Canada Olympic Roundup: Small, enthusiastic contingent represents Canada at opening ceremony
Zero risk? Virus cases test Olympic organizers' assurances
TOKYO (AP) — Two South African soccer players became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to test positive for COVID-19, and other cases connected to the Tokyo Games were also confirmed Sunday, highlighting the herculean task organizers face to keep the virus contained while the world's biggest sports event plays out. The positive tests came as some of the 11,000 athletes and thousands more team officials expected from across the globe began arriving, having traveled through a pandemic to get to Tokyo. They'll all now live in close quarters in the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay over the next three weeks.
TOKYO — A red-clad contingent of 30 athletes represented Canada in an understated opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics.
Led by flag-bearers Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama, the small Canadian contingent walked out dressed in white pants and red jackets with a white Maple Leaf on the back — and mandatory grey face masks.
The Canadians waved to their fellow athletes already gathered on the stadium floor, and the few people in the stands. They clapped and chanted “Canada” as they marched. Others took videos and selfies with their phones.
Canada's contingent included tennis player Felix Auger-Aliassime but was otherwise light on star power, as many athletes were unavailable to participate due to being close to competition, or not yet being in Japan.
Here's how to watch the 3,775 hours of Olympic coverage from CBC, partners
Canadians won't miss a moment of Olympic action once the Tokyo 2020 Games officially begin on Friday. A total of 3.775 hours of coverage will be broadcast by CBC and its broadcast partners, including coverage of the Canadian women's soccer and softball teams on Wednesday morning. A total of 3,775 hours of coverage will be broadcast by CBC and partners TSN and Sportsnet. Free streaming options include CBC Gem, cbc.ca/tokyo2020 and the CBC Olympics app, with CBC TV, CBC News Network and CBC Radio also providing wide coverage. Opening ceremony Fans can watch the extensive opening ceremony beginning Friday at 7 a.m. ET.
"Today, the entire world will unite for the official opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a release. "This is an opportunity to celebrate athletes' excellence, sportsmanship, and dedication in Canada and across the world."
While the smiles on the faces of the participating athletes were apparent, the cavernous atmosphere in the largely empty Tokyo Olympic Stadium sapped the energy usually found in an Olympic opening ceremony.
Tokyo is under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 complications that will remain in place throughout the Games.
The Canadian Olympic team's top doctor, however, says he's confident in measures designed to reduce risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus among the team and in the athletes' village.
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Australia will become just the fourth country to have hosted the Summer Olympic Games three or more times. Melbourne hosted the 1956 Games and Sydney was the host of the 2000 Games. The announcement was made at the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, which officially begin Friday. In February, it was confirmed that Brisbane was the IOC's preferred bid for the 2032 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. This began targeted dialogue between the IOC executive and the Brisbane 2032 bid to thoroughly examine the proposed plan for the Games.
Video: Father of flag-bearer shares his pride ahead of Olympic opening ceremony (cbc.ca)
"We have not had any positives on the Canadian team," Dr. Mike Wilkinson said at a virtual news conference held by the Canadian Olympic Committee.
"There have been positives within the village in other teams. These positives have shown that the system is working and importantly there have not been any instances of any transmission within the village."
It was a light day of competition on the official opening day of the Games. Canadian rowers were in action on Tokyo Bay, with Jessica Sevick of Strathmore, Alta., and Gabrielle Smith of Unionville, Ont., finishing their women's double sculls heat in a time of six minutes 57.69 seconds over 2,000 metres to comfortably qualify for Monday's semifinals.
In other action on Tokyo Bay, Trevor Jones of Lakefield, Ont., won his heat in the men's single sculls to advance to the quarterfinals, while Carling Zeeman of Cambridge, Ont., was second in her women's sculls heat.
Zeeman, 30, is at her second Games following a 10th-place finish in Rio five years ago.
"Each Games in their own rights are pretty special," she said after battling temperatures that felt like 36 C with the humidity. "It's been a long journey getting here. I've had a pretty tough year with a couple injuries, a few setbacks."
The first medals will be handed out Saturday, with Ottawa cyclist Michael Woods having a good shot at a podium finish in the men's road race.
Canada has a team of 370 athletes in Tokyo, which is its largest since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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