US Gymnastics star Simone Biles is set to return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday after pulling out of her previous events citing “mental health concerns”.
The 24-year-old will compete in the balance beam event a little over a week after she stepped away from the games, which have been tightly controlled under strict coronavirus precautions.
Also on Monday, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya announced she was “safe” and under police protection in Japan, after she said she had been forcibly removed from the games after criticising her coaches.
Here were the updates on Monday from the Tokyo Games:
Belarus trying to humiliate Tsimanouskaya: US envoy
Poland and Japan have helped the Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya evade attempts by President Alexander Lukashenko’s government to humiliate and discredit her, the United States ambassador to Belarus has said.
“Thanks to the quick action of Japanese and Polish authorities, Tsimanouskaya is able to evade the attempts of the Lukashenko regime to discredit and humiliate this #Tokyo2020 athlete for expressing her views,” Julie Fisher said in a tweet, shortly a Polish official said the athlete would be granted a humanitarian visa.
Thanks to the quick action of Japanese and Polish authorities, Tsimanouskaya is able to evade the attempts of the Lukashenka regime to discredit and humiliate this #Tokyo2020 athlete for expressing her views. #StandWithBelarus https://t.co/fpclTeIvDy
— Julie Fisher (@USAmbBelarus) August 2, 2021
Transgender weightlifter Hubbard out of final
Pioneering transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard crashed out of her Tokyo Olympics final Monday after botching all three of her lift attempts in the snatch section of the +87kg category.
The 43-year-old New Zealander made history in becoming the first female transgender Olympian but fell out of medal contention early, making a heart gesture to the spectator-free arena.
US Olympic officials condone shot putter podium gesture
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee says shot putter Raven Saunders’ gesture during her medals ceremony “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.”
After receiving her silver medal at the Olympics on Sunday, and after the Chinese national anthem played for winner Gong Lijiao, Saunders lifted her arms above her head and formed an “X” with her wrists.
Asked by The Associated Press what that meant, she explained: “It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet”.
Poland grants humanitarian visa to Belarussian sprinter
Poland has granted a humanitarian visa to Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, a Belarusian Olympic athlete who claimed her team tried to force her to leave Japan, Poland’s deputy foreign minister said Monday.
Tsimanouskaya husband Arseny Zdanevich earlier told the AFP news agency that the athlete will likely travel to Poland, adding that had also left Belarus and was hoping to join his wife “in the near future”.
‘Best moment of Tokyo 2020’: Reaction to shared Olympics gold
The world watched in awe as Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi decided in a matter of moments to share an Olympic gold in the men’s high jump at the Tokyo Games on Sunda
Sports reporter Ben Steiner wrote on Twitter: “Tears, hugs, and joy in the men’s high jump celebrations. That is the best moment of Tokyo 2020.”
Read more here.
India men, women reach hockey semi-finals
India’s women’s hockey team shocked Australia 1-0 on Monday to enter the semi-finals, a day after India’s men’s team advanced to the semi-finals of an Olympic hockey tournament for the first time since 1972.
After beating Britain 3-1 on Sunday the men will face Belgium in the semi-finals on Tuesday. The women’s team will face Argentina in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
Cycling: China takes gold, sets record in women’s team sprint
China edged out Germany to win the first track cycling gold of the Tokyo Olympics in the women’s team sprint on Monday after earlier breaking the world record.
China set a new world best of 31.804sec in the heats and were then too quick for Germany in the final, their 31.895 just ahead of the Germans’ 31.980. The Russian Olympic Committee beat the Netherlands to take bronze.
Distance no issue for badminton-mad Indonesian fans
On Saturday morning, when Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu became the first Indonesian women doubles team to make a badminton final at the Olympics the two women’s delight echoed around an almost empty arena.
With spectators banned from most Olympic venues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were none of the usual “IN-DO-NE-SIA!” chants, or loud thunder-stick bangs that usually accompany the players’ victories.
But thousands of miles from the stadium, in their homeland, Indonesia’s legion of badminton fans were thrilled.
Read more here.
Biles returning to competition
The 2016 Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles will compete in the balance beam finals on Tuesday, her team has said, after she withdrew from her other events citing “mental health concerns”.
We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow – Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 2, 2021
Biles qualified for all five individual event finals but took herself out of four of them: the all-around, vault, floor exercise and uneven bars.
Belarus athlete ‘safe’, under police protection
Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has said she is “safe” and under police protection in Japan after claiming she had been removed from the national team and taken to Tokyo airport against her will to be flown home over her criticism of national coaches.
“I am safe and they are in the process of deciding where I am going to spend the night,” Timanovskaya said in a statement on Telegram published on Sunday by the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), an organisation that supports opposition athletes.
Read more here.
Qatar’s Barshim, Italy’s Tamberi share Olympic high jump gold
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi put the nightmare of serious injuries behind them to share a rare Olympic athletics gold in the high jump.
Barshim – giving Qatar its first Olympic track and field title – and Tamberi recorded a best clearance of 2.37 metres on Sunday.
After three failures each at 2.39, they ended up tied and entered a conversation with an Olympic official, who first offered them a “jump-off” to decide the matter.
“Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked him. And that’s what they got.
Read more here.