Olympics

First Olympians: The weight of a nation

Marcus Stephen represented Nauru at two Olympic Games before embarking on a political career that included a four-year stint as President.

He burst onto the weightlifting scene as a fresh-faced 20 year old at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, winning gold in the men's 60kg snatch and silver medals in the clean and jerk and total.

Two years later he made his Olympic debut in Barcelona, but it wasn't for Nauru.

Australia's softball team the first athletes to arrive in Japan

The team will attend a training camp in the city of Ota before moving to the Athletes' Village in Tokyo on 17 July.

All members of the delegation have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and will be tested for the virus every day.

The Games are scheduled to begin on 23 July despite Japan battling a surge in coronavirus cases.

While in Ota the Australia squad, who all tested negative for the virus upon arrival in the country, will be confined to one floor of their hotel and will only be able to leave the building to train.

Laurel Hubbard set to become first transgender Olympic athlete

International weightlifting has rejigged its qualifying criteria for Tokyo because of limited competition over the past year due to Covid-19.

That means on current rankings Hubbard will qualify but she still needs to nominated by Weightlifting New Zealand then be officially selected by the New Zealand Olympic committee.

Japan faces longer state of emergency, casting doubt on Olympics

Officials were leaning toward an extension of the measures in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures beyond 11 May as the country battles a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday.

Extending the measures, which were imposed on 25 April, would likely fan persistent concerns about whether the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin on 23 July, can be held as planned.

The games have already been delayed once from last year due to the pandemic.

Caleb Clarke expected to make decision between Olympics or All Blacks and Blues this week

The Blues will kickstart their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign against the Rebels in Melbourne next Saturday, but whether Clarke partakes in that fixture, or in the competition as a whole, remains to be seen.

Speaking to Stuff last week, the 22-year-old wing said he will spend the coming days deciding whether it’s in his best interests to play the Australian franchises over the next month-and-a-bit, or push for a place in the All Blacks Sevens squad to chase an Olympic gold medal in Japan.

All Blacks star Caleb Clarke could be off-limits for Blues as Olympics beckon

Tony Philp, New Zealand Rugby’s high performance sevens manager, is hoping May is the return date for New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sevens teams’ comeback to the international game.

Neither team have played in an international tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic halted their respective World Series last March.

Clarke is among a small pool of Super Rugby players eyeing an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games in July, but their commitment to Super Rugby Aotearoa means they’re not training under coach Clark Laidlaw with the men’s sevens team for the meantime.

IOC meets to discuss the future of Tokyo Olympics

With less than six months to go until the troubled Games are due to start, the board will instead tackle questions over the vaccination of athletes, international visitors and the attendance of spectators, and safety regulations among other matters.

The Olympic body, which will meet remotely, nevertheless finds itself in a similar situation to March last year, when it was forced to postpone the Games by 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down sport worldwide.

London 2012 chief feels Tokyo Olympics unlikely to go ahead

Keith Mills told BBC radio that the delayed Olympics, scheduled for July-August, were looking unlikely to happen in his opinion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If I was sitting in the shoes of the organising committee in Tokyo, and thankfully I'm not, I would be making plans for a cancellation," he said.

"I'm sure they have plans for a cancellation but I think they will leave it to absolutely the last minute in case the situation improves dramatically and in case the vaccines roll out faster.

"It's a tough call and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes."

'Impossible': Tokyo residents concerned about hosting Games

The Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in March to postpone the Olympics by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The global sports showpiece is now slated to start in less than 200 days and run from July 23 to August 8.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated on Thursday his intention to hold the Games.

However, a December poll by public broadcaster NHK showed a third of Japanese residents want the Games to be scrapped due to fears an influx of foreign arrivals may cause a further spike in Covid-19 cases.

Tokyo Olympics to go ahead in 'safe and secure' manner despite Covid-19 surge

Tokyo reported 2,447 new cases on Thursday. This is a jump of 850 cases – just over 50 per cent – from the day before. Tokyo was reporting just a few hundred new cases a few months ago.

The rapid spread of the virus in Japan is imperilling plans for the postponed Olympics, which are to open on July 23. The Paralympics begin on August 24.