Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 5, 8:30 a.m.
TOKYO — A comprehensive victory over Spain seems to have righted the ship for the American men’s basketball team. The United States advanced to a semifinal at 1:15 p.m. Tokyo time, 12:15 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, against Australia, a team that beat the Americans in an exhibition game last month.
The U.S. women’s soccer team can’t be happy to have lost its own semifinal, but a consolation bronze is still available if the Americans can beat Australia in a match that begins at 5 p.m. in Tokyo, 4 a.m. Eastern.
In track and field, several Americans are in the mix for medals in the men’s shot-put, and Grant Holloway could bring home triple jump gold in the morning session (Wednesday night U.S. time). At night, the men’s 400 meters is the highlight.
Nevin Harrison of the U.S. carries the country’s canoe/kayak hopes in the 200-meter canoe race, where she is the reigning world champion.
April Ross and Alix Klineman have advanced again in beach volleyball and will now play in the semifinal.
Also on Thursday, the first golds in climbing and karate will be awarded.
TOKYO — Sydney McLaughlin needed a world record of 51.46 seconds to beat her fellow American and rival Dalilah Muhammad in the 400 hurdles.
Andre de Grasse of Canada raced to the men’s 200-meter gold, with Americans placing 2-3-4 behind him, and Emmanuel Korir of Kenya won the men’s 800.
Sakura Yosozumi, 19, of Japan won the park skateboarding event, defeating two of the youngest competitors at the Games, Kokona Hiraki, 12, of Japan and Sky Brown, 13, of Britain.
The U.S. women’s basketball team had no problem in its semifinal, cruising past Australia, 79-55. Breanna Stewart led the team with 23 points. The U.S. baseball team defeated the Dominican Republic, 3-1, and is two wins away from a gold medal.
Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won the women’s marathon open-water swimming competition.
And Lasha Talakhadze of Georgia lifted the most weight in the men’s super heavyweight division and set a couple of world records in the process — 491 pounds in the snatch and a massive 584 pounds in the clean and jerk.
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, who made history in Tokyo by becoming the first woman to win gold in the 100 and 200 meters in consecutive Games, was temporarily blocked from posting to Instagram on Tuesday afternoon after sharing a video of her Olympic races.
“I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days,” she said on Twitter on Tuesday.
I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days
— Elaine Thompson Herah (@FastElaine) August 3, 2021
However, she regained permission to post hours after her tweet. “My block is cleared,” she posted on an Instagram story on Tuesday night, along with two hugging face emoji.
The International Olympic Committee owns the intellectual property associated with the Olympic Games, restricting what athletes and other credentialed personnel can share to their social media accounts, including some images or videos from the Games.
A spokesperson for Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, confirmed that it removed a video but that Thompson-Herah’s access was mistakenly suspended.
Instagram removes content when it is reported by the person or organization who owns the rights, the spokesperson said.
Thompson-Herah set a Jamaican record for the women’s 200 meters with a time of 21.53 seconds and an Olympic record in the women’s 100 meters with a time of 10.61 seconds, breaking American Florence Griffith Joyner’s mark of 10.62 from 1988.
Her next race will be Thursday when she competes in the women’s 4×100-meter relay.
Here are some highlights of U.S. broadcast coverage on Wednesday evening and overnight. All times are Eastern.
TRACK AND FIELD A range of running finals airs tonight on USA Network, including the women’s pole vault, the men’s shot put, the men’s triple jump and the men’s 110-meter hurdles. Look out for Grant Holloway, the American who dominated the 110-meter hurdles to secure his Olympic berth in Tokyo. The action begins at 8 p.m.
SKATEBOARDING Japan has won all three gold medals so far in skateboarding. Fans can catch the fourth and final event, men’s park, at 11:30 p.m. on CNBC. The preliminary round in the event airs at 8 p.m. on the network.
WATER POLO The young U.S. men’s team, which includes several first-time Olympians, fell to Spain in the quarterfinal. NBCSN has the replay starting at 8 p.m.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL Norway takes on Russia in this replay of the men’s quarterfinal, which airs at 9 p.m. on NBCSN.
BASKETBALL Breanna Stewart scored 23 points in the United States’ 79-55 rout of Australia in the women’s quarterfinals, helping to bring the Americans one step closer to their seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal. A replay of the game begins at 10 p.m. on NBCSN. The U.S. men’s team is hitting its stride after a defeat of Spain on Tuesday. With Kevin Durant leading the way, the team faces Australia in a semifinal; the game streams live at 12:15 a.m. on Peacock and NBCOlymics.com.
CANOE/KAYAK Coverage of the final races begins at 1:15 a.m. on CNBC.
TOKYO — Every city that hosts the Olympics pushes for events popular in its country to be included in the program, and Tokyo is no different. The Japanese organizers successfully lobbied for baseball to return after an absence of a dozen years and for surfing to make its debut.
The International Olympic Committee also signed off on the Japanese organizers’ request to include karate as a medal sport, an upgrade from the cameo it made as a demonstration sport at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Thanks in part to Hollywood movies, karate is perhaps the best known of the martial arts. But it forms the basis of numerous other martial arts, including taekwondo, and has a wide following across the globe.
But it has its roots in the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa, where it was developed centuries ago. It is fitting, then, that one of the gold medal favorites in the three-day tournament that begins Thursday is Ryo Kiyuna, an Okinawan. A three-time individual world champion, Kiyuna will compete in the men’s kata portion on Friday, and if he meets expectations, he will be the first Okinawan to win an Olympic gold medal.
“Since karate has finally been selected as an official event at the Tokyo Olympics, I would like to show the world what karate is all about, both as a representative of Japan and as a representative of Okinawa,” he told Jiji Press last year.
Casual observers of the sport are probably familiar with kumite, where two fighters face off and try to hit and kick their opponents to score points.
Kata, by contrast, includes the building blocks of karate performed against an imaginary opponent, traditional aspects of the martial art that purists relish. In kata, athletes perform alone, demonstrating a series of offensive and defensive moves. Karateka choose from among 102 katas, or techniques, that are approved by the World Karate Federation.
The seven judges base 70 percent of a score on technical proficiency, which includes focus, breathing, timing and stances. The other 30 percent is based on athletics, including strength and speed.
Kiyuna has dominated the kata world in recent years, the only karateka to receive a perfect score, something he did in 2019. Now 31, he began practicing karate at 5, inspired to join a friend from kindergarten. He started winning competitions, and studied under Tsuguo Sakumoto, a karate master from Okinawa. By 2014, Kiyuna overtook his biggest rival, Antonio Díaz of Venezuela. His main competition at the Tokyo Games is Damián Quintero of Spain, who was runner-up to Kiyuna at the past two world championships.
According to Masahiro Ide, who runs a karate fan newsletter, Kiyuna has exceptional speed, sharpness and strength and accurate techniques.
“His moves are so strong that the judges can feel his power just from his appearance, which allows him to get high scores,” said Ide, who expects Kiyuna to win a gold medal. “He is also good at pulling power from within himself.”
Unfortunately for karate fans, the sport will not be on the program at the Paris Games in 2024. Supporters of karate hoped its inclusion in Tokyo would boost the sport’s popularity much the way taekwondo benefited from being added to the Olympic program at the Sydney Games in 2000.
For now, the sport will get plenty of exposure in Tokyo this week, with Kiyuna and Okinawa as two of the main attractions.
“The Japanese feel that karate is theirs, and they want to regain dominance,” said Sherman Nelson Jr., a karate analyst for NBC Sports. “The world caught up. The sport is a melting pot. Everyone has to adapt.”
TOKYO — Noah Lyles, the American sprinting star, was less than an hour removed from racing to a bronze medal in the men’s 200 meters at the Tokyo Games on Wednesday when he opened up about his mental health and the challenges he had faced over the past year.
He spoke about dealing with depression. He spoke about seeking help in therapy. He spoke about the pressures of his profession. And he cried as he spoke about his younger brother, Josephus, whose own Olympic dream as a professional runner currently lives through Noah because he didn’t make the Olympic team.
“Sometimes I think to myself, this should be him,” Noah Lyles said through tears.
For Lyles and many others competing in Tokyo, the Olympics have doubled as a sort of catharsis. In fact, Lyles’s raw display of emotion was hardly unusual: Many athletes here have been outspoken about the burdens of performing in the wake of the most daunting 18 months of their lives, a period shadowed by the pandemic and racial strife — and a yearlong postponement of the Games themselves.
Simone Biles, the world’s greatest gymnast, withdrew from multiple competitions, citing the stress of the past year as one of the reasons she had lost the ability to control her body as she tumbled through the air.
Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked tennis player who had dominated his sport for months, cracked in his semifinal match, hurling his racket into the stands and smacking a replacement against a fence post. After that loss, and then after missing out on the bronze medal, he was as distraught as he had been in years.
Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team, a fairly indomitable force entering the Olympics, fell in the semifinals and spoke of losing the joy they usually feel when they step onto the field.
Lyles, 24, has been one of the most celebrated stars in American track and field since he won a pair of gold medals at the 2019 world championships. But he has also routinely used his platform to share his struggles with anxiety and depression, and it was no different for him in the wake of winning his first Olympic medal.
“I knew there was a lot of people out there like me who’s scared to say something or to even start that journey,” he said. “I want you to know that it’s OK to not feel good, and you can go out and talk to somebody professionally, or even get on medication, because this is a serious issue and you don’t want to wake up one day and just think, you know, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore.’”
For a long time, he said, track was a sort of oasis for him. School was difficult for him when he was young, and running was an outlet. But over the course of the pandemic, some of that enjoyment disappeared. He took anti-depressants on and off, and he was also profoundly affected by the police killings of unarmed Black people.
Before leaving for Tokyo, he broke down crying in front of his girlfriend, he said, “just talking about how hard it was to get through this year.”
Lyles had always told himself that he would leave the sport behind if he ever lost his passion for it, he said. But while he ultimately chose to continue to train and compete, he was determined not to let track control his life. In the process, he said, he sought more balance. He pointed to his interests in music, art and fashion.
“Even if this doesn’t go right in track, I still have a life outside of it,” he said. “I have places that I can go. I am not defined by being an Olympic bronze medalist, or a gold medal world champion, or the high schooler who went pro. That’s not who I am; I’m Noah Lyles.”
He was at his most emotional, though, when he addressed his relationship with his brother, Josephus, a sprinter who fell short of making the U.S. Olympic team this summer. When they were children, Noah Lyles said, it was actually his brother’s dream to compete at the Games.
“This wasn’t even my dream,” Lyles said as he sobbed. “I just wanted to tag along because I loved my brother, and I wanted to do this together. And it’s taken us so far, and I feel like he should be here.”
In the 200-meter final, staged in an empty stadium, Lyles finished behind Andre De Grasse of Canada and Kenny Bednarek, Lyles’s American teammate. Lyles called his bronze medal “boring.”
“I didn’t win,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s a great achievement.”