Tokyo Olympics Live Updates: Simone Biles to Compete in Beam

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Current time in Tokyo: Aug. 3, 11:58 a.m.

Simone Biles, center, said she would compete on Tuesday.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — Well, this has the potential to be the most exciting moment at the Games. The final women’s gymnastics event, the balance beam, takes place on Tuesday. And Simone Biles says she is ready to return to competition for it. It gets underway at 5:50 p.m. Tokyo time, 4:50 a.m. Eastern. If there is any event to stay up late or wake up early and master internet streaming for, this is it.

Biles’s decision was announced by U.S.A. Gymnastics on Monday afternoon just before the start of the floor exercise final, which Biles elected to skip, and nearly a week after she withdrew from the team final following her vault. In interviews that night, she said it would have been dangerous for her to try to perform her complicated and daring routines because she had lost the ability to gauge where she was in the air in relation to the ground.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” U.S.A. Gymnastics said in a statement.

The U.S. men’s basketball team faces a quarterfinal with Spain, a tough opponent with familiar faces like the Gasol brothers and Ricky Rubio. Should the United States lose, as it did to France earlier in the Games, it will have failed to win a medal for the first time. The game is at 1:40 p.m. in Tokyo, 12:40 a.m. Eastern.

The track lineup includes many American contenders: Brittney Reese in the women’s long jump, Gabby Thomas in the women’s 200 meters, Athing Mu in the women’s 800, Rai Benjamin in the men’s 400 hurdles and Chris Nilsen in the men’s pole vault.

April Ross and Alix Klineman of the United States continue to advance in beach volleyball. Their quarterfinal opponents were Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch of Germany, and the Americans won in two sets on Tuesday morning.

And Duke Ragan of the United States, who is two wins away from a gold medal, fights in the boxing semifinals on Tuesday.

Sifan Hassan winning the women’s 5,000-meter final. Now she’s aiming for the 1,500- and 10,000-meter races.
Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

TOKYO — Athletes in track and field spent the first half of the year taking aim at — and shattering — a smorgasbord of world records. No one would be surprised to see more of them fall in the coming days, when runners and jumpers take center stage at the Games. Despite the absence of fans, Olympic Stadium will be full of drama.

There are 10 consecutive days of competition, running from July 30 through Aug. 8, when the men’s marathon will punctuate the festivities in Sapporo, about 500 miles north of Tokyo, where organizers expect cooler weather.

The finals are typically at night, though a few are set for midday so they can be broadcast to a prime-time audience in the United States. The final two nighttime sessions, on Aug. 6 and 7, will be packed with finals, including the men’s and women’s 1,500 meters, the women’s 10,000 meters and several relays. The relays are often exciting, and the Americans have been pretty good at them — whenever they manage to hold onto the baton.

Who to watch

  • On the women’s side in the 400-meter hurdles, two Americans, Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, are likely to renew their rivalry with an Olympic gold at stake. At the U.S. trials last month, McLaughlin broke Muhammad’s world record to finish first. But Muhammad is still the defending Olympic and world champion, and her mechanics are pure artistry.

  • The men’s 400-meter hurdles final tonight pits Karsten Warholm of Norway, fresh off his own world-record performance, against Rai Benjamin of the United States, who owns the third-fastest time in history.

  • Any list like this needs to include Allyson Felix, 35, the grande dame of U.S. track and field. Felix, a six-time gold medalist, is set to compete in the 400 meters in her fifth and final Olympics.

  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, 34, is already a two-time Olympic champion in the women’s 100 meters. She hopes to win yet another gold, this time in the 200 meters. She won the silver in 2012.

  • Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands is planning something truly audacious: She is entered in the 1,500 meters, the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters. And after winning the 5,000, she might just be the favorite in the next races, if she can survive multiple rounds.

  • At 21, Mondo Duplantis holds the pole-vaulting world record. He grew up in Louisiana but competes for Sweden, his mother’s home country.

Alix Klineman and April Ross celebrated during the quarterfinal.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The American beach volleyball duo of April Ross and Alix Klineman are rolling into their semifinal.

Ross and Klineman beat Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch of Germany on Tuesday morning in two close sets, 21-19, 21-19, in 44 minutes. In the semifinals, they will face the Swiss team of Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich, which won a closely contested match with Brazil, 21-19, 18-21, 15-12.

Ross has won a medal in the last two Olympics and, with Klineman, is in good position to do so again if they win at least one of their next two matches. Their semifinal is scheduled for Thursday. Of course, winning the semifinal would lead to an appearance in the gold medal match — a much-preferred option to chasing the bronze as one of the semifinal losers.

Klineman, 31, switched to beach volleyball in 2017 after mostly playing indoor volleyball, and teamed with Ross, 39. Ross won silver in 2012 with Jennifer Kessy and bronze in 2016 with Kerri Walsh Jennings.

Allyson Felix has more medals in track and field — nine — than any other American woman.
Credit…Alexandra Garcia/The New York Times

The American sprinter Allyson Felix, 35, won her heat in the 400 meters in 50.84 seconds on Tuesday morning in Tokyo to easily advance to the semifinals of the event, which will be held on Wednesday.

The decorated track star, who has six golds and is running in her fifth Games, told The New York Times Magazine in June that she was looking forward to competing, even though she would have understood if the Olympics had been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would do anything to compete. That’s what the Olympics mean to me. That’s who I am,” she said. “At the same time I understand that a pandemic is going on. We have had so much loss of life, and I don’t want to contribute to any more.”



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Felix is also running in the women’s 4×400-meter relay in Tokyo, an event in which she has won three golds. Qualifying heats for that race begin Thursday, with the final on Sunday.

Felix has more medals in track and field — nine — than any other American woman. But as she has grown older, she has also earned increased attention for her work off the track. The difficult birth of her daughter, Camryn, in 2018 caused her to speak out for racial equality in maternal health care. And a 2019 column she wrote for The Times criticizing the maternity policies of Nike, her sponsor at the time — which the company subsequently improved — established her as an advocate for women’s equality in sports.

She talked to The Times Magazine in June about her conflict with Nike, how her perspective on the Olympics had changed since she was a teenager, and how her faith had helped her put her career in perspective.

Simone Biles plans to compete in the Olympic balance beam final, her last opportunity to win a medal at the Tokyo Games.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

TOKYO — Simone Biles, the headliner of the Tokyo Olympics for Team U.S.A., is not done just yet.

After withdrawing from most of her events at these Olympics because of mental health issues, Biles will compete in the balance beam final on Tuesday, her final possible event in Tokyo. Her decision was announced by U.S.A. Gymnastics on Monday afternoon just before the start of the floor exercise final, which Biles elected to skip, and nearly a week after she withdrew from the team final following her vault. In interviews that night, she said it would have been dangerous for her to try to perform her complicated and daring routines because she had lost the ability to gauge where she was in the air in relation to the ground.

“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” U.S.A. Gymnastics said in a statement.

Last week, Biles competed in qualifying and in the team finals, but only performed in the first event of team finals — the vault — before withdrawing because she felt that she could not compete safely and didn’t want to jeopardize her team’s chances at a medal. Her teammates competed in the rest of the event without her, and she earned a silver medal with them.

Since then, Biles had backed out of all-around final and three event finals, which were the vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and balance beam. While those events unfolded without her, she trained in a local Tokyo gym to try to ease her way back to doing her skills. It was both scary and disappointing, she said, explaining that her brain wanted her to do twists in the air, her body was just not cooperating.

“Literally can not tell up from down,” she wrote in an Instagram story. “It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”

Biles, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, wrote that she “seriously cannot comprehend how to twist,” and noted that the problem appeared the morning after team qualifying at the Tokyo Games. While she had experienced the problem before, she said, she never has faced it on every single apparatus.

“Sometimes I can’t even fathom twisting,” she wrote. “I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist.”

Competing on Tuesday gives Biles a chance to win a gold at an Olympics where she had been expected to dominate. If she does win the event, it would also be redemption for her performance on the balance beam final at the 2016 Games, where she was the gold medal favorite but came away with the bronze. Sunisa Lee, who won the Olympic title in the all-around last week, will be the other American in the balance beam final.

Biles’s performance in the balance beam now will be the must-see event, starring the athlete who came into Tokyo as the face of gymnastics worldwide. She was expected to win the all-around and become the first woman in 53 years to repeat as Olympic champion in the all-around. She also was planning to perform her breathtaking and dangerous Yurchenko double pike vault, which is so risky that she could break her neck or ankles if she doesn’t rotate enough to land squarely on her feet. If she had landed that vault at the Games, it would have been named after her.

Biles also has a skill on the balance beam named after her. “The Biles” dismount is a double twisting double back somersault. Considering her issues with twisting at these Games, it is unclear if she will perform that move here. She said last week that she would not be twisting at all during her Gold Over America Tour, the post-Olympics tour that will feature women in the sport.

Though Biles is considering retirement, she has hinted that she might return as a vault specialist at the 2024 Games in Paris, to honor her French coaches. But life outside of gymnastics is calling and Tuesday’s performance might be her farewell bow.

Going into these Games, Biles, 24, said she felt old and was physically in pain, and was eager to start the next chapter of her life — one outside of the gym, without pressure.

The best that the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team can do at these Games now is a bronze medal. The team lost to Canada, 1-0, on Monday in the semifinal. It was a measure of revenge for Canada, which lost a classic semifinal to the U.S. at the 2012 Games.

In the women’s floor exercise event, Jade Carey of the United States won the gold medal, the first in an individual event for the U.S. Carey had tripped in the vault final, losing a chance at a medal.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won the women’s 100-meter hurdles, beating Kendra Harrison of the United States, the world record holder. It was only the second Olympic gold medal for Puerto Rico, following Monica Puig’s win in women’s tennis at the 2016 Games. It was Puerto Rico’s first gold in track, and its second medal in the sport, after a bronze in the men’s 400 hurdles for Javier Culson in 2012.

The U.S. women’s basketball team completed a 3-0 group stage with a win over France, which stayed within 14 points and also advanced.

Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand became the first openly transgender female athlete to compete at the Olympics. However, she failed to lift a weight in three tries.

Heavy rain fell during the women’s pole-vault qualifying rounds on Tuesday.
Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

Here are some highlights of U.S. broadcast coverage on Monday night. All times are Eastern.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL With the men’s team out, April Ross and Alix Klineman will compete to keep the U.S. represented in beach volleyball with a quarterfinal match against Germany. Coverage begins on NBC Primetime at 8 p.m.

TRACK AND FIELD The Americans Brittney Reese and Tara Davis contend for gold in the women’s long-jump final, which starts live at 9:50 p.m. on NBC. In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, at 11:20 p.m., Rai Benjamin of the United States looks to get ahead of Karsten Warholm of Norway, the current world-record holder.

DIVING Andrew Capobianco competes in the men’s 3-meter springboard semifinals at 9 p.m. on NBC Primetime.

GYMNASTICS Jade Carey from Team U.S.A. goes for gold in the women’s floor final, competing against gymnasts including Rebeca Andrade of Brazil and Angelina Melnikova of Russia, at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Primetime.

VOLLEYBALL At 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, the U.S. women’s team plays Italy.

WRESTLING will livestream the men’s and women’s matches. At 11:20 p.m., Kayla Miracle will take on Long Jia of China to try to advance to the freestyle 62-kilogram quarterfinals.

BASKETBALL A’ja Wilson and the U.S. women’s team take on France at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. At 12:40 a.m., Peacock will air the men’s quarterfinal game against Spain.

WATER POLO USA Network will broadcast the quarterfinal match between the U.S. women’s team and Canada at 1 a.m.

SAILING Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis compete for gold in the mixed multihull — Nacra 17 competition on at 2:30 a.m.

Raven Saunders, who won silver in the shot-put, said her gesture on the medal podium was “for oppressed people.”
Credit…Ina Fassbender/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Raven Saunders, the American shot-putter who delivered the first political demonstration on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics when she raised her arms and crossed them in the shape of an X shortly after receiving her silver medal, said Monday that American athletes have been planning their protest in defiance of International Olympic Committee regulations for several weeks.

In an interview Monday night, Saunders said the planning took place over a group text message with athletes in multiple sports. The group decided that the X would be their symbol, and that it represents unity with oppressed people.

She made the gesture as the ceremony concluded, during a session for photographers after the medals were handed out and the Chinese national anthem had been played for the winner, Gong Lijiao.

As Saunders left, she told reporters that her act was “for oppressed people.”

“I wanted to be respectful of the national anthem being played,” Saunders said.

Race Imboden, an American bronze medalist in fencing, had a black X with a circle around it on his hand during the medal ceremony for the foil competition on Sunday. Saunders said he was part of the group involved with the planning of the demonstration. She declined to say who else was involved because she did not want to put pressure on anyone to behave in a certain way.

On Tuesday, Gwen Berry, the American hammer thrower who turned away from the American flag during the U.S. track and field trials in June, and has said she was planning protest statements at the Olympics, is scheduled to compete. So is Noah Lyles, the American sprinter who often wears a black glove and raises his fist on the track before his races.

Saunders’s gesture has led to a standoff over free speech between the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic officials as the I.O.C. grapples with what to do if the Americans refuse to penalize an athlete for violating rules limiting demonstrations on the medal podium.

Elaine Thompson-Herah setting an Olympic record while winning the women’s 100-meter gold medal.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — The clock stationed just past the finish line flashed 10.60 seconds and the letters “NEW OR,” meaning “new Olympic record,” when Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica won the women’s 100 meters on Saturday night.

Thompson-Herah had not only retained the 100-meter Olympic title she won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but she had also done so by shattering Florence Griffith Joyner’s Olympic record set in 1988. (Thompson-Herah’s official time is 10.61.)

One day later, Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy produced an even more stunning time — 9.80 seconds — to win the men’s 100, becoming the surprise winner of the race to supplant Usain Bolt as the world’s fastest man. Jacobs was little known before storming to the fastest time in an Olympic final by a man not named Bolt.

Both runners beamed after their races. But so did an anonymous figure dressed in a shirt and slacks in a seat overlooking the track: Andrea Vallauri, international manager for Mondo, the Olympic track supplier.

He is responsible for supplying the world’s fastest runners with the world’s fastest track. And his surface already has world records under threat.

Since Friday — the first day of the track and field competition — records and personal bests have tumbled. Six women ran under 11 seconds in the women’s 100 final, including Shericka Jackson, whose 10.76 was the fastest third-place finish at an Olympics. On Sunday, Jacobs, an unheralded sprinter who had specialized in the long jump until 2018, set a European record in the men’s 100 final.

For Vallauri, the early signs from the track competition have been an Olympic triumph of a different sort. Mondo, which has now designed 12 Olympic tracks, spent almost three years coming up with the surface in use in Tokyo: road testing different versions, sourcing materials, experimenting with different kinds of rubber. Along the way, Mondo asked athletes for their preference, the equivalent of a taste test of a new recipe for a familiar soft drink.

The answers the company received, Vallauri said, were unanimous. “The feedback from the athletes was the same,” he said. “This one.”

Simone Biles on the balance beam during team qualifying.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The women’s gymnastics events in Tokyo will wrap up on Tuesday with the balance beam final, and Simone Biles will be competing for the first time since withdrawing from the team final a week ago.

It is the last shot at an individual medal for Biles, who qualified for every final but pulled out of the all-around, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise because of a mental block that she said prevented her from competing safely.

She will be up against her teammate Sunisa Lee, who won gold in the all-around and bronze on bars; Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing of China, who were first and second on beam in the qualifying round; and Larisa Iordache of Romania, who is looking for redemption after years of injuries.

How to watch in the United States

  • LIVE: The competition begins Tuesday at 4:50 a.m. Eastern time and can be livestreamed via the NBC Olympics site, Peacock or the NBC Sports app.

  • TAPE DELAY: Many fans will prefer to stream a replay or watch the tape-delayed broadcast on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Biles, 24, will be competing in her only apparatus final at these Games, and it’s not clear if she will do the same routine she did in the qualifying round, which had a huge difficulty score, 6.5. That would make her a strong medal contender if she avoided the large stumble she had on her full-twisting double back dismount. Because her mental block relates to twisting, though, she may switch to a double pike dismount, which would lower her difficulty by 0.4.

Lee, 18, said before the Olympics that she wanted to win a medal on beam, and she might: She had the third-highest score, 14.2, in the qualifying round. But with so many strong gymnasts in the final, she has no room for error. She didn’t quite match her qualifying mark in the team final, scoring 14.133, and she scored 13.833 in the all-around final after nearly losing her balance on her first skill.

Biles and Lee are up against six other competitors. Chenchen, 16, qualified first, and is in Tokyo because of her beam routine — she won the World Cup series on beam to make the Olympics as an individual, separate from the Chinese team. She blew the rest of the field away with a score of 14.933, thanks largely to a difficulty score nearly half a point higher than that of any other qualifier.

Jade Carey had qualified for the Olympics as an individual, not with the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.
Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

TOKYO — Jade Carey redeemed herself from a disappointing performance in the vault final to come back the next day at the Tokyo Games and win the gold medal on the floor exercise.

With a routine that was more difficult than the ones performed by her peers, Carey flipped and twisted her way to the top of the podium with what she called “the best floor routine I’ve ever done in my life.”

Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari won silver and two gymnasts tied for bronze: Mai Murakami of Japan and Angelina Melnikova of Russia.





Russian Olympic Committee


5 14.033

6 14.000

7 13.233


Russian Olympic Committee


After realizing that she had won, Carey gave her coach, Brian — who is also her father — a big hug. The day before, the two had hugged on the competition floor, but out of sadness.

In the vault final on Sunday, Carey, who is 21 and from Phoenix, tripped during her run-up to her first vault. She had planned to do a Cheng, which involves a half turn onto the vault and one-and-a-half twists, but didn’t do the half turn or the twists. Her low score for that vault ruined her chances for a medal. She left the competition in tears.

“Yesterday was really tough for me,” Carey said, calling it “a kind of a blur.” She said her U.S. teammates, especially Simone Biles, had given her a pep talk once she returned to the team’s hotel. Biles told her: “Let it go and move on. It happened and you can’t do anything about it.”

Carey added, “For tonight, I just had to let that go.”

But Carey had one chance to bounce back at these Games, and took it.

In qualifying, Carey finished third on the floor exercise, behind Ferrari, who was first, and Biles, in second. Biles elected not to compete in the final, though she announced Monday that she would participate in the balance beam final on Tuesday — her last possible event at the Tokyo Games.

Maggie Astor contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misidentified the first vault attempted by Jade Carey. It was a Cheng, not the Yurchenko 2½.

Anna Cockrell, second from left, running in a women’s 400-meter hurdles semifinal heat.
Credit…Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Monday, members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a break from training camp and gathered to watch some game tape. But it wasn’t just any game they were watching: It was the Tokyo 2020 Games, specifically the women’s 400-meter hurdles, an event featuring Anna Cockrell, whose brother, Ross Cockrell, is a cornerback on the team.

Ross Cockrell, whose chest rapidly rose and fell under his Buccaneers sweatshirt, sat quietly in his red mask as he watched his sister compete on the world stage in Tokyo. With just seconds left in the race, he leaned forward in his seat, concentrating intensely, then pumped his fist when his sister crossed the finish line in the rain, clocking in at 54.17 seconds, to advance to the finals.

“Y’all got me crying in the village dining hall,” Anna Cockrell tweeted in all caps, sharing the video of her brother and his teammates cheering her on from their training camp in Florida.

Ross Cockrell said that being able to watch his sister compete in the Olympics was “amazing,” and even credited his performance at practice, in which he had intercepted three passes, to Anna.

“To see her go out there and perform as well as she did in adverse weather and adverse situations, and then go out to practice and do my thing, I was just feeling the magic she had,” Ross Cockrell said. “I think she passed it along to me.”

Tokyo is Anna Cockrell’s Olympic debut. In an interview following the U.S. Olympic trials in June, where she finished third and earned her ticket to Tokyo, she talked about her struggles with mental health.

“In 2019 I was super depressed, I didn’t want to be here anymore,” Cockrell, who graduated from the University of Southern California with her master’s in May, said between sobs. “To be standing here today as an Olympian is more than I can take.”

Anna Cockrell, 23, opened up about experiencing depression, which she has battled since her sophomore year of high school, in a commencement speech she gave at her undergraduate ceremony from U.S.C. in May 2019, describing how her perfectionism led her to suffer in silence to avoid seeming weak or having to ask for help. After sustaining an injury at a competition that spring that she feared might end her season, she finally began to let others in, she said.

Leading up to her first race in Tokyo, Cockrell also published a letter to her 21-year-old self in the Players’ Tribune, ending it with words of affirmation to herself and to others who might be dealing with mental health issues.

“No matter what happens out here, I am important, I am worthy, I am valued and I matter,” Cockrell wrote. “And so do you.”

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