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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Olympics from July 23-28: Japan swimmer Ohashi bags 2 early golds

Chinese weightlifter Shi Zhiyong dominates; Philippines wins first gold ever

Japanese swimmer Yui Ohashi grabbed a pair of gold medals in the Games' early days.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Olympics have finally opened after a long journey filled with controversy, and an unprecedented one-year postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proceedings officially began with Friday's opening ceremony at the National Stadium, a mostly subdued affair mixed with joyous moments like a high-tech drone show, and capped by tennis star Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron.

We're tracking the latest medal count.

Read our breakdown of the events to watch.

This blog file is now closed. For the latest developments, head over here.

Thursday, July 29 (Tokyo time)

11:00 a.m. Izaac Stubblety-Cook of Australia wins the gold medal in the men's 200m breaststroke.

Earlier, New Zealand rowers Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler take gold in the double sculls -- the first top finish by Kiwi athletes at the Tokyo Games.

Wednesday, July 28 

11:30 p.m. Japan's men's soccer team defeats France 4-0 to emerge from the group stage undefeated.

11:10 p.m. Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who brought home India's first medal at the Tokyo Olympics, has earned herself movies for life.

Chanu clinched silver in the 49kg event last Saturday. The INOX cinema chain has promised her free tickets. This adds to her winnings of free Domino's pizza.

10:20 p.m. Daiki Hashimoto of Japan wins the men's all-around gymnastics gold medal.

China's Xiao Ruoteng captures silver, and the bronze goes to Russian Nikita Nagornyy.

10:00 p.m. In men's weightlifting, China's Shi Zhiyong wins gold in the 73 kg class, breaking his own world record.

Shi Zhiyong of China in action in men's weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics on July 28.   © Reuters

8:00 p.m. Japan's Chizuru Arai wins the gold medal in the women's judo -70 kg category, defeating Michaela Polleres of Austria in the final.

Japanese judoka Chizuru Arai smiles after winning her gold medal match.   © Reuters

7:20 p.m. Fiji tops New Zealand in the Rugby Sevens gold medal game by a score of 27-12, retaining the title won at Rio 2016.

6:45 p.m. The world's top two men's tennis players, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Daniil Medvedev of Russia, both advance, but the Tokyo heat continues to be an issue on the court.

Medvedev took a medical timeout and summoned his trainer on other occasions during his match today, Reuters reports. Asked by the chair umpire if he was OK, the Russian replied: "I'm fine. I can finish the match but I can die. If I die will the [International Tennis Federation] take responsibility?"

On the women's side, Spain's Paula Badosa suffered heat stroke during her match and was unable to recover, leaving the court in a wheelchair.

Tennis star Daniil Medvedev, competing for the Russian Olympic Committee, takes a medical timeout during his third round match against Fabio Fognini of Italy on July 28.   © Reuters

5:45 p.m. Japan's baseball team starts off on the right foot with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Dominican Republic.

4:46 p.m. Tokyo's COVID-19 case count hits a record high for the second straight day, topping 3,000 for the first time since the pandemic began. The number rises to 3,177 from 2,848 a day earlier.

4:30 p.m. China wins its third diving gold medal of the Games, with Wang Zongyuan and Xie Siyi winning the men's 3m synchronized springboard title after losing to Britain at Rio 2016.

3:40 p.m. U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, one of the sport's biggest stars, has withdrawn from tomorrow's final individual all-around competition, USA Gymnastics announces on Twitter. "We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being," the tweet says.

3:30 p.m. In rowing, China snags a gold in the women's quadruple sculls. Chen Yunxia, Zhang Ling, Lyu Yang and Cui Xiaotong set a world record of 6:05.13. China also adds a bronze medal in the men's double sculls.

12:55 p.m. The day after Tokyo reported record-high COVID-19 cases, Olympics organizers try to reassure the Japanese public. IOC spokesman Mark Adams stresses the "amazing level of testing" and notes that "to a large extent, there is really no contact between the general public and the Games organized on a day-to-day basis."

Adams also emphasizes that "the level of infection among the Olympic community is very, very, very small."

The news conference touches on other topics as well. Asked about the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and concerns over human rights allegations against China, Adams responds, "Our responsibility is to deliver the Games, which are an amazing thing for the world. That is our responsibility."

On reports of thousands of bento boxes being discarded in Tokyo because they had been intended for volunteers helping now non-existent spectators, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masanori Takaya confirms "there has been a surplus of food at various venues." He says adjustments are being made and that the food is "recycled into animal feed and bio gases."

11:55 a.m. Japanese swimmer Yui Ohashi wins her second gold of the Tokyo Games, fending off U.S. competitors who take silver and bronze in the women's 200m individual medley.

Japan's Yui Ohashi celebrates winning the women's 200m individual medley. (Photo by Hirofumi Yamamoto) 

11:15 a.m. Hong Kong's team has achieved its best-ever results at the Olympics, with Siobhan Haughey clinching a silver medal in the women's 200m freestyle swimming.

Haughey breaks the Asian record with her time of 1:53:92. Together with Edgar Cheung Ka-long's fencing victory on Monday, Hong Kong has so far bagged two medals for the first time -- a gold and a silver -- at the Tokyo Games.

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong checks her time after the women's 200m freestyle.   © Reuters

11:05 a.m. Organizers report 16 new COVID-19 cases among people involved in the Games. That brings the total to 169. No athletes are included among the new positives.

11:00 a.m. Japanese surfers Kanoa Igarashi, who won silver on Tuesday, and Amuro Tsuzuki, who bagged a bronze, describe the joy of making the podium and spreading awareness of their sport.

"I am glad that the Olympics give us an opportunity to have more fans and let the world know about how great surfing is," Igarashi tells reporters. This is the first time for surfing to be included in the Games.

"We had been wondering why the world does not pay attention to us, even though we make as much effort as other athletes do," Tsuzuki says. She hopes winning a medal will help make the sport more popular.

"I want surfing to be treated equally as other sports such as soccer and softball and hope surfing will gain more attention," she says.

10:00 a.m. After winning the softball gold last night, Japanese player Eri Yamada tells reporters, "There were many hard and painful moments and great pressure, but because we overcame them, the competition gave us a great sense of accomplishment."

The Japanese team defeated the U.S. 2-0 in the first Olympic softball tournament since the 2008 Beijing Games. Paris 2024 will not include softball. "Given the Games were held under the current [COVID-19] circumstances, we wanted to be a beacon of hope for the people who have supported us, through softball," Yamada said. "By winning, I hope we have been able to give some hope."

4:35 a.m. A closely watched tropical storm bearing down on Japan is on track to come ashore well north of host city Tokyo on Wednesday morning.

Nepartak is forecast to make landfall on the Pacific coast of the northeastern Tohoku region, likely in Miyagi or Iwate prefectures, and cross over land to the Sea of Japan. If so, it would be only the second storm to do so on Tohoku's Pacific side in records going back to 1951, Kyodo reports.

Miyagi was the site for the women's soccer action on Tuesday night.

Japanese authorities have warned residents in the storm's path of heavy rains and the risk of landslides and flooding.

12:15 a.m. The first Olympic gold medal won by a Hong Kong athlete since the territory's handover to China in 1997 has stirred an unusual sense of unity in a society so divided over political issues in recent years.

In a rare scene in Hong Kong, the city's major newspapers on Tuesday morning all carried the same story in the same tone -- praising fencing champion Edgar Cheung Ka-long's gold in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Read more here.

Japan softball players pose with their gold medals after a win over the U.S. at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium on July 27.   © Reuters

Tuesday, July 27

10:05 p.m. Japan's softball team defeats the archrival Americans 2-0 in the gold medal game, as Yamato Fujita scores 1 run and drives in the other. Japan beat the three-time champion U.S. for Olympic gold in 2008, when the sport last appeared in the Games.

Canada earned its first Olympic medal in softball, topping Mexico 3-2 in the bronze medal game

Separately, the Japanese women's soccer team advances to a quarterfinal match Friday against unbeaten Sweden, after defeating Chile 1-0 in the final Group E match.

10:02 p.m. Gymnasts representing the Russian Olympic Committee upset the U.S. for gold in the women's team competition. The Americans win silver despite Simone Biles withdrawing early in the event due to what USA Gymnastics calls "a medical issue." Great Britain wins the bronze.

9:50 p.m. Simone Biles has pulled out of the women's gymnastics team final with "medical issue," USA Gymnastics says, making her continued participation in the Tokyo Olympics uncertain.

Simone Biles will still receive a medal if the U.S. women's gymnastics team makes it to the podium.   © Reuters

8:40 p.m. Although Japan's tennis hopes took a serious hit when Naomi Osaka lost her third-round match earlier in the day, Kei Nishikori moves forward on the men's side, defeating Marcos Giron of the U.S. in the second round.

8:00 p.m. The women's softball final between Japan and the U.S. is just getting underway.

7:20 p.m. Japanese judoka Takanori Nagase wins the gold in the men's -81 kg weight class, defeating Saeid Mollaei of Mongolia in the final match.

Takanori Nagase of Japan celebrates with Saeid Mollaei of Mongolia after their final match, which Nagase won.   © Reuters

5:30 p.m. Taiwan's "goddess of weightlifting" Kuo Hsing-chun wins the women's 59 kg event -- the first gold of the Tokyo Games for the island competing as Chinese Taipei.

Kuo Hsing-Chun of Taiwan celebrates winning weightlifting gold.   © Reuters

5:15 p.m. Despite a state of emergency in effect, Tokyo logs a record number of daily COVID-19 cases, at over 2,800.

4:25 p.m. Homegrown surfing star Kanoa Igarashi comes up short in his attempt to bring Japan gold in the men's shortboard, settling for silver as Brazil's Italo Ferreira wins it. Earlier, in the women's event, Japan's Amuro Tsuzuki took the bronze. This is the first time for surfing to be included in the Olympics.

Surfer Kanoa Igarashi reacts after losing in the men's shortboard gold medal match. (Photo by Hirofumi Yamamoto) 

4:00 p.m. Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi win China's sixth consecutive gold medal in women's synchronized 10m platform diving. According to the Olympics website, China has won this event every time since it was introduced at the Sydney Games in 2000.

3:10 p.m. A typhoon remains on track to make landfall in northeast Japan on Tuesday or early Wednesday, Japan's weather agency says, according to Kyodo News. Nevertheless, Tokyo Olympics organizers say soccer events scheduled in the region are going ahead as scheduled.

2:25 p.m. "For the longest time, she was an unknown," a fitness coach in Manila said of the Philippines' first gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz. Now she is a national hero.

2:00 p.m. Japan's Naomi Osaka loses her third-round match to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, taking the world No. 2 out of the Olympics.

This leaves the Games without the top two women's players, after world No. 1 and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia lost in the first round.

Naomi Osaka of Japan wipes her face after losing her third round singles match to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on July 27.   © Reuters

12:14 p.m. The IOC says its digital audience figures are "very good." IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said, "We broke all of our records by a mile," adding that the games and their formats have changed. "[We] continue to try to make the games relevant to all audiences without losing the older audiences [and] I think the digital figures are showing that." Organizers also stressed that infections among Olympics-related personnel have been minimized. Out of 38,000 personnel who came from overseas, only 79 positive cases have been reported so far, they said. "This is the most tested -- and possibly even the most vaccinated [event] ... anywhere in the world," said Adams.

12:05 p.m. Tokyo 2020 reported seven new COVID-19 cases among Olympics personnel, bringing the total from July 1 to 155. Two of the seven cases are athletes who reside at the Olympic Village, with one being from the Netherlands tennis team.

11:54 a.m. China wins the 10-meter air pistol mixed team gold, while the Russian National Olympic Committee takes silver and Ukraine bronze.

11:10 a.m. Russian Evgeny Rylov grabs the gold medal in the men's 100 meters backstroke, while compatriot Kliment Kolesnikov wins the silver and American Ryan Murphy takes the bronze. China's Xu Jiayu comes in fifth.

10:50 a.m. Tom Dean of Britain wins the gold medal in the men's 200 meters freestyle, while Duncan Scott of Britain takes the silver and Fernando Scheffer of Brazil follows with the bronze. Hwang Sunwoo of South Korea comes in seventh.

10:00 a.m. Flora Duffy of Bermuda wins her country's first-ever Olympic gold medal in the women's triathlon on a stormy Tokyo course, making Bermuda the least-populous nation to win a Summer Olympics gold.

Monday, July 26

11:30 p.m. Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long sent the home crowd into rapture by winning the men's foil individual event, bring home the city's first Olympics gold in 25 years.

The 24-year-old beat 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Daniele Garozzo of Italy by 15-11.

"Retreating is not a way out. Sometimes you have to advance and try your best in every move. Forge on, don't give way," Cheung tells reporters after his victory.

11:00 p.m. Spain defeats Japan 88-77 in a men's basketball Group C opener. Japan's Yuta Watanabe, who plays for the NBA's Toronto Raptors, scores 19 points and grabs 8 rebounds.

Mexico upsets Australia in softball to reach the bronze medal game. Australia will miss the podium for the first time.

10:37 p.m. Japan's mixed doubles table tennis team Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani capture the gold medal, edging China's Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin in the final, 4 games to 3.

Cheng I-ching and Lin Yun-ju of Taiwan win the bronze medal match, defeating the French pair of Yuan Jianan and Emmanuel Lebesson. Japan records its eighth gold medal of the Games.

In men's gymnastics team competition, Russia wins gold, Japan follows closely with silver and China takes bronze.

Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines expresses her joy at the medal ceremony for the women's weightlifting 55kg class.   © Reuters

9:40 p.m. Hidilyn Diaz wins the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medal, edging out world champion Liao Qiuyun of China in the women's 55kg weightlifting competition. Her win marks the second gold for a Southeast Asian nation in Tokyo, after Thailand's victory in women's taekwondo.

Diaz won silver in the 53kg class in Rio. She finished fourth in the 55kg category in the Asian Weightlifting Championships held this past April.

The story of Hidilyn Diaz's five-year preparation for the Tokyo Olympics was profiled in our Big Story this week.

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines in action.    © Reuters

5:20 p.m. South Korea wins the gold medal in men's team archery. Asian teams sweep their way to the podium, with Taiwan taking the silver and Japan the bronze.

3:45 p.m. Tokyo's scorching heat is becoming an issue, as is an approaching typhoon, which has upended rowing and archery schedules.

2:00 p.m. No cyberattacks targeting the Games have been confirmed since last Friday's opening ceremony Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato tells reporters, according to Kyodo News. "We will continue to closely work with relevant organizations to ensure security during the period of the Games," he says.

1:35 p.m. Japan's 13-year-old skateboarding sensation Momiji Nishiya wins the gold medal in the women's street competition, becoming Japan's youngest medalist. Funa Nakayama, also of Japan, takes the bronze while Brazilian Rayssa Leal grabs the silver.

This follows the weekend victory of Japan's Yuto Horigome in the men's street competition -- the first gold medal ever awarded in the newly added Olympic sport.

Momiji Nishiya of Japan celebrates her gold medal performance in street skateboarding.   © Reuters

12:20 p.m. Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka wins her second-round match against Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic with ease, taking straight sets by a score of 6-3 and 6-2.

11:45 a.m. TV viewership for the opening ceremony averaged 56.4% in Tokyo and surrounding areas, Kyodo News reports, citing an audience ratings company.

Video Research says the preliminary rating for public broadcaster NHK ceremony coverage was lower than the 61.2% for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.

11:15 a.m. Japan's Naomi Osaka is back in action, in her second-round match against Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic.

11:05 a.m. Tokyo Olympics organizers report 16 new Games-related COVID-19 infections, bringing the total since July 1 to 148.

Sunday, July 25

11:02 p.m. The U.S. men's basketball team loses to France 83-76 in a Group A preliminary round, ending a winning streak stretching back to 2004. The Americans, with their professional players from the NBA, had long dominated the men's side of the sport.

10:00 p.m. China's Lijun Chen wins the gold medal in the men's 67kg weightlifting.

8:45 p.m. As the first Olympic weekend wraps up, Tokyo reports new COVID-19 cases rising once again to 1,763 today. The number of infections fell on Friday and Saturday as Tokyo residents left town for the four-day weekend or stayed home to avoid Olympic crowds.

The International Olympic Committee, on the other hand, says it is relaxing COVID protocols at the Tokyo Games, allowing medalists to take off their face masks for 30 seconds on the podium to be photographed.

Japan's judoka Hifumi Abe, left, defeats Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia in the men's under 66 kg final on July 25, completing a podium sweep for the host nation.   © Reuters

7:33 p.m. Japan's judoka Hifumi Abe wins the gold medal in men's under 66 kg category, defeating Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia, soon after his younger sister Uta claimed gold at the Tokyo Olympics. It is the first time a Japanese brother and sister won gold on the same day in an Olympic competition.

7:00 p.m. Japanese judoka Uta Abe wins the gold medal in the women's 52 kg category at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday, defeating Amandine Buchard of France in the final. Bronze medals went to Odette Giuffrida of Italy and Chelsie Giles of Britain.

Japanese judoka Uta Abe wins the gold medal in the women's 52 kg category at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on July 25.   © Reuters

5:00 p.m. South Korea wins a ninth consecutive gold medal in the women's team archery event.

4:10 p.m. Chinese pair Shi Tingmao and Wang Han wins gold in the women's 3 meters synchronised springboard.

1:45 p.m. Hometown favorite Yuto Horigome of Japan wins the first-ever Olympic gold medal in skateboarding, prevailing in the men's street final.

1:20 p.m. The International Olympic Committee says masks during medal ceremonies are a must, after swimmers were seen taking them off and hugging other competitors in violation of COVID-19 rules, Reuters reports.

"It's not a nice to have. It's a must to have," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.

Chase Kalisz of the U.S. took off his mask on the podium after his gold medal performance in the men's 400 meters medley, hugging compatriot and silver medalist Jay Literland, who was also mask-less. Australian bronze medalist Brendon Smith also removed his mask. Other swimmers did the same later on.

"There is no relaxation and we would urge and ask everyone to obey the rules," Adams said. "It's important for the sports, for everyone involved and for our Japanese friends and it would send a strong message."

Gold medalist swimmer Chase Kalisz of the U.S., silver medalist compatriot Jay Litherland and bronze medalist Brendon Smith of Australia pose on the podium without masks.   © Reuters

12:45 p.m. The world's No. 1 women's tennis player, Australia's Ash Barty, is knocked out in the first round by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

12:01 p.m. Australia wins the gold medal in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday in a world record time of 3:29.69. Canada wins silver in 3:32.78 and the bronze goes to the United States in 3:32.81.

11:23 a.m. Japan's Yui Ohashi wins swimming gold in the women's 400-meter individual medley in her home Olympics on Sunday. Ohashi, the national record holder for the 200m and 400m IM events, touched the wall first in 4 minutes, 32.08 seconds in the eight-swimmer final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. She delivered the country's second gold medal in the pandemic-delayed Olympics after judoka Naohisa Takato on Saturday.

Yui Ohashi of Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal on July 25, Tokyo.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. Skateboarding made its debut as an Olympic event early Sunday, bringing a sport rooted in street culture into the mainstream.

U.S. skater Jagger Eaton told Reuters that it was "tough" to compete without fans, due to the COVID-19 protocols. "I always really get hyped by the crowd," he told the news agency.

Reuters notes that American skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, now a commentator, earlier marked the milestone on Instagram, writing, "As a kid that was mostly lambasted for my interest in skateboarding, I never imagined it would be part of the Olympic Games."

10:00 a.m. Not only are spectators banned from watching the Games inside the venues, the public has been advised not to stop and observe the second Olympic cauldron near Tokyo's waterfront, Japanese broadcaster NHK reports. The organizers made the request out of concern for coronavirus infections. The area around the cauldron is fenced off, but on Saturday people were taking pictures from outside the barrier.

Passersby observe the second Olympic flame cauldron on the Ariake Yume-no-Ohashi Bridge in Tokyo on July 24.   © Reuters

9:30 a.m. U.S. broadcaster NBC's telecast of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony drew 16.7 million viewers, the smallest audience for the event in the past 33 years, Reuters reports, citing preliminary data from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal.

The figure was down 37% from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million tuned into the London ceremony. The previous 33-year low for a Summer Games opening ceremony was for the 1992 Barcelona Games, at 21.6 million.

5:05 a.m. Rowing action scheduled for Monday has been moved forward to Sunday because of the approaching Tropical Storm Nepartak, which is bearing down on eastern Japan.

Rowing events are held at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo's Minato Ward.

Organizing committee sources say preparations are also underway for rescheduling the men's and women's triathlon set for Monday and Tuesday at Odaiba Marine Park in Minato Ward.

Saturday, July 24

11:30 p.m. Several prominent Japanese athletes suffer setbacks in the first day of competition after the opening ceremony.

Leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee and fellow Japanese swimmers fail to advance in the women's 4x100 meter freestyle relay, finishing ninth. Ikee says the result left her feeling "a strong sense of frustration." Also in swimming, gold medal contender Daiya Seto misses a chance to reach the men's 400 meter medley final.

In men's gymnastics, past Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura's run for a medal in horizontal bars ends after a fall dashed his hopes to advance.

Japanese swimmer Daiya Seto reacts after failing to advance in the men's 400 meter medley on July 24. (Photo by Hirofumi Yamamoto)

10:25 p.m. Panipak "Tennis" Wongpattanakit of Thailand wins a gold medal in taekwondo, earning the first gold for her country and for any Association of Southeast Asian Nations member at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Panipak Wongpattanakit of Thailand, right, won a gold medal in taekwondo in Tokyo on July 24.   © Reuters

In other medal news, Indonesia's Windy Cantika Aisah wins bronze in women's weightlifting in the 49 kg class.

8:40 p.m. Japan's Naohisa Takato wins the first gold medal for the host nation, beating Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei in the final of the men's 60 kg judo. Takato, a bronze medalist at the Rio Games in 2016, cried after his victory in an empty Nippon Budokan, the legendary martial arts and concert hall.

8:30 p.m. Excitement, anxiety, apathy -- the Olympics have stirred mixed emotions in the host city. Nikkei Asia took to the streets of Tokyo in the days leading up to the opening and captured some signs of public sentiment on video. Take a look here.

7:10 p.m. Japan takes its first medal as the 2020 Olympics host -- a silver in 48 kg women's judo. Funa Tonaki falls to Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi in the gold medal match.

6:20 p.m. Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department announces four COVID-19 cases among officers who worked as Olympics security personnel. The four and 15 others who were in close contact are self-isolating.

5:20 p.m. China is off to a quick start, taking its second gold of day one in women's 49 kg weightlifting. India took the silver. Meanwhile, South Korea has won its first gold in mixed team archery.

4:35 p.m. China has slammed U.S. Olympic broadcaster NBC over a map it showed during the opening ceremony. The map of China did not include Taiwan or the South China Sea, which "hurt the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people," according to the country's consulate in New York.

2:15 p.m. The IOC's executive director for the Games, Christophe Dubi, has asked Olympic participants to remind one another of COVID-19 protocols, such as proper mask wearing and regular hand sanitizing.

Several athletes were criticized for marching in the opening ceremony without masks. Dubi says wearing masks is a habit that many overseas participants are not used to. "Now, if you have blatant behaviors that are absolutely unbearable, we will definitely take action," he added.

Meanwhile, the Czech Olympic committee is investigating the cause of a COVID-19 outbreak among its team. Positive tests have already felled four Czech athletes from beach volleyball, table tennis and cycling competitions. Media reports indicate that infections could be traced to a charter flight on which passengers removed their masks.

Organizers earlier on Saturday reported 17 new Olympic-related infections overall, including one athlete, bringing the total up to 107. Over 34,000 people have arrived in Japan for the Games.

1:00 p.m. The International Judo Federation has suspended an Algerian judoka and his coach for withdrawing from the Olympics before his event started, after the draw put him on course to face an Israeli, Reuters reports.

Fethi Nourine and his coach Amar Benikhlef withdrew to show their support for the Palestinian cause. But the IJF said the move was "in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation."

"The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo," the federation said.

Athletes from other countries such as Iran have similarly shunned Israeli competitors in the past.

12:10 p.m. Tokyo 2020 says they failed to hand out PCR test kits to some athletes earlier this week at the Olympic Village due to a shortage. According to the "Playbook" guidelines, athletes are subject to daily tests. Organizers say that more test kits will be delivered today, and that there should not be a shortage from now on.

12:00 p.m. As Typhoon In-fa hits Okinawa in southwestern Japan, rowing competitions in Tokyo are rescheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Sailing and surfing events are still set for Monday. The weakening storm is expected to hit Tokyo on Sunday or Monday.

11:30 a.m. China has bagged the Tokyo Games' first gold medal. Yang Qian wins the hardware in the women's 10-meter rifle competition. Russian and Swiss athletes place second and third.

Yang Qian of China celebrates winning gold in the women's 10-meter rifle competition on July 24.   © Reuters

3:00 a.m. The opening ceremony notably included a moment of silence in memory of the Israeli delegation members killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Games.

"We, the Olympic community, also remember all the Olympians and members of our community who have so sadly left us," an announcer said in the opening ceremony. "In particular, we remember those who lost their lives during the Olympic Games."

"One group still holds a strong place in all our memories, and stand for all of those we have lost at the Games: The members of the Israeli delegation at the Olympic Games Munich in 1972."

The families of the 11 killed had long asked the International Olympic Committee for a minute's silence at an opening ceremony but had been turned down until now.

"I welcome this important and historic moment," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted. "May their memory be blessed."

Friday, July 23

11:45 p.m. Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic flame.

Speculation that the four-time Grand Slam winner, the daughter of a Haitian man and a Japanese woman, could have a prominent role in the ceremony rose when Tokyo 2020 organizers requested that her opening match in the women's singles event be pushed back by a day to Sunday.

Naomi Osaka of Japan lights the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

"Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life," Osaka wrote in a tweet after the event. "I have no words to describe the feelings I have right now but I do know I am currently filled with gratefulness and thankfulness."

Other torch bearers in the stadium include baseball legends Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima, who is helped on his walk by former MLB star Hideki Matsui; a doctor and nurse; Paralympian Wakako Tsuchida; and school students from the quake-devastated Tohoku region.

11:35 p.m. Jazz pianist Hiromi hammers the ivories as legendary Kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa performs on stage that represents Mount Fuji and the sun.

11:30 p.m. A very enjoyable performance of actors representing the sports at Tokyo 2020 in the style of the pictograms designed for the 1964 Tokyo Games.

11:18 p.m. Emperor Naruhito declares the Games open.

11:13 p.m. Time for speeches now. Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto starts off by saying she hopes the Olympics will offer a moment of peace. She appears to be on verge of tears.

IOC President Thomas Bach says today is a moment of hope and expresses gratitude to the Japanese people for hosting the Games. He makes a special point of welcoming the refugee athletes.

10:50 p.m. In a stunning performance, 1,824 drones form a planet in the sky above the stadium, as a junior chorus sings John Lennon's "Imagine." Then, a video clip cuts to artists from all the world's continents singing the classic sequentially.

10:45 p.m. Four Japanese athletes read out the Olympic oath together, in a similar way to how representative students speak in unison at a Japanese school ceremony.

10:35 p.m. The entrance of Japan, led by NBA star Rui Hachimura and wrestler Yui Susaki, round off the 206 groups of athletes.

From left, baseball players Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nakashima and Hideki Matsui pass the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23.   © Reuters

10:05 p.m. The orchestra is playing a medley of Japanese video game songs as the athletes come in. For the gamers out there, here's the set list:

Dragon Quest - "Overture: Roto's Theme"

Final Fantasy - "Victory Fanfare"

Tales of series - "Sorey's Theme - The Shepherd"

Monster Hunter - "Proof of a Hero"

Kingdom Hearts - "Olympus Coliseum"

Chrono Trigger - "Frog's Theme"

Ace Combat - "First Flight"

Tales of series - "Pomp and Majesty"

Monster Hunter - "Wind of Departure"

Chrono Trigger - "Robo's Theme"

Sonic the Hedgehog - "Star Light Zone"

Winning Eleven (Pro Evolution Soccer) - "eFootball walk-on theme"

Final Fantasy - "MAIN THEME"

Phantasy Star Universe - "Guardians"

Kingdom Hearts - "Hero's Fanfare"

Gradius (Nemesis) - "01 ACT I-1"

NieR - "Song of the Ancients"

SaGa series - "The Orchestral SaGa - Legend of Music"

Soulcalibur - "The Brave New Stage of History"

9:50 p.m. We are now roughly halfway through the athletes' entrance. The countries are entering in the Japanese alphabetic order.

8:40 p.m. As is traditional, Greek athletes are the first to enter the stadium. They are all wearing masks, and keeping their distance from each other. They are followed by the Refugee team.

It should take about two hours for all 206 groups of athletes to enter the stadium. The music is an orchestral medley of songs from famous Japanese video games. The country names take the form of manga speech bubbles.

8:35 p.m. After a moment's silence, drummers dressed as carpenters from Japan's Edo period start tap dancing on and around wooden tables. The performance appears to be aimed at highlighting the use of lumber for the construction of several Olympic venues.

Banks of traditional paper lanterns are wheeled on and the tap dancing carpenters are joined by contemporary dancers. A wooden set of Olympic rings is hoisted in the center of the field.

Followed by more fireworks.

(Photo by Hirofumi Yamamoto) 

8:20 p.m. Japanese Emperor Naruhito and IOC President Thomas Bach meet on stage, as the national flag of Japan is brought into the stadium by four athletes, a person with an impairment and a health care worker.

As members of Japan's Self Defense Forces hold the Japanese flag, renown Japan singer Misia sings the national anthem.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach are seen during the opening ceremony. (Pool photo)

8:13 p.m. A short live action scene of athletes training alone, as many did due to social distancing requirements during the pandemic. The field is lit up with red and white lights showing the bonds between people.

8:05 p.m. The ceremony begins with a video showing the eight years since Tokyo won its bid, and views of street scenes around the Japanese capital. This is followed by a live-action style montage of athletes.

Most striking are the fireworks being launched from the roof of the stadium.

Fireworks explode as performers form the Olympic rings during the opening ceremony. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

8 p.m. The opening ceremony begins.

7 p.m. There is now just one hour until the start of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics. A lot of speculation is swirling over who will light the Olympic cauldron at the end of a ceremony that is expected to last about three and a half hours. It's the most tightly kept secret of the evening.

4:49 p.m. Athletes are starting to feel the heat and humidity in Tokyo, which led to the marathon's relocation to Hokkaido in the north. Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva briefly fainted during a qualifying round this afternoon. Medics also responded to overheated people who had gathered around the National Stadium to watch the Blue Impulse air squadron's skywriting exhibition.

4:37 p.m. Indonesia's National Olympic Committee plans to launch a bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2036 after losing out this week to a bid by Brisbane to hold the 2032 Games, the head of the committee says.

"We will not back down and will continue to fight for the 2036 Olympics," Raja Sapta Oktohari, the chief of Indonesia's committee, says in a statement.

4:15 p.m. Tokyo 2020 is considering appointing former president Yoshiro Mori as an honorary supreme adviser, Asahi Shimbun reports. Mori resigned in February over sexist remarks. Criticism has been growing over his potential appointment on social media.

3:41 p.m. Emperor Naruhito receives a courtesy visit from U.S. first lady Jill Biden and other foreign dignitaries at the Imperial Palace. It is the first time the emperor met with the first lady, who is leading the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony.

3:18 p.m. Japan's Naomi Osaka has had her opening match in the women's singles event pushed back by a day to Sunday following a request from Tokyo 2020 organizers, the International Tennis Federation told Reuters.

No reason is given for the switch.

A woman suffering from heatstroke is cooled off after watching the Blue Impulse aerobatics performance in Tokyo on Friday. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

12:07 p.m. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meets Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla at the State Guest House in Tokyo to seek faster delivery of coronavirus vaccine shipments as infections continue to rise. Bourla will attend the opening ceremony later today. Pfizer provided 40,000 doses of COVID vaccine to athletes and other people involved in the games.

11:29 a.m. Tokyo 2020 confirms 19 new Olympics-related COVID-19 infections, including three athletes and three members of the media, bringing the total to 106.

11 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Tokyo. He is expected to discuss the issue of child abductions and Japan's single custody system when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

An Olympic countdown clock in front of Tokyo Station, shown here on July 23, ticks down to the official opening of the Games. (Photo by Suzu Takahashi)

7:32 a.m. The firing of the artistic director of the opening ceremony over a decades-old skit about the Holocaust was just one of many scandals that have plagued the Games, highlighting the insular culture and the lack of social awareness among its organizers, writes Hisashi Tsutsui.

2:55 a.m. Guinea's five athletes will participate in the Olympics after all, a statement from the West African nation's sport ministry says, reversing the previous day's decision to suspend its participation in the Games citing the pandemic.

2:18 a.m. Malicious software and websites have targeted both event organizers and ordinary fans.


To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.

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