July 28 Tokyo 2020 Olympics news and results

By Joshua Berlinger, Aditi Sangal and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:05 a.m. ET, August 3, 2021
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10:08 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

USA's Bobby Finke wins gold in men's 800-meter freestyle

US swimmer Robert Finke reacts after winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle swimming on July 29.
US swimmer Robert Finke reacts after winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle swimming on July 29. Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

American swimmer Robert Finke won gold in the men's 800-meter freestyle event on Thursday morning in Japan with a time of 7:41.87.

This is the first time the event has been held at the Olympics.

Finke, who goes by Bobby, beat Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri, who took silver with a time of 7:42.11. Ukraine's Mykhailo Romanchuk won bronze in 7:42.33.

9:54 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Italy wins gold in lightweight women’s double rowing

From CNN’s Seamus Fagan

Italy's Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini react after winning gold in the lightweight rowing double sculls on July 29.
Italy's Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini react after winning gold in the lightweight rowing double sculls on July 29. Lee Jin-man/AP

Italians Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini have won gold in the lightweight women’s double sculls rowing event.

The 2021 European champions in the event edged out the field by 14-hundredths of second with a time of 6:47.54.

The triumph gives Italy its second gold medal and 17th total medal at the Tokyo Games.

9:42 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Ireland wins first Olympic rowing gold

From CNN's Jacob Lev and Jill Martin

Paul O'Donovan, left, and Fintan McCarthy of Ireland celebrate after winning gold in the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls in Tokyo on July 29.
Paul O'Donovan, left, and Fintan McCarthy of Ireland celebrate after winning gold in the Men's Lightweight Double Sculls in Tokyo on July 29. Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland's Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan have won the country's first ever Olympic gold medal in rowing during the men's lightweight double sculls event, finishing with a time of 6:06.43.

Germany claimed silver with a time of 6:07:29 and Italy took bronze in 6:14:30.

It's Ireland's first gold medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and second medal overall of this Games.

Prior to the Tokyo 2020 Games, Ireland had won nine Olympic gold medals, all in individual events in athletics, boxing and swimming.

O’Donovan, alongside his brother Gary O’Donovan, won silver in this event in Rio in 2016, which was Ireland’s first medal in Olympic rowing. Other athletes representing Ireland to have collected multiple Olympic medals are swimmer Michelle Smith (four), hammer thrower Pat O'Callaghan (two) and boxer Paddy Barnes (two).

Congratulatory tweets have already started to roll in for the Irish team, including this one from Skibbereen Rowing:

9:12 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

New Zealand wins its first gold medal of the Games

From CNN's Seamus Fagan

New Zealand's Grace Prendergast (left) and Kerri Gowler celebrate winning gold.
New Zealand's Grace Prendergast (left) and Kerri Gowler celebrate winning gold. Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand won its first gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with victory in the women’s pair rowing.

Duo Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler took gold with a time of 6:50.19 on Thursday morning in Japan. It's also New Zealand’s first ever Olympic gold medal in the event.

The Russian Olympic Committee took silver with a time of 6:51.45, and Canada earned bronze with a time of 6:52.10.

9:02 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Former Olympian Apolo Ohno says the mind of an athlete can be "the world's strongest prison"

Former speed skater Apolo Ohno won eight medals at the Winter Olympics.
Former speed skater Apolo Ohno won eight medals at the Winter Olympics. CNN

American former skating star Apolo Ohno has lent his support to gymnast Simone Biles, saying the world should support athletes "when they need it most."

Biles decided to bow out of the women's individual all-around competition to focus on herself, prompting waves of support from fellow Olympians like eight-time medalist Ohno.

"The mind is the greatest asset or sometimes it's the world's strongest prison. At first glance, you see someone who is the ultimate performer when we often like to portray them as invincible and all of the ideas we want to see from a superhero figure," Ohno told CNN tonight. 
"When we forget they're human we forget they have bad days and we always support athletes when they win and they are champions. When we see them on the stage, we always wish we can or they would like to be. We should also support them when they need it most."
8:43 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Croatia's Sinkovic brothers take gold in rowing men's pair

From CNN's Jill Martin

Martin Sinkovic (left) and Valent Sinkovic celebrate their victory.
Martin Sinkovic (left) and Valent Sinkovic celebrate their victory. Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Croatian brothers Martin Sinkovic and Valent Sinkovic have added to their career Olympic medal haul, winning gold in the rowing men’s pair final.

The brothers had won two medals each at the past two Olympic Games heading into Tokyo 2020.

They won gold together in the double sculls in 2016, and they were part of Croatia's boat to win silver in the quadruple sculls in 2012.

Romania took silver, while Denmark earned bronze.

 

6:09 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Biles and "the twisties": How fear impacts the mental health and physical safety of gymnasts

Analysis by Elle Reeve

American gymnast Simone Biles performs on the vault during the artistic gymnastics final on July 27.
American gymnast Simone Biles performs on the vault during the artistic gymnastics final on July 27. Ashley Landis/AP

The twisties are a mysterious phenomenon, where suddenly a gymnast is no longer able to do a twisting skill she's done thousands of times before.

Your body just won't cooperate, your brain loses track of where you are in the air. You find out where the ground is when you slam into it.

This is what Simone Biles said she experienced in morning practice.

When Biles scratched most of the Olympic team final, she said it was not because of a physical injury, but her mental health. This doesn't mean she felt sad, or didn't have her heart in it to compete. It means that her psychological state put her at significant physical risk. If her brain wouldn't play along with what her body knows how to do, she could be seriously injured.

Flipping and twisting at the same time can be extremely disorienting, you can't just watch where you are with your eyes. You have to feel it. This is proprioception, a sense of where your body is in space and what it's doing.

In gymnastics, this is called "air sense." And Biles is famous for how good hers is.

"She's always had incredible air sense, which is what you need in this sport," her former coach Aimee Boorman told Houstonia magazine in 2015. "She doesn't crash very frequently. Other kids, you'll just see them splat, or get lost in the air. That doesn't happen with her."

Her natural talent is why her missed vault is so stunning. But her decision to scratch makes a lot of sense. When the twisties set in, it's hard to know when they'll go away. But Biles' decision to protect herself marks a shift from the old way gymnastics worked in the US.

"We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we're human, too," she said. "So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do."

4:11 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Former Olympic gymnast says Biles' decision "demonstrates that we have a say in our own health"

American gymnast Dominique Moceanu competes during the beam event at the1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
American gymnast Dominique Moceanu competes during the beam event at the1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Mike Powell/Getty Images

Dominique Moceanu, a member of the 1996 Olympic gold medal gymnastics team, commended Simone Biles' decision to bow out of the women's individual all-around competition to focus on herself.

"I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—'a say' I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian," Moceanu tweeted along with a video of her Olympic performance.

She went on to say, "In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water. When you lose your ability to find the ground—which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision— the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself."

2:16 p.m. ET, July 28, 2021

Simone Biles' sponsors stand by her after she withdraws from Olympic events

From CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn

USA's Simone Biles blows a kiss whilst watching the Men's All-Around Final on July 28.
USA's Simone Biles blows a kiss whilst watching the Men's All-Around Final on July 28. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Simone Biles' sponsors offered statements of support Wednesday following her decision to pull out of Thursday's individual, all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old champion cited mental health concerns as the reason for her earlier withdrawal from Tuesday's team competition during interviews with reporters in Tokyo. Biles may still compete in next week's individual event finals. 

Athleta chief brand officer Kyle Andrew said the sports apparel company stands by Biles and supports her well being "both in and out of competition." Biles signed an endorsement contract with Athleta earlier this year after ending her contract with Nike.

"Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself," Andrew told CNN Business via email on Wednesday. "We are inspired by her leadership today and are behind her every step of the way."

On Tuesday, Biles said she was going to take the rest of the Olympics "one day at a time" as she looks to add to her haul of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Visa, another athlete sponsor, recognizes Biles' "incredibly brave decision," said senior vice president of Global Sponsorship Strategy Andrea Fairchild. The decision "shows how Simone is able to inspire both on and off the mat."

Biles is one of the 102 Olympic athletes Visa sponsors in conjunction with its Team Visa program. "We wish her well in the days ahead," Fairchild added.

Protein shake brand Core Power tweeted Wednesday morning that Biles is "showing us all that her courage and strength extend well beyond the mat."  

"We're in awe of you today and every day," the company added on Twitter along with a goat emoji – a reference to GOAT, or greatest of all time.

Core Power told CNN Business it has partnered with Biles for the last six years and that she has been one of its brand ambassadors since 2016. The company launched a new ad campaign featuring Biles on June 29.

"We've supported her physical recovery with Core Power protein shakes, and as a company we unequivocally support her full and complete health," the company said via email.

Team USA sponsor United Airlines didn't immediately respond Wednesday morning to a request for comment. The company told the sports news site Sportico that it has been proud to partner with Biles for years and continues to support her.

Uber Eats, which featured Biles in its "Tonight I'll be eating" commercials late last year, said Wednesday that it also stands by her.

"She has shown true strength both inside and outside of the gym, setting an incredible example for athletes around the world," the company said.