Back to the events of the day.
A catastrophic start. The French football team, carried by world champion Florian Thauvin and his captain André-Pierre Gignac, fell heavily against Mexico (4-1) on Thursday for their first match of the tournament. This group, built in pain in the face of the refusal of many professional clubs to release their best players for these Olympics, has been completely overtaken by an attractive Mexican team.
If the first period was balanced, the Mexicans accelerated in the second half and took advantage of the French defensive width by scoring four goals: Alexis Vega (47e), Sebastian Cordova (55e), Uriel Antuna (80e) and Eduardo Aguirre (91e). Only Gignac, from a penalty (55e), allowed the Blues not to leave fanny.
And otherwise… In the same football tournament, Brazil, reigning Olympic champion, won against Germany (4-2); while Spain, one of the favorites, stumbled against Egypt (0-0).
Football is not the only sport to have entered the competition even before the official opening of the Games. The softball tournament, the women’s version of baseball, has also been launched since Wednesday. The United States and Japan won their second straight victory on Thursday, dominating Canada (1-0) and Mexico (3-2) respectively.
Discover the menu of tomorrow.
After the false opening by the Japanese softball team on Wednesday, it’s time for the real opening of the Tokyo Games, Friday at 1 p.m. (Paris time). No ceremony with great pomp, but an event “Simpler and more sober” than previous editions to officially launch the Olympic fortnight.
If the organizers want to preserve the suspense until the end, some details of the evening have leaked, such as the projection in the sky of a terrestrial globe and the lyrics of the song. Imagine by John Lennon. A tribute will also be paid to the victims of the Fukushima disaster, which occurred in 2011.
For the first time in the history of the Games, the usual grand opening party will be held without an audience. The athletes will parade under the eyes of the Emperor of Japan, Nahurito, whose grandfather had attended the opening of the Tokyo Games in 1964. Emmanuel Macron, representative of the next host country, will also be present. Conversely, some Japanese sponsors have decided to desert the stadium, like Toyota, yet one of the most emblematic partners.
If the ceremony makes people talk, it is also for the business that surrounds it. After the resignation of Keigo Oyamada, composer of one of the musical themes of the evening, it was the artistic director, Kentaro Kobayashi, who was sacked on Thursday because of an old joke on the Holocaust. Repeated scandals tarnished a ceremony which already looked grim.
Follow the opening ceremony live on Lemonde.fr from 11 a.m.
The Games in a nutshell.
Like a child who counts the hours before being able to unwrap his gifts on December 25, the Californian skateboard legend Tony Hawk could not resist the call of the Olympic bowl. “As a child, who was mostly blasted for his interest in skateboarding, I never imagined he would one day be at the Games”, he wrote, posting a video of his glide on social networks.
Black helmet screwed on the head, extra-large white T-shirt, the fifty-something has chained the tricks (“Figures” in English) in the empty concrete bowl of the Ariake Urban Sports Park where the ramp event of the Tokyo Games will take place. Now a consultant for the American channel NBC, the ten-time winner of the X-Games (extreme sports competition) also predicted that ” it will be[it] one of the highlights of all the coverage of the Olympics this year ”. Just that.
Here’s my updated skate edit from Tokyo today, including some USA & Japan men’s street practice. Skateboarding is i… https://t.co/3epQABDlKs
The Olympians at the microphone.
“Having to choose between breastfeeding, family life and the Olympics”
Forced to leave her son in Spain, Ona Carbonell sparked a stir by lambasting the organizers of the Tokyo Games in a video posted on Tuesday on Instagram. Mother of a little Kai, almost 1 year old, the 31-year-old Spanish artistic swimmer has judged the health constraints set by the Japanese government “Incompatible” with breastfeeding her infant. Because, if babies are allowed to travel to the Japanese capital, they cannot stay in the Olympic Village. “To be able to breastfeed Kai every day and as many times as necessary, I would have had to leave the Olympic village and get out of the health bubble, which would have endangered my team”, explained the silver medalist in duet and bronze by team at the London Olympics. Ona Carbonell will try to run for a third Olympic medal without the support of her family.
Snapshots from our special envoys.
As we arrived in the capital of Japan on Monday, a real decapentathlon awaited us at the airport. Fifteen events (at least), to which all the participants of these Covid Olympic Games will have had to comply, whether they are athletes, federation pundits or followers of the Games like your servants. Among them, the saliva PCR test (otherwise called “Please spit in a tube”), that of awaiting results, and « classics » border and customs crossings.
While some waited more than five hours to complete the test, we were good at stretching our legs for two and a half hours as we wandered around the airport. A good exercise, before three days of imposed quarantine, locked in a Tokyo hotel room. The view is starting to look familiar to say the least.
The Covid-19, its health constraints and its positive tests risk disrupting these three weeks of competition. Thursday, the organizing committee of the Olympics announced that eleven new cases had been detected, including two athletes. Later today, the delegation of the Czech Republic announced that Beach volleyball player Marketa Slukova-Nausch had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. She had to give up the upcoming tournament.
The first packages have also started to fall. In addition to the Czech beach volleyball player, Russian swimmer Ilya Borodin, European champion in the 400-meter medley, also had to give up coming to Tokyo on Wednesday. On the same day, three athletes had already withdrawn after testing positive on arrival in Japan: a Chilean taekwondist, a Dutch skateboarder and a Czech table tennis player.