The latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under severe restrictions after a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic:
The organizers of the 2024 Olympics in Paris say they will use the Eiffel Tower during the closing ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday to unfurl “the largest flag ever flown”.
Paris Organizing Committee President Tony Estanguet spoke in Tokyo about the plan to promote the formal handover on Sunday to the next host of the Summer Games.
A giant flag had a test flight from the iconic Parisian landmark two months ago, although the exact reason was not explained at the time.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in Tokyo to attend the traditional handover during the closing ceremony.
The Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman won the gold medal in women’s beach volleyball.
The US pair defeated Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy of Australia 21-15, 21-16 for the championship on Friday. It is Ross’ third medal in as many Olympics, after silver in London and bronze in Brazil. Klineman is an Olympian for the first time.
The silver for Australia was the first beach volleyball medal since Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst won gold at Bondi Beach in Sydney in 2000.
In the game for the bronze medal, the Swiss Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre scored a clear victory over Latvia.
The number of COVID-19 games-related infections has risen to 387 as Tokyo sees more than 5,000 cases in a day for the first time during the pandemic.
The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics added 29 cases to their list from July 1 to Thursday. There are no athletes or residents of the Olympic Village among the new cases.
Out of a total of 387, there are 207 contractors living in Japan and from abroad who work on the Games.
Tokyo authorities announced 5,042 new cases a day on Thursday.
Japanese Prime Minister Yosihide Suga said Thursday: “Infections are increasing at a pace we have never seen before.” He ruled out a connection with the hosting of the Olympic Games during the state of emergency.
Switzerland won the bronze medal in women’s beach volleyball.
Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre from Switzerland scored a clear win against Latvia on Friday morning in the game for third place.
The Swiss beat Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in the first set with 21:19, before she took the lead 5-1 in the second set and pulled away from it with 21:15 and won her nation’s first Olympic medal in the women’s category.
The Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman were due to play against Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy from Australia in the gold medal game later on Friday morning.
Dawid Tomala from Poland won perhaps the last 50-kilometer race at the Olympic Games.
Tomala won the gold medal in Sapporo in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 8 seconds.
Jonathan Hilbert from Germany was second, 36 seconds behind Tomala in 3:50:44. Evan Dunfee from Canada was third in 3:50:59. The running events have been relocated to Sapporo due to the summer heat and humidity in Tokyo.
The 50-kilometer walk has been removed from the schedule for the next Paris Olympics in 2024 and may not return.
It was first introduced at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and has since been played at all Games except Montreal in 1976.
The International Olympic Committee said it removed two Belarusian team coaches from the Olympics four days after trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus.
The IOC says it canceled and removed Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich’s testimonials.
The IOC says the men “were told to leave the Olympic Village immediately and did so … in the interests of the athletes’ welfare”.
Shimak and Maisevich have continued to be in contact with Belarusian athletes since Sunday after the IOC linked them with driving Tsimanouskaya to the airport in a car to be put on a plane to Belarus.
Tsimanouskaya criticized team coaches on social media and is now in Poland on a humanitarian visa.
The IOC says Shimak and Maisevich are “given an opportunity to be heard” by its disciplinary committee investigating the case.
The Dutch Olympic track cyclist Laurine van Riessen is recovering a day after a terrible accident in the Keirin semifinals at the Izu Velodrom in a hospital in Tokyo.
Van Riessen was briefly knocked unconscious when she collided with British driver Katy Marchant at more than 40 mph. Van Riessen stayed on the apron of the track for several minutes before the doctors loaded her onto a stretcher and took her out of the velodrome.
She was transferred to a Tokyo hospital and diagnosed with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, and bruised lung.
A spokesman for the Dutch track team says Van Riessen is fine but cannot remember the fall. The team doctor is with her and Van Riessen was able to make it clear that the pain is mainly in her shoulder.
Van Riessen’s teammate, Shanne Braspennincx, won the gold medal in Keirin, a six-lap race in which the first three are driven by a motorized motorcycle and the last three are a free sprint to the finish.