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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Articles tagged: 2020 Summer Olympics

Simone Biles withdraws from gymnastics team final due mental health issue?

Simone Biles

Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastic team final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

Biles competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault when she appeared to slip and land awkwardly on her knees. She was then expected to compete on uneven bars in the second rotation, but Jordan Chiles was subbed in. Biles left the floor before returning to the arena in warmup gear to hug her teammates. She watched the remainder of the competition from the sideline, according to NBC Sports.

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.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement that Biles withdrew due to a “medical issue” and will be evaluated on a daily basis.

“Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” the statement read. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”

Biles struggled a bit during the preliminary rounds despite being a heavy favorite at the Olympics. She indicated in an Instagram post 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 on Monday. “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!”

It’s unclear if Biles will compete in any events going forward.

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.

Naomi Osaka avoids media after losing at Olympics

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka on Tuesday continued her pattern of being a sore loser following defeats.

Osaka was upset by Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the women’s singles event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. She played a poor match and lost in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.

The Olympics marked Osaka’s return to tennis after a controversy at the French Open where Osaka stated her refusal to fulfill media obligations. Osaka eventually withdrew from that event and then did not participate in Wimbledon.

After her loss to Vondrousova, “organizers said that Osaka had left the venue and would not be talking to the media,” the AP reported.

A Bloomberg reported expressed her disappointment over Osaka avoiding questions.

NBC reported that Osaka left the building quickly and did not speak with the media. However, Osaka returned and answered one question from NBC’s Trenni Kusnierek.

Osaka was asked how much the heat was a factor. Osaka said that everyone played in the same conditions, so it didn’t really matter that much.

And that was that.

Osaka continues to be a walking contradiction. She portrays herself as a victim of an evil media that is bullying her. Yet she voluntarily takes advantage of the benefits of the media by posing on the cover of a magazine and lighting the Olympic cauldron. She even spoke with the media after her two Olympic wins. But then she avoided them after a loss. She wants the good of the media without the bad, which is definitive proof that her issue is an inability to cope with losing.

Naomi Osaka loses in third round at Olympics

Naomi Osaka

The Olympic cauldron lighter has been eliminated from her competition at the Olympics.

Naomi Osaka lost on Tuesday in Tokyo in the women’s singles event at the Summer Olympics. The 23-year-old was defeated in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-4.

Osaka committed 32 unforced errors in the match and only had one ace. Her serve was broken five times by Vondrousova.

Osaka is the premier hardcourt women’s tennis player in the world. But she withdrew from the French Open after starting a controversy over her refusal to fulfill her media obligations. Osaka had been struggling on clay entering the tournament and dealing with confidence issues on the playing surface.

Still bothered by mental issues, Osaka did not participate in Wimbledon. However, she chose to take part in the Olympics, where she lit the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony. The Olympics were taking part on hardcourt — her surface of choice — but Osaka has exited with a disappointing finish.

Michael Phelps makes prediction about his Olympic record

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps owns four individual Olympic records in swimming. On Tuesday in Japan, he offered a prediction regarding one of his records.

Phelps and Mike Tirico were talking on the NBC set ahead of the semifinals for the men’s 200 meter butterfly at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The 200 meter butterfly has been Phelps’ best-known event over the years. However, he thinks his Olympic record time in the event is going to be broken.

“I’m happy I’m not in it,” Phelps said of the 200 meter butterfly. “I have a feeling my Olympic record’s going to fall very shortly.”

Phelps set an Olympic record at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing with a time of 1:52.03. That mark has stood through two ensuing Olympiads, but Phelps thinks it’s in danger of falling.

Why? Because Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak is in the event. In 2019, Milak broke Phelps’ world record in the 200 meter fly with a time of 1:50.73. Milak won his semifinal in Tokyo on Tuesday easily with a time of 1:52.22.

Phelps called Milak technically “perfect” and described the Hungarian as extremely efficient with his stroke. Phelps anticipates his record will go down in the event’s final.

Video: Fans in Seward, Alaska go nuts after Lydia Jacoby wins gold medal

Lydia Jacoby Seward fans

The reactions were off the charts after 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby won gold on Tuesday.

Jacoby pulled off a stunner, winning the gold medal in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Jacoby, who is from Alaska, is still a high school senior. She attends Seward High School, where she will be a senior in the fall, and has plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin in 2022.

Here is video of the finish where she won the event:

The best part was seeing the reaction at the watch party in her town. The fans in Seward were going nuts over Jacoby’s win, rightfully so.

Keep a few things in mind: Jacoby is the first swimmer from Alaska to qualify for the Olympics. According to NBC, they only have one 50-meter long swimming pool in the entire state of Alaska.

Jacoby is blazing a path and still has plenty of years in the pool ahead of her. And now she is the most famous person in Seward.

Tom Daley shares the secret that helped him finally win Olympic gold medal

Tom Daley Matty Lee

Tom Daley is competing in his fourth Olympiad, but it wasn’t until this week that he finally won a coveted gold medal.

Daley and partner Matty Lee won gold in the men’s 10m platform synchronized diving event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The two won by an extraordinarily narrow margin, claiming Daley’s long-awaited gold.

So what was the secret to finally win a gold at the Olympics? Daley provided the answer during an interview with NBC after the event.

“To go to my fourth Olympic Games now and to finally do it, it’s such a magical moment,” Daley said. “I think the big difference this year was that I never ever visualized anything other than that gold medal. And Matty did the same. Every day, every night before bed, the gold medal, what we were going to do to get there. Never ever visualizing anything going wrong.

“I think the power of visualization and imagining yourself on the top, is what you got to do,” Daley said.

Visualization is an important part of the mental process in preparing for athletic competition. Visualizing yourself doing something before it happens can often help that picture come true in real life. It sounds like it worked perfectly for Daley, who also has won two Olympic bronze medals in the past.

Video: Boat nearly ran over Olympic athletes at start of triathlon

Olympics triathlon boat

A terrifying scene unfolded at the start of the men’s triathlon at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, and it was fortunate that no one was injured.

Half the field dove into the water when the starting gun sounded, but the other half was blocked by a television boat. The boat quickly reversed out of the way and luckily avoided driving over any of the athletes. You can see the video below:

As you might expect, there was a great deal of confusion following the incident. Boats and jet skis began driving toward the athletes to make sure there were no injuries and everyone could get back to the starting point. Eventually, all 56 athletes took their positions again for a restart.

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt won the race. It’s safe to say it was one that neither he nor the rest of the competitors will ever forget.

Argentina coach has extremely high praise for Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic led Slovenia to a win at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday with one of the best international game performances you will ever see, and even the opposing coach was in awe.

Doncic scored 48 points in Slovenia’s 118-100 victory over Argentina. He fell just seven points shy of the Olympic record of 55, which was set by Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt in 1988. After the game, Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez told reporters that Doncic “just destroyed us.” Hernandez had extremely high praise for the Dallas Mavericks star.

“He is the best player in the world, including the NBA,” Hernandez said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “If there was any doubt in my mind, it is there no more.”

Hernandez added that Argentina tried everything they could to stop Doncic but that the 22-year-old is “not a normal player.”

While most people would probably consider one of LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the best player in the world, Doncic certainly stated his case. Keep in mind that international games are only 40 minutes as opposed to 48 like in the NBA. Doncic scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. His 48 points were more than the entire Team USA starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France.

We saw some awesome reactions on Twitter after Doncic’s amazing Olympic debut. All eyes will be on him going forward in the tournament.

Twitter reacts to Luka Doncic’s insane Olympic debut

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic made his Olympic debut on Monday, and to say he put on a show would be an understatement. The Dallas Mavericks star nearly set an Olympic scoring record while leading Slovenia to a 118-100 win over Argentina.

Doncic scored 48 points in 31 minutes. The point total is the second-most ever in an Olympic game, as he fell just short of the 55 points Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt scored in 1988. Doncic also had 11 rebounds and 5 assists.

The scoring output from Doncic was absolutely insane no matter how you look at it. He had 17 points in the first quarter alone. Keep in mind that quarters are only 10 minutes in the Olympics as opposed to 12 in an NBA game. The reactions on Twitter were as good as you’d expect.

Doncic’s 48 points were more than Team USA’s entire starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France. As you might imagine, the Twitter reactions for the American team were a lot different (see them here) than the ones we saw with Doncic.

Doncic is now a perfect 14-0 in international competition with Slovenia. That is hardly a coincidence.

Does NBC have an Olympics Red Zone channel to watch?

Directv Olympics mix

The Olympics viewing experience is still evolving, and the television coverage is as robust as it has ever been. However, cable and satellite TV coverage of the Olympics are lacking one thing many sports fans have grown accustomed to: the Red Zone Channel.

NFL fans are used to being able to watch the Red Zone Channel on Sundays. This channel allows viewers to see scoring opportunities as they are unfolding live throughout the NFL. The channel aims to show the most exciting plays — touchdowns scored during the day — and does so by showing fans when teams are in the “red zone,” which is inside the 20-yard line.

So, does NBC have anything similar to that? They used to have it for past Olympics, and it was called the “Gold Zone.” It was even hosted by Red Zone Channel host Andrew Siciliano.

The Gold Zone brought up a quad box of sports-viewing options. A press release this year said “NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will offer the Gold Zone feed, providing whip-around coverage that will guide viewers to the best live action happening at the Games at a given moment. On most days, Gold Zone will stream from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. ET.”

Those are very specific times, and I haven’t seen anything on it yet. The Gold Zone’s Twitter account hasn’t been updated since 2018. The advertised website page is dead.

So what are the best alternatives?

If you search for “moments” on the NBC Olympics website, you should find a stream for “Team USA Moments 24/7.” That should take you to a live feed that displays multiple concurrent events.

For instance, viewing the feed showed me three events at one time, and two events at another time. However, there was no option to select which event you wanted to hear the audio feed of, so you were stuck with the default.

If you have DirecTV, you will have plenty of viewing options, but no Red Zone Channel-like channel. The closest you can come is channel 205 — the “HD Sports Mix” channel — which is currently the “NBC Olympics TV Experience” channel.

That channel has has six little boxes, each displaying a separate feed. The boxes display the content on:

– Local NBC affiliate
– 220 NBC Sports
– 242 USA
– 355 CNBC
– 624 Olympic channel

The Olympics have so many sports and events to pack into just two weeks, and only so many waking hours per day, that there can easily be 30 live sports happening concurrently. Much like the way Turner handles March Madness, NBC typically has full events airing live on a given channel.

One’s local NBC affiliate is generally the hub for Olympics content. That’s where features on spotlight athletes, stories, and premier sports events are aired. This is the channel that generally features editorial decisions on what viewers are most likely to be interested in. That’s also where you see host Mike Tirico most often.

On the Peacock app, NBC has some daily content they are offering for the Olympics.

The “Tokyo Live” program airs from 6-11am ET and says it features “live look-ins on the hottest athletes and events.” There is a “Tokyo Tonight” channel on the Peacock app that is supposed to be “your evening destination for the top global and breaking Olympic news.” Launching that program did not allow me to navigate forward or back, and it didn’t contain graphics to explain what you were watching. However, it’s supposed to be similar to the Red Zone-type experience. Peacock also advertises a “Tokyo Gold” program that airs from 11am-12pm ET that includes daily roundup of highlights, recaps, and must-see moments.

There are several viewing options, but there does not seem to be one solid destination where a viewer can go and have a host take them from one event to the next, while providing commentary. NBC should consider relaunching the Gold Zone and having it on cable and satellite TV, as well as the Peacock and NBC Sports apps. Perhaps the time difference from the major cities in the US and Tokyo made them feel it was not worthwhile, as many of the live events are occurring late at night/early in the morning.