The Olympics only started on Friday, and the Games have already given us many incredible moments and surprises. Here’s what to know on the first Monday of Tokyo 2020 (in 2021).
Do the Japanese public join the Games? The Japanese government’s decision to go ahead with the Olympics was not popular at home. A petition to cancel the Games garnered 350,000 signatures in May. Ahead of the official start of the Games on Friday, nearly eight in 10 people (78%) in Japan said they did not think the Olympics should have gone as planned, according to an Ipsos Mori poll.
But has the spirit of the Olympics been contagious? Japan performed particularly well in the opening weekend of competition, winning five gold medals, including the first ever gold in skateboarding. Only China, with six, has more.
Some people have gotten into the habit of showing up to outdoor events even though they can’t go. And more than 70 million people nationwide watched the opening ceremony, according to Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services.
“Interest in the Games is booming,” he said. “So far, I think over 80% of all Japanese have watched some of the Games.”
Big surprises and setbacks: It’s only been a few days, and already the Olympics have given us the heartwarming stories of triumph and human accomplishment for which they are known.
Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer put on the performance of her life to outshine a field of big names and win the women’s road race. She only started the sport in 2014 and does not have a professional contract at the moment.
Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui shocked the swimming world by winning gold in the 400m freestyle. In the preliminary round, he qualified in 8th place with the slowest qualifying time of all the finalists.
The American men’s basketball team, flush with the stars of the NBA, lost their first game against France on Sunday night. The French used the size of NBA three-time defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert and a magnificent performance from fellow NBAer Evan Fournier to shock the Americans, who couldn’t capitalize on multiple attempts to close the game.
Some other firsts: Anastasija Zolotic became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in taekwondo and fencer Lee Kiefer is the first American woman to win gold in individual foil.
What is on offer today in Japan:
- Swimming: Britain’s Adam Peaty won gold in the 100m breaststroke, while Ariarne Titmus defeated great American Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m freestyle final.
- Skateboarding: the the first gold medal is up for grabs in the women’s street final.
- Rugby Sevens: Rio 2016 winners Fiji beat Japan 24-19 in the morning, while another favorite New Zealand did business against South Korea 50-5. A second round of matches will take place from 4:30 p.m. in Japan.
The full program is available on the Olympic Games website here.
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