The latest: Jill Biden meets virtually with US athletes | Ap sports news


The latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under severe restrictions after a year of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic:

Jill Biden held a virtual meet and greet with several US athletes who will compete in the Tokyo Games.

The U.S. First Lady is in Tokyo to support the athletes and attend the opening ceremony.

She spoke virtually to Eddy Alvarez, a baseball player and short track speed skater, and basketball player Sue Bird. Both will be the flag bearers for the United States at the opening ceremony. She also spoke to Allison Schmitt, a four-time Olympic swimmer and mental health advocate.

Biden told the athletes that they gave up a lot to be in Tokyo and relied on the support of family and friends.

On Saturday she will dedicate a room in the residence of the US head of mission to the former US Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and his wife Irene Hirano Inouye.

She’ll be hosting a U.S. vs. Mexico softball watch party at the U.S. embassy for employees and their families, cheering on U.S. athletes who attend multiple events before they leave Tokyo.

The South African racer Lebogang Shange is suspended for four years for doping and will miss the Tokyo Olympics.

The former African champion entered the men’s 20-kilometer race on August 5th. The Sports Arbitration Tribunal decided the case in Tokyo.

Shange, 30, tested positive for the anabolic steroid trenbolone and was suspended in December 2019. His suspension will expire before the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The Swiss Olympic team says 400-meter hurdler Kariem Hussein has accepted a nine-month ban after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

The 2014 European champion was registered for the event at the Tokyo Games. The heats start next Friday. It is unclear whether Hussein will be replaced in the 40-strong line-up.

The Swiss Olympic Tribunal postponed the ban for a week after Hussein’s provisional suspension. This suspension had not been announced.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have reported 25 new cases of COVID-19. Three of them are athletes who were announced on Thursday.

Of the 110 Olympic accredited individuals who tested positive in Japan since July 1, there are 13 athletes.

Three media workers who came to Japan from abroad have been included in the latest update.

Naomi Osaka’s opening game at the Olympic tennis tournament has been postponed from Saturday to Sunday.

The organizers did not immediately give a reason for the change. They just said the change came from the tournament referee.

Osaka was originally scheduled to face the 52nd Chinese Zheng Saisai in the very first competition of the games on center court on Saturday morning.

One reason for the move could be that Osaka could play a role in the opening ceremony on Friday night. That wouldn’t give her much time to rest before a Saturday morning game.

Osaka is returning to competition for the first time in almost two months after retiring from the French Open after the first round to take a mental break.

She is one of the top athletes in Japan.

The World Anti-Doping Agency says several Russian athletes were kept away from the Tokyo Olympics on suspicion of doping based on evidence from a Moscow testing laboratory that closed in 2015.

WADA Director General Olivier Niggli says she has intervened with sports federations to ensure that these athletes – “not many, but there were a handful” – were not selected.

The Tokyo-accredited team of 335 Russian athletes compete without a national flag and anthem, as punishment for the state’s manipulation of the Moscow laboratory database. The team name is ROC, the acronym for Russian Olympic Committee, without the word “Russia”.

The ban on identity for the Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing was imposed by the Sports Arbitration Court last December.

Making the database and samples from the laboratory available to WADA was the key to bringing the longstanding Russian state-sponsored doping scandal to an end.

WADA had a list of around 300 suspicious athletes and has presented evidence of possible disciplinary cases to Olympic sports bodies.

Says Niggli, “we checked what we got from that long list” to make sure no athletes were selected for Tokyo.

Russian archer Svetlana Gomboeva lost consciousness in the heat of a competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

Coach Stanislav Popov said in comments on the Russian Olympic Committee that Gomboeva collapsed shortly after completing the qualifying round on Friday.

Popov says, “She couldn’t stand a full day in the heat,” adding that moisture made the problem worse. The temperatures in Tokyo were over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The heat in Tokyo’s summer months has already caused the organizers to move the marathons and race walking events to the cooler city of Sapporo.

U.S. water polo captain Jesse Smith will skip the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday after the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee limited the number of players on his team to attend the celebrations.

The Olympic water polo roster consists of 13 players, 12 of whom are said to be available for each game. Smith said the team had been told by USOPC that 12 certified athletes could attend the ceremony.

“We’ve tried to stick our team together and change it with every constructive opportunity, but no success, and now it’s time to focus again on preparing the game,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “So I’m sending my team over there tonight to represent (the United States) proudly and soak up every moment. Let’s go boys!”

38-year-old Smith is playing in his fifth Olympics and equals Tony Azevedo for most Olympic teams for a U.S. water polo athlete. He was to serve as the male US flag bearer for the opening ceremony before that honor went to baseball player Eddy Alvarez.

A map on the Olympic website was changed after Ukraine protested that it contained a border across the Crimean peninsula.

The map is part of a “Cheer Zone” feature that shows how fans around the world have supported different teams at the Tokyo Games.

Late Thursday, the map showed a black line over the top of Crimea in the same style as the country’s borders. There was no line across the peninsula on Friday morning. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine still regards them as Ukrainian territory.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Japan emailed the Associated Press that “we protested at the IOC and the map has been corrected”.

Racing cyclist Michal Schlegel is the fourth Czech athlete from three different sports who tested positive at the Tokyo Games before his competition.

Schlegel tested positive at the team’s training camp in Izu and will miss the road race on Saturday.

The Czech Olympic Committee said in a statement on Friday that Schlegel is isolated and that Michael Kukrle and Zdenek Stybar will be the only two riders competing in Musashinonomori Park for one of the first ever medal races of the Summer Games.

Czech beach volleyball players Marketa Slukova and Ondrej Perusic and table tennis player Pavel Sirucek also tested positive earlier this week. That prompted the Czech Olympic team to investigate whether the outbreak was related to its charter flight to Tokyo.