July 22 Tokyo 2020 Olympics news and results

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Ben Church, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0443 GMT (1243 HKT) July 23, 2021
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1:06 a.m. ET, July 22, 2021

Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony show director fired over decades-old anti-Semitic comments

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

Flags hang over the pool during aquatics training at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22, in Tokyo, Japan.
Flags hang over the pool during aquatics training at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22, in Tokyo, Japan. Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tokyo 2020's opening ceremony show director was dismissed Thursday, shortly after local media reported on anti-Semitic comments he made about the Holocaust in 1998.

Comedian Kentaro Kobayashi would be dismissed for his past performance, which ridiculed "painful facts of history," Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement.

"As the opening ceremony is approaching, we deeply apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused to many people concerned, the citizens of Tokyo, and the people of Tokyo," the statement read.

Though Kobayashi's comments were made more than two decades ago, they only recently resurfaced in the Japanese press.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish global human rights group, on Wednesday condemned the remarks.

"Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center's associate dean and global social action director.

Kobayashi apologized in a statement, saying his past behavior was "inadequate."

"As a person who is in the business of entertaining people, it should not be my job to make people feel unpleasant. I understand that my foolish choice of words at the time was a mistake, and I regret it," he said.

Organizers did not explain in their statement how Kobayashi will be replaced just a day before the opening ceremony.

Kobayashi is the second official tied to the event to lose his post this week due to comments that were recently made public. The opening and closing ceremonies' music composer, Keigo Oyamada, resigned from his position after he was criticized for saying in interviews that he bullied classmates.

The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. in Tokyo, but will be pared down in comparison to previous versions. Only about About 950 VIPs will attend, organizers said.

9:18 a.m. ET, July 22, 2021

Coronavirus cases linked to Tokyo 2020 rise to 91, organizers say

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

Olympic rings are seen at sunset on July 21, in Tokyo, Japan.
Olympic rings are seen at sunset on July 21, in Tokyo, Japan. Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

The number of Covid-19 cases in Japan linked to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has risen to 91 with the official start of the Games just one day away.

Eleven new cases were reported Thursday, including four people staying in the Olympic Village, organizers said. Two were athletes and two were "Games-related personnel."

The total number of cases reported from the village is now nine. 

Tokyo 2020 is not revealing the names nor nationalities of the Covid-19 cases. 

12:34 a.m. ET, July 22, 2021

It's the second day of Olympic competition in Tokyo. Here's what you should know

Kelsey Jenkins #1 of Team Canada high-fives teammates before their game against Team United States during the Softball Opening Round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 22.
Kelsey Jenkins #1 of Team Canada high-fives teammates before their game against Team United States during the Softball Opening Round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 22. Yuichi Masuda/Getty Image

The Olympics formally kick off Friday night in Tokyo with the opening ceremony, but competition at the pandemic-delayed Summer Games is already underway.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the second day of events:

Covid keeps coming: The challenges of holding one of the world's most prestigious sporting competitions during a pandemic have never been more clear. Several athletes have seen their dreams dashed after testing positive either in their home countries or upon arrival in Japan. Dozens of cases in Japan have been tied to the Games.

With a little more than 24 hours to go until the opening ceremony, organizers continue to exude confidence the Olympics can be held successfully with the safety measures in place.

Still, things look remarkably different than years past. The nearly empty stadiums in which athletes are competing are a constant visual reminder of the pandemic's toll. Tomorrow's festivities may look even more barren. Organizers said only 950 VIPs will attend the opening ceremony, held in a stadium with 68,000 seats.

Japan's top Olympic official did not rule out a last-minute cancellation, but things appear to be going ahead as planned.

“The world needs now more than ever a celebration of hope," World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech in Tokyo ahead of the Games. "The celebrations may be more muted this year, but the message of hope is all the more important.”

Activist athletes: Five women's football teams protested against racism ahead of their opening matches: Great Britain, Chile, the United States, Sweden and New Zealand. Australia's team remained standing with their arms locked together and posed for a pre-game photo with the country's Indigenous flag.

Swedish defender Amanda Ilestedt said after the match they were standing up for human rights.

Softball, football and shooting: The schedule today is lighter than a normal Olympic day, but here are some of the highlights:

  • The top-seeded US softball team takes on Canada, which is ranked third
  • Men's football begins with eight matches in the afternoon and evening Japan time
  • Official shooting training will take place at the Asaka Shooting Range.
11:37 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

A thrashing, a surprise and some history marked the first day of women's football at the Olympics

Christen Press #11 of Team United States looks dejected during the Women's First Round Group G match between Sweden and the US during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 21, in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.
Christen Press #11 of Team United States looks dejected during the Women's First Round Group G match between Sweden and the US during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 21, in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Women's football began on Wednesday, and three matches brought plenty of surprises:

A poor start for the Americans: Sweden beat the US Women's National Team 3-0 on Wednesday.

Stina Blackstenius' brace and Lina Hurtig's thumping header gave Sweden a deserved victory, and the US looked like a shadow of the team that won the World Cup two years ago.

Brazil makes history: Marta, widely regarded as one of the greatest female footballers of all time, became the first player to score in five straight Olympics after netting in her country's 5-0 win against China.

Another Brazil legend, Formiga, became the first women's player to take part in seven Olympic Games after playing 72 minutes against China.

Netherlands thrashes Zambia: The Dutch beat Zambia 10-3, breaking the record for the most goals scored by a single team in a women's Olympic football match. It was also the highest-scoring game in women's Olympic football since it made its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

12:02 a.m. ET, July 22, 2021

About 950 VIPs will attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony  

From CNN's Arthur Syin in Tokyo  

About 950 VIPs will attend the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Japanese capital on Friday, according to CNN affiliate TV Asahi. 

The total will include around 800 foreign guests and 150 from Japan, the affiliate reported. 

9:48 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

5 women's football teams take a knee ahead of opening Olympic Games matches

From CNN's Jacob Lev 

Five women's football teams took a knee ahead of their opening matches at the 2020 Summer Games.

Both Great Britain and Chile took a knee on the pitch before their match. The United States and Sweden also took a knee ahead of their women's football clash on Wednesday.

"For us it feels right to stand up for human rights. There was communication with the US team," Swedish defender Amanda Ilestedt said after the match. "It feels good to do that, it is something we stand for as a team."

The women's football team from New Zealand also took a knee before their opening match against Australia. The Aussies remained standing with their arms locked together. The team also posed for a pre-game picture with the country's indigenous flag.

Australian midfielder Tameka Yallop said after the match that the team is against racism but wanted to show support to the "broader Indigenous Australians."

On Wednesday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach confirmed the kneeling ahead the women's football matches did not violate the organization's rules against protesting.

"It is allowed, it is not a violation of the rules," Bach said. 

In April, the ban preventing athletes from protesting or demonstrating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had been upheld by the IOC. 

The IOC said in a statement it had come to the decision to continue with the Rule 50 ban after a 10-month consultation process with over 3,500 athletes, who represent 185 different National Olympic Committees and all 41 Olympic Sports.

CNN's Courtney Culp contributed to this report.

9:19 a.m. ET, July 22, 2021

Russian swimmer Ilya Borodin to miss Games following positive Covid-19 test

From CNN's David Close

Russian swimmer Ilya Borodin will not take part in the upcoming Summer Olympics as planned due to testing positive for Covid-19, according to the Russian Swimming Federation.  

Russian officials stated Wednesday that Borodin tested positive before leaving for Japan.  

According to the official Tokyo 2020 Olympics site, the 18-year-old was originally set to swim in the men's 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley events. 

Borodin won the men’s 400-meter individual medley at the European Aquatics Championships in May.

The federation statement reads: 

"Unfortunately, during the final training camp in Vladivostok, one of the leaders of the Olympic team, European champion Ilya Borodin tested positive for Covid-19, which is why he will not take part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The team's specialists followed all the isolation rules in accordance with the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor (Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing). All athletes, coaches and specialists have tested negative for coronavirus." 

CNN's Gena Somra contributed to this report.

10:44 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Why Tokyo has a tough task trying not to be the first "no-fun" Olympics

From CNN's Blake Essig, Akanksha Sharma and Emiko Jozuka

Empty stadiums, no fans, and if you're an athlete it's probably best to avoid having sex in the Olympic Village just to be on the safe side.

No wonder, then, that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been forced to break with a number of traditions as the global pandemic forces organizers to mastermind a mega-sporting event unlikely any other.

There's quite a checklist of dos and don'ts for athletes, officials, media and volunteers attending the Games, given those Covid-19 countermeasures that have been in put in place to ensure the Olympics are "safe."

Spectators will also be absent from 97% of Olympic competitions, with "virtual cheering" and a screen at events for fans to send in selfies and messages of support to athletes instead.

While opinion polls have consistently highlighted the unpopularity of the Games among the Japanese public, organizers hope the focus will quickly move away from the pandemic once the serious competition gets underway after Friday's opening ceremony.

Nonetheless, questions remain over how Tokyo can hold a massive sporting event and keep volunteers, athletes, officials — and the Japanese public — safe from Covid-19.

On Tuesday, a Japanese health expert warned the bubble around the Olympic Village had "kind of broken," while Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said organizers weren't ruling out a last-minute cancellation of the Games amid rising Covid-19 cases.

That febrile environment has ensured that Tokyo has a tough task not to be the first "no-fun" Olympics.

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