July 30 Tokyo 2020 Olympics news and results

By Helen Regan, Aditi Sangal, Adam Renton and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 0402 GMT (1202 HKT) July 31, 2021
10 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:11 a.m. ET, July 30, 2021

Simone Biles says she still has the "twisties" and it's affecting all of her individual events

From CNN's Jill Martin

US gymnast Simone Biles wears her warm-up gear after she pulled out of the team all-around competition on Tuesday, July 27.
US gymnast Simone Biles wears her warm-up gear after she pulled out of the team all-around competition on Tuesday, July 27. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

In a series of Instagram stories, Simone Biles posted videos of herself struggling with her dismounts on the uneven bars and answered questions about having the "twisties" — the mental block that can cause gymnasts to lose control of their bodies midair.

Biles said her latest bout of the twisties started the morning after the preliminary competition in Tokyo. While she said it has affected her before, it was only ever during floor and vault events, rather than bars and beam.

"But this time it’s literally on every event. Which sucks… really bad," she said.

Biles posted two videos of herself — which have since been taken down — of her on the uneven bars, showing her struggle with dismounts.

In the first video, Biles said she was supposed to do one and a half more twists on her dismount. Instead, the video shows her landing on her back on the mat.

A second video shows another dismount, in which she said she still needed to complete another half twist — and she falls to the mat in apparent frustration.

The videos were taken on Friday morning during practice, she said.

"It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync," she said in another post.

Biles said getting rid of the twisties “varies with time” and in the past they've lasted for about two or more weeks.

USA gymnast Simone Biles walks off the floor during the women's gymnastics team final on July 27.
USA gymnast Simone Biles walks off the floor during the women's gymnastics team final on July 27. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Biles, who withdrew during the team final and then pulled out ahead of Thursday’s all-around final, is still scheduled to compete in the four individual events of vault, bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

Women’s vault and bars finals are scheduled for Sunday, the women’s floor final is Monday, and the beam final is Tuesday. 

During her vault during the team final, Biles said she had “no idea” how she landed on her feet, “because if you look at the pictures and my eyes, you can see how confused I am as to where I am in the air.”
12:49 a.m. ET, July 30, 2021

BMX racing sees high-stakes drama with crashes and upsets

Racers jump during the men's BMX semifinals on Friday in Tokyo.
Racers jump during the men's BMX semifinals on Friday in Tokyo. (Francois Nel/Getty Images)

There was drama at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on Friday with Team USA's reigning Olympic champion Connor Field crashing out of the third round of the men’s cycling BMX racing semifinal. Fields was stretchered off the course and taken away in an ambulance.

He wasn't the only rider to wipe out. In the women's semifinals, Australia's Saya Sakakibara was also carried off after a crash in the third run.

Australia's Saya Sakakibara receives medical attention after a crash in the BMX racing semifinal on July 30. She was leading the race when she went down.
Australia's Saya Sakakibara receives medical attention after a crash in the BMX racing semifinal on July 30. She was leading the race when she went down. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

Sylvain Andre and Romain Mahieu of Team France, and Connor Fields of the US compete in the BMX semifinals on Friday in Tokyo.
Sylvain Andre and Romain Mahieu of Team France, and Connor Fields of the US compete in the BMX semifinals on Friday in Tokyo. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Kye Whyte of Team Great Britain competes in the BMX semifinals on Friday.
Kye Whyte of Team Great Britain competes in the BMX semifinals on Friday. (Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Netherlands' Niek Kimmann won BMX gold, despite suffering a fractured knee during official training. It's the first Olympic gold medal for the Netherlands in cycling BMX racing. Kye Whyte of Great Britain took silver, while Carlos Alberto Ramirez of Colombia earned bronze.

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Bethany Shriever held off two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariana Pajon of Colombia to win the women’s BMX racing final by just 0.09 seconds.

12:20 a.m. ET, July 30, 2021

Heavy rain at beach volleyball fails to dampen spirits of Team USA's April Ross and Alix Klineman

From CNN's Coy Wire at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo

America's April Ross dives for the ball during a beach volleyball match against the Netherlands on Friday.
America's April Ross dives for the ball during a beach volleyball match against the Netherlands on Friday. (Felipe Dana/AP)

This isn’t the sunny, Olympic beach volleyball anyone had envisioned.

There was no roaring crowd as the athletes’ names were announced on Friday at Shiokaze Park. Instead, Olympians ran out onto soaked, packed sand through a human tunnel of clapping stadium staff members.

The music may have been blasting through the speakers, but the booming bass was drowned out by even louder thunder.

Despite the pouring rain, which caused a technical timeout during their match, Team USA stars April Ross and Alix Klineman persisted to remain unbeaten in Tokyo.

The Americans are now 3-0 in pool play after they defeated the Dutch team of Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink on Friday. After their win, Ross and Kleinman spoke to CNN about how much they miss the fans, dealing with the pressure and controversy over women's bikini rules.

There’s nothing like playing for fans and this stadium is amazing, so I can only imagine what it would’ve been like with all of the Japanese spectators," said Ross. "At the same time, I think we feel really grateful just to be competing here.”

Mental health has become a huge focus of the Games, with US gymnast Simone Biles pulling out to protect her mental — and physical — health.

“We’re seeing how important it is in elite sports, and all sports, and life in general. It’s something I’m constantly working on," said Ross, who added she reads, keeps a journal, and meditates to take her mind off the pressure. "It’s an every day practice. It can be really tough.”

Team USA beach volleyball players April Ross and Alix Klineman speak during an interview in the rain on Friday.
Team USA beach volleyball players April Ross and Alix Klineman speak during an interview in the rain on Friday. (Coy Wire/CNN)

Uniform comfort: Focus has also been on athletes wearing non-traditional uniforms with more coverage, such as the German women’s gymnastics team. The Norwegian beach handball team was previously fined by the European Handball Federation for wearing shorts instead of the required high-cut, tightfitting, briefs.

I really think people should be able to wear what they’re comfortable in. I think that’s the bottom line," said Klineman. "I really respect the athletes who are speaking up and saying that they’re uncomfortable."

"For us personally, I think we feel comfortable in our suits. We are lucky we got to work with our sponsors to design the cut and fit of our suits."

As beach volleyball is often played in sweltering hot conditions, "wearing full clothes is not always comfortable or realistic," she added.

12:00 a.m. ET, July 30, 2021

It's the seventh official day of Tokyo 2020. Catch up on the latest

Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa celebrates with Lilly King and Annie Lazor of the United States and her teammate Kaylene Corbett after setting a new world record and winning gold in the 200-meter breaststroke on Friday.
Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa celebrates with Lilly King and Annie Lazor of the United States and her teammate Kaylene Corbett after setting a new world record and winning gold in the 200-meter breaststroke on Friday. (Carl Recine/Reuters)

Expect another action-packed day in Tokyo on Friday as Japan's capital hosts Day 7 of the 2020 Games.

Here's what you need to know:

Covid looms over Olympics and Tokyo: Outside of the Olympic venues, Covid-19 is raising concerns in the host country. Japan plans to extend coronavirus states of emergency to four prefectures, including three surrounding Tokyo, according to public broadcaster NHK.

And the Japan Medical Association issued an emergency request to Tokyo to enhance urgency surrounding the Covid-19 surge. It comes as Tokyo reported its third consecutive day of record Covid cases on Thursday, with 3,865 new infections.

Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 on Friday reported 27 new Covid-19 cases linked to the Games — the highest daily increase, organizers said. There are now 225 cases linked to the event.

Two pole vaulters from Argentina and the US dropped out Thursday after testing positive, on the eve of track and field events beginning in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Australia's track and field team members received the "all-clear" after isolating out of precaution.

Records tumble: It's been another busy morning in Japan with swimmers battling it out in the pool for places on the podium. South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the world record in the women's 200-meter breaststroke, while Australia's Emma McKeon set an Olympic record in the highly-anticipated women's 100-meter freestyle. Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey won her second silver of the Games.

The men's eight closed out Tokyo 2020's rowing competition, with New Zealand winning gold. Germany edged Great Britain for silver. And Stefanos Ntouskos becomes Greece's first Olympic rowing champion in the men’s single sculls.

On the schedule: Track and field events start today with heats in the women's 100-meters and 800-meters, and men's 400-meter hurdles.

11:22 p.m. ET, July 29, 2021

Swimmers smash records at Tokyo Games

Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov swims to victory in the 200-meter backstroke final on Friday.
Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov swims to victory in the 200-meter backstroke final on Friday. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

More medals were won and a world record was set at the Aquatics Centre on Friday morning in Tokyo. Here's a rundown from Day 7:

  • Australia's Emma McKeon won gold in the highly-anticipated women's 100-meter freestyle in a time of 51.96 — an Olympic record. Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey won her second medal at the Tokyo Games, earning silver.
  • South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the world record in the women's 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:18.95 — the first woman ever to go under 2:19.
  • Russian Olympic Committee swimmer Evgeny Rylov won gold in the men's 200-meter backstroke, setting a new Olympic record with a time of 1:53.27.
  • China's Wang Shun won gold in the men's 200-meter individual medley, adding to the bronze he won in this event in Rio in 2016. His time of 1:55.00 is an Asian record.
10:31 p.m. ET, July 29, 2021

Suni Lee and an epochal moment for Hmongs in America

From CNN's Ray Sanchez

The story of Suni Lee's rise as Olympic gold medalist in many ways reflects the larger struggles of the Hmong people as one of the country's most marginalized Asian American groups.

Lee, 18, winner of the women's individual all-around gymnastics final, is the first Hmong American Olympian.

Like the story of the estimated 309,000 Hmongs who have settled in the US, her journey has been painful and turbulent.

"We were nomadic and we didn't have a place to belong and I feel like we fought adversity," said Koua Yang, athletic director at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where many Hmong refugees settled in the 1970s. "We were warriors throughout history, and here we are in the United States living the American dream. She epitomizes all that ... All the struggles."

Lee's path to Olympic glory has been pockmarked by injuries, the loss of an aunt and uncle to Covid-19 and a 2019 fall that left her father, John, paralyzed from the waist down.

"The past two years have been absolutely crazy with Covid and my family and everything else," Lee told reporters at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

The Hmong people arrived in the US in the '70s and '80s; the largest share is in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

During the Vietnam War, Hmong soldiers were recruited by the CIA. Thousands of Hmong died and others forced to flee when the US withdrew from Vietnam and essentially abandoned the ethnic group.

The Hmong were recruited into the Secret War, a CIA-backed war in the country of Laos. Hmong General Vang Pao was recruited to enlist his people to fight against the Laotian and North Vietnamese military. The Hmong fought and suffered losses of 30,000 to 40,000 of their people.

Many Hmong fled to the jungle and eventually to refugee camps in Thailand. In the '70s and '80s a large number of them settled and built a thriving community in Minnesota, where Lee's father would one day erect a makeshift balance beam in the backyard for her because of the family's modest means.

"It's a beautiful story that just illustrates the struggle of human beings and a people and now we get to celebrate," Yang said.

Read more:

11:07 p.m. ET, July 29, 2021

Olympian Lindsey Vonn on Biles: "I think it's none of our places to judge what Simone does"

Former Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn commended gymnast Simone Biles' decision to withdraw from Tokyo 2020 Olympic events to prioritize her mental health.

Biles, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, withdrew from Thursday's individual all-around competition after stepping away from a dramatic team competition earlier in the week.

The 24-year-old cited mental heath concerns and the need to protect "her body and mind."

"I think it's none of our places to judge what Simone does and what she is doing for her own well-being," Vonn told CNN Thursday night. "I think as an athlete, obviously, I've been in high-pressure situations. I've been injured. I've come back. I'm not Simone Biles. No one is Simone Biles. If that's what she needs to do in order to protect herself or to take care of her well-being, then that's her decision. And we should support it."

Vonn added: "And I think the best thing that's come out of this, is we're having conversations about mental health. And I applaud her for that."

CNN's Sara Spary contributed to this report.

8:29 p.m. ET, July 29, 2021

San Marino is smallest country in history to win a medal at the Olympics thanks to shooter Alessandra Perilli

From CNN's Sana Noor Haq and Aditi Sangal

A tiny landlocked European country surrounded by Italy, San Marino enjoyed a breakout moment at Tokyo 2020 on Thursday, winning its first ever first Olympic medal.

Shooter Alessandra Perilli — one of just five Sammarinese athletes at the Olympics — is the new hero of the microstate, which has a population of 34,000, after winning a bronze medal in the women's trap.

Perilli's victory ensured that San Marino is now the smallest country in history to win a medal at the Olympics.

"What a day to be Sammarinese," tweeted the San Marino fan account.

Slovakia's Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova, who hit 43 of her 50 targets to set an Olympic record, won gold, while Kayle Browning of Team USA took silver.

In 2012 Perilli became the first Sammarinese athlete, of either gender in any sport, to finish fourth or higher in an Olympic event, when she came fourth in trap at the Games in London.

The previous best result for a Sammarinese athlete at the Games was when shooter Franceso Nanni finished fifth in the 50m rifle prone at the Los Angeles 1984 Games.

"During the final, when the fifth shooter went out, I thought, I don't want to be one more time in fourth place, so I have to make it," Perilli told reporters.
"This is the first medal for me and for my country. We are a small country but very proud," she said after the medal ceremony. "They [country] are for sure going crazy, crying. I don't know, but for sure now they are."

Read more:

10:27 p.m. ET, July 29, 2021

US gymnast Suni Lee wins Olympic all-around after injuries, tragedies and a horrific accident

From CNN's Holly Yan

Suni Lee just accomplished what no one expected three days ago — not even herself.

"This is such a surreal moment. I just feel like I could have never been here ever. It doesn't even feel like real life," the 18-year-old said after winning the most coveted medal in gymnastics.

Lee is the first Hmong American to compete in the Olympics and is now the women's gymnastics all-around champion.

She also extended the United States' 17-year winning streak in that competition — a dynasty that seemed in jeopardy this week when the previous Olympic all-around champ, Simone Biles, announced her withdrawal.

But Lee's historic performance — highlighted by the most difficult, astonishing uneven bars routine in the world — also capped an immensely difficult journey.

She's been marred by injuries, lost an aunt and uncle to Covid-19 and grappled with a horrific accident that left her father paralyzed.

In 2019, her father John was helping a neighbor trim a tree when he fell and became paralyzed from the waist down.

The father of six had supported Lee's gymnastics from the beginning — helping her perform tricks around the house, sometimes to the frustration of her mother.

"I was always jumping on the bed or having my dad spot me while I was doing backflips and stuff like that," Lee told TwinCities.com. "Finally, my mom got tired of it" — and that's when she enrolled in gymnastics.

Read more: