Olympic Daily News: 8 August 2020
Get your daily update of Olympic news: Trivia, trends, and talking points. Roger Federer turns 39, Greg van Avermaet to leave CCC Team, and Badminton's popularity in Indonesia
It's the weekend, and today, 8 August, brings with it a raft of anniversaries.
The number eight has significance in Chinese culture, and it was no surprise that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games would open on 8 August 2008. Twelve years ago today, the world celebrated the opening of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in the grand Bird's Nest stadium.
That same stadium will once more host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Go back another 16 years before that, to Barcelona 1992 – and the first U.S. Olympic basketball team to include NBA players, the Dream Team, won the gold medal on this day that year.
Facing Croatia in the final, the Dream Team capped an unbeaten run with a 117–85 win – at 32 points, their smallest margin of victory in the entire tournament.
Happy birthday Roger!
Roger Federer, the leading men's player with the most Grand Slam tournament wins (20), turns 39 today.
It's somewhat hard to believe the Olympic champion – who won doubles gold in Beijing alongside Stan Wawrinka – won the first of those 20 titles an incredible 17 years ago, when he defeated Mark Philippoussis to win Wimbledon.
He is, as the ATP Tour points out, the oldest player currently in the world top 100 on the men's tour.
In addition to his 20 Grand Slam titles, he has also finished runner-up at 11 Grand Slams, and spent a record 310 weeks leading the ATP rankings.
Olympic champ van Avermaet seeks pastures new
After 10 years with the CCC Pro Team (previously BMC Racing Team), Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet says he will transfer to a new team for the 2021 UCI WorldTour season.
CCC Team are struggling to find a sponsor for 2021 after the Polish company decided to terminate its deal early due to financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic, and van Avermaet has decided not to risk the uncertainty of waiting for a new sponsor to be found.
"I've given my manager the green light to look at other teams. I have no options left (with CCC)," van Avermaet told Belgian media outlet Sporza.
"At the moment it does not look like this team will continue. (Team manager) Jim Ochowicz is still looking, but I can't wait."
Indonesia's love for badminton
It's no stretch to say that Indonesia loves badminton – the only sport in which the country has won an Olympic gold medal. (They have seven.)
Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie are currently ranked world number six and seven in men's singles, while the country has three men's doubles pairings in the world's top six.
Not to mention the eighth-ranked women's doubles pair and two mixed doubles teams in the top eight.
The New York Times has published a long read on the sport's popularity in the country, speaking to some of Indonesia's best shuttlers in history.
But perhaps the quote that sums it all up came from current men's doubles world number one Marcus Fernaldi Gideon: "Everyone expects us to win, because this is badminton in Indonesia."
Yesterday, we asked you before Hanyu Yuzuru, who was the last man to win back-to-back men's singles Olympic figure skating titles?
The right answer is Dick Button – the American won at St Moritz 1948 and Oslo 1952. It's a small club, with Sweden's Gillis Grafström (1920, 1924, 1928) the only other man to win men's singles Olympic gold in consecutive Games.
Here’s today’s question.
Which of the following is NOT an Olympic sport being contested for the first time at Tokyo 2020?
- Sport climbing