once again be favorites. You already know Simone Biles. Now meet the rest of Team USA: Sunisa “Suni” Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey, and McKayla Skinner. Biles, Lee, Chiles and McCallum will compete in the team competition, where they’ll be heavy favorites to the US’ third straight team gold. Carey and Skinner, meanwhile, both earned individual spots. 

Soccer: The USWNT will try to become the first team to ever win the World Cup and Olympics back-to-back. In his first major tournament at the helm, coach Vlatko Andonovski picked a veteran roster — 17 of the 18 players were on the 2019 World Cup team.  

Athing Mu Falls at Trials, Will Not Defend 800-Meter Olympic Title

Athing Mu competes in the women's 800 meter final on Day Four of the 2024 US Olympic Team Track & Field Trials
Mu won the 800-meter final at the Tokyo Olympics, crossing the line in 1:55.21 to break the American record. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Reigning Olympic Track & Field champion Athing Mu will not have the opportunity to defend her 800-meter title in Paris after falling during the event's US Track & Field Trials final on Monday. 

About 200 meters into the race, Mu uncharacteristically got tangled up in the middle of the track and lost her footing. Coming to her defense, her coach Bobby Kersee said that she had been spiked, suffered track burns, and hurt her ankle. The 22-year-old filed an appeal that saw USA Track and Field officials sorting through replays, but it was later denied. 

As a result, Mu did not qualify to run the 800-meter at the 2024 Summer Games, as the US has a standing rule that only the top three Trials finishers make the official Olympic-bound roster. 

At her first-ever Olympics in 2021, Mu took home the gold at the 800-meter final, crossing the line in 1:55.21 to break the American record.

"I’ve coached it, I’ve preached it, I’ve watched it," Kersee told The Associated Press after Mu's appeal was rejected. "And here’s another indication that regardless of how good we are, we can leave some better athletes home than other countries have. It’s part of our American way."

Mu finished more than 22 seconds behind eventual winner Nia Akins, but could still make the Olympic team as part of the US relay pool. Mu was a key part of the Team USA's 4x400-meter gold medal win three years ago in Tokyo.

Dearica Hamby Tapped to Replace Cameron Brink on 3×3 Olympic Team

Dearica Hamby playing for Team USA in 2023
Dearica Hamby is no stranger to Team USA's 3×3 lineup. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby has been named to USA Basketball's official 3×3 Olympic roster, replacing an injured Cameron Brink.

The Los Angeles Sparks forward has extensive experience with the 3×3 team, including taking home both a gold medal and MVP honors at the 2023 FIBA AmeriCup

Brink originally made the roster in early June, but suffered a season-ending ACL injury during Los Angeles’s June 18th loss to Connecticut. 

"It is an honor to announce Dearica Hamby's addition to the USA 3×3 women's national team and we look forward to getting to work as a squad very soon," USA Basketball 3×3 national team director Jay Demings said in a statement. "USA Basketball continues to keep Cameron Brink in our thoughts as she focuses on her recovery."

Hamby will join 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup champions Hailey Van Lith (TCU), CIerra Burdick, and Rhyne Howard (Atlanta Dream) in Paris.

San Diego Wave Parts Ways With Head Coach Casey Stoney

ex-wave fc head coach casey stoney in 2023
Casey Stoney joined Wave FC in 2022 from the WSL's Manchester United. (Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images)

San Diego Wave FC announced on Monday that the organization has parted ways with head coach Casey Stoney. 

The announcement comes amid a seven-game winless streak for the Wave. Stoney joined San Diego from WSL side Manchester United a few months before their inaugural season, winning the 2022 NWSL Coach of the Year Award that same year. She went on to lead the expansion team to two trophies in three years. 

Just this past January, the club agreed to a multi-year contract extension that kept Stoney with the club through 2027, with a mutual option for 2028. 

Despite their prior success, San Diego currently sits ninth in the NWSL standings, one point out of playoff contention. Their last win came on May 8th, having most recently played to a scoreless draw against Houston over the weekend to cap off a three-game road trip. 

"We are immensely grateful to Casey for her commitment to our club and the positive impact she has had both on and off the pitch,” Wave president and former USWNT manager Jill Ellis said in an official team statement. "Over the past seasons, Casey has guided us to significant milestones, and her contributions have been instrumental in laying a strong foundation on which to build.

"The decision to part ways was very hard and not made in haste, but given the ambition of this club, and where we are in our season, we felt a change was necessary at this time."

The staffing change comes a little less than two weeks after the Wave brought on former Kansas City Current general manager Camille Ashton. Ashton resigned from her position with Kansas City in May of this year.

On Tuesday, Ellis commented that Stoney is "self aware" and called her a "complete professional."

"I don’t think you have to have a conversation when it comes to know where they are, she knew,” she said. “I think Casey knew results matter. Casey’s ambitious. And was she happy with where we were? Of course not.

"I think a coach also understands that sometimes this is the nature of the beast of coaching. It’s tough and hard at times."

Kansas City, Orlando Raise the NWSL Bar With Weekend Wins

NWSL Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda in action during a NWSL match against Seattle Reign
Banda registered a brace on Sunday, bringing her NWSL total to 10 goals in just 10 games. (Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pride star Barbra Banda continued on her historic NWSL trajectory this weekend, scoring twice in Orlando’s 6-0 win over Utah on Friday. 

She’s the first NWSL player to register 10 goals in their first 10 league appearances. It was also her fourth brace this season, and marked her first goals in two games after her first multi-game scoring drought.

"For me when I have an opportunity and a chance, I have to take it wisely," Banda said in her postgame remarks. "When I get a chance, I have to put the ball in the back of the net. If any game I didn’t score, I just have to go to my drawing board and work hard so that in the next game so I can find a goal."

Meanwhile, Kansas City also kept up their winning ways, beating Portland 4-1 behind a brace from midfielder Lo'eau Labonta on Sunday.

Later that day, the Washington Spirit, who sit just a point behind KC in third place, topped fourth-place Gotham FC in a decisive 2-0 victory.

And after drawing with Seattle, eighth-place Louisville has 16 points on the season — representing a growing gap between the league’s top and bottom teams. Bringing up the bottom of the ladder, both Seattle and Utah have yet to surpass 10 points this year.

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