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Ledecky, Dressel star for US; Japan's baseball team advances

Ledecky, Dressel star for US; Japan's baseball team advances

TOKYO — Katie Ledecky made more history for the U.S. in the pool. Same for Caeleb Dressel.And Japan won again in baseball’s return to the Olympics.Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle, finishing her grueling Olympic program with a third straight victory in a race she hasn’t lost since 2010. Dressel captured his third gold medal of the Tokyo Games with a world record in the 100-meter butterfly.The 24-year-old Ledecky became the first female swimmer to earn six individual gold medals in her career. She won two golds and two silvers in Tokyo.Dressel still has some work to do.The world’s greatest swimmer advanced in the men’s freestyle semifinals with the top final time of 21.42 seconds. But Dressel lost out on another medal opportunity when he had to rally the U.S. to a fifth-place finish from the anchor leg of the new 4×100-meter mixed medley.The Australian women added another gold when Kaylee McKeown completed a sweep of the backstroke events with a victory in the 200. Britain’s team of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin claimed the gold in the new mixed relay with a world record of 3:37.58.Japan’s baseball team beat Mexico 7-4 on Saturday to win Group A in the sport’s first appearance at the Olympics since 2008.Former Central League MVP Tetsuto Yamada broke it open with a three-run homer in Yokohama, and Hayato Sakamoto went deep off former big league pitcher Manny Bañuelos. Yamada finished with four RBIs.Joey Meneses, a 29-year-old in Double-A with Boston and the 2018 International League MVP, had three RBIs for Mexico, including a two-run homer in the eighth off Kaima Taira.EMPTY-HANDEDNovak Djokovic is leaving the Tokyo Olympics without any medals.The top-ranked Djokovic lost his cool and abused his racket several times during a 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 loss to Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain in the bronze medal match of the tennis tournament.It was Djokovic’s third defeat in two days and it came less than 24 hours after he was beaten by Alexander Zverev of Germany in the semifinals. That ended his bid for a Golden Slam, which is winning all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold in the same year.Djokovic, who also lost with Serbian partner Nina Stojanovic in the mixed doubles semifinals on Friday, played a total of 16 sets over seven matches in four days.He was due back on court later Saturday for one final match in Tokyo. He and Stojanovic were scheduled to face the Australian duo of Ash Barty and John Peers for the bronze medal in mixed doubles. But Djokovic withdrew from that match citing a left shoulder injury — handing the bronze medal to Australia.OH SO CLOSEXander Schauffele is 18 holes away from a gold medal, and the podium still feels a long way off.Schauffele, a 27-year-old American golfer whose mother was raised in Japan, didn’t have a lot go his way until he finished on a strong note, firing a 9-iron to within 3 feet for a birdie and a 68 to keep his one-shot lead at Kasumigaseki Country Club.Hideki Matsuyama is right behind Schauffele after the Japanese star finished a 7-under 64 in the rain-delayed second round and then posted a 67. Joining them in the final group is Paul Casey, who shot a 66 in his bid to keep the Olympic gold medal in golf with Britain.Justin Rose won the gold in Rio de Janeiro, marking golf’s return to the Olympic program after a 112-year absence. It came down to Rose and Henrik Stenson in Rio. This time, eight players were separated by three shots.SCARY SITUATIONBMX rider Connor Fields was transferred from the intensive care unit at a Tokyo hospital to a high-level care wing one day after a horrific crash during the semifinals of the Olympic race left him laying motionless on the asphalt.The 28-year-old from Las Vegas sustained a brain hemorrhage in the crash, and the Olympic neurosurgeon was on standby in case surgery was needed to relieve pressure on his brain. But the most recent CT scan showed no additional brain injury, USA Cycling said in a statement, and doctors are confident that Fields will not need surgery.The gold medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Games, Fields also sustained a collapsed lung and broken ribs in the crash.IN FORMChina had another dominant day at the diving pool, taking the top two spots in the semifinals of the women’s 3-meter springboard.In a repeat of the preliminaries, defending Olympic champion Shi Tingmao posted the highest score over five dives and teammate Wang Han ranked second. The pair already teamed up to win the 3-meter synchronized event.Shi led the way with 371.45 points. Wang (346.85) and Canadian Jennifer Abel (341.40) were the only ones even close to the leader, stamping China as a huge favorite to earn its fourth diving gold in five events at these games.Americans Krysta Palmer and Hailey Hernandez also finished in the top 12 to advance to Sunday’s final, where the scores will be wiped clean and the final standings settled with another five more dives.———Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Olympic Latest: France beats Japan for mixed team judo gold

Olympic Latest: France beats Japan for mixed team judo gold

TOKYO — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:———UPSET ALERTFrance has beaten Japan to win gold in the first-ever Olympic judo mixed team event, surprising the powerhouse host nation with four wins in the final five bouts.Clarisse Agbegnenou, Alex Clerget and Teddy Riner all won their bouts before Sarah Leonie Cysique clinched it with a narrow victory over fellow lightweight Tsukasa Yoshida. The 4:1 margin of victory meant pound-for-pound judo superstar Shohei Ono didn’t even get to compete in the final, since he was scheduled for the sixth bout.Agbegnenou won France’s only individual gold medal in the 14 weight classes, while Japan won nine individual golds in the most successful judo tournament for any team in Olympic history. But when the team competition reached its finale, France’s judokas came up big at the Budokan.Riner’s gold medal will be his third, while Agbegnenou has a second gold to go with her silver from Rio.Germany and Israel won the bronze medals from the 12-team field.———The International Testing Agency says it has provisionally suspended Kenyan sprinter Mark Odhiambo after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid.Odhiambo has been removed from the men’s 100-meter heats scheduled later Saturday.The agency says he is challenging the suspension with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He tested positive in a sample given Wednesday in Tokyo for methasterone, according to the agency.The positive test was reported Saturday by the Olympic testing laboratory in Tokyo hours before Odhiambo was due to compete.The 28-year-old ran a career-best time of 10.05 seconds six weeks ago, according to his biography on the World Athletics website.———Israel has won a bronze medal in the Olympic debut of mixed team judo, shocking the Russian team in the medal bout.The Israeli players won four of their five bouts over the Russians to clinch bronze. The medal is just the 11th won by Israel in all sports since it began competing in the Olympics in 1952.Israel didn’t win an individual medal during the first seven days of the Tokyo tournament, but it put on a stellar performance during the team event, which consists of six individual bouts against another nation. Israel beat Italy and narrowly lost to powerhouse France before knocking off Brazil to reach the bronze medal match.Heavyweight Peter Paltchik pulled the upset of the medal round, beating No. 1-ranked Russian Tamerlan Bashaev.Timna Nelson Levy, who was sporting two partial black eyes by the end, clinched the medal and set off a wild celebration on the tatami by throwing Daria Mezhetskaia for the final victory.Germany won the other bronze.———MEDAL ALERTNew Zealand has beaten France 26-12 to win the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics.It was a gold medal five years in the making for a New Zealand lineup that lost the 2016 final to Australia when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro.Top-ranked New Zealand entered the tournament as the world sevens series and World Cup sevens champions but had some close calls on the way to the final.The Black Ferns were pushed to golden-point extra time by Fiji in the semifinals before winning 22-17.The French, unbeaten in five games to reach the final, had to settle for silver.Fiji beat Britain 21-12 to win bronze, with Alowesi Nakoci scoring two tries and making two try-saving tackles. It was the first Olympic medals ever for Fijian women.———MEDAL ALERTMete Gazoz of Turkey has won the men’s individual archery title at the Tokyo Games.It was the first gold medal won by a country other than South Korea, which went 4 for 5 in archery during the Tokyo Games.Gazoz beat Mauro Nespoli of Italy in the final by a 6-4 score. He earned Turkey its first Olympic medal in archery.Takaharu Furukawa of Japan won the bronze medal. Furukawa also earned a bronze in the men’s team event.———Novak Djokovic is leaving the Olympics without a medal in singles.The top-ranked Serb lost 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain in the bronze-medal match of the tennis tournament. It was his third defeat in two days.The loss comes less than 24 hours after Djokovic was beaten by Alexander Zverev of Germany in the semifinals to end his bid for a Golden Slam.Djokovic also lost in the mixed doubles semifinals on Friday with partner Nina Stojanovic.Djokovic was due back on the court later for another bronze-medal match in mixed doubles. He and Stojanovic will face the Australian pair of Ash Barty and John Peers.———MEDAL ALERTLyu Xiaojun has won gold in the men’s 81-kilogram weightlifting category after Italian rival Antonino Pizzolato missed with a shot at the clean and jerk world record.Lyu lifted 170kg in the snatch and 204 in the clean and jerk for a total 374. That was 7kg more than Zacarias Bonnat of the Dominican Republic in second and 9kg ahead of Pizzolato, who won bronze.Lyu celebrated his second career Olympic gold by hoisting his coach into the air.Pizzolato took a shot at a 210kg clean and jerk for gold but couldn’t complete the lift. Lyu failed his own world record attempt.Harrison Maurus narrowly missed what would have been the first U.S. men’s weightlifting medal since 1984, placing fourth on 361kg. Maurus tried to beat Pizzolato for bronze with a 205kg clean and jerk but stumbled.———MEDAL ALERTKiran Badloe won the Netherlands’ third straight gold medal in windsurfing RS:X. Thomas Goyard of France earned silver and Bi Kun of China was third, becoming the first male athlete from China to medal in sailing.Dorian van Rijsselberghe won the previous two golds in the events. The Netherlands also won three straight golds in equestrian’s eventing (1924-1932) and dressage (2000-2008).———MEDAL ALERTChina won its 20th gold medal of the Tokyo Summer Olympics when Lu Yunxiu edged Charline Picon of France in women’s windsurfing RS:X. Lu finished the competition with 36 points to Picon’s 38. Emma Wilson of Britain took the bronze in sailing’s first medal of these Games.China leads all countries with the 20 golds, followed by Japan with 17 and the United States with 16. The United States has the most medals with 45. China has 42 and ROC, 34.———MEDAL ALERTNina Christen of Switzerland has won women’s 50-meter three-position rifle for her second medal of the Tokyo Olympics.Christen pumped her fist after a 10.2 on her final shot and had an Olympic-record 463.9 points to beat Russian Yulia Zykova by 2.0.The 27-year-old member of the Swiss armed forces also took bronze in 10-meter air rifle in her second Olympics.Russian Yulia Karimova earned bronze for her second medal in Tokyo. She also took bronze with Sergey Kamenskiy in the 10-meter air rifle mixed team event.———China had another dominating day at the diving pool, taking the top two spots in the semifinals of the women’s 3-meter springboard.In a repeat of the preliminaries, defending Olympic champion Shi Tingmao posted the highest score over five dives and teammate Wang Han ranked second. The pair already teamed up to win the 3-meter synchronized event.Shi led the way with 371.45 points. Wang (346.85) and Canadian Jennifer Abel (341.40) were the only ones even close to the leader, stamping China as a huge favorite to earn its fourth diving gold in five events at these games.Americans Krysta Palmer and Hailey Hernandez also finished in the top 12 to advance to Sunday’s final, where the scores will be wiped clean and the final standings settled with another five more dives.———Japan will compete for its 10th judo gold medal in at the Tokyo Olympics when it faces France on Saturday night in the final of the first-ever Olympic mixed team event at the Budokan.Japan got off to a shocking start in its opening match when gold medalists Uta Abe and Shohei Ono both lost their bouts to Germany’s Theresa Stoll and Igor Wandtke, respectively. The powerhouse home team then rattled off eight consecutive victories over Germany and the Russian team to reach the final.France barely survived its opening-round match with underdog Israel, winning only on Margaux Pinot’s golden-score victory in the tiebreaking seventh bout. France then rolled past the Netherlands in the semifinal.Israel rebounded with a 4-2 victory over Brazil to secure a shot at a bronze medal against the Russian team in the evening. Israel has won just 10 medals in its entire Olympic history, with half of those in judo.Germany will meet the Netherlands in the other bronze medal match.———MEDAL ALERTIvan Litvinovich has given Belarus a second straight gold in men’s trampoline.The 20-year-old Litvinovich put together a spectacular routine during the finals on Saturday, posting a score of 61.715 to edge 2012 Olympic champion Dong Dong of China.Dylan Schmidt of New Zealand earned the bronze.Dong earned his fourth Olympic medal in the competition in which athletes put together 10 consecutive jumps while incorporating an intricate series of flips and twists. He took silver in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and bronze in 2008 in Beijing to go along with his gold from London.Dong qualified fifth for the eight-man final. He raised his hands after drilling his set and watched as the next three competitors failed to match his 61.235. Litvinovich, however, was just a bit better and he broke into tears when his score was flashed.Litvinovich’s teammate, defending Olympic champion Uladzislau Hancharou, finished fourth.Gao Lei of China, a four-time world champion and a bronze medalist in Rio de Janeiro, did not make it through his second routine during qualifying and failed to make it to the finals.———MEDAL ALERTSpain’s Alberto Fernandez and Fatima Galvez have won gold in mixed team trap shooting at the Tokyo Olympics.They defeated San Marino’s Gian Marco Berti and Alessandra Perilli 41-40 in the gold medal match.San Marino went into its final two shots with a chance to tie and send the match to a shoot-off, but Berti missed his to give the gold to the Spaniards.The medal is San Marino’s highest in the Olympics and just its second in 61 years of competition after Perilli won bronze in women’s individual trap.The gold was the first Olympic medal for Fernandez, a three-time world champion who’s been one of the world’s most decorated shooters.Brian Burrows and Madelynn Ann Bernau of the United States won the bronze medal match in a shoot-off 3-2 after tying Slovakia Erik Varga and Zuzana Rehak Stefecekova with 42 targets each.———Hannah Roberts will have the top seed when BMX freestyle makes its Olympic finals debut.The 19-year-old from Indiana had a two-run seeding average of 87.70 to lead American teammate Perris Benegas by 1.2 heading into Sunday’s finals.Roberts has already won three world championships.Gold medal favorite Logan Martin of Australia led the men’s qualifying with a 90.97 average. Rim Nakamura of Japan was second at 87.67.Riders will get two one-minute runs in the final and scoring will be the average of the two.———American BMX racer Connor Fields has been moved out of critical care unit at St. Luke’s International hospital a day after suffering a brain hemorrhage during a horrific qualifying crash at the Tokyo Olympics.Fields was injured during his third qualifying run when he slammed into the first turn and was hit by two other riders. The 28-year-old from Las Vegas was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.USA Cycling says Fields spent the night in the ICU and doctors reported no additional bleeding or injuries.USA Cycling staff have been in contact with his family to navigate his care options. Fields will remain in the hospital until cleared.———Japanese judo gold medalist Shohei Ono has lost his first bout since 2015 in the quarterfinals of the Olympic debut of the mixed team competition.Ono was stunned by Germany’s Igor Wandtke in the second bout of the six-match quarterfinal. Wandtke fought very defensively and incurred two penalties, but then threw Ono for a stunning waza ari with 16 seconds left.Ono’s loss occurred immediately after fellow gold medalist Uta Abe lost her own opening bout to Theresa Stoll, putting Japan down 2-0 in the best-of-six mixed team round.But Japan’s lineup contained five gold medalists, and the next four players won their bouts to send Japan into the semifinals. Aaron Wolf finished Johannes Frey early in golden score for the clinching fourth victory.———MEDAL ALERTBritain has claimed swimming gold in the new 4x100m mixed medley relay with a world record of 3 minutes, 37.58 seconds.The silver went to China in 3:38.86, while Australia took the bronze in 3:38.95.The relay is a new event where men and women compete together and it can be hard to tell who’s winning.The American swimmers were fifth, ending Caeleb Dressel’s bid to win six gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.His hopes were snuffed out before he even dove in the pool.The Americans tried a different strategy than everyone else, going with Dressel on the freestyle while the other seven teams all closed with a woman.When 18-year-old Torri Huske passed off to Dressel after the butterfly leg, the Americans were more than 7 seconds behind the leaders in last place.Dressel turned in the fastest time, but it wasn’t nearly enough to chase down all the teams ahead of him.———Simone Manuel’s Olympics are over.The American swimmer failed to advance from the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle. Her time of 24.63 seconds was 11th-fastest, eliminating her from Sunday’s final. Only the top eight advance.At the 2016 Rio Games, Manuel became the first Black American woman to win an individual swimming gold medal in the 100 freestyle. She also claimed a silver in the 50 free.This time, her preparations were hampered by overtraining syndrome. She failed to make the U.S. team in the 100 free, leaving the 50 as her only individual event. She did claim a bronze medal in the 4×100 free relay.Australia’s Emma McKeon was the top qualifier, setting an Olympic record for the second day in a row with a time of 24.00.———DRESSEL ALERTCaeleb Dressel’s busy morning continues.Just minutes after collecting his gold medal for a world-record victory in the 100 butterfly, Dressel returned to the deck for the semifinals of the 50 freestyle.He posted the top qualifying time of 21.42 seconds, sending him to Sunday’s final with a chance to win another gold.And Dressel still has one more race to go on the next-to-last day of swimming. He’ll anchor the United States in the 4×100 mixed medley relay, a new Olympic event featuring two men and two women.He’ll be the only man to swim the anchor freestyle leg, which means he’ll surely dive into the pool with a hefty deficit to make up on the women anchoring for the other seven teams.———MEDAL ALERTKatie Ledecky has closed out her Tokyo Olympics with another gold medal.Ledecky became the first female swimmer to capture six individual gold medals in her career with a victory in the 800-meter freestyle.Ledecky led all the way in a race she hasn’t lost since 2010. But she was pushed hard by Australian rival Ariarne Titmus, who claimed the silver in 8:13.83.The bronze went to Italy’s Simona Quadarella in 8:18.35.Ledecky finished the Tokyo Games with two golds, two silvers and a fifth-place finish in the 200 free. She lost her first two individual matchups with Titmus, but finally beat her in the 800.———USA Gymnastics says Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the Olympic event finals in the vault and uneven bars.She continues to be evaluated daily to determine whether she’ll compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam.Biles said she was putting her mental health first when she withdrew from the gymnastics team event after one rotation. The U.S. women won silver there. She also decided not to compete in the all-around. American Sunisa Lee won gold in that event.MyKayla Skinner, who had the fourth highest score in vault during qualifications, will compete in vault finals for the U.S. alongside Jade Carey, who finished with the second highest score. Biles was the defending Olympic champion in the vault.———MEDAL ALERTThe Australian women have claimed another gold at the Olympic pool.Kaylee McKeown completed a sweep of the backstroke events with a victory in the 200-meter butterfly. Her winning time was 2 minutes, 4.68 seconds.The silver went to Canada’s Kylie Masse in 2:05.42, with another Australian, Emily Seebohm, claiming the bronze in 2:06.17.Americans Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon finished fourth and fifth.The Australians have won six women’s swimming gold medals in Tokyo and seven golds overall.———MEDAL ALERTAmerican Caeleb Dressel has won his third gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a world record in the 100-meter butterfly.Dressel led right from the start and held off Hungary’s Kristof Milak to win in 49.45 seconds, breaking the mark of 49.50 that he set two years ago at the 2019 world championships.Milak, winner of the 200-meter butterfly, earned the silver with a blistering 49.68. The bronze went to Switzerland’s Noe Ponti.Dressel’s victory came in the first of three races on his morning schedule. He’ll also compete in the semifinals of the 50 freestyle before returning to the deck one more time to anchor the 4×100 mixed medley relay, a new Olympic event that features two men and two women.He’ll likely dive into the pool with a big deficit since he’s the only man in the field to swim the freestyle leg.———American Caeleb Dressel will be the lone male anchor on the freestyle leg in the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay final. The event is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo.The U.S. team will consist of Ryan Murphy, Lydia Jacoby, Torri Huske and Dressel, with the Americans swapping out all of their swimmers who competed in the preliminaries.As the only team with a man swimming the final leg, the Americans will be facing a deficit going into the last 100 meters. They’ll leave it to Dressel to overhaul the field in a bid for gold.ROC, Italy and China are going with the traditional order of two men and then two women. Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Israel are going with a woman, two men swimming the middle legs and a woman on the anchor leg.———Great Britain has won gold in the triathlon mixed relay, making it the winningest national team in the history of the sport.The U.S. took silver and France claimed bronze in the mixed relay at Odaiba Marine Park.Georgia Taylor-Brown, Jessica Learmonth, Alex Yee and Jonathan Brownlee made up the team that gave Great Britain its third triathlon gold and eighth overall medal, besting Switzerland’s record.Taylor-Brown and Yee both also medaled in the individual contests earlier in the week, bringing home silver in the women’s and men’s events, respectively.———Hong Kong’s rising star Siobhán Haughey has withdrawn from the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympics because of a hip injury.The 23-year-old swimmer earned a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle on Friday, to go with the silver she won in the 200 free two days earlier. They are the first swimming medals won by Hong Kong.Her coach, Rick Bishop, said the injury first bothered her during the 100 free, but she kept going. She finished 15th in the 50 free preliminaries.Hong Kong was cheering her on, excited to see success for the first time at the Olympic pool. Her two silvers are among six medals won by the country since it first competed in the Summer Games in 1952.———Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended after a positive test for human growth hormone. She was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics on Saturday.The Athletics Integrity Unit said Okagbare tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19. The AIU says it was only informed of the finding on Friday, after Okagbare had already run in the 100-meter heats at the Tokyo Games.The AIU informed Okagbare of the finding and her provisional suspension on Saturday morning.Okagbare won her heat in 11.05 seconds at the Olympic Stadium to progress to the semis.——— More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Ban on 'Soul Cap' spotlights lack of diversity in swimming

Ban on 'Soul Cap' spotlights lack of diversity in swimming

TOKYO — Alice Dearing has an afro, a voluminous puff nearly impossible to protect in most swimming caps. Her hair shrinks if it gets wet. And the chlorine? The chemicals in a pool can cause severe damage that requires substantial time and money to treat.The first Black female swimmer on Britain’s Olympic team uses the the Soul Cap, an extra-large silicone covering designed specifically to protect dreadlocks, weaves, hair extensions, braids, and thick and curly hair. But Dearing has been forbidden from using the cap in her Olympic debut next week in the women’s 10k marathon swim.FINA, which oversees international competitions in swimming, rejected the application from the British makers of the Soul Cap for use in the Tokyo Games, citing no previous instance in which swimmers needed “caps of such size and configuration.” It also wondered if the cap could create an advantage by disrupting the flow of water.On social media and in Black swimming circles, the outcry was swift and the conversation went on for days. A Change.org petition was launched and Dearing, an ambassador for the cap and co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, openly expressed disappointment.For people of color, this was so much more than a ban on a swimming cap. Dismissing it represented yet another injustice.THE BACKLASHIt’s been five years since the Rio Games, when American Simone Manuel became the first Black female swimmer to win Olympic gold. Since then, there has been little uptick in swimmers of color at the elite level.Like Dearing, Donta Katai of Zimbabwe is the first Black swimmer to represent her country. And at almost any meet at the international level, swimmers of color are extremely rare. The U.S. team has only two black females, Manuel and Natalie Hinds.Those familiar with the situation say the reasons for that shortage — and the racism behind them — run deep in history.Neither Manuel nor Hinds understands the dismissal of the Soul Cap. Both Americans have sponsorship from other companies that make caps to protect their hair, but they were disappointed that a cap made by a Black-owned business specifically to aid swimmers of color was outlawed.“It doesn’t do the best for inclusivity in the sport,” Manuel said.The tenuous relationship between Black people and water goes back a long way. In the era of segregation in the United States, Black swimmers were barred from pools; those that did permit swimmers of color were often unsafe and neglected.“The predominance of white athletes in swimming is a key example of a racial disparity in sport that can be linked to histories of institutional racism,” said Claire Sisco King, an associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University and editor of the Women’s Studies in Communication international journal.Accessibility to public pools is another barrier, King notes, and wealth inequality makes an often expensive sport like swimming inaccessible. She said the banning of the Soul Cap “risks perpetuating the racist assumption that Black athletes don’t belong in the sport of swimming.”According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 64% of Black children do not know how to swim compared to 40% of white American children. Additionally, 79% of children in American families that earn less than $50,000 a year do not know how to swim.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2010, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for Blacks was significantly higher than white swimmers; for every white child between 5 and 18 years old who drowned, 5.5 Black children drowned.Danielle Obe co-founded, with Dearing, the Black Swimming Association not long after the 2019 Christmas Eve drowning of a father and two children while on holiday in Spain.“We just thought, we’ve got to do something for our community,” Obe said. After conversations with Swimming World magazine, she found that 95% of Black adults in London do not swim and 80% of Black children leave primary school not yet able to swim.Said Obe: “We thought the only way to get more Alice Dearings in the pool, with Alice being Black and among the 5% in the water, we had to reduce the 95% not in the water.”ROOTS OF THE SOUL CAPDearing is among the Black swimmers who balance love of the water with the difficulties of protecting hair.Obe suspects Dearing will have her afro braided into cornrows in order to use an approved cap in the marathon swim, but Dearing had been using the Soul Cap. It was created by schoolmates Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman, who both did not learn how to swim until their late 20s.“The perception has always been that swimming isn’t for Black people; my mom doesn’t swim, Michael’s mom doesn’t swim, none of our friends swim,” Ahmed said, “and it was like, ‘This is nuts, — we need to learn how to swim.’”A woman in the class struggled to keep her bathing cap on her head, which sparked the Soul Cap idea.“We both wondered why there wasn’t swim caps made to accommodate that more voluminous hair and afro textures and bigger hair,” Ahmed said. “We spoke to our moms and our sisters and they both all said, to be fair, a big barrier to swimming is the fact our hair gets soaked, we haven’t got a swimming cap that works.”What they thought would be a niche product received such favorable feedback that the duo realized “we were filling a gap, providing something that removed a barrier to women and children who did not want to swim.”In 2017 they self-funded 150 black extra-large caps, another 60 in burgundy, and are now taking orders for about 25,000 caps. The caps started with the two understated colors; then they were contacted by open-water swimmers who needed brighter hues. Then came queries from swimmers who didn’t have full afros and wanted the caps in smaller sizes.The attention created by the federation’s rejection has been effective, though Dearing wasn’t available to talk about it. Her team wouldn’t make her available for comment until after her Aug. 4 competition.SUCCESS CAUSING CHANGEManuel and Hinds were part of the bronze medal-winning 4×100 meter freestyle relay and Manuel, a four-time medalist, made history when she won gold in the 100-meter free at Rio.Black swimmers’ success can be a change agent, but there must also be specific steps toward creating more interest and opportunity, said Shontel Cargill, a former competitive swimmer who is Black. She is now a therapist and assistant clinic director at Thriveworks in Cumming, Georgia.“Due to the discriminatory and segregated past of swimming, Black families have been taught to fear swimming instead of embrace it,” Cargill said.FINA is now in talks with Soul Cap and said in a statement it will review the application again later this year. The governing body said it is “understanding of the importance of inclusivity and representation,” and the review of the Soul Cap and similar products “are part of wider initiatives aimed at ensuring there are no barriers to participation in swimming, which is both a sport and a vital life skill.”The federation’s swimwear approval committee chairman “is fully aware of the cultural issues that Soul Cap has raised, and we are reviewing the process,” Brent Nowicki, an American named executive director of FINA in June, said Saturday.Ahmed feels encouraged after conversations with Nowicki, who he said was “quite apologetic for the way the application was handled.”“I think it’s testament that if there was more representation at that level, and more representation at the approval process, someone might have said ‘Hey, let’s consider this because there are people out there who want to swim competitively, but don’t want to cut their hair down short and maybe don’t want to compromise,'” Ahmed said. “It’s just about giving people an option.”———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Hong Kong police arrest man for booing national anthem

Hong Kong police arrest man for booing national anthem

Hong Kong police have arrested a man on suspicion of insulting the national anthemBy HUIZHONG WU Associated PressJuly 31, 2021, 10:20 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTAIPEI, Taiwan — Hong Kong police have arrested a man accused of booing the Chinese national anthem while watching an Olympic event at a mall.The 40-year-old man was allegedly waving colonial-era Hong Kong flags and booing, while urging others to join him in insulting the national anthem, according to a police statement posted on Facebook.Hong Kong passed a law in June last year that criminalized any actions that insult the national anthem. Violating the law can mean a fine of up to $6,400 (50,000 Hong Kong dollars), and up to nine years in prison.China’s central government criminalized actions that insult the national flag and emblem in amendments to the law last October, which is also applicable to Hong Kong, a former British colony.The suspect was standing in a crowd with others on Friday to watch Hong Kong fencer Edgar Cheung in a match that would win him gold, local media reported.The booing started at the medal ceremony, when the national anthem began playing.Police said there may be additional arrests and that an active investigation is underway.Hong Kong was rocked by months of sometimes violent anti-government protests in 2019, which led Beijing to crack down on dissent, including arresting leading pro-democracy activists in the city.

New Zealand beats France to clinch gold in women's rugby 7s

New Zealand beats France to clinch gold in women's rugby 7s

New Zealand won the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics by beating France 26-12By JOHN PYE AP Sports WriterJuly 31, 2021, 10:13 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — New Zealand won a gold medal that was five years in the making, beating France 26-12 on Saturday for the women’s rugby sevens title at the Tokyo Olympics.New Zealand lost to Australia in the 2016 final when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro, but have been dominant ever since.The New Zealanders entered the Olympics as the world sevens series and World Cup Sevens champions but had some close calls on the way to the final, including a golden-point extra time semifinal win over Fiji.The French, who were unbeaten in their first five games in Tokyo, trailed after the first minute and couldn’t quite match the intensity of the Black Ferns.Michaela Blyde scored in the first minute for New Zealand and, after the French cut the margin to two points with a try from Caroline Rouin, it was mostly one-way.Veteran Portia Woodman made a break but was chased down, earning a penalty that led to Gayle Broughton scoring in the left corner.Stacey Fluhler ran an inside angle to score under the posts, her fifth try of the tournament, to give New Zealand a 19-5 halftime lead. Anne-Cecile Ciofani scored and converted for France to again cut the lead to seven points before Tyla Nathan-Wong sprinted over to seal the win.Alowesi Nakoci scored two tries and made two try-saving tackles as Fiji beat Britain 21-12 in the bronze medal playoff. It was the first Olympic medal ever for Fijian women. The Fijian men’s team has won back-to-back Olympic titles.“I think after what we went through as a team, we deserved it,” Fiji player Viniana Riwai said of the bronze.The Fijian squad has been in camp since the first week of April, unable to see their families because of surging COVID-19 cases in their Pacific island nation.“We feel emotional, with what is going on in Fiji right now,” Riwai said. “We dreamed about this, and we won’t forget this moment.”There were two new countries on the podium in the women’s tournament, with Australia finishing fifth and Canada, the bronze medalist in Rio, failing to reach the quarterfinals.The Australians had a 17-7 win over the U.S. women to clinch fifth a day after the Americans rallied from 12 points down to win their group-stage decider.China rallied from two tries down to beat the Russian team 22-10 in a seventh-place playoff between two countries making their debuts in rugby sevens.The two new teams finished above Canada, which took ninth place with a 24-10 win over Kenya. Brazil closed with a 21-12 win over Japan, relegating the host team to last place.The Japanese women’s team formed a line and made a ceremonial bow toward the main grandstand, getting some polite applause. It has been a difficult tournament for Japan, which was unable to use home ground advantage to improve on its performance in Brazil.———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Australia beats Germany 89-76 to sweep basketball pool

Australia beats Germany 89-76 to sweep basketball pool

Patty Mills scored 24 points, Jock Landale added 18 and Australia pulled away for an 89-76 victory over Germany and an undefeated finish to group playByThe Associated PressJuly 31, 2021, 10:09 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSAITAMA, Japan — Patty Mills scored 24 points, Jock Landale added 18 and Australia pulled away Saturday for an 89-76 victory over Germany and an undefeated finish to group play.Nic Kay helped the Australians finally break free in a close game and finished with 16 points.The Australians went 3-0 to win Group B, a balanced pool where they, Italy and Germany all played competitive games against each other.Italy finished second at 2-1. Germany will hope to be one of the two third-place teams that will reach the quarters along with the top two teams in each of the three pools.Andreas Obst scored 17 points for Germany. Niells Giffey and Johannes Thiemann each had 11 points.Australia was playing its first game since losing center Aron Baynes to a neck injury. He was hurt Wednesday, when the Australians beat Italy.But the 6-foot-11 Landale and the 6-9 Kay did plenty of good work inside to make sure he wasn’t missed.The teams traded swings of momentum for nearly 3 1/2 quarters before Australia finally seized it for good. Mills scored, fed Kay for a basket and then Landale scored for a 6-0 run that pushed a five-point lead to 83-72 with about 4 1/2 minutes to play.Kay then followed a pair of free throws by Thiemann with two more baskets as Australia opened an 87-74 cushion.Australia will open the quarterfinals Tuesday needing a victory and then one more to win its first Olympic medal. The Australians have finished fourth four times, including in 2016 in Rio.Germany won the Olympic qualifying tournament in Croatia to earn one of the last four spots in Tokyo and earn its first Olympic spot since 2008. The Germans have also never medaled in men’s basketball.———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Italy advances to Olympic quarterfinals, tops Nigeria 80-71

Italy advances to Olympic quarterfinals, tops Nigeria 80-71

Italy is headed back to the Olympic quarterfinals, ousting Nigeria to clinch that spotBy TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball WriterJuly 31, 2021, 10:10 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSAITAMA, Japan — Italy is headed back to the Olympic quarterfinals. Nigeria is going home, its Olympic experience not what it wanted on multiple levels.Nicolo Melli scored 15 points, Nico Mannion had 14 and Italy used a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to rally and beat Nigeria 80-71 in the Group B finale for both teams on Saturday.Achille Polonara added 13, Simone Fontecchio scored 12 and Stefano Tonut finished with 10 for Italy (2-1). The Italians trailed by eight in the fourth quarter before finding a way to win.“I think that’s the beauty of it,” Mannion said. “That’s the fun part. If you’re not playing with any pressure, what is there to play for? It’s fun to play with that.”The Italians will play again on Tuesday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. They finished second in Group B behind Australia (3-0) and ahead of Germany (1-2) and Nigeria (0-3). Germany lost to Australia later Saturday.It’s the fifth consecutive Olympic appearance in which Italy has reached the quarterfinals, the most recent of those coming in 2004 when it won the silver medal at the Athens Games.Chimezie Metu scored 22 points and Jordan Nwora added 20 for Nigeria. The Nigerians opened the summer with exhibition wins over the U.S. and Argentina in Las Vegas, but went no further in their first Olympic appearance under coach Mike Brown.After the game, the 24-year-old Metu expressed frustration with the way he said the Nigerian Olympic Committee handled organizational matters for the Tokyo Games. The basketball teams sent to Saitama had difficulty obtaining proper credentials, and 10 track and field athletes from Nigeria — nearly half the country’s team — were disqualified from competing at the Olympics because the national federation hadn’t ensured they would meet minimum doping test requirements before coming to Tokyo.“They were disqualified and they had nothing to do with it,” said Metu, who plays for the Sacramento Kings. “What there was was a lack of attention to detail and a lack of empathy for the hard work that has been put in by us athletes. … For 60-some athletes to come here and fly halfway across the world and be disrespected and humiliated by our country … it’s a lack of attention to detail by our government.”Some Nigerian athletes who said they were among those who were barred from the Olympics by the AIU protested on the streets of Tokyo this week. They held up signs claiming Nigerian sports and anti-doping authorities were responsible for them not meeting the testing criteria.Brown said four members of his staff who made the trip to Japan — which wound up being a 30-hour ordeal instead of the planned 10-hour flight, another issue that Metu blamed on a lack of organization — were never allowed in the Olympic village because of credential and paperwork issues“I don’t know why it is this way,” said Brown, who started a foundation earlier this year seeking financial help for the men’s basketball program.Habu Gumel, a Nigerian on the International Olympic Committee, did not immediately return an email seeking comment. A call to the Nigerian Olympic Committee also was not answered.Jahlil Okafor scored 14 for Nigeria.Nigeria led 63-56 after three quarters and saw the lead grow before play even resumed. Italy’s Michele Vitali got a technical for trying to slap the ball away before it was inbounded to start the fourth quarter, so before the 10-minute clock even started Nigeria’s seven-point lead increased to an eight-point edge.Nigeria didn’t score for nearly seven minutes from there, and Mannion’s wide-open 3-pointer with 29.9 seconds left sealed the win for Italy. Mannion plays for Golden State; Brown is an assistant coach there, and Brown wished him well postgame.“He’s an amazing coach,” Mannion said.———More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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