We have made it to the weekend...sort of. It is Thursday morning in the United States and it is nearly midnight in Tokyo, Japan. As the weekend nears, the more high-intensity men's basketball games will begin to go down, track & field will move into primetime and the swimming events will continue to fall through television screens. Not to mention, there will be a few more win-or-go home boxing matches with international pride on the line. Without further adieu, here's everything going down this Thursday...or Friday, depending on how you look at it.
As mentioned in Wednesday morning's edition of Tokyo Today, Wednesday was a slow day for Team USA. At least, that's what this journalist over here thought. There was a ton of action that took place on Wednesday. From Caleb Dressel walking away with his second gold medal to Richard Torrez Jr. advancing to the next round in the men's super heavyweight division. Not to mention, Simone Biles continued to shine her bright light on the rest of the world.
- The world came out to support Simone Biles. In spite of a few loud detractors, a number of people came out to show support for Simone Biles in the midst of her bouts with depression, anxiety and much more. Most notably, Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and her former teammate, Aly Raisman, showed up and showed out for the greatest gymnast that many of us have ever seen. It is unclear whether she'll compete again in Olympic competition, but she's already won the minds and hearts of those who want more and more people, specifically Black women, to choose their well-being over pleasing others.
- Gold, gold and more gold! Twenty-three gold medals were distributed on Wednesday and Team USA walked away with more than their fair share. Most notably, Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson and the entire women's 3x3 basketball team walked away with the top prize in the inaugural tournament. Elsewhere, Katie Ledecky and Caleb Dressel picked up gold medals in swimming. Not to mention, Sunisa Lee won the gold in women's all-around gymnastics. As it stands now, Team USA has 38 medals total, the most of any nation. Of those 38 medals, 14 are gold, the third most of any nation.
While the women's 3x3 basketball team was able to bring home gold, there were a few missteps in other sports. Most notably, Team USA's undefeated streak in men's boxing has come to a close.
- Team USA is unbeaten no more. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. After failing to win a gold medal in men's boxing for 17 years, Team USA shot out to an impressive 5-0 start with promising performances from Keyshawn Davis, Richard Torrez Jr. and several others. Sadly, Team USA is 6-1 heading into the weekend after an upset in the middleweight division. Troy Isley fell by split decision to Gleb Bakshi of Russia, who helped his nation move to 7-0 in men's boxing. Isley will head home while Bakshi fights Darrelle Valsaint Jr. of Haiti in the quarterfinals.
Beyond Team USA
One of the great things about the Summer Olympic Games is that it exposes viewers to talented athletes outside the borders of their home country. From every corner of the globe, all eyes are on athletes from Italy and Canada and Ethiopia and beyond in a way they normally are not. Exposure like this can lead to big opportunities for years to come for many athletes. That's why it is always important to celebrate the accomplishments of the athletes you did know and the athletes you didn't know heading into this summer's Olympic games.
- It's time for the Paola Egonu update! If you're unfamiliar with the Tokyo Today wrap up, it is the daily piece of content that highlights one of the most exciting volleyball players in the world, Paola Egonu. Standing at 6'4 with incredibly long arms and the ability to jump out of your television screen, Egonu has one of the most explosive presences on the volleyball court. If you don't believe me, check out this highlight reel. Anyway, Egonu and her teammates from Italy pulled off yet another win. After taking down Argentina in straight sets, Italy set itself up nicely to be undefeated heading into the quarterfinals.
- Haiti may be on the verge of making history. Darielle Valsaint Jr. advanced to the quarterfinals in the men's super heavyweight division on Wednesday against Gleb Bakshi of Russia. While he is an underdog in that fight, he has a lot to fight for. With a win, he would move two fights closer to becoming the first Haitian man to earn a gold medal. Moreover, he would be the first athlete in any sport to win a gold medal for Haiti in the Summer Olympic Games.
Everything Happening Around The Olympics
Every four years, the Olympics do a great job taking our minds off of the world's ills and everything going on around us. However, this Olympics feels a bit different than those of years past. From an uprising in Cuba to a global pandemic, there is so much going on in the world that makes it impossible for anyone to just "stick to sports" over the next two weeks.
- Tokyo, we have a problem! The number of new COVID-19 cases tied to the 2021 Summer Olympic Games has risen above 200. Beyond the walls of the Olympic Village, Tokyo has reset the daily record for new COVID-19 cases three days in a row. Today, the megacity recorded more than 3,800 cases and there is no sign that this will improve in the immediate future.
- Alexa, play "Hot" by Young Thug and Gunna. As track and field events kick into full gear with the women's 100-meter preliminary heats, temperatures continue to rise in Tokyo. Athletes are expected to endure temperatures ranging between the high 80s and mid-90s with a humidity value falling anywhere between 66% and 84%. Simply put, it's going to be hot outside.
- Cuba mourns the death of a youth Olympian. Cuba's national sports institute has reported that youth hammer thrower Alegna Osorio passed away on Thursday after sustaining injuries from a training accident. She was only 19 years old.
What To Watch
Thursday promises to be a celebration of Black women in the world of sports. From basketball to track, there will be a number of star athletes setting the world ablaze at the global competition. Here is a quick peek at what to expect.
- Women's Basketball Team - Team USA v. Japan: Coming off of a great win against Nigeria, Team USA will look to extend its 50-game winning streak by taking down the host nation of Japan. With A'ja Wilson and Tina Charles back in action, tonight's game is must-see television. The action begins at 12:40 a.m. ET
- Women's Welterweight Boxing - Oshae Jones v. Maria Altagracia Moronta Hernandez: Team USA has won a gold medal in women's boxing at the past two Summer Olympic Games. Oshae Jones hopes to keep that streak alive by defeating Maria Hernandez of the Dominican Republic to advance to the semifinals. Her fight is scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. ET.
- Women's 100 Meter Dash - Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels: It is about that time! The 100-meter dash preliminary heats will begin tonight in Japan. First up, the fastest women in the world will take center stage. Unfortunately, Sha'Carri Richardson won't be there, but talented sprinters like Javianne Oliver and Teahna Daniels will attempt to bring home a medal in her absence. While no American women will be competing in the preliminary heats, the qualifying heats will begin at 11:15 p.m. ET.
Q: Where can I find a schedule of events?
A: Here is a running schedule of events
Q: How can I watch Olympic events?
A: NBC is broadcasting the 2021 Summer Olympic Games. Visit their website for more information.
Q: When will track and field events begin?
A: Olympic track and field events will begin on July 29.
Q: When does the men's basketball team play again?
A: Team USA will play the Czech Republic on July 31 at 8 a.m. ET.