Sport Off-script Olympics: Wins, losses, and a whole lot of improv
Chasing Gold: All eyes on Biles after gymnast drops out of all-around, plus historic wins on Day 5
Simone Biles’ future in elite gymnastics is uncertain after she withdrew from the team finals and then the individual all-around event.The U.S. women team still won a silver medal, but Biles’ decision to pull herself from competition for the sake of her mental – and physical – health has been the hot topic of conversation ever since.
TOKYO (AP) — Every two years, when an Olympics convenes, its organizers harness billions of dollars to make sure the entire affair is tightly, carefully scripted, clearing the way for one realm — and one realm only — to be genuinely unpredictable: the athletes' performances and, by extension, the results of the events in which they compete.
It never quite works out that way, of course. Be it drugging or diplomatic incidents, bad behavior or political upheaval, the event rarely unfurls in exactly the way the International Olympic Committee so fervently hopes. But even viewed through that prism, thishas been the most off-script Games in history.
Chasing Gold: Novak Djokovic loses bid for 'Golden Slam'; off to the races at track and field
No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic upset in semifinals; USWNT relies on PKs and Alyssa Naeher in win; 4x400 mixed-gender relay team reinstated.The Olympics have a way of surprising people. Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 tennis player, was aiming to add a gold medal to his three Grand Slam titles of 2021 as he attempted to become the first men's tennis player to win the "Golden Slam" following women's great Steffi Graf in 1988. Instead, it was No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany who upset him in the semifinals, leaving Djokovic to play for bronze. Don't feel too bad for Djokovic, though. The Serbian still has a good chance to claim the calendar-year Grand Slam with the U.
“This isn’t a story that fits our society’s desire to have complete historical context by the time we refresh our phones,” NBC’s Mike Tiricoa week into Japan's fourth Olympic Games.
It was delayed by a devastating pandemic for an entire year, to the point where they're still referring to an Olympics held in 2021 as the “2020 Tokyo Games” — another nod to powerful scripts that resist overturning. Cascading resignations — due to everything from financial corruption to bullying to sexual harassment — plagued the organizing committee.
Beijing Games: Sports coverage fine, other things maybe not
TOKYO (AP) — The IOC says the Olympics are only about the sports; no politics allowed. This will be the mantra, as it always is, when the Beijing Winter Games open in six months. Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble. But reporters from other countries who puncture the PR skin to explore other aspects of life in China — as they have in Japan during the Tokyo Olympics — could draw more than criticism. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File) Covering ski races or figure-skating finals should be painless; just stay in the sports bubble and out of trouble.
Three of the world's best-known athletes — Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic — didn't end up doing anywhere near what they were expected to do in Tokyo, andabout emotional health, mental pressure and learning how to take care of one's self suffused the rest of the Games.
If the Olympics is, as they like to say, one of the planet's biggest stages, there was a lot of improv going on.
It was jarring, and understandably so, even beyond thestands. The sharply drawn narrative of winners and losers has fueled Olympic storytelling for generations — either-or storylines only occasionally interrupted by eruptions and controversies. But this time around, the storylines seemed both more subtle and a lot more disruptive.
That perhaps says less about the Olympics than it does about the times in which we live — a confusing, complex, intricate era that resists easy solutions as much as it is filled with people who want to impose them.
Olympics live schedule: Today’s events, how to watch online, stream start times, TV channels for Tuesday
The Tokyo Olympics are live now and NBC Sports has you covered with how to watch and live stream every event. Keep reading to find the Olympics live stream schedule for this morning, afternoon and tonight including times, sports, live events, medals count, TV channels, streaming links and more. For a full live streaming schedule and to see what Olympic events are on right now, check out the NBC Olympics live schedule page. Tokyo Olympics medal count As of Tuesday morning, the United States has 73 total medals including 24 gold, 28 silver and 21 bronze. China is in second place with 69 total medals while ROC has 52.
Consider the United States, a key Olympic player that has trended toward binary thinking for most of its history. For Americans, sometimes to their detriment, things historically often come down to black or white, yes or no, winners or losers. There’s often a strong aversion to seeing and discussing shades of grey.
Most American big-media storylines follow that sensibility — particularly when it comes to the sharply drawn coverage of an Olympic Games, which sometimes can resemble a bustling factory for churning out heroes.
That expectation for hero-making is revealed in this endearing remark from U.S. athlete Isaiah Jewett, whoafter they both fell in the semifinals of the men's 800-meter. “All the superhero anime that I watch," Jewett said, "regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day.”
When do the Olympics end? Closing Ceremony time, date, TV, live stream, schedule for Tokyo Games
The Tokyo Olympics are coming to a close and NBC Sports has you covered with all you need to know including the end date, time, Closing Ceremony schedule, live stream and TV info, how to watch and more. Follow the 2020 Tokyo Olympics live here: News, live streams, Closing Ceremony info and more When willFollow the 2020 Tokyo Olympics live here: News, live streams, Closing Ceremony info and more
And for what he did, he became one. But what he said also reflected that American and Olympic commitment that sharp, epic endings represent the best and most memorable outcomes. So when something like these Olympics – and, frankly, this era in general – comes hurtling at people weaned on binary storytelling, things can get confusing.
Look at NBC, where surely producers were asking some form of this question: How do you deploy a half-century-old architecture of telling network-television sports stories that’s built for winners and losers and use it for a more subtle set of storylines like mental health and coronavirus fear that don't necessarily have distinct outcomes?
Nuance doesn't necessarily equal viewership. In general, the prevailing sentiment runs more toward what 13-year-old Japanese skateboarder Momiji Nishiya said after“I want to be the famous one who everyone in the world knows."
Aaron Rodgers 'Very Proud' of Simone Biles
The Packers QB credited Biles for speaking her truth in her mental health journey. When U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Games citing her mental health, it set off a global conversation about mental health in sports and the pressure athletes endure to perform even when they're not at their best.After opening up about her personal journey on the world's biggest stage, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers credited Biles on Friday for having the courage to share her truth and the mental battles she's faced.
If you look at what went off the scripted rails at these Games, though, it's only fair to look at what stayed on book as well. After all, managerial success is measured — or should be — not only by what happens but by what doesn’t. And even within this jumbled valley of Olympic unpredictability, it's worth noting where the script endured.
There has been no major outbreak of COVID within the Olympic bubble, which was organizers' greatest fear. In fact, since July 1, barely more than 400 Olympic-related COVID cases have been documented out of tens of thousands of tests — even as the country around the Games declared increasingly wide states of emergency to offset alarming spikes in virus numbers.
The one political eruption —of Belarus sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya to Vienna, then Poland, when she felt she was under threat — was less disarray and more sharp thinking on behalf of Japanese authorities, who interceded when officials from the country's Olympic committee tried to hustle her on a plane home.
And in the conversation about mental health that emerged after Biles' winding Olympic road, the IOC not only tolerated but even fostered further scrutiny of the issue, part of what cleared the way for athletes to come forward and make the intricate and deeply personal topic an indelible part of the Tokyo 2020 script.
For Tokyo in mid-2021, maybe “Tokyo 2020” was, in fact, the pitch-perfect moniker. Because these were, in the end, a Games that, if they didn't follow the Olympics' script, followed 2020's perfectly — fear and disease and suspicion all around, curveballs galore, unimaginable obstacles to overcome.
And, just like the storyline of 2020, lots of good stuff between it all that managed to shine through. A modern Hollywood ending, if you will.
Ted Anthony, director of new storytelling and newsroom innovation for The Associated Press, was AP’s director of Asia-Pacific news from 2014 to 2018. This is his sixth Olympics. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/anthonyted
Tokyo Olympics end with official hand-off to Paris for 2024 Games .
Tokyo Olympics end with official hand-off to Paris for 2024 GamesKemasukan pembawa bendera setiap kontinjen ke dalam #Olympics Stadium. Kami nampak Jalur Gemilang tu yang dibawa oleh atlet terjun negara, @Pandelela_R. ???? #ClosingCeremony #Tokyo2020 #unifiedMalaysians #DemiMalaysia #KamiTeamMalaysia pic.twitter.