Olympic Daily News: 28 August 2020

Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points as Japanese Prime Minster Abe resigns, Tour de France faces new COVID challenges

By Scott Bregman

Athletes in the United States continue to strike in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Thursday evening, Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and Miami Marlins took the field for a 42-second moment of silence before walking off, postponing their scheduled match-up.

The time was significant with 42 the number worn by baseball's first Black major league player Jackie Robinson.

Friday is observed by the MLB as Jackie Robinson Day which was postponed from its scheduled date of 15 April due to COVID-19.

Tennis action is expected to resume today in New York at the Western & Southern Open, after Naomi Osaka announced on Twitter she’d skip her semi-final previously set for Thursday.

The paused NBA playoffs are expected to resume, but when exactly remains unclear.

Japanese Prime Minster Abe Shinzo steps down citing health concerns

Abe Shinzo, who has served as Japan's prime minister since 2012, is stepping down due to health concerns.

Abe has been instrumental in preparations for Tokyo 2020 which has been delayed until next year.

"My successor will continue to fulfil that responsibility by closely cooperating with organisers. There are various matters that we need to address," said Abe in a press conference.

Abe's resignation comes with a year left in his fourth term as prime minster. He previously ended his first term early due issues with colitis, a non-curable inflammatory bowel disease.

"For almost eight years I controlled my chronic disease, however, this year in June I had a regular check-up and there was a sign of the disease," Abe said. "I made a judgment that I should not continue my job as prime minister. I need to fight the disease and need to be treated."

Abe famously arrived at the Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony dressed as the video game star Super Mario.

He was in the Brazilian city as organisers of Tokyo 2020 claimed the Olympic Flag ahead of staging the next Olympic Games.

Tour de France faces new COVID challenge on eve of Grand Départ

With the Tour de France scheduled to start on Saturday in Nice, the city's region has been placed on alert due to an increase in COVID-19 spread.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that Alpes-Maritimes was one of 19 regions in the country now classified as a 'red zone'.

“The pandemic is regaining ground and now’s the time to intervene,” said Castex, according to The Guardian. “France must do everything to prevent a new lockdown.”

Though the iconic cycling event appears in jeopardy, Castex expressed optimism that the proper protocols would allow the event to continue.

“We have taken numerous precautions and health protocols and I’d remind you that this is an open-air event,” Castex said. “The places where the virus spreads and there is transmission have no organisation. The Tour has an organiser."

International Judo Federation announces World Judo Tour restart

The International Judo Federation announced on Friday plans to hold three World Judo Tour events: the Budapest Grand Slam in late October; the Tokyo Grand Slam in December; and the World Judo Masters in early 2021 in Doha, Qatar.

Tokyo 2020 qualification points will be on the line at all three events.

“The time has come to announce how we will, step by step, restart our activities. We know that the situation is different around the world, but there are territories that are ready to organise events,” said IJF President Marius Vizer.

Vizer and IJF stressed that health would be at the forefront of these events and that they will continue to monitor the global situation with athlete safety as their “first priority.”

“We are building a dedicated team that will be in charge of these forthcoming events and will help ensure the safety of all of our participants,” said Vizer.

Sydney Olympic phenomenon Eric the Eel reflects on moment that captivated the world

20 years ago Eric Moussambani, aka Eric the Eel, became a global phenomenon at the Sydney Olympic Games as he struggled to swim the 100m.

His refusal to quit (he finished in 1:52.72) captivated the world.

“In that last 50 metres, to be honest, I was so tired I was going to stop,” Moussambani told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I couldn’t feel my legs or arms, everything was very heavy. When I had people clapping and cheering my name, that gave me more power to finish.”

His story didn’t end with that swim in Sydney. By 2004, Moussambani had cut his personal best time to 56.9, and two years later, swam that same 100m in 52.18.

“They invited me to Düsseldorf in Germany in 2006 for a show. I had to swim 100 metres with others swimmers and I did it in 52.18,” said Moussambani. “That was my best time. I didn’t go any better.”

Today’s Trivia

On Wednesday, we asked how many Olympics has Aliona Savchenko competed in. The Olympic figure skating pairs champion has performed in five Games, finally taking gold in 2018.

Here’s today’s question.

Who is the only judoka to win gold at three consecutive Olympic Games?

  1. Udo Quellmalz
  2. Nomura Tadahiro
  3. Uchishiba Masato
  4. Arsen Galstyan