July 23 Tokyo 2020 Olympics news and results

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Aditi Sangal, John Sinnott, Matias Grez, Melissa Mahtani and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0417 GMT (1217 HKT) July 24, 2021
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5:18 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

Catch up: Here's what happened at the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony

From CNN's George Ramsay

Fireworks go off after Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron.
Fireworks go off after Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With no fans in attendance and a reduced number of athletes joining the parade, the Tokyo OlympicsOpening Ceremony officially kicked off the Summer Games on Friday as tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron.

The ceremony drew to a close around midnight in Japan as a spectacular firework display illuminated the Tokyo night sky.

The surreal circumstances of the Games' curtain raiser — unlike any other previous opening ceremony — provided a glimpse of what is to come over the next 16 days with the coronavirus pandemic set to loom large over proceedings.

In case you missed it, here's what happened at the Opening Ceremony:

The attendance: According to Tokyo 2020 organizers, 950 people attended the opening ceremony — only a handful in a venue with a capacity of 68,000 — as the 206 delegations competing were officially welcomed to the Games. US first lady Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron attended the event. With athletes expected to arrive in the Olympic Village five days prior to their competition and depart a maximum of two days after, fewer took part in the parade of nations compared to previous Olympics. Team USA, for example, had more than 200 athletes walking through the stadium out of a team that is over 600 strong, while 63 of Australia's 472 athletes took part.

Tongan Pita Taufatofua made a return: Taufatofua first caught the attention of Olympic spectators in Rio five years ago when he appeared shirtless wearing traditional Tongan dress and covered in oil. He then repeated the act at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics two years later. However, Taufatofua had competition this time around, with Vanuatu's flag-bearer, rower Riilio Rii, also coming out shirtless and oiled.

Athletes remained socially distant: Many of the athletes remained socially distant as they walked through the stadium, but others — such as Argentina and Portugal — were exuberant, breaking into cheering and dancing. The procession began with Greece, the first nation to host the modern Olympic Games, whose athletes were followed by those from the 29-strong Refugee Olympic Team, which debuted at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It concluded with the US and France — the two countries hosting the next two editions of the Games — and finally Japan.

Covid-19 victims remembered: There were also tributes to those who have lost their lives during the pandemic, as well as to the 11 Israeli athletes killed in a terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics. How the coronavirus pandemic has affected athletes over the past 18 months was also acknowledged. Japanese boxer and nurse Arisa Tsubata — whose Olympic dreams were dashed when a qualifying event was canceled — was seen running alone on a treadmill in darkness at the start of the opening ceremony.

What to expect next: Starting Saturday, the first medals of the Games will be distributed; after months of challenges and uncertainties, Olympic organizers will finally be able to let sport do the talking.

Read more here.

4:31 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

Tropical Depression Nepartak could impact Olympic games next week

From CNN’s Jackson Dill and Brandon Miller

The path of Tropical Depression Nepartak as of 11am E.T.
The path of Tropical Depression Nepartak as of 11am E.T. CNN Weather

A new tropical depression has formed over the open waters of the West Pacific, which could impact the Olympic games next week.

Tropical Depression Nepartak has formed about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) southeast of Japan, and currently has maximum sustained winds of 55 kph (35 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

The forecast track from the JTWC brings the storm to mainland Japan by Tuesday, with Tokyo in the forecast cone.

Nepartak is currently classified as a subtropical cyclone and is expected to remain subtropical through its forecast period. This characteristic essentially means the strongest winds won’t be just consolidated near the center of the storm, but rather can extend farther out from the center.

The storm is expected to strengthen over the coming days, reaching tropical storm intensity this weekend. By Sunday night local time, its winds are expected to peak at 95 kph (60 mph) before gradually weakening again.

Nepartak is expected to impact parts of mainland Japan by Tuesday, including the Tokyo area where the Olympics are taking place. Maximum winds are expected to be around 75 kph (45 mph) when it reaches Japan.

There remains a high amount of uncertainty with the forecast by early next week, the JTWC notes in its discussion, in terms of where it affects Japan and the strength of then winds.

12:59 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are underway in 2021. Here's why.

From CNN's Alyssa Kraus and George Ramsay

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics kicked off Friday with the Opening Ceremony — almost a year to the day from their intended start date in July 2020.

In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Games until 2021 due to concerns over Covid-19. The event was originally set to begin on July 24, 2020 and end on Aug. 9, 2020.

"The IOC president and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games ... must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," a statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee read.

With the postponement, officials decided that the Games — which would take place in 2021 — would still be called the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The decision to push back the event was the first of its kind in Olympics history. The Games have never been postponed, although they have been canceled on three occasions due to World Wars in 1916, 1940 and 1944.

12:06 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

German cyclist Simon Geschke is the latest athlete to test positive for Covid-19

Simon Geschke of Germany crosses the finish line during the Tour de France 2021 on July 3 in Le Grand Bornand, France.
Simon Geschke of Germany crosses the finish line during the Tour de France 2021 on July 3 in Le Grand Bornand, France. (John Berry/Getty Images)

German cyclist Simon Geschke is the latest athlete to test positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo Olympics. According to the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Geschke tested positive in a hotel outside the Olympic Village and will not participate in the team’s race on Saturday. 

“It is really tough to be taken out of the race so shortly before the competition,” Geschke said in a statement. “I have complied with all hygiene rules to the best of my knowledge and belief. I feel good physically, but emotionally it's a very black day for me. All I can do now is to wish the guys a very strong race tomorrow.” 

Geschke was staying in the hotel with 12 other athletes on the Radsport Straße team, according to Friday’s announcement. All 12 have since tested negative and will be allowed to take part in the race. Geschke’s roommate will still be required to test negative in order to be approved.  

As of Friday, at least 110 positive Covid-19 cases have been linked to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

 

11:50 a.m. ET, July 23, 2021

IOC president calls Opening Ceremony "moment of hope" and praises teams for overcoming challenges to compete

From CNN's Jaide Garcia

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the Opening Ceremony on July 23.
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the Opening Ceremony on July 23. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach emphasized the need for more solidarity within and among societies during his speech at the Olympic Opening Ceremony Friday night in Tokyo. 

"Without solidarity there is no peace ... solidarity means more than just respect or non-discrimination. Solidarity means helping. Sharing. Caring," Bach said, stating that the Olympic community is "standing in solidarity to make the Olympic Games happen."

Addressing the year-long delay of the Tokyo 2020 Games due to Covid-19, the IOC president said, "the pandemic forced us apart, to keep our distance from each other, to stay away even from our loved ones. This separation made this tunnel so dark. But today, wherever in the world you may be, we are united in sharing this moment together."

Bach signaled that Friday’s opening ceremony was “a moment of hope," and praised the athletes for overcoming challenges to compete at the Olympics. 

"You struggled, you persevered, you never gave up, and today you're making your Olympic dream come true. You are true Olympic athletes," Bach said.  

His speech included thanking the unsung heroes of Japan, including doctors, nurses, and people working to contain the pandemic. A special thanks was given to the thousands of volunteers who he called the "best ambassadors for Japan." 

Bach concluded by reiterating his gratitude to the athletes for their commitment to the new Olympic oath, which includes "solidarity, non-discrimination, sport without doping, inclusion and equality."

1:02 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

The Olympic events you'll want to watch on Saturday in the US

From CNN's Alyssa Kraus

Taiwanese gymnast Shiao Yu-jan prepares to represent the Chinese Taipei team during a practice session at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre ahead of the Olympic Games on July 21, in Tokyo.
Taiwanese gymnast Shiao Yu-jan prepares to represent the Chinese Taipei team during a practice session at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre ahead of the Olympic Games on July 21, in Tokyo. Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are officially underway. As the Games ramp up following the opening ceremony, there are several opportunities to watch your favorite events live despite the time difference.

  • Football: The US women's football team will play New Zealand live at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.
  • Gymnastics: The qualifying rounds for men's gymnastics will be streamed live at 6:30 a.m. ET.
  • Skateboarding: The men's skateboarding street qualifiers will be live at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then the men's street finals will be live at 11:25 p.m. ET.
  • Softball: The US softball team will face Mexico at 1:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. And later, you can catch the team's game against Australia at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Swimming: The swimming qualifying heats will be broadcast live at 6 a.m. ET. The swimming finals will then be broadcast at 9:30 p.m. ET.
  • Tennis: The US men's and women's tennis singles teams will face Russia and Switzerland respectively at 2 a.m. ET. Later, another round of singles matches will be broadcast live at 10 p.m. ET.
  • Volleyball: The US men's volleyball team will face France live at 8:45 a.m. ET. Later, NBC will also broadcast the US women's beach volleyball team in their competition against China at 8 p.m. ET.

In case you miss the live broadcasts, replays of each sporting event can be found on NBC's programming schedule.

11:48 a.m. ET, July 23, 2021

IOC statement stands by rule limiting of athlete expression following Olympians' petition

From CNN's Seamus Fagan and David Close

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has acknowledged receiving an open letter calling for amendments to the IOC rule that threatens to punish athletes for protesting or demonstrating on medal podiums at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC issued a statement saying they are standing by the organization’s recent amendment which loosened previous guidelines to allow some forms of protest expression – but not on medal podiums, ceremonies and during play.

Their full statement reads:

"The IOC acknowledges receipt of the letter. After a global consultation, involving 3500 athletes from 185 NOCs, the IOC Athletes’ Commission (IOC AC) has put forward a set of recommendations in regard to Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter and Athlete Expression at the Olympic Games. Rule 50.2 provides a framework to protect the neutrality of sport and the Olympic Games. While asking for more opportunities for athlete expression during the Olympic Games, global athlete representatives expressed their support for keeping the podium, the field of play and the ceremonies free from any form of protest. The IOC Executive Board (IOC EB) accepted all the recommendations. The details about the process and the results can be found here. As part of the implementation of the IOC AC’s recommendations, the EB then has approved revised Rule 50.2 Guidelines for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 which extend the opportunities for athlete expression in Tokyo."

Some background: US hammer thrower Gwen Berry, along with famed 1968 medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos, are three of over 150 athletes, human rights and social justice experts, and sports organizations who cosigned an open letter to high-ranking International Olympic Committee members on Thursday, calling for amendments to the IOC rule that threatens to punish athletes for protesting or demonstrating on medal podiums at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

The letter calls upon the IOC to, “refrain from imposing sanctions on athletes protesting and demonstrating in accordance with internationally-recognized human rights frameworks… in any Olympic/Paralympic sites, venues or other areas – including the podium” for the Tokyo and Beijing Games. 

After a 10-month consultation process with over 3,500 athletes who represent 185 different National Olympic Committees and all 41 Olympic Sports, the IOC decided to uphold the rule 50 ban on protests in April. On July 2, the IOC amended rule 50 by adding section 50.2, which loosened previous guidelines, allowing athletes to express their views in mixed zones, press conferences, during interviews, as well as prior to the start of competition. 

You can read more about this here.

3:59 p.m. ET, July 23, 2021

These are the Team USA events first lady Jill Biden will attend on Saturday

From CNN's Betsy Klein

First Lady Jill Biden arrives for the Opening Ceremony on July 23.
First Lady Jill Biden arrives for the Opening Ceremony on July 23. Dylan Martinez/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

The White House released more details of first lady Jill Biden's schedule at the 2020 Tokyo Games Saturday.

Here's a look the Team USA games and races she will be attending, according to the White House:

  • 2:15 p.m. JST (1:15 a.m. ET) : The first lady will host a US vs. Mexico softball watch party with foreign service officers and their families at the US Embassy.
  • 6:00 p.m. JST (5:00 a.m. ET): Biden will cheer on Team USA at the US vs. France women's 3x3 basketball game. 
  • 7:00 p.m. JST (6:00 a.m. ET): The first lady will cheer on Team USA at the swimming races. 
  • 9:00 p.m. JST (8:00 a.m. ET): Biden will cheer on Team USA at the US vs. New Zealand women's football game. 

After that busy day, she’ll depart for Honolulu, where she’ll visit a vaccination clinic and greet military families.

Today, the first lady attended the Opening Ceremony that officially kicked off Tokyo 2020. Biden is leading the US delegation at the the Games, and was one of just 950 VIPs to attend the ceremony.

This is not Biden's first time at the Olympics in support of America's athletes. As second lady in 2010, she and then-Vice President Joe Biden attended the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

CNN's Kate Bennett contributed reporting in this post.

11:12 a.m. ET, July 23, 2021

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony.
Naomi Osaka of Team Japan lights the Olympic cauldron with the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony. Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who is competing for Japan in the Games, lit the cauldron at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The relay to the cauldron, the Olympic torch's final destination, has been largely spectator-free in isolated events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The cauldron stays lit during the entire Games.

More on Osaka: Born in Osaka, Japan, to a Japanese mother and Haitian-American father, the four-time Grand Slam tennis champion moved to the United States at age 3.

Tennis journalist Akatsuki Uchida has called her "an icon of a new generation in Japan, which is more diverse."

In May, Osaka withdrew from the French Open, citing her mental health. She revealed she had "suffered long bouts of depression" since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.

Osaka was fined $15,000 for not participating in any news conferences there.

In an essay for TIME magazine, she said the press conference format between journalists and athletes is "out of date."

"I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it's still so new to me and I don't have all the answers. I do hope that people can relate and understand it's OK to not be OK, and it's OK to talk about it," she wrote.