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Fans banned at Olympics; Tokyo under state of emergency – CTV News

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TOKYO —
Fans will be banned from Tokyo-area stadiums and arenas when the Olympics begin in two weeks, the city’s governor said Thursday after meeting with organizers of the pandemic-postponed games.

That means the Olympics will be a largely TV-only event, after the Japanese government put the capital under a COVID-19 state of emergency because of rising new infections and the highly contagious delta variant.

The declaration was made by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and the spectator ban was agreed to by Japanese Olympic organizers, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the metropolitan government of Tokyo.

It was a serious blow for Japanese taxpayers and local organizers of the games, which already had been postponed from 2020 by the coronavirus. Hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket revenue will be lost, and that must be made up by the government. Fans also have endured months of uncertainty about whether the Olympics will go ahead.

“Many people were looking forward to watching the games at the venues, but I would like everyone to fully enjoy watching the games on TV at home,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said after the meeting. “It’s gut-wrenching because many people looked forward to watching at the venues.”

Fans from abroad were banned months ago, and the new measures will mean no spectators in stadiums and arenas around Tokyo — both indoor and outdoor venues.

The ban covers Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures — Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. A smattering of events in outlying areas, like baseball in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, will allow a limited number of fans.

The state of emergency begins July 12 and runs through Aug. 22. The Olympics, which open July 23 and run through Aug. 8, fall entirely under the emergency period, while the Paralympics open Aug. 24.

“Taking into consideration the impact of the delta strain, and in order to prevent the resurgence of infections from spreading across the country, we need to step up virus prevention measures,” Suga said.

In principle, the July 23 opening ceremony at the new US$1.4 billion National Stadium will be without paying fans, although some dignitaries, sponsors, IOC officials and others will be allowed to attend.

“We will have to review the situation about the dignitaries and stakeholders,” organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto said of the opening ceremony.

“No fans was a very difficult decision,” she added.

Hashimoto acknowledged some regrets, particularly about the decision coming so late.

“We had no choice but to arrive at the no-spectator decision,” she said. “We postponed and postponed, one after another. I have done some soul-searching about that.”

The emergency declaration made for a rude arrival for IOC President Thomas Bach, who landed Thursday in Tokyo for the games. He attended the virtual meeting on fans from his five-star hotel for IOC officials where he was self-isolating for three days.

“What can I say? Finally we are here,” Bach said, sounding upbeat as he opened the late night meeting that ended close to midnight. “I have been longing for this day for more than one year.”

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, said many sponsors, federation officials and others would be considered to be “organizers” and thus would be allowed to attend venues. He said some might occupy public seating, but he said he did not know “the numerical details.”

Organizers had expected to generate about $800 million in ticket sales. Any shortfall — and it could be almost the entire amount — will have to be made up by Japanese government entities.

Japan is officially spending $15.4 billion on the Olympics, and several government audits say it’s much larger. All but $6.7 billion is public money.

Two weeks ago, organizers and the IOC allowed venues to be filled to 50% of capacity, with crowds not to exceed 10,000. The state of emergency forced the late turnaround, which was always an option if infections got worse.

On Thursday, Tokyo reported 896 new cases, up from 673 a week earlier. It’s the 19th straight day that cases have topped the mark set seven days prior. New cases on Wednesday hit 920, the highest total since 1,010 were reported on May 13.

The main focus of the emergency is a request for bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors serving alcohol to close. A ban on serving alcohol is a key step to tone down Olympics-related festivities and keep people from drinking and partying. Tokyo residents are expected to face requests to stay home and watch the games on TV.

“How to stop people enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks is a main issue,” Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said.

The rise in infections also has forced the Tokyo city government to pull the Olympic torch relay off the streets, allowing it only on remote islands off the capital’s coast.

“The infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it,” said Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser.

He urged authorities to take tough measures quickly ahead of the Olympics, with summer vacations approaching.

Omi has repeatedly called for a spectator ban, calling it “abnormal” to stage an Olympics during a pandemic.

A government COVID-19 advisory panel on Wednesday expressed concerns about the resurgence of infections.

“Two-thirds of the infections in the capital region are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighboring areas,” said Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The Olympics are pushing ahead against most medical advice, partially because the postponement stalled the IOC’s income flow. It gets almost 75% from selling broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose $3 billion to $4 billion if the Olympics were canceled altogether.

About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, along with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters and media. The IOC says more than 80% of Olympic Village residents will be vaccinated.

Nationwide, Japan has had about 810,000 cases and nearly 14,900 deaths. Only 15% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, still low compared with 47.4% in the United States and almost 50% in Britain.

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Tokyo Games Day 5 Review: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Olympic history – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The majority of action during the Tokyo Olympics happens as most Canadians are fast asleep. While you were cozy in your bed, however, members of Team Canada were making their push for the podium.

Here’s what you missed from Day 5 of the Summer Games:

Women’s 200m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak makes Canadian Summer Games history

It was a night to remember for Canadians that tuned in to see Oleksiak compete in the women’s 200-metre freestyle final on Day 5 of the Games, as the swimmer claimed bronze in the event. The medal marks her second of the 2020 Games, and her sixth-ever at the Olympics, making her the most decorated Canadian summer Olympian ever.

The swimmer from Toronto, Ontario, completed the women’s 200m freestyle with a time of 1:54.70. Placing second was Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey, who earned a time of 1:53.92. Claiming gold was Australia’s Ariarne Titmus, whose time of 1:53.50 set a new Olympic record.

Pulling from both the Summer and Winter Games, Oleksiak is tied with Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen for the most Olympic medals by a Canadian. With multiple events still remaining for Oleksiak, she could very well leave Tokyo as the all-time leader.

Canada's swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Canada’s swimming phenom Penny Oleksiak had herself an Olympic history-making moment Wednesday in Tokyo. (Getty)

Men’s Volleyball: Canada earns first win of tournament

The Canadian men earned a straight-sets victory over Iran to pick up their first win at the Olympics. The team now sits in fourth place in Group A and will play against Venezuela on Day 7 of the Games.

Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Canadians Patrick Keane and Maxwell Lattimer qualify for Final B

Competing in Semifinal 1, Keane and Lattimer finished fifth amongst six competitors and will now compete in Final B.

Women’s Singles Badminton: Michelle Li wins, claims top spot in Group F

Michelle Li picked up a straight-sets victory over Slovakia’s Martina Repiska and first place in Group F. She will now face Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the Round of 16. She has yet to lose a set in the tournament.

Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls Rowing: Jill Moffatt and Jennifer Casson qualify for Final B

Moffatt and Casson placed sixth amongst the six competitors in Semifinal 2, which means they’ll compete in Final B.

Men’s Pair Rowing: Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe advance to Final A

Racing in Semifinal 2, Langerfeld and McCabe impressively earned third amongst the six competitors. The two will now have a chance at gold in Final A.

Women’s Middleweight Boxing: Tammara Thibeault reaches quarterfinal

Thibeault defeated Kazhakstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets in the Last 16, advancing to the quarterfinal. She will now face Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands for a chance at qualifying for the semis.

Women’s Pair Rowing: Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens earn lane in Final A

Filmer and Janssens finished nearly eight-tenths of a second behind Greece’s Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourmpou, and less than one-tenth of a second behind Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Polly Swann to finish third in Semifinal 1. The result was good enough to advance through to Final A where they will have a chance at a gold medal.

Women’s Eight Rowing: Canada will compete for gold

Canada nabbed second in the Repechage Round, finishing a little more than seven-tenths of a second behind Romania’s time of 5:52.99. The result earned the team a chance to compete for gold.

Women’s Water Polo: Canada wins in rout of South Africa

After dropping its first two contests to Australia and Spain, Canada defeated South Africa by a score of 21-1 to earn its first win of the Olympics. Canada now sits in third place in Group A.

Women’s 100m Freestyle Swimming: Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez advance

Racing in the preliminary heats for women’s 100m freestyle, Oleksiak and Sanchez both qualified for the semifinal. Oleksiak finished sixth with a time of 52.95 while Sanchez finished 10th with a time of 53.12.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Swimming: Markus Thormeyer claims lane in semifinal

Swimming to a time of 1:57.85, Thormeyer finished 16th in the preliminary heats, earning him the final spot for the semis.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke Swimming: Kelsey Wog will swim in semifinal

Wog finished 16th in the preliminary heats for the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:24.27. She will compete in the semis.

Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Swimming: Canada earns spot in semifinal

The team of Katerine Savard, Rebecca Smith, Mary-Sophie Harvey, and Sydney Pickrem swam to a time of 7:51.52, which earned them the fourth spot in the preliminary heats and a lane in the semis.

Way Beyond Gold: German judoka Martyna Trajdos defends coach slapping her face

This is the weirdest pre-game ritual I’ve ever seen.

Prior to competing in a match at the Olympics, Martyna Trajdos of Germany asked her coach, Claudiu Pusa, to shake her by the shoulders and slap her face to get her fired up.

“Look’s like this was not hard enough,” Trajdos’ Instagram post reads. “I wish I could have made a different headline today. As I already said that’s the ritual which I chose pre competition! My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up!”

Despite her wish to be slapped in the face, the International Judo Federation sent an “Official Warning and Ultimatum” to Pusa.

How many medals has Canada won in the Summer Olympics

Canada is now up to nine medals in Tokyo heading into Day 6.

Gold: Margaret Mac Neil (women’s 100m butterfly), Maude Charron (weightlifting, women’s 64kg)

Silver: Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu (women’s 3m synchronized springboard), Kylie Masse (women’s 100m backstroke)

Bronze: Jessica Klimkait (judo, women’s under-57 kg), Softball, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (judo, women’s 63kg), Penny Oleksiak (women’s 200m freestyle)

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Montreal Canadiens owner supports Logan Mailloux pick, also apologizes for not assessing impact – ESPN Australia

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Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson apologized to “everyone impacted by our decision” while backing his team’s selection of defenseman Logan Mailloux in the first round of last weekend’s NHL draft.

“We gave Logan a second chance, but in doing so we failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances. Once again, I want to apologize to everyone impacted by our decision,” Molson said in a letter posted to the Canadiens’ website Wednesday. “I repeat, our actions will speak louder than our words. We will work to continue proving we are an organization this community and our fans can be proud of.”

Mailloux, 18, had “renounced” himself from the draft after multiple news reports covered an incident in Sweden in which he showed teammates a photo that depicted him and a woman engaged in a consensual sexual act. The photo was taken without the consent of the woman, who went to local police. Mailloux was fined but not arrested for invasion of privacy and defamation.

While sources indicated to ESPN that multiple NHL teams were considering taking him on the second day of the draft, Montreal selected him 30th in the first round. The next day, Mailloux said he accepted the Canadiens having drafted him and thought the team could help with his “betterment” as a person.

The decision sparked immediate backlash from fans and media, and eventually led to a handful of sponsors questioning their commitments to the franchise for next season. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “as a lifelong Habs fan, I am deeply disappointed by the decision” and that the team has “a lot of explaining to do to Montrealers and fans right across the country.”

Molson, who released his letter at the start of the NHL’s free-agent period Wednesday afternoon, specifically addressed the woman.

“I want to say that we do not minimize what she has had to, and continues to have to, live through. No one, especially not an 18-year-old, should have to suffer through a traumatic experience like this. We are there to support her and her family and respect their privacy,” he said. “Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards her or her family, or more generally towards women or other victims of similar situations. Our decision was not intended, in any shape or form, to be an endorsement of the culture of violence against women.”

Molson said that Mailloux is “a young man who committed a serious transgression” but one who is “genuinely remorseful about the pain he has caused” and “committed to becoming a better person and we will work with him through this process.”

The letter spelled out how the Canadiens are preparing to handle Mailloux as a prospect. He will not participate in the Canadiens’ rookie development camp or training camp.

“Being a player in the NHL is a privilege that is earned — not a right that is granted. As the year progresses, we will reassess Logan’s readiness to be part of our organization,” he said.

In addition, the team will develop a plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about “this serious issue,” using the team’s resources to “turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change.”

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Olympic champion Simone Biles withdraws from Tokyo all-around event – Sportsnet.ca

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TOKYO — Simone Biles will not defend her Olympic title.

The American gymnastics superstar withdrew from Thursday’s all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday that the 24-year-old is opting to not compete. The decision comes a day after Biles removed herself from the team final following one rotation because she felt she wasn’t mentally ready.

Jade Carey, who finished ninth in qualifying, will take Biles’ place in the all-around. Carey initially did not qualify because she was the third-ranking American behind Biles and Sunisa Lee. International Gymnastics Federation rules limit countries to two athletes per event in the finals.

The organization said Biles will be evaluated daily before deciding if she will participate in next week’s individual events. Biles qualified for the finals on all four apparatuses, something she didn’t even do during her five-medal haul in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The 24-year-old came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on vault, floor and beam following shaky dismounts.

She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.

When she returned, she took off her bar grips, hugged teammates Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and Jordan Chiles and turned into the team’s head cheerleader as the U.S. claimed silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

“Once I came out here (to compete), I was like, ‘No mental is, not there so I just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself,’” Biles said following the medal ceremony.

The decision opens the door wide open for the all-around, a title that was long considered a foregone conclusion. Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished second to Biles during qualifying, followed by Lee and Russians Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova. The four were separated by three-tenths of a point on Sunday.

Carey now finds herself in the final, capping a remarkable journey for the 21-year-old from Phoenix. She spent two years traveling the globe in an effort to pile up enough points on the World Cup circuit to earn an individual nominative spot, meaning she would be in the Olympics but technically not be part of the four-woman U.S. team.

Carey posted the second-best score on vault and the third-best on floor during qualifying, earning trips to the event finals in the process. Now she finds herself competing for an all-around medal while replacing the athlete considered the greatest of all-time in the sport.

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