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Monday July 26th, 2021 12:18PM

2021 Olympics Wednesday notebook

By The Associated Press
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TOKYO — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year's delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

USA Basketball expects to have its full 12-man roster available for Sunday’s matchup against France, the first game for both teams in the Tokyo Olympics.

Zach LaVine has been cleared to exit the health and safety protocols that stemmed from a coronavirus testing-related issue and will fly to Japan and rejoin the team on Thursday. And the plan is that the three players from the NBA Finals — Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday from the newly crowned champion Milwaukee Bucks and Devin Booker from the Phoenix Suns — will be in place on Saturday.

The rest of the American roster worked out in Japan for the first time on Wednesday, a day after its flight from Las Vegas. The likelihood remains that the team — which has already seen JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson added in place of Kevin Love and Bradley Beal — will have just one full practice together before its games start to count.

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Mexican Olympic baseball players Héctor Velázquez and Sammy Solís have tested positive for COVID-19 and been isolated at their rooms in the team hotel in Mexico City.

The Mexican Baseball Federation and the Mexican Baseball League issued a joint statement saying that the two had positive PCR tests when reporting on Sunday but are asymptomatic.

The federation canceled Monday night’s training session at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, and PCR tests were given to all players and team coaching staff.

Velázquez, a 32-year-old right-hander, pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2017-19 and Solis, a 32-year-old left-hander, pitched for the Washington Nationals from 2015-18.

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Britain has opened the Olympic women’s soccer tournament with a 2-0 victory over Chile.

Lauren Hemp’s header put the ball in front of Ellen White for a close-in goal in the 18th minute. White’s second goal was a volley to the far post in the 75th.

Chile, ranked No. 37 in the world, was making its Olympic debut. Known as La Roja, Chile qualified for Tokyo by beating Cameroon 2-1 in an intercontinental playoff.

Britain’s roster for Tokyo is composed mostly of English players, but Kim Little and Caroline Weir are from Scotland and Sophia Ingle is from Wales.

Because British Olympic teams include Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all four must be in agreement to participate. The only other Olympics that has included a British team was London in 2012.

England, ranked No. 6, was among the top three UEFA finishers at the 2019 World Cup, which earned Britain its spot.

Britain faces Japan and Chile plays Canada on Saturday in Sapporo as group play continues.

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Brisbane will host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of a one-city race steered by the International Olympic Committee to avoid rival bids.

The Games will go back to Australia 32 years after the popular 2000 Sydney Olympics. Melbourne hosted in 1956.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told International Olympic Committee voters in an 11-minute live video link from his office that Australia knows what it takes to deliver a successful Games.

Brisbane follows 2028 host Los Angeles in getting 11 years to prepare for hosting the Games. Paris will host in 2024.

The 2032 deal for the Australian east coast city looked done even months before the formal decision by IOC members at their meeting ahead of the Tokyo Games, which open Friday.

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A Chilean taekwondo athlete and a Dutch skateboarder are the latest Olympians to test positive for coronavirus at the Tokyo Games.

Chilean athlete Fernanda Aguirre says in an Instagram post she is “devastated” and says “I feel so much sadness, anguish, frustration.”

She adds “it’s something that angers me a lot and I feel it’s just unfair that my dream is crushed after so much sacrifice.”

Aguirre was training in Uzbekistan prior to coming to Tokyo. The Chilean Olympic Committee says she tested negative before her flight but then positive at the airport in Japan. She’s asymptomatic but won’t be able to compete because she will have to spend at least 10 days in quarantine.

Dutch Olympic skateboarder Candy Jacobs likewise says she is “heartbroken” after being sent into quarantine. She won't get to compete in the street discipline in skateboarding

Jacobs revealed the positive test in an Instagram post Wednesday. The Dutch team says she will quarantine for 10 days. Dutch broadcaster NOS reports she was removed from the Olympic village.

Looking to the future, the 31-year-old Jacobs says “I will need some time to let my broken heart heal and recover from this. Let’s go Paris 2024.”

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An American beach volleyball player is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan, USA Volleyball said on Wednesday, three days before the start of play at the Tokyo Olympics.

The national federation did not identify the athlete, citing privacy concerns. But another player told The Associated Press that Taylor Crabb was in quarantine. The other player spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.

NBC4 News in Los Angeles first reported late Tuesday night, Wednesday in Japan, that Crabb tested positive and quoted his brother, fellow beach volleyball pro Trevor Crabb, as saying the first-time Olympian is “fine and healthy and should be allowed to play in my personal opinion.”

Taylor Crabb’s would-be teammate, four-time Olympian Jake Gibb, did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment. The Orange County Register reported that Tri Bourne would replace Taylor Crabb and join Gibb in Tokyo for their first match on Sunday.

Although beach volleyball teams go through the qualifying process as pairs, international volleyball federation rules allow a player to be replaced up until Thursday evening. Gibb and Crabb had been scheduled to play their first match on Sunday night.

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British and Chilean soccer players have taken a knee before kickoff in their opening match at the Tokyo Olympics.

The British women kneeled first, followed by their Chilean counterparts at the Sapporo Dome on Wednesday.

They were the first soccer players at the Olympics to perform the anti-racism gesture after the International Olympic Committee relaxed the rules on protests being allowed by the IOC.

FIFA has approved players taking a knee since some teams started doing it last year, particularly in England, where most of the British players are from.

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The United States has begun its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal with a dominating performance from Cat Osterman, who lost the championship game 13 years ago.

She pitched one-hit ball over six innings and struck out nine to beat Italy 2-0 Wednesday.

Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.

Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics.

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American swimmer Becca Meyers has pulled out of the Paralympics because she says the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee won’t let her bring her mother to Tokyo as her personal care assistant.

Meyers, who is deaf and blind as the result of a rare genetic disorder, won three gold medals at the last Paralympics. She says in a statement that the USOPC had approved her mother to act as her assistant at all international meets since 2017.

The USOPC says that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are increased restrictions on delegation size at the Tokyo Games. That’s left the federation only one slot for a PCA who will have to assist 34 Paralympic swimmers. The USOPC says the PCA has more than 27 years of coaching experience and 11 years with para swimmers.

Meyers, 26, says she made the decision to drop out because she is “speaking up for future generations of Paralympic athletes in hope that they never have to experience the pain I’ve been through.”

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Equestrian Australia says it has provisionally suspended a member of the Olympic show jumping team over a positive test for cocaine.

The governing body says Jamie Kermond returned a positive A-sample for a metabolite of cocaine following a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia on June 26.

It says Kermond was banned from competing at the Tokyo Olympics but had the right to have his B-sample analyzed.

The 36-year-old Kermond was expected to make his Olympic debut at Tokyo.

The Australian Olympic Committee says in a statement that it's aware of Kermond’s provisional suspension and that its selection committee will meet to consider his status on the team.

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The head of the World Health Organization says the Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by how many COVID-19 cases arise because eliminating risk is impossible.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an International Olympic Committee meeting that how infections are handled is what matters most.

“The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,” he said.

The number of Games-linked COVID-19 cases in Japan this month was 79 on Wednesday, with more international athletes testing positive at home and unable to travel.

Teammates classed as close contacts of infected athletes can continue training and preparing for events under a regime of isolation and extra monitoring.

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Host Japan is off to a winning start as the Tokyo Olympics get underway, beating Australia 8-1 Wednesday in softball behind 39-year-old pitcher Yukiko Ueno, who won the 2008 gold medal game against the United States.

The game was played in a nearly empty stadium. Fans were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many in Japan have questioned whether the Olympics should take place at all with low levels of vaccination in the nation.

Ueno allowed two hits over 4 1/3 innings and struck out seven, throwing 85 pitches for the win.

Minori Naito and Saki Yamazaki hit two-run homers off loser Kaia Parnaby. Yu Yamamoto, who had three RBIs, added a two-run drive against Tarni Stepto in the fifth that ended the game under a rout rule.

Japan is defending softball gold medalist after upsetting the U.S. in the 2008 final. Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics. They already have been dropped for the 2024 Paris Games but are likely to be restored for 2028 in Los Angeles.

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