What Happened in Tokyo With 4 Days Left Until Olympic Games Open

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U.S. athletes are preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with caution amid a COVID-19 outbreak at the Olympic Village, the complex that houses all the competitors and their staff. Two South African soccer players became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to test positive for the virus, shortly followed by U.S. star Coco Gauff, who has now withdrawn from the competition.

The infections come despite International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said last week there was "zero" risk of athletes passing on the virus to Japanese or other residents of the village. But that bold statement was already being tested.

The delayed Games will be held largely behind closed doors, with spectators told on July 8 not to travel to Japan as virus cases in the country - particularly Tokyo - soar. Vaccinated star athletes, packs of reporters, IOC officials, volunteers and handlers will still be at the event - tested daily for the virus - determined to push ahead despite a state of emergency in the city.

The event has caused a stir in Tokyo and Japan, with the majority of the public against the Olympics going ahead. Hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday outside Shinjuku station in central Tokyo, where many of the athletes will travel through, waving signs that read "No Olympics."

Olympics in Tokyo
Shop curtains, themed on sports and culture, and produced by six overseas artists who competed in the Olympics and Paralympics are displayed at an underground passageway ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 19, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Toru Hanai/Getty Images

USA Basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson tests positive for COVID-19

Team USA 3x3 women's basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson will not compete in Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19.

Samuelson, who is a member of the Seattle Storm, was part of the first-ever Olympic 3x3 women's basketball competition.

Katie Lou Samuelson, who was placed under USA Basketball's health & safety protocols on Saturday, will remain in protocol & will be unable to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

— USA Basketball 3x3 (@usab3x3) July 19, 2021

Samuelson said she was "fully vaccinated and took every precaution" against COVID-19.

"Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope someday soon, I can comeback to realize that dream," Samuelson wrote in an Instagram post. "I wish nothing but the best to my USAB teammates as they go out there and crush it. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way."

Katie Lou Samuelson just posted this on Instagram regarding her COVID-19 diagnosis: pic.twitter.com/jK8EZ519Cn

— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) July 19, 2021

The team's first game is scheduled for Saturday against France. Samuelson's spot on the roster was filled by Jackie Young.

International Olympic Committee backs transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it stands by the rules that will allow Laurel Hubbard, a transgender weightlifter from New Zealand, to participate in the Tokyo Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said during a news conference in Tokyo Saturday that Hubbard is qualified to compete under the current IOC rules.

"The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started," Bach said. "These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions."

However, Bach said that the current rules are under review.

"At the same time, the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders ... to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules, because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution," he said. "It differs from sport to sport."

While Tokyo 2020 is taking place a year late due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is also the first Olympic Games for which out transgender athletes have fully qualified under standards that have been in place since 2004.

— GLAAD (@glaad) July 19, 2021

Hubbard will be the first trans athlete to compete in the Olympics after the Games started allowing transgender athletes in 2004.

According to current IOC guidelines, transgender female athletes must have testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition in order to compete.

Jill Biden will travel to Tokyo for the Olympics

First lady Jill Biden will travel to Tokyo for the Olympics this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Psaki said the U.S. delegation is aware of the COVID-19 cases among athletes but is "monitoring the situation." She said their team will be following "very strict safety and health protocols," including limited engagement with the public and "keeping our footprint as small as possible."

"Public health remains a central priority for the games," she said. "The government of Japan and the IOC [Internatioanl Olympic Committee] have very strict protocols and they're taking careful safety precautions to keep the athletes and the public safe."

South Korea president will not visit Tokyo for Olympics

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will not visit Tokyo for the Olympics, citing strained relations with Japan.

There were talks of a summit between Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to repair bilateral ties between the two nations.

However, the two leaders failed to set up a summit and Moon's office said their talks were damaged by a "last-minute obstacle," according to the Associated Press.

"The Tokyo Olympics are a festival of peace for people around the world, and we hope that Japan holds the Olympics safely and successfully," Park Soo Hyun, Moon's spokesperson said.

"We also hope our athletes, despite the difficult conditions, fully display the skills they have developed in competition and return home healthy," he added.

This announcement comes after reports that Hirohisa Soma, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, made lewd remarks towards Moon.

According to JTBC, a South Korean cable channel, Soma said Moon would be "masturbating" if he thinks he would have a summit during the Olympics because Suga "does not have the time to care about bilateral relations as much as South Korea hopes."

Suga called the comment "very inappropriate and regrettable" and told reporters hopes to "continue to communicate firmly" with South Korea to restore a healthy relationship.

Czech volleyball player is third athlete inside Olympic Village to contract COVID-19

Czech Republic volleyball player Ondřej Perušič is the third athlete at the Olympic Village in Tokyo to test positive for COVID-19.

Perušič, who said he was vaccinated, is the second member of the Czech delegation to test positive in Tokyo.

He and his playing partner are scheduled to kick off their Olympic play against Latvia. Czech team leader Martin Doktor said in a statement they would ask to postpone the game until Perušič is cleared to play.

Czech beach volleyball player becomes latest athlete to test positive inside the Athlete’s Village at #Tokyo2020 Ondrej Perusic was due to play his first match on Jul 26th which is now unlikely - team assessing his health and their plans.

— Tom Parmenter (@TomSkyNews) July 19, 2021

Kara Eaker identified by coach as U.S. Gymnast with positive COVID test

Kara Eaker was identified as the USA Gymnastics alternate who tested positive for COVID-19 in an Olympic training camp in Japan.

Al Fong, the personal coach of Eaker and fellow Olympic alternate Leanne Wong, confirmed the positive test to the Associated Press.

Both Eaker and Wong have been placed in isolation.

Fong said Eaker was vaccinated against coronavirus two months ago.

The positive test came after Eaker received what was described as a "false positive" over the weekend, the AP reported. Eaker took a subsequent test that was negative before testing positive again multiple times.

Olympics composer resigns amid bullying allegations

A Japanese composer working on the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony resigned Monday after reports that he bullied classmates in his youth surfaced.

Keigo Oyamada, 52, also known as Cornelius, issued an apology on Twitter on July 16 before he officially resigned.

東京2020オリンピック・パラリンピック大会における楽曲制作への参加につきまして pic.twitter.com/p91zE94s1t

— Cornelius (@corneliusjapan) July 19, 2021

"I sincerely accept the opinions and advice I have received, express my gratitude, and will keep them in mind for my future actions and thoughts," he said. "I apologize from the bottom of my heart."

In two music magazines published in the 1990s, Rockin' On Japan and Quick Japan, Oyamada reportedly boasted about bullying a classmate with disabilities at school in graphic detail.

“I’d strip (one guy) naked and roll him up in cords and make (him) masturbate. I made him eat shit and then performed a belly- to-back-drop wrestling move on him".
Keigo Oyamada, in charge of music for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremony @JapanKenkyuhttps://t.co/6Bz5yLEvT0

— Jake Adelstein/中本哲史 (@jakeadelstein) July 16, 2021

The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee did not take action after these past interviews surfaced. CEO Toshiro Muto said the Committee had no knowledge of the allegations prior to hiring him for the opening ceremony.

"We understand that he apologized and it is true that we didn't know about this," Muto said at a news conference Saturday. "We wish him to continue with his participation."

"He is sorry for his past actions, and he has said that he wants to act with higher moral standards," he added.

Read more about this story here.

55 people working at the Olympics have tested positive for COVID-19

Over 50 people working at the Tokyo Olympics have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1.

Of the 55 confirmed cases, athletes or others who may have arrived early for training camp but are not yet under the "jurisdiction" of the International Olympic Committee are not included in the count, an official told the Associated Press.

Ryu Seung-min of South Korea was the first member of the International Olympic Committee to test positive for the virus.

Several athletes have contracted the virus since landing in Japan, including two South African soccer players who became the first athletes inside the Olympic Village to contract the virus.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said there was "zero" risk of athletes passing on the virus to Japanese or other residents of the village.

Read the full story from Newsweek here.

Olympic athlete proves "anti-sex bed" rumor false

An Olympic athlete has debunked the rumor that the cardboard bed in the Tokyo Olympic Village are made to break under the weight of more than one person in order to discourage sex amid COVID-19 protocols.

Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan filmed himself jumping on the alleged "anti-sex" bed to disprove the claim as "fake news."

The official Olympics Twitter account quoted McClenaghan's tweet, thanking him for "debunking the myth."

"The sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!" the tweet said.

Thanks for debunking the myth.😂You heard it first from @TeamIreland gymnast @McClenaghanRhys - the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy! #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/lsXbQokGVE

— Olympics (@Olympics) July 19, 2021

Read the full Newsweek fact-check here.

U.S. athletes to watch

Over 600 athletes make up Team USA in this year's Olympics, with almost 200 returning to compete for the second, third, fourth or even fifth time.

In gymnastics, Simon Biles will return for her fifth Olympic Games, aiming not just to beat her opponent but smash her own records. With four golds and one bronze, Biles is certainly one to watch.

Heimana Reynolds will take up skateboarding for Team USA - the first time the sport has featured in the Olympics.

In track and field, 24-year-old Noah Lyles will take part in his first-ever Games. Currently the world champion in 200 meters, he hopes to take gold on the running track and would be the first American to win the 200 at the Olympics since 2004.

You can read more on Team USA on the Newsweek website in the days to come.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirms American athlete tests positive

The first American athlete in Japan to have tested positive for COVID-19 has only heightened fears over an outbreak in the Olympic Village.

The USOPC would not confirm if champion Simone Biles or any of the other favorites to win the team gold were isolating because of contact tracing.

A statement from the body said:

The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We can confirm that an alternate on the women's artistic gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19. In alignment with local rules and protocols, the athlete has been transferred to a hotel to quarantine. Out of respect for the individual's privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.

The four alternates - all teenagers - are Leanne Wong, Kayla DiCello, Emma Malabuyo and Kara Eaker. They traveled to Japan with the six-woman main team of Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey.

The four alternates - all teenagers - are Leanne Wong, Kayla DiCello, Emma Malabuyo and Kara Eaker. They traveled to Japan with the six-woman main team of Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey.

Coco Gauff withdraws after contracting COVID-19 - what you need to know

The 17-year-old tennis player was due to compete for Team USA in Tokyo but tested positive for the virus Sunday.

She is the high-profile U.S. athlete to withdraw so far. Combined with a possible COVID outbreak at the Olympic Village, there could be more withdrawals to come. Ranked 25 in the world - famous for defeating tennis legend Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019 - Gauff said she was "disappointed" but wished teammates and rivals the "best of luck and a safe games".

READ MORE: Coco Gauff Becomes Top American Olympian to Test Positive For COVID, So Far

🙏🏾❤️🤍💙 pic.twitter.com/lT0LoEV3eO

— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) July 18, 2021

Toyota withdraws major Olympics sponsorship

The car manufacturer - and biggest sponsor of the games - confirmed Monday that it will drop all its Olympic advertising in Japan amid widespread criticism of the event going ahead.

Toyota chief executive officer, Akio Toyoda, said on Monday he would also not be attending the opening ceremony.

A spokeswoman for the company told Reuters: "It is true that Toyota will not be attending the opening ceremony, and the decision was made considering various factors including no spectators."

READ MORE: Tokyo Olympics Biggest Sponsor Withdraws as Games in Crisis Before Opening Ceremony

U.S. gymnast 'tests positive for COVID-19' - unconfirmed reports

There are unconfirmed reports that a U.S. gymnast has tested positive for COVID-19. The source of the story is Kyodo News in Japan and Newsweek can't independently verify.

The Olympian, which reports suggest is a teenager, got the news during training at a facility in the city of Inzai - 75km from Tokyo. Another athlete is understood to be isolating in a hotel room after being in close contact with them.

If confirmed, it would be the first COVID case among U.S. athletes who have travelled to Japan.

We are investigating and will update as the picture becomes clear. There has been no comment from Team USA or the International Olympic Committee so far.

Hundreds protest against Olympics outside main Tokyo train station

While the excitement builds for a unique Olympic contest, a crowd of around 200 people gathered at Shinjuku station Sunday as athletes from across the globe continued to arrive in the city.

It is the latest in a series of protests by locals against the games, which they believe will fuel the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Tokyo has reported over 1,000 new cases per day for the past several days.

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Good morning and welcome to the Newsweek liveblog

Hundreds of Team USA athletes are heading to Tokyo for an Olympics like no other. Competitors will not be cheered on by spectators and stringent Covid-19 restrictions will be in place throughout as a virus outbreak hits the Japanese city - and now the Olympic Village itself.

But which U.S. athletes are competing this year? When does the event start? Will Team USA be struck by a Covid outbreak?

Stick with Newsweek for all the latest.