Sports Canadian athletes ready to rumble with Olympic competition around the corner
Olympics schedule 2021: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Tokyo Games on NBC channels, stream online
Here's what's happening at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics today as well as a TV schedule to watch every event in the United States and Canada.During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States broadcast 6,755 hours of Olympic action. Canada itself produced over 2,000 hours. Each country could set new Summer Games-highs in 2021.
TOKYO — For Canadian athletes in Tokyo, the focus is finally shifting to the field of the play.
After more than a year spent talking about dealing with an Olympic postponement or how COVID-19 altered their training routines, the Games that many thought would never happen are here. While a handful of Canadian athletes have already competed in Tokyo, most of Canada's 370-athlete contingent will see their first action after the Olympic flame is ignited Friday night in Tokyo.
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.
Over the last few days, Canadians soon to compete in these Games — athletes can only arrive in the village five days before their competition — have been checking out the arenas, courts and rings where they will pursue their Olympic dreams.
There are many narratives playing out here in Tokyo. For some, it's the beginning of an Olympic journey. For others, it's their last chance. Some arrive with well-chronicled stories, while others will be introduced to Canadians for the first time.
For boxer Mandy Bujold, who will turn 34 during these Games, Tokyo will be her curtain call.
Bujold lost her quarter-final fight at the 2016 Olympics after falling ill hours before, and for a while it appeared the 11-time national champion wouldn't get a chance for redemption in Tokyo.
Canada’s elite athletes at greater risk for mental disorders, study finds
A new study, one of the first of its kind here at home, has revealed 41 per cent of elite Canadian athletes meet the criteria for one or more mental disorders. © Jamie Squire/Getty Images Flag bearers Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama of Team Canada lead their team during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Zoe Poucher, a sports psychology PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, told Global News the data shocked her. "That number is quite high," said Poucher.
During 2018 and parts of 2019, Bujold was on maternity leave and out of the ring. But after the pandemic caused the cancellation of a key Olympic qualifying tournament, she appeared out of luck. Only after a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who ruled the qualifying criteria should have taken into account women who were pregnant or had recently given birth, did she make it to Tokyo.
And now that she's here, her focus is in the ring.
"Now it's about getting ready for competition. We get our draw soon and once we get that it's just easier because we know who we will be competing against," Bujold told CBC Sports.
Video: 5 things that will make these Olympics very different (cbc.ca)
"For me right now, it's all about my process. What are the key things I need to do so that I can bring the best out of my performance? I know there are multiple opponents I could face and I need to focus on my strengths as opposed to theirs."
First fan-less Olympics: What is the impact on athletes?
With no spectators at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it’s a different atmosphere for athletes, but that has had little effect on their performance, experts say.This is the first time in the 125-year history of the modern Games that spectators have been barred from attending as the host city, Tokyo, battles a surge in coronavirus cases that forced Japan to declare a state of emergency.
Asked about what she left back home to go to Tokyo, Bujold began to cry.
"[Two-year-old daughter] Kate is obviously my motivation," Bujold said through tears. "My husband sent a video of her with all of this cheering stuff, so it's nice. I'm hoping he takes lots of pictures and videos when she's watching so that it's something we can show her later."
There's also heartwarming stories among Canada's taekwondo athletes.
At 31 years old, Yvette Yong thought she would never compete at an Olympics. She only found out she was coming to Tokyo three weeks ago.
"Since my first taekwondo class I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics," Yong told CBC Sports. "I've trained a lot of years for this. But it feels surreal. I still can't believe I'm here"
Yong said that when COVID-19 hit and it appeared she wouldn't have an opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020, she nearly gave up.
"Something inside of me just told me not to retire yet. If there's anything I want to tell anybody who's at that point in their life is to not give up."
Yong's teammate, Winnipeg's Skylar Park, arrived in Tokyo with gold-medal expectations and a level of family support most other athletes won't have. Park is coached by her father, who has been in her corner since she started competing. Her brother is her training partner and also travelled to Tokyo.
"The Olympics have been my dream and to win a gold medal for Canada. I've always told my dad when I was younger we've been building up to this for a really long time, so I'm excited, I'm ready," Park told CBC Sports.
For all Canadian athletes who have landed in Tokyo, win or lose, they are happy be here — happy to finally be back in the game.
"Just walking into the arena, and seeing the Tokyo 2020 signs everywhere, seeing the rings, it was amazing," gymnast Rene Cournoyer told CBC Sports. "Mentally, it's great to be here competing against athletes I haven't seen for almost two years. The pressure is fading away. It's more excitement and confidence at this point."
Olympians show how many people it takes to break cardboard bed in viral TikTok video .
Team Israel's Ben Wanger decided to put the cardboard beds at the Olympic Village to the test in a viral TikTok video.Team Israel's Ben Wanger decided to put the beds to the test after a false rumor circulated online earlier this month about them being "anti-sex" and could only withstand the weight of one person.