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U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Announces 613-Member 2020 U.S. Olympic Team

Athletes began qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team on July 14, 2019, a process which will continue for a year. Team USA is expected to consist of more than 600 athletes. Check back often to meet the team as athletes qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Note that the roster may be adjusted due to injury, illness or exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for each sport.

Your Guide to New and Returning Sports at the Tokyo Olympics
Almost exactly one year after the Tokyo Olympics were due to start had they taken place in 2020, the delayed Summer Games are finally getting underway. In addition to perennial favorites like gymnastics and soccer, Olympics fans also have four new sports—and two returning—to look forward to watching.

Surfing, skateboarding, karate and sport climbing will all make their debut at the 2020 Olympics, while baseball and softball return to the Olympic stage for the first time in 13 years.

Here’s what to know about the new and returning Summer Olympic sports on the Tokyo Games lineup.

Here's a Free Olympic Sport Climbing Lesson
If you want to become an Olympic sport climber you’d better be able to tie a mean knot.

That’s one lesson I learned while spending a day the Team USA climber Kyra Condie, whom TIME named to its most recent list of Next Generation Leaders for her work advocating for diversity and inclusion in her sport. Condie, who is based in Salt Lake City, also took the time to participate in a video demonstration, seen above, of sport climbing, which will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo. (I gave it a try. Condie was kind enough to tie a complicated knot for me).

Olympic climbing won’t take place on a mountain. The competitors will scale climbing walls, not unlike those found in indoor rock climbing gyms that have grown more popular in recent years. The Olympic event combines three disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing.

How Katie Ledecky Swims So Fast
At first blush, there’s no reason to think Katie Ledecky would be as dominant in freestyle swimming events as she is. “She doesn’t have especially large feet or hands which you really need to push a huge mass of water. She’s 5’11”, which is tall but she’s certainly shorter than other great swimmers,” says Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic gold medalist and now a swimming analyst for NBC. “And she definitely has a subpar kick.”

But since she made her first Olympic appearance in London, nearly every Ledecky race has been a scramble for second—and a distant one at that, since Ledecky is usually at least a half body length out front. (Though she does have some competition in Tokyo from Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in the middle-distance events). So what makes the 24-year-old so dominant in the pool? That answer involves a lot of hard work—she has a reputation for attacking training sessions—as well as the mechanics of her stroke.

How Tokyo Olympics COVID-19 Countermeasures May Be Falling Short
Holding an Olympics during a pandemic was never going to be easy, and the Tokyo Organizing Committee consulted with numerous public health experts and invested in tracking app systems to help curb the spread of the virus within the Olympic community. But despite these strict countermeasures, an imperfect system and practical issues in compelling thousands of people from around to world to comply with often intense and inconvenient protocols are already leading to lapses that are opening the door for SARS-CoV-2, and in particular its Delta variants, to spark new infections that could quickly flare up into clusters of cases.

Why are the Olympics shrinking basketball?
It’s a game played by the likes of little kids and middle-aged, out-of-shape wannabe Kevin Durants, in backyards and driveways and weathered gym floors across the world. You’ve got six weekend warriors at the park, looking to get in some exercise? Play a little 3×3 basketball. If you’ve got seven … some poor soul sits and has “next.”

In Tokyo, this shrunk-down, half-court version of basketball will make its Olympic debut. On the surface, that counts as an improbable development; regular 5-on-5 basketball is pretty darn popular in its own right. Why is the makeshift version of the game worthy of a gold medal?

Tokyo Olympics Officials Fire Opening Ceremony Director
The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony the day before the event because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998. Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”

This may be why NBC broadcasters were seemingly taken by surprise that a moment of silence for those lost to COVID also included the Israeli athletes murdered in a terrorist attack during the 1972 Summer Games.

Team USA's Oldest Olympian Plans To Keep It Going
We’ve entered a golden age for graying athletes. So does America’s oldest Olympian at the Tokyo Games, 57-year-old equestrian rider Phillip Dutton, feel extra pressure to match the age-defying performances that have recently been sweeping sports?

The Australian-born Dutton is making his seventh Olympic appearance. He competes in eventing, a sort of equestrian triathlon that combines the disciplines dressage, cross country and show jumping. He won team eventing gold medals for Australia in 1996 and 2000. But after moving to the United States in the 1990s to compete on the American circuit—and settling there after meeting his wife, Evie—he switched to Team USA before the Beijing Games. In Rio 2016, he won individual eventing bronze to become the oldest U.S. medalist since 1952.

The Olympic Refugee Team Was Created to Offer Hope. Some Only Found More Despair
One day in Spring 2019, more than 2,880 runners competed in a 10-km race in Geneva. It was a regular event on the athletic calendar, but this time with a striking result. The winner was an orphaned refugee from South Sudan, exiled in Kenya, who had laced up his first pair of running shoes only a few years earlier. Atop the podium, clutching a bouquet of flowers and a trophy, Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu grinned with delight.

Later that day, he would ask about the prize money he assumed he had won. His questions were directed to the managers who had traveled with him to Switzerland. The managers were evasiveness in their replies, saying they would all discuss the matter once they returned to Kenya, he was told. That conversation never happened.

This Is What Happens When an Athlete Tests Positive for COVID-19 at the Tokyo Olympics
Japanese health authorities have an aggressive testing plan in place for the Tokyo Olympics, but positive COVID-19 tests are already cropping up. With the Olympics taking place during a pandemic, in a city under a state of emergency, the Tokyo Organizing Committee has created a stringent set of policies governing how athletes and their coaches, trainers and other staff must behave to minimize the risk of both importing infections and spreading disease in the Olympic community.

But even with aggressive testing, infections can happen. That’s because the virus is so unpredictable, and even though about 80% of athletes reported being vaccinated, the vaccines can’t prevent infections 100% of the time.

Who notes a nearby typhoon has created bigger-than-average waves for surfing which should make for an exciting competition...

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