Olympic Daily News: 29 August 2020

Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points as U.S. sports return, delayed Tour de France begins, FIBA 3x3 competition resumes after Covid suspension, ladies' figure skating age limit debate reignites

By ZK Goh

After a number of U.S. athletes and sports teams boycotted games over the past week in support of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, games have resumed in various sports.

Major League Baseball marked Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, 28 August – Robinson was the first man to break the Major Leagues' post-War colour barrier. Friday's date was chosen as it was also the anniversary of 1963's civil rights March on Washington.

Every player and coach on all MLB teams wore Robinson's number 42, as they would have on 15 April when the day is normally observed.

It was also an emotional day for MLB after the news of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Robinson in the feature film '42' in 2013.

NBA playoffs resume today

The National Basketball Association announced on Friday afternoon (U.S. time) that it had reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to resume the NBA Playoffs, which had been put on hold by the ongoing protests, today (Saturday 29 August).

Both sides issued a joint statement saying the league would support social justice initiatives and to convert team arenas into polling stations for November's American general elections.

The three games originally scheduled for Wednesday, when the Milwaukee Bucks voted not to play following the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, will be played this afternoon in the NBA "bubble" in Orlando, Florida.

107th Tour de France underway in Nice

After a delay of two months, the 107th Tour de France finally began in Nice with enhanced anti-coronavirus protocols in place.

The race's roadside spectators have been told to maintain social distancing, while teams have been told by the French sports ministry that any team with two positive coronavirus tests among its staff – riders and support personnel alike – in the space of seven days will be removed from the Tour, which could throw the general classification wide open.

Nice is one of 19 regions in France to have had its coronavirus alert level raised this week.

Although two of the last three cyclists to win the race – Christopher Froome and Geraint Thomas – are not taking part, their Ineos Grenadiers teammate and defending champion Egan Bernal is one of the favourites to claim the yellow jersey in Paris again.

Other favourites in the race include Slovenia's Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma, and his compatriot Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates.

The first stage today was scheduled as a 156-km circuit race around the city and surrounding areas.

FIBA 3x3 World Tour season marks resumption of international calendar

Three FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters will take place over the next week in Debrecen, Hungary, marking the first FIBA-sanctioned international basketball tournaments since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The three tournaments, which will feature 13 of the top 15-ranked 3x3 teams on the World Tour circuit, are set to run consecutively from today through 5 September.

3x3 basketball is set to make its full Olympic debut next year at Tokyo 2020 after previously appearing at the Singapore 2010, Nanjing 2014, and Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Should the minimum age be raised in women's figure skating?

Yes, says Nagano 1998 ice dance silver medallist Oleg Ovsyannikov.

While Russian commentators have traditionally been against the ISU's constant discussions to raise the minimum age floor for senior ladies' singles skating, which is currently 15, Ovsyannikov has broken ranks.

He said he wanted the ISU to raise the bar to 17, which if the rules had been in place at PyeongChang 2018 would have excluded eventual champion Alina Zagitova from competition.

Last week, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva told RT Sport she too would like the minimum age to be raised.