Games Soldiering On Despite Rising COVID-19 Cases
The big story thus far in these Summer Olympic Games for Team USA was the shocking decision by gymnast Simone Biles to pull out of the team competition. Citing mental health reasons, Biles left the competition floor after completing just one rotation as the team aimed for the gold. Here is the latest from Tokyo as the games continue on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biles’ DecisionRead More »
Biles withdrew from the team competition shortly after the four-time Olympic gold medalist made a mistake on the first event of the day with the vault. In an uncharacteristic move, Biles was only able to get through one-and-a-half rotations of the vault before landing awkwardly.
The 24-year-old veteran was visibly shaken as she spoke to her teammates after her vault attempt. Cameras captured Biles hugging her teammates and telling them she loved them before she took her place on the sidelines as a cheerleader. Jordan Chiles stepped in to fill in for Biles in her events.
In a media conference after the conclusion of the team event, Biles told reporters that she needed to focus on her mental health. She also said that she wanted to protect her body and mind, as she broke down in tears trying to justify her decision to withdraw after one event.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) went on to win the team gold medal with a score of 169.528. Team USA was able to rally together and take the silver, notching a 166.096. Great Britain took the last place on the podium with a bronze medal and a score of 164.096.
It was the first time since 2008 that the US women’s gymnastics team was not standing at the top of the podium after this event.
What is Next for Biles?
Biles said that she was planning to take the following day to rest and then would assess what lies ahead, committing to take it one day at a time. She is still scheduled to compete in the women’s all-around final on July 29. In addition, she qualified for the women’s vault and uneven bars finals on August 2, the floor exercise final on August 2, and the balance beam final on August 3.
Naomi Osaka Out
In another surprise result, Japan’s own Naomi Osaka lost in straight sets on Tuesday in the women’s tennis competition. The loss came to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic during the third round of the tennis singles event. Osaka said that it was difficult to deal with the pressure of competing in her first Olympic Games while representing the host country.
The 23-year-old was thought to be one of the favorites heading into the games. She was also a media darling after she was selected to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony last week.
The four-time grand slam champion made headlines last month after she dropped out of the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason for her withdrawal.
Women’s Soccer Advances
After dropping their first game to Sweden last week, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has advanced to the quarterfinals. The women’s soccer team moved on after a scoreless draw with Australia. The USWNT finished second in Group G play, marking the second time that it took that spot at the Olympics. In 1996, the USWNT went on to win the gold medal after finishing second in pool play.
The team will square off against either Brazil or the Netherlands on Friday.
History Made in Surfing Competition
Team USA made history on Tuesday when American Carissa Moore won the inaugural gold medal in women’s surfing. Moore bested South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag during the final round of the competition. As the four-time world champion, it was no surprise that Moore was at the top of the medal stand after the event. The 28-year-old was born in Oahu, Hawaii, a place known for its surfing.
On the men’s side of the surfing competition, Brazil’s Italo Ferreira took home the gold.
Competing Amidst a Pandemic
As the world continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Tokyo is no exception. The city reported its largest ever increase of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic as it added 2,848 new positives on Tuesday. The previous daily record of new confirmed cases of the virus was on January 7 when the capital city of Japan saw 2,520 cases.
Although it is difficult to trace so many cases, at least 160 of these new positives have been linked to the Olympic Games.