13 min agoMental health and severe heat are two big issues at Tokyo 2020. The IOC just spoke about bothFrom CNN’s Gawon Bae
Simone Biles waits to perform on the vault during the artistic gymnastics final on July 27. Gregory Bull/APThe pressure of competing in the Olympics and Tokyo’s severe heat have been impacting athletes’ mental and physical health at the Summer Games, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it is working on both those fronts.
The IOC said it offers a 24-hour hotline available in 70 languages, a “safeguarding officer” within Tokyo’s Olympic Village and six free counseling sessions for athletes.
“I think we can always, as individuals and as representatives, we can always do more, and that’s what the Commission is working on. We’ve got to consistently stay engaged with all of our athlete representatives,” IOC mental health support chair Kirsty Coventry said in a Tokyo 2020 daily press briefing Thursday.This comes after US gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health, putting a spotlight on the issue.
Biles acknowledged the “outpouring love & support” she’s received since announcing she would not compete in the women’s individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her well-being.
“[T]he outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” Biles tweeted.
It remains unclear if the six-time Olympic medalist will compete in other events.
Tokyo heat: The committee is also working to prevent heat illnesses, particularly heat stroke, during the Games, Tokyo 2020’s medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said.
Budgett pointed to provisions such as changed formats, giving 10-minute cool-down breaks and stopping the match when the temperature rises over 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), saying the committee has been “very well prepared” for the heat situation, particularly for tennis events.
Additionally, the committee has been working with local experts to prevent heat stroke as the athletes push themselves, he said.
It was so hot on the tennis courts in Tokyo on Wednesday, that Russian Olympic Committee’s Daniil Medvedev asked what would happen if he died during the match. Separately, Spain’s Paula Badosa was forced to retire from her quarterfinal match due to heatstroke.
18 min agoThe sound of Tokyo 2020 is mostly cicadasFrom CNN’s George Ramsay in Tokyo
What’s the soundtrack of an Olympics without the shouting and cheering of spectators? Cicadas, mostly.
With Tokyo under a state of emergency throughout the Games, fans have been barred from attending venues in the Japanese capital.
Some events have a good atmosphere as coaches, officials, and non-competing athletes are permitted to watch — socially-distanced — from the stands, while others have been eerily quiet.
At times, it’s even possible to hear a constant rattle of cicadas from the trees and bushes around venues.
In Japan, the noisy bugs have been called “the sound of the summer,” and perhaps that’s more true than ever against the backdrop of an Olympics without fans.
The cicadas, about an inch or an inch-and-half in length, also provide entertainment for kids, who run around trying to catch them in nets.
Here’s a snapshot of what they sound like:
19 min agoTokyo sees third consecutive day of record Covid-19 casesFrom CNN’s Arthur Syin in Tokyo
People cross a street in Tokyo on Wednesday, July 28. Koji Sasahara/APTokyo has reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases for the third consecutive day amid the 2020 Olympic Games, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Japan’s capital reported 3,865 new cases Thursday, topping Wednesday’s record when it added 3,177 new cases.
At least 198 Covid-19 cases have been reported as linked to the Tokyo Games as of Thursday, according to Olympic organizers.
Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency in effect until August 22.
On Thursday, local media reported that three prefectures neighboring Tokyo — Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama — will ask the Japanese government to add them to areas under the Covid-19 state of emergency after the recent surge in the number of coronavirus cases, citing Chiba Governor Toshihito Kumagai.
Tokyo public health expert Kenji Shibuya told CNN on Thursday the rise in cases could raise concern for the Olympic bubble.
“Tokyo is using its own severity scale which masks the true magnitude of the problem — and obviously the more transmission outside, the more opportunity for those within the bubble will get infected, vice versa as it has already burst,” Shibuya said.
38 min ago”Every time I look at the tickets, I cry.” This Japanese superfan spent $40,000 on Olympics ticketsFrom CNN’s Rebecca Wright and Will Ripley
Kazunori Takishima attends a hockey match at the 2012 Olympics in London. (Courtesy Kazunori Takishima)Kazunori Takishima’s love for the Olympics started in 2005 when he saw a figure skating competition for the first time, and immediately, he bought tickets for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics in Italy. He was hooked. Since then, he has been traveling the world to support Japan at every Olympic Games for the past 15 years. So it was a dream to see the event in his home city of Tokyo.
But when a ban on spectators was announced due to the Covid-19 situation in Japan, that dream was over.
He had spent nearly $40,000 on 197 tickets — for him and his friends — to cram in as many events as possible during Tokyo 2020.
“It took an unbelievable amount of time, effort, and passion,” Takishima told CNN. “But I was so passionate about the Olympics that even though it was very difficult and challenging, I enjoyed the process of buying the tickets.”
The 45-year-old real esta
Biles acknowledges the ‘outpouring of love & support’
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