Olympics Live Updates: U.S. Chases Medals in Track; Simone Biles to Compete in Beam Final

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Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 3, 9:08 a.m.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — Well, this has the potential to be the most exciting moment at the Games. The final women’s gymnastics event, the balance beam, takes place on Tuesday. And Simone Biles says she is ready to return to competition for it. It gets underway at 5:50 p.m. Tokyo time, 4:40 a.m. Eastern. If there is any event to stay up late or wake up early and master internet streaming for, this is it.

Biles’s decision was announced by U.S.A. Gymnastics on Monday afternoon just before the start of the floor exercise final, which Biles elected to skip, and nearly a week after she withdrew from the team final following her vault. In interviews that night, she said it would have been dangerous for her to try to perform her complicated and daring routines because she had lost the ability to gauge where she was in the air in relation to the ground.

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“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” U.S.A. Gymnastics said in a statement.

The U.S. men’s basketball team faces a quarterfinal with Spain, a tough opponent with familiar faces like the Gasol brothers and Ricky Rubio. Should the United States lose, as it did to France earlier in the Games, it will have failed to win a medal for the first time. The game is at 1:40 p.m. in Tokyo, 12:40 a.m. Eastern.

The track lineup includes many American contenders: Brittney Reese in the women’s long jump, Gabby Thomas in the women’s 200 meters, Athing Mu in the women’s 800, Rai Benjamin in the men’s 400 hurdles and Chris Nilsen in the men’s pole vault.

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April Ross and Alix Klineman continue to advance in beach volleyball. Their quarterfinal opponents are Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch of Germany.

And Duke Ragan of the United States, who is two wins away from a gold medal, fights in the boxing semifinals on Tuesday.

The best that the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team can do at these Games now is a bronze medal. The team lost to Canada, 1-0, on Monday in the semifinal. It was a measure of revenge for Canada, which lost a classic semifinal to the U.S. at the 2012 Games.

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In the women’s floor exercise event, Jade Carey of the United States won the gold medal, the first in an individual event for the U.S. Carey had tripped in the vault final, losing a chance at a medal.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the women’s 100-meter hurdles, beating Kendra Harrison of the United States, the world record holder. It was only the second Olympic gold medal for Puerto Rico, following Monica Puig’s win in women’s tennis at the 2016 Games. It was Puerto Rico’s first gold in track, and its second medal in the sport, after a bronze in the men’s 400 hurdles for Javier Culson in 2012.

The U.S. women’s basketball team completed a 3-0 group stage with a win over France, which stayed within 14 points and also advanced.

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Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand became the first openly transgender female athlete to compete at the Olympics. However, she failed to lift a weight in three tries.

Raven Saunders, who won silver in the shot-put, said her gesture on the medal podium was “for oppressed people.”
Credit…Ina Fassbender/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Raven Saunders, the American shot-putter who delivered the first political demonstration on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics when she raised her arms and crossed them in the shape of an X shortly after receiving her silver medal, said Monday that American athletes have been planning their protest in defiance of International Olympic Committee regulations for several weeks.

In an interview Monday night, Saunders said the planning took place over a group text message with athletes in multiple sports. The group decided that the X would be their symbol, and that it represents unity with oppressed people.

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She made the gesture as the ceremony concluded, during a session for photographers after the medals were handed out and the Chinese national anthem had been played for the winner, Gong Lijiao.

As Saunders left, she told reporters that her act was “for oppressed people.”

“I wanted to be respectful of the national anthem being played,” Saunders said.

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Race Imboden, an American bronze medalist in fencing, had a black X with a circle around it on his hand during the medal ceremony for the foil competition on Sunday. Saunders said he was part of the group involved with the planning of the demonstration. She declined to say who else was involved because she did not want to put pressure on anyone to behave in a certain way.

On Tuesday, Gwen Berry, the American hammer thrower who turned away from the American flag during the U.S. track and field trials in June, and has said she was planning protest statements at the Olympics, is scheduled to compete. So is Noah Lyles, the American sprinter who often wears a black glove and raises his fist on the track before his races.

Saunders’s gesture has led to a standoff over free speech between the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic officials as the I.O.C. grapples with what to do if the Americans refuse to penalize an athlete for violating rules limiting demonstrations on the medal podium.

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Heavy rain fell during the women’s pole-vault qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

Here are some highlights of U.S. broadcast coverage on Monday night. All times are Eastern.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL With the men’s team out, April Ross and Alix Klineman will compete to keep the U.S. represented in beach volleyball with a quarterfinal match against Germany. Coverage begins on NBC Primetime at 8 p.m.

TRACK AND FIELD The Americans Brittney Reese and Tara Davis contend for gold in the women’s long-jump final, which starts live at 9:50 p.m. on NBC. In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, at 11:20 p.m., Rai Benjamin of the United States looks to get ahead of Karsten Warholm of Norway, the current world-record holder.

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DIVING Andrew Capobianco competes in the men’s 3-meter springboard semifinals at 9 p.m. on NBC Primetime.

GYMNASTICS Jade Carey from Team U.S.A. goes for gold in the women’s floor final, competing against gymnasts including Rebeca Andrade of Brazil and Angelina Melnikova of Russia, at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Primetime.

VOLLEYBALL At 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, the U.S. women’s team plays Italy.

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WRESTLING NBCOlympics.com will livestream the men’s and women’s matches. At 11:20 p.m., Kayla Miracle will take on Long Jia of China to try to advance to the freestyle 62-kilogram quarterfinals.

BASKETBALL A’ja Wilson and the U.S. women’s team take on France at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. At 12:40 a.m., Peacock will air the men’s quarterfinal game against Spain.

WATER POLO USA Network will broadcast the quarterfinal match between the U.S. women’s team and Canada at 1 a.m.

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SAILING Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis compete for gold in the mixed multihull — Nacra 17 competition on NBCOlympics.com at 2:30 a.m.

Simone Biles on the balance beam during team qualifying.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The women’s gymnastics events in Tokyo will wrap up on Tuesday with the balance beam final, and Simone Biles will be competing for the first time since withdrawing from the team final a week ago.

It is the last shot at an individual medal for Biles, who qualified for every final but pulled out of the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise because of a mental block that she said prevented her from competing safely.

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She will be up against her teammate Sunisa Lee, who won gold in the all-around and bronze on bars; Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing of China, who were first and second on beam in the qualifying round; and Larisa Iordache of Romania, who is looking for redemption after years of injuries.

How to watch in the United States

  • LIVE: The competition begins Tuesday at 4:50 a.m. Eastern time and can be livestreamed via the NBC Olympics site, Peacock or the NBC Sports app.

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  • TAPE DELAY: Many fans will prefer to stream a replay or watch the tape-delayed broadcast on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Biles, 24, will be competing in her only apparatus final at these Games, and it’s not clear if she will do the same routine she did in the qualifying round, which had a huge difficulty score, 6.5. That would make her a strong medal contender if she avoided the large stumble she had on her full-twisting double back dismount. Because her mental block relates to twisting, though, she may switch to a double pike dismount, which would lower her difficulty by 0.4.

Lee, 18, said before the Olympics that she wanted to win a medal on beam, and she might: She had the third-highest score, 14.2, in the qualifying round. But with so many strong gymnasts in the final, she has no room for error. She didn’t quite match her qualifying mark in the team final, scoring 14.133, and she scored 13.833 in the all-around final after nearly losing her balance on her first skill.

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Biles and Lee are up against six other competitors. Chenchen, 16, qualified first, and is in Tokyo because of her beam routine — she won the World Cup series on beam to make the Olympics as an individual, separate from the Chinese team. She blew the rest of the field away with a score of 14.933, thanks largely to a difficulty score nearly half a point higher than that of any other qualifier.

Anna Cockrell, second from left, running in a women’s 400-meter hurdles semifinal heat.
Credit…Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Monday, members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a break from training camp and gathered to watch some game tape. But it wasn’t just any game they were watching: It was the Tokyo 2020 Games, specifically the women’s 400-meter hurdles, an event featuring Anna Cockrell, whose brother, Ross Cockrell, is a cornerback on the team.

Ross Cockrell, whose chest rapidly rose and fell under his Buccaneers sweatshirt, sat quietly in his red mask as he watched his sister compete on the world stage in Tokyo. With just seconds left in the race, he leaned forward in his seat, concentrating intensely, then pumped his fist when his sister crossed the finish line in the rain, clocking in at 54.17 seconds, to advance to the finals.

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“Y’all got me crying in the village dining hall,” Anna Cockrell tweeted in all caps, sharing the video of her brother and his teammates cheering her on from their training camp in Florida.

Ross Cockrell said that being able to watch his sister compete in the Olympics was “amazing,” and even credited his performance at practice, in which he had intercepted three passes, to Anna.

“To see her go out there and perform as well as she did in adverse weather and adverse situations, and then go out to practice and do my thing, I was just feeling the magic she had,” Ross Cockrell said. “I think she passed it along to me.”

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Tokyo is Anna Cockrell’s Olympic debut. In an interview following the U.S. Olympic trials in June, where she finished third and earned her ticket to Tokyo, she talked about her struggles with mental health.

“In 2019 I was super depressed, I didn’t want to be here anymore,” Cockrell, who graduated from the University of Southern California with her master’s in May, said between sobs. “To be standing here today as an Olympian is more than I can take.”

Anna Cockrell, 23, opened up about experiencing depression, which she has battled since her sophomore year of high school, in a commencement speech she gave at her undergraduate ceremony from U.S.C. in May 2019, describing how her perfectionism led her to suffer in silence to avoid seeming weak or having to ask for help. After sustaining an injury at a competition that spring that she feared might end her season, she finally began to let others in, she said.

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Leading up to her first race in Tokyo, Cockrell also published a letter to her 21-year-old self in the Players’ Tribune, ending it with words of affirmation to herself and to others who might be dealing with mental health issues.

“No matter what happens out here, I am important, I am worthy, I am valued and I matter,” Cockrell wrote. “And so do you.”

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Kristina Timanovskaya, a Belarusian sprinter, said she sought protection in Japan after the Belarus Olympic Committee tried and failed to send her home, following an Instagram post in which she criticized her coaches for registering her for the wrong event.CreditCredit…Issei Kato/Reuters

TOKYO — Kristina Timanovskaya, the Belarusian Olympic sprinter who sought protection at a Tokyo airport as her nation tried to forcibly send her home from the Summer Games, has been offered asylum in Poland.

Ms. Timanovskaya, 24, entered the Polish Embassy in Tokyo on Monday and will fly to Warsaw on Wednesday, according to Alexander Opeikin, the executive director of the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund, a group that opposes the Belarusian government.

Marcin Przydacz, the deputy foreign minister of Poland, confirmed on Twitter that Ms. Timanovskaya had received a humanitarian visa.

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Ms. Timanovskaya had said she feared for her safety in Belarus after she criticized her coaches and the country’s national committee for registering her for a relay event for which she had not trained.

She had originally been scheduled to run a heat of the 200 meters, one of her regular races, on Monday but instead spent the day seeking a new country in which to settle.

“She is OK. She’s a little bit disappointed, because she wanted to continue in the Olympic Games,” Mr. Opeikin, who has been in contact with Ms. Timanovskaya since the events unfolded on Sunday, said by telephone.

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“She’s disappointed she couldn’t compete in the 200 meters today, but she understands the whole situation, she understands her rights, she understands the deep violations of her rights as an athlete, of her human rights,” he said. “She needs to tell the whole world about this situation.”

The asylum offer capped nearly 24 hours of drama at the Olympics, where Ms. Timanovskaya had placed fourth in her heat in the 100 meters on Friday. She then said on Instagram that her coaches had informed her at the last minute that she would have to run the 4×400-meter relay in place of a team member who had not taken enough antidoping tests to qualify for the event.

Although her criticisms were about athletic decisions, Ms. Timanovskaya had good reason to fear that she would be treated as a political dissident in Belarus.

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The chairman of the country’s national Olympic committee is the eldest son of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the strongman leader who has held power in Belarus for 27 years. He has long sought to stifle any dissent, including with a brutal crackdown that began a year ago after a disputed presidential election.

Mr. Lukashenko is not afraid to take drastic measures on the international stage. In May, the Belarusian authorities forced down a Ryanair plane flying to Vilnius, Lithuania, from Athens that was carrying Roman Protasevich, a blogger for a website that helped direct anti-government protesters last year.

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