Joel Anderson, Stefan Fatsis, and Josh Levin discuss the dissonant opening days of the Tokyo Olympics, which have been marked by searing heat, empty stands, and the overhanging coronavirus pandemic. They also look at the wobbly starts by the U.S. men’s basketball and women’s gymnastics teams. Finally, they break down the implications of Texas and Oklahoma seeking to leave the Big 12 for the powerhouse SEC.
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• Motoko Rich of the New York Times reported that protestors could be heard shouting “Stop the Olympics!” during the opening ceremony.
• In the first installment of Olympics Jerk Watch, Tokyo edition, Slate’s Justin Peters wrote, “When I think of the IOC, I think of a bloated European man receiving a bag filled with money as the digestif to a five-course lunch served on someone else’s yacht.”
• Brutally hot and humid weather has exposed organizers’ claims of an “ideal climate” when Tokyo was bidding for the Games.
• American swimmer Katie Ledecky lost a race at the Olympics for the first time, finishing second to Ariarne Titmus of Australia in the 400-meter freestyle.
• In its opening game, the U.S. men’s basketball team lost to France, 83-76.
• For the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, Rebecca Schuman wrote in Slate, “This is now no longer the Americans’ gold to lose.”
• Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post profiled Mongolia’s 3-on-3 women’s basketball team.
• John Branch of the New York Times wrote about skateboarder Nyjah Huston, who failed to medal in the sport’s debut event.
• Delightful Olympics story: 18-year-old Tunisian gold-medalist swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui.
• Texas and Oklahoma on Monday took the first steps to leave the Big 12 conference for the SEC, a move that could lead to a dramatic realignment of college sports.
Hang Up and Listen’s weekly Anna Kiesenhofer:
Josh’s Anna Kiesenhofer: On Mary Shane, the baseball broadcasting pioneer who is the subject of the latest episode of Slate’s podcast series One Year.
On this week’s bonus segment, Josh, Joel, and Stefan break down Slate’s ranking of all 339 Olympic events.
Podcast production and edit by Alyssa Edes.
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