Olympic Daily News: 20 July 2020

Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points – One Year to Go Instagram Live interviews, Zagitova qualifies for university, NHL's upcoming return, IOC reacts to Human Rights Watch report on Japanese sport

By ZK Goh

On this day in 1957, the legendary cyclist Jacques Anquetil won the first of his record five Tour de France titles. It is a record that stands to this day, shared by Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Induráin.

Although Anquetil raced in an era where professionals were not allowed to take part in the Olympic Games, he did win an Olympic medal five years prior as part of the French team, taking bronze in the team road race. It was the second-to-last time the event was held at the Olympics.

Of the four men who have won five Tours, only Induráin is an Olympic champion, having won the individual time trial in the event at Atlanta 1996.

Four Instagram Live interviews to mark one year to Tokyo 2020 in 2021

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will officially open on 23 July 2021. To mark the occasion, four Olympians will join the official Olympics Instagram accounts – Gorin in Japanese and Olympics in English – this Thursday, 23 July, to celebrate one year to go.

Three gymnasts and a swimmer will feature in the special interviews, with 2017 floor exercise world champion Murakami Mai and triple Olympic gold medallist Uchimura Kohei taking part on the Japanese gorin account, while four-time Olympic champ Simone Biles and five-time Olympic swimming champion Nathan Adrian featuring on the Olympics account.

Murakami and Uchimura will join gorin at 6 pm and 7 pm Tokyo time respectively on Thursday.

On the Olympics handle, Biles' Instagram Live will take place at 2 pm U.S. Eastern time (1 pm Central), with Adrian following an hour later at 3 pm (12 pm Pacific).

Alina Zagitova qualifies for university

PyeongChang 2018 figure skating champion Alina Zagitova seems to have a new challenge in life: university.

The 18-year-old appears to have passed Russia's Unified State Exam, a requirement for students hoping to enter university in the country.

Zagitova posted a photo of herself holding a Russian passport and pens, with a book emoji, to her Instagram stories. It was later re-posted by a fan account on Instagram with the caption "it looks like a pass".

Olympic champions hope for maybe last shot at NHL Stanley Cup glory

The North American National Hockey League will resume play after its coronavirus-enforced suspension on 1 August.

Of the league's 31 teams, 24 will take part in a modified playoff format held in two Canadian host cities, Toronto and Edmonton.

Players taking part include 2018 Olympic champion Ilya Kovalchuk and Canada's two-time Olympic champion Patrick Marleau. Kovalchuk is 37 and Marleau 40; neither have won the Stanley Cup during their career despite glittering international success, and could be facing one of their last chances to win NHL silverware.

Kovalchuk re-joined the NHL after the 2018 Games after spending five years playing back in his native Russia. Currently part of the Washington Capitals team alongside fellow Russian (and 2018 Stanley Cup champion) Alex Ovechkin, Kovalchuk admitted that he thought he wouldn't get a shot at winning the trophy this year.

"It was tough," he told the New York Times.

IOC: "Abuse of any kind is contrary to the values of Olympism"

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reacted after the publication of a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) into training conditions for young Japanese athletes.

For the report, entitled “I was hit so many times I can’t count”: Abuse of child athletes in Japan, HRW received online survey responses from 750 people who were child athletes.

It found child athletes in Japan often suffer abuse from coaches.

The IOC responded in a statement: "Harassment and abuse is unfortunately part of society and also occurs within sport. The IOC stands together with all athletes, everywhere, to state that abuse of any kind is contrary to the values of Olympism, which calls for respect for everyone in sport.

"All members of society are equal in their right to respect and dignity, just as all athletes have the right to a safe sporting environment – one that is fair, equitable and free from all forms of harassment and abuse."

Today's trivia

Yesterday we asked you: Why did Bobby Pearce slow down during his rowing race at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam?

The answer is he did so to let a family of ducks pass. In the quarter final Australia's Pearce was easily beating French opponent Vincent Saurin when a family of ducks strayed into his lane. Seeing this, Pearce stopped so the ducks would not be harmed. Despite this, he was still the fastest of the eight quarter-finalists in that round. Pearce went on to win gold.

Today's teaser is this:

Which of the following was NOT previously an event at the Olympic Games?

  1. Tug-of-war
  2. Individual artistic swimming
  3. Cricket
  4. Lawn bowling

We'll have the answer tomorrow.