Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

Articles tagged: 2020 Summer Olympics

Suni Lee keeps impressive US gymnastics streak alive amid Simone Biles drama

Suni Lee

Simone Biles withdrew from the women’s gymnastics all-around final in Tokyo to focus on her mental health, but the United States was still able to take home the gold medal.

Suni Lee won the gold in the all-around on Thursday night with a score of 57.433. She beat Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade’s, who took home the silver medal with a score of 57.298.

Biles, who won the women’s individual all-around at the Rio Olympics in 2016, was heavily favored to repeat as champion. Lee became the fifth consecutive American woman to win the gold medal, joining Biles, Gabby Douglas, Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson. Lee’s family and friends celebrated the feat back in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Lee, who is known for her incredibly difficult uneven bars routine, helped the US win the silver medal in the team all-around earlier this week. The 18-year-old is quickly becoming a household name.

Biles said she needed to deal with some things “internally” after withdrawing from the team all-around on Tuesday. She left open the possibility that she would compete in the individual all-around, but she ultimately decided to sit out. She opened up about the mental struggles she was having earlier in the week.

Video: Fiji goes wild celebrating Olympic gold in rugby sevens

Fiji Olympics rugby

Fiji took home a gold medal in rugby sevens at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, and fans in their home country technically should not have taken to the streets to celebrate. Many of them didn’t care.

Fijians were seen cheering, dancing and waving their nation’s flag in the streets on Wednesday night after their rugby sevens team won its second consecutive Olympic gold medal. Fiji currently has a curfew in place from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Following his team’s 27-12 win over New Zealand in the final, Fiji coach Gareth Baber spoke about how difficult it was to win the gold medal again given the circumstances. Baber said the team has been “locked down” for five months while preparing for Olympic competition.

“They tried to break out a few times as well. It’s been a really strange year since things were postponed,” Baber said, according to CNN. “We were locked down in Fiji, then we went to Australia, where we quarantined for a period of time.”

Baber said the Fiji national team had special “containment zones” in Fiji due to the pandemic. They built a gym in the garage of a hostel and spent roughly three months there. Athletes and coaches had been away from their families for a total of five months. The commitment led to a great moment for the team after Wednesday’s match.

Video: Caeleb Dressel gets teary during national anthem

Caeleb Dressel national anthem

Caeleb Dressel won the 100 meter freestyle event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Thursday. The American swimmer was overcome by emotion after setting an Olympic record, and later on the podium when he received his gold medal.

Here is a look at the 24-year-old getting teary-eyed when the national anthem played:

Dressel showed similar emotion after the race:

Dressel has won gold medals in the 4×100 freestyle relay and the 100m freestyle. He still has four more competitions at this Olympiad: 100 butterfly, 4×100 mixed medley relay, 50 freestyle, and 4×100 medley. He is looking to join Michael Phelps (2x), Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto as swimmers to win six medals at a single Olympiad.

Katie Ledecky swims blazing anchor as US takes silver in women’s 4x200m relay

Katie Ledecky

The US did not win the 4×200 meter freestyle relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort on Katie Ledecky’s part.

Ledecky swam anchor in the relay and entered the pool trailing Australia by a length, and China by about two lengths. It didn’t take long for Ledecky to surpass Australia. She set her sight on China as well, but ran out of distance to overtake first place. The Chinese relay team ended up setting a world record with a time of 7:40.33.

Even though the US was not able to take gold, Ledecky still posted the fastest split among all swimmers in the event. Her split of 1:53.76 beat the entire field.

The relay teams went so fast that China, US and Australia all surpassed the previous world record time.

Video: Caeleb Dressel, wife Meghan share emotional moment after Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel wife Meghan

Caeleb Dressel won gold in the men’s 100 meter freestyle event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Thursday. The reaction from his family — and specifically his wife Meghan — was amazing.

Dressel set an Olympic record with his 47.02 time to take home the gold. He won in a close finish over Kyle Chalmers and Kliment Kolesnikov. Dressel and his family were emotional over the win. Meghan couldn’t believe it.

“I don’t know if it’s set in yet,” Dressel said after his win. “It’s a really tough year, it’s really hard, so to have the results show up … I’m happy.”

NBC connected Caeleb with wife Meghan on live TV after his win. The two cried while sharing the moment on TV.

Caeleb and Meghan began dating in 2013 and married in February. Now he’s an Olympic record holder five months later. Both of them are swimmers, as Meghan swam at Florida State.

Here is what Michael Phelps said about Simone Biles

Michael Phelps

Few people can relate to the kind of pressure and attention Simone Biles is receiving this year. One of those people is Michael Phelps.

Phelps swam in his first Olympics in 2000 at the age of 15. By 2008, he became the star of the Summer Games in Beijing, winning eight gold medals. The Olympics were built around him in 2012 and 2016 as he was the biggest star of those Olympiads.

Phelps even retired after the 2012 Summer Games before returning for the 2016 Olympics. He knows how much the training, attention and expectations can wear on someone like Biles.

“The Olympics is overwhelming. … we carry a lot of weight on our shoulders. And it’s challenging, especially when we have the lights on us and all of the expectations. It broke my heart,” Phelps said.

Biles withdrew from the gymnastics team event Tuesday because she said she was struggling with mental issues. Phelps can relate to the mental difficulties.

“I think the biggest thing is, we all need to ask for help sometimes too,” Phelps said on NBC. “I can say personally, it was something that very challenging. It was hard for me to ask for help. I felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.”

Phelps, 36, won 26 Olympic medals during his swimming career. Biles, 24, has won six medals so far and is competing in her second Olympiad.

Advertisers reportedly concerned with Simone Biles withdrawal, low TV ratings

Simone Biles

Advertisers are concerned about their investment in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, according to a report.

Variety published an article on Tuesday that said advertisers are anxious after early declines in traditional TV viewing of the Olympics. Compounding concerns is the withdrawal of Simone Biles from the team gymnastics event on Tuesday. That came hours after Naomi Osaka lost in the third round of the women’s tennis singles event.

Biles and Osaka are two of the biggest names at the Olympics.

TV ratings for the Opening Ceremony were down around 36 percent from the Opening Ceremony ratings for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

Though TV ratings are down so far, NBC has noted that streaming numbers are higher than they have been in the past.

Regardless, a media buyer told Variety that the ratings “clearly are not what NBC, our agency or our clients were looking for.”

So what happens when a media company sells advertising in advance of a major event but fails to meet expectations in terms of ratings? They have ways of making it up to advertisers through what they call “make goods,” which gives them ads on other inventory. NBC reportedly feels as if it has built in a sufficient amount of “make goods” into its model.

The time difference from the US to Japan, politicization of sports in the US, lack of fan attendance, changing TV viewing habits, and arguable lack of compelling storylines are cited as contributing factors to the ratings decline.

Aly Raisman shares thoughts on Simone Biles’ Olympic struggles

Simone Biles

Aly Raisman knows better than most the pressure that Simone Biles is under at the Olympics, and shared her thoughts after Biles withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final on Tuesday.

Raisman, the former American gold medal gymnast, spoke to “Today” shortly after Biles’ withdrawal from the team final and said she felt “sick to my stomach” over Biles’ inability to compete. She said she was concerned about the mental impact the event had on Biles and urged those watching to remember how much pressure she was facing.

“I also am just thinking about the mental impact that this has to have on Simone,” Raisman said. “It’s just so much pressure and I’ve been watching how much pressure has been on her in the months leading up to the games and it’s just devastating. I feel horrible.

“I think that Simone is the biggest story going into the Olympics, so this is just really, really devastating. But I think it’s also just really important to think about how much pressure has been on her, and there’s only so much that someone can take. She’s human, and I think sometimes people forget that. And Simone, just like everyone else, is doing the best that she can.”

After struggling on the vault, Biles withdrew from the remainder of the team final, with her American teammates ultimately winning a silver medal. Biles told reporters after the event that she was mentally unprepared to continue and did not trust herself to avoid a significant injury.

Simone Biles explains decision to withdraw from gymnastics team final

Simone Biles

Simone Biles explained her decision to withdraw from the women’s team gymnastics final Tuesday, suggesting she was worried about hurting her team or herself if she competed further.

Biles spoke to reporters after her withdrawal, stating that she was mentally unprepared to perform to her expectations. After struggling with the vault, she added that she was worried about “(doing) something stupid and (getting) hurt.”

“After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on,” Biles said, via the BBC. “I have to focus on my mental health. I just think mental health is more prevalent in sports right now. We have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”

Biles added that she did not trust herself as much as she had in the past, adding that she didn’t want to be “carried out of there on a stretcher.”

“I don’t trust myself as much anymore,” Biles said. “Maybe it’s getting older. There were a couple of days when everybody tweets you and you feel the weight of the world. We’re not just athletes. We’re people at the end of the day and sometimes you just have to step back.

“I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt. ​I feel like a lot of athletes speaking up has really helped. It’s so big, it’s the Olympic Games. At the end of the day we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.”

According to The Athletic, Biles also said she had “never felt like this before.”

The 24-year-old said she was going to take a day on Wednesday to recover mentally before assessing whether she would compete in individual events, starting with Thursday’s all-around competition. She had said earlier in the day that she still plans on competing in that event.

Biles also was not at her sharpest during preliminary rounds even before her struggles on the vault in Tuesday’s final. One of her coaches cited a “mental issue” after her withdrawal.

Simone Biles will return to Olympics after dealing with things ‘internally’

Simone Biles

Simone Biles shockingly withdrew from the women’s gymnastic team final at the Olympics on Monday, but she is not done competing in Tokyo.

There was some speculation that Biles may have suffered an injury, but one of her coaches told the NBC broadcast that Biles withdrew for mental health reasons. Biles later confirmed that she is not injured and said she is “dealing with some things internally.” She expects to return for individual finals on Thursday.

Biles also said her team has been “a little too stressed out.”

Biles struggled a bit during the preliminary rounds despite being a heavy favorite at the Olympics. She indicated in an Instagram post on Monday that she was having a tough time with the pressure in Tokyo.

“It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times,” Biles wrote. “I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha! The olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually they mean the world to me!”

Biles, 24, is the most decorated American gymnast by a wide margin. She has 30 total medals in competition, including her four gold medals and one bronze medal from the Rio Olympics in 2016. She’s such a well-known star that she even got her own emoji ahead of the Olympics.