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A Dose of Normalcy
For her first Olympics as first lady, she was the fan who wore almost too much USA garb, decked out in a spiffy Ralph Lauren official Team USA T-shirt, navy blazer, red, white and blue belt and matching sneakers, and white jeans with the letters U-S-A emblazoned in navy on the front of one pant leg. At a very not-normal Olympic Games kick-off, first lady Jill Biden was, outside of the athletes themselves, perhaps the only normal part.

Sunisa Lee's Incredible Journey
The women’s gymnastics all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics was the coronation everyone expected it to be. Only the star was different.

After Simone Biles withdrew from the competition to prioritize her mental well-being, American Sunisa Lee stepped into the gaping void left by her iconic teammate and stepped up to win her first gold medal and Team USA’s fifth straight in the event. With a steely calm, the 18-year-old Minnesotan leaned on her consistent execution and a spectacular uneven bars routine—the hardest of any gymnast competing—to triumph in a competition that until days before had seemed a foregone conclusion.

USA Basketball Falls
France beat the US men's basketball team 83-76 at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, ending Team USA's 25-game Olympic winning streak that dates back to 2004.

Team USA had an eight-point lead with four minutes left in the game, but the French team mounted a 16-2 run, highlighted by leading scorer Evan Fournier's go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute left to seal the win. It was the opening game for both teams. The loss is Team USA's first since the team lost to Argentina in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.

Why Olympians Wear Weird Body Tape
As the 2020 Summer Olympics are at their midpoint, there's lots to look forward to, including incredible feats of athleticism and stories about how well Tokyo is handling the coronavirus risk.

But if 2008, 2012 or 2016 offer any guide, we'll also see athletes' bodies covered in stripes of colourful tape - specifically, something called kinesiology tape or (more commonly) kinesio tape. So what is it, and why is it there?

Tom Daley Has Unveiled His Olympic Knitting Masterpiece
Tom Daley has been making a name for himself at the Tokyo Olympic Games on and off the diving board.

The British diver, who has been competing in the Olympics since he was 14 years old, won a gold medal last week in synchronized 10-m platform diving alongside his diving partner, Matty Lee. Daley, though, has stayed in the headlines thanks to what he calls “his secret weapon”—his knitting skills.

American Skateboarders Are Totally Chill About Getting Beaten at Their Own Sport in the Olympics
Skateboarding began in California around the 1950s when surfers wanted something to do on sidewalks while waves were flat. A 1970s drought in California gave the activity a whole new dimension as skaters started flying off the lips of empty swimming pools. Many of the best international skateboarders still flock to the United States to train. Heck, Tony Hawk is American.

But you wouldn’t know this by looking at the Olympic medal tables.

In a sign that either the U.S. has done a fabulous job exporting skateboarding around the world, or the American Olympic skateboarders didn’t step up here at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo—or, it just doesn’t matter, dude—the U.S. failed to take home gold in the sport’s long-awaited Olympic debut.

Noah Lyles Has an Important Message on Mental Health
“Boring,” Noah Lyles said after the 200-m final in Tokyo, when asked how it felt to be a bronze medalist.

However, Lyles’ post-race message was anything but boring. It may be more valuable than any medal.

As the defending world champion in the 200-m sprint, Lyles entered the Tokyo Olympics as the favorite to become the first American since 2004 to win the event at the Olympics; Usain Bolt had taken three-straight golds in the race. Lyles, however, finished third on Wednesday, behind Andre de Grasse of Canada and fellow American Kenneth Bednarek. He had guaranteed gold coming into these Olympics. He did nothing to hide his disappointment. “I didn’t win,” Lyles said. “Everybody wants to win when they come [to the Olympics], right?”

This was no Team USA Men's Basketball Dream Team, But In Tokyo They Earned Our Respect
It was no thing of overwhelming beauty, the Team USA men’s Olympic basketball team’s 87-82 win over France in the gold medal game on Saturday in Saitama, north of Tokyo. This was no Dream Team or Redeem Team or any other collection of superstars who will be wistfully remembered in books or documentaries three decades from now.

They didn’t have to be. At an Olympics that at times have felt like more of an obligation than a celebration, the U.S. men’s basketball team met the moment. They did what they had to do. They got it done.

So they deserve our everlasting respect.

For Team USA Relay, The Women Showed Up (the men)
During the 4×400 relay at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Saturday night, Sydney McLaughlin, who set a world record in the 400-m hurdles earlier this week, took the lead in the first lap. She handed the baton to Allyson Felix, who won 400-m bronze the previous night to become the most decorated female track-and-field athlete in history. Felix kept that lead intact and passed it to Dalilah Muhammad, who ran the second-fastest 400-m hurdles time in history on Wednesday and is the defending world champion in that event. Still no threat to U.S. domination.

Muhammad made the final pass, to Athing Mu, the 19-year-old 800-m Olympic champion. Mu crossed the finish line. Team USA won by nearly four seconds. The Americans huddled up at the finish, a Tokyo track-and-field Dream Team in full.

And just like that, Felix is not only the most decorated female track-and-field Olympian ever, but she’s also the most decorated American track star ever, with 11 medals: seven gold, three silver, one bronze (Carl Lewis had 10; nine golds, and a silver) On the final night of competition at the track, Felix—who’s running in her fifth and final Olympics—earned a sendoff fit for her legend.

Simone Biles Could Help Athletes Put Their Mental Health First
When Simone Biles strode into Ariake Gymnastics Center for the women’s gymnastics team competition on July 27, the expression on her face said it all. Normally all smiles and easy-going, Biles appeared sternly serious and maybe even troubled.

That expression only deepened after she landed her vault in the first round. Intending to do a two and a half twisting vault, Biles lost her bearings in midair and only managed one and a half twists. The low difficulty and execution scores only sealed the deal. “That score unfortunately would go up like that for the team, and I felt I robbed them of a couple of tenths when they could have been higher in the rankings,” she said. “It was definitely not my best work.”

Biles then talked to the team trainer and her coach, Cecile Landi, and told them the team would have to go on without her. “I was not going to cost the team a medal,” she said. “I needed to call it. They said, if Simone says this, we need to take it seriously.”

Simone Biles Returns to the Tokyo Olympics—With a Big Statement
It was a dramatic way to begin and end the gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. In the very first event, the team competition, Simone Biles abruptly withdrew after completing only one vault, citing the toll on her mental health that the stress and pressures of competing at her second Olympics have taken.

Then, on the last day of gymnastics contests, Biles made a dramatic return, after scratching from the other events — the all-around and the event finals on vault, floor and uneven bars, all of which she qualified for — throughout the week.

Despite IOC Restrictions, Team USA Athletes Are Protesting at the Tokyo Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is investigating an act of protest undertaken by a Team USA athlete during a medal ceremony at the Tokyo Games on Saturday—and more demonstrations possible in the coming days.

Raven Saunders, 25, a U.S. shot-putter who won silver in Tokyo, raised her hands and crossed them in an X while posing for a photo on the medal podium. Moments later, U.S. fencer Race Imboden won bronze in the foil event (which took place in a separate venue). While accepting his medal, Imboden appeared to flash a circled X on his hand.

Saunders told the New York Times that a handful of Team USA athletes formed a plan over the past few weeks to use the X symbol as their way of protesting. Saunders named Imboden—who has not commented publicly on his protest—as one of those athletes but did not identify any others.

Sydney McLaughlin: Remember Her Name. You'll Be Hearing a Lot of It
Before American Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record in the 400-m hurdles Wednesday morning in Tokyo, she tried to simplify her approach. She stayed off social media, where as a high school student McLaughlin was the target of online harassment. She remained in her room—which isn’t difficult here in Tokyo, where strict COVID-19 protocols are still in place. She only spoke to family and friends.

Pressure, says McLaughlin, “is a weight that you put on yourself that doesn’t really exist. It’s the fear of something that hasn’t happened yet.” Pressure is just an “illusion.”

It sure looked that way on Wednesday. According to Olympic officials, McLaughlin won the 1,000th medal ever awarded Olympic track and field, dating back to 1896.

Japanese Skaters Are Now 3-for-3 in the Olympics
Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi claimed the gold medal and Kokona Hiraki won the silver in the first women’s Olympic park skateboarding event Wednesday—and settled for good the question of which country is the best at skateboarding in 2021. Sky Brown, the 13-year-old phenom who skates for the U.K. but was born in Japan, won bronze.

Of the nine medals in skateboarding awarded at the Tokyo Summer Olympics so far, five have gone to Japan—including all three golds.

These Athletes Made History at the Tokyo Olympics
Delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were unlike any other.

With its strict protocols, it was the first modern Olympic Games to be played without spectators. But these Games will be known for many other firsts as well. In addition to the many world records that were broken so far, the Tokyo Games were full of historic representation in competition and inspirational victories by barrier-breaking athletes.

Here are some of the entries headed to the record books after this unique Olympics.

The 9 Most Inspiring and Surprising Things I Saw At The Tokyo Olympics
The Tokyo Olympics, which took place in a COVID-19 state-of-emergency in Tokyo, were rightly laden with worry. Public opposition to the Games, which were already postponed a year, ran high locally. Could more than 11,000 athletes, and thousands more journalists and coaches and officials, descend on a city without creating a dangerous public health emergency?

After all that, Tokyo appears to have pulled off a pandemic Olympics.

Amid strict protocols and regular tests, the competition went on. Athletes broke world records. The host country, won a record number of medals. When the home teams soar, the Olympics are more fun for everyone—even without fans in the seats.

Here's How Many Medals Every Country Won at the Tokyo Summer Olympics
As the Tokyo Summer Olympics drew to a close Sunday, so did the total medal count.

Team USA led for the most overall medals, having secured 113 medals. China followed with 88 overall medals. And while China led the gold-medal haul for most of the Games, the U.S. eked out a few more golds on the final day of competition to ultimately take home the most gold medals—39—just one more than China’s 38. Both countries are followed by the Russian Olympic Committee’s 71 medals, which include 20 gold.

Who read a study that suggested that the elite athletes in a sport had the ability to focus and compartmentalize their performances so as to mask out the empty stands, the rigors of the coronavirus protocols and the lack of traditional familial support, which may explain why those who reached the medal stands rose to the top to stake their claim as Olympic champions...

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