USA's Sunisa Lee wins gold in the women's individual all-around gymnastics final
Sunisa Lee of Team USA has won the gold medal in women's individual all-around gymnastics final.
The 18-year-old is the fifth American woman in a row to win the event and is the first ever Hmong-American Olympic gymnast.
USA's Simone Biles — who had been favored to win the event — dropped out to focus on her mental health.
Lee scored 57.433 points to edge out Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, who won the silver.
Andrade, who becomes Brazil's first ever women's gymnastics medalist, scored 57.298.
The Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Melnikova finished with the bronze.
Lee’s stunning victory was sealed with Biles watching and celebrating in the stands at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Team USA has now won the women's all-around at each of the past five Olympic Games, since Simona Amanar’s victory for Romania at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Thursday’s victory also sees Team USA draw level with the Soviet Union with a record six wins in the event – the Soviet Union winning the event six times between 1952 and 1988.
8:00 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
Novak Djokovic thankful for tennis scheduling amid "brutal" Tokyo conditions
From CNN's Ben Church
Novak Djokovic progressed into the semifinals of the men's tennis competition after beating Japan's Kei Nishikori in straight sets -- 6-2 6-0 -- at Ariake Tennis Park on Thursday.
The Serbian said he was relieved the match was played later in the Tokyo afternoon, offering some welcome relief from the extreme heat.
“It’s great that we’re playing in the afternoon hours, so we don’t experience too much heat, although it’s still very, very humid," he said after the win. "It’s a bit easier, more pleasant to play in the afternoon."
It comes after Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) player Daniil Medvedev raised concerns about playing in the heat earlier this week.
He appeared to struggle during his third round men's singles match against Italian Fabio Fognini and asked the chair umpire who would take responsibility if he were to die on court.
Tennis organizers moved the start time for tennis matches to 3 p.m. local beginning on Thursday after more players expressed dissatisfaction with the playing conditions.
The new start time made all the difference for Djokovic, who is chasing the first ever men's "Golden Slam."
“It was fantastic. Playing after five [o'clock local time] is completely different," he added. "Obviously, there is a little bit of a breeze, but still very, very humid, you sweat a lot, but you don’t have the heat, you don’t have the sun that in combination with the humidity, it’s just brutal.”
7:21 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
Simone Biles is at the women’s all-around gymnastics final as she cheers on Team USA
From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London
Simone Biles is at the women’s all-around gymnastics final, which is underway at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on Thursday.
Sitting in the stands, Biles waved and cheered on her fellow Team USA gymnasts competing in the event.
Victory for Team USA in Thursday’s all-around event would see them equal the Soviet Union’s all-time record of six wins.
6:56 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
Women's all-around gymnastics final is underway
From CNN's George Ramsay at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre
There’s quite a bit of process and protocol going into each Olympic venue -- temperature checks, hand sanitization and security scans. That’s the case at Tokyo’s Ariake Gymnastics Centre, where the women’s all-around gymnastics final is now underway.
The buildup to this event has been dominated by Simone Biles’ withdrawal on Wednesday. The four-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning all-around champion is protecting her mental health, USA Gymnastics said, having stepped away from the team competition earlier this week.
Biles was the top qualifier ahead of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade and teammate Sunisa Lee for the all-around competition. Those two will likely face strong competition from Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) athletes Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova, who formed part of the squad that took team gold ahead of the US on Tuesday.
Sydney 2000 Olympics was the last time an athlete outside the US won all-around gold. Could that run be about to end?
7:14 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
Japan Medical Association fears medical system will collapse if Covid-19 surge continues
From CNN's Chie Kobayashi, Arthur Syin and Chandler Thornton
The Japan Medical Association, the country's largest association of doctors, issued an emergency request to Japan's capital to enhance urgency surrounding the Covid-19 surge.
The head of the association, Toshio Nakagawa, called on people to work remotely and complete vaccinations for people aged between 40 and 64, in a televised address on Thursday.
“We think the medical system will collapse, if this spread of infection continues," Nakagawa said, adding that medical workers are feeling the strain of the spike in cases.
“We have to take all the measures to avoid the explosion of infection and medical system goes under strain," Nakagawa added.
"As a person who is engaged in medicine, we’d like to issue our emergency statement to the government.
"We hope this will be reflected in the future measurement."
The association also urged the government to make more vaccines available to the public.
Tokyo reported a record number of new cases Thursday for the third consecutive day, adding 3,865 new cases. Nationwide, Japan reported 10,385 new cases -- the first time the country has topped 10,000 new cases since the pandemic began.
This comes as the Games continues full steam ahead, nearing the end of its sixth day of official competition. Tokyo 2020 has reported 198 cases linked to the Games so far.
6:08 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
How Caeleb Dressel prepared for the Olympics during a pandemic
From CNN's Coy Wire and Matias Grez
US swimming superstar Caeleb Dressel has already won two gold medals at Tokyo 2020 -- and he's aiming for five more.
As with every athlete competing at these Olympic Games, Dressel's preparation was derailed last year by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of us around the world struggled to find motivation, fight boredom and avoid unhealthy food binges during lockdown ... and Dressel was no different.
For somebody with a sweet tooth -- Dressel says his dream cheat meal is scoffing an entire family pack of Oreos -- it was particularly difficult sharing a house with an excellent baker!
His trainer tailored his workout plans to ensure the 24-year-old didn't burn out during the additional year of Olympic preparation -- and it's clearly been working.
You can watch some of those unusual training sessions in the video above ... including the unconventional workout of Dressel bailing water.
Team Great Britain's headquarters in Tokyo may have some of the strictest Covid-19 measures
From CNN's Rebecca Wright
CNN visited Team Great Britain's headquarters in Tokyo and found some of the strictest Covid-19 safety measures in place, which go well beyond Tokyo 2020 and International Olympic Committee guidelines.
The team has taken over an elementary school along the waterfront overlooking Tokyo Bay for athlete training and medical services. They have emblazoned the Union Jack design over the walls of the four-story building, and even have a rooftop garden with Union Jack deck chairs for the athletes to relax.
There is almost a blanket ban on in-person interviews until after the athletes have completed all of their events.
This is partly for preventing a potential infection, which could force athletes to drop out of the Games. The other reason for this is so the athletes can stay mentally focused.
To access the waterside complex, the CNN team went through a rigorous testing process.
Members of the media team took a rapid antigen test, also known as a lateral flow test, which give results within 15 minutes. The tests are not as accurate as PCR tests, but provide a quick indication of positive cases.
The test is self-administered, guided by a member of the Team GB contingent. The media personnel has to swab their own throat and nostrils with a long cotton swab, which is then dropped into a fluid solution in a tube. That solution is then dropped onto a small plastic testing device. After 15 minutes the results appear, showing one line for negative or two lines for positive -- similar to a pregnancy test.
After the CNN team tested negative, it was allowed to continue to the fourth-floor rooftop, where media teams are lined up to speak to their medal-winning athletes. Interviews are conducted in the outdoor rooftop space, with the reporter and athlete standing two meters apart, maintaining social distance.
The interaction lasts under 10 minutes, a sign that even though Covid-19 cases are going up rapidly at home in the UK, the team on the ground in Tokyo is taking every precaution.
4:58 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
World record holder Armand Duplantis "shocked" after rival is ruled out of Olympics
From CNN's Aleks Klosok
Sweden’s world record pole vaulter Armand Duplantis said on Thursday that he was “shocked” to learn of Sam Kendricks’ positive Covid-19 test which has ruled the American out of Tokyo 2020.
“It’s just very scary,” Duplantis told reporters at a press conference at the Olympic Village. “As far as an hour ago, I was still preparing myself for a big battle with Sam (Kendricks). He’s one of my main rivals, and somebody who was definitely going to push me in the final. “I'm kind of shocked […] It still feels like somehow, someway he's (Sam Kendricks) going to be able to compete, but you know this is not looking good for him. It's hard to explain the feeling.”
The Swede confirmed that he hadn’t had any contact with Kendricks and would be taking extra precautions before the men’s pole vault competition begins on Saturday.
“I’ll just try to not go out of the way and do anything that's unnecessary (or might put) me at higher risk of catching Covid,” Duplantis said.
Kendricks won bronze at the Rio Olympics and was the 2017 and 2019 world champion in the event.
4:47 a.m. ET, July 29, 2021
Mental health and severe heat are two big issues at Tokyo 2020. The IOC just spoke about both
From CNN's Gawon Bae
The pressure of competing in the Olympics and Tokyo's severe heat have been impacting athletes' mental and physical health at the Summer Games, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it is working on both those fronts.
The IOC said it offers a 24-hour hotline available in 70 languages, a "safeguarding officer" within Tokyo's Olympic Village and six free counseling sessions for athletes.
"I think we can always, as individuals and as representatives, we can always do more, and that’s what the Commission is working on. We’ve got to consistently stay engaged with all of our athlete representatives," IOC mental health support chair Kirsty Coventry said in a Tokyo 2020 daily press briefing Thursday.
This comes after US gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the individual all-around competition to focus on her mental health, putting a spotlight on the issue.
Biles acknowledged the "outpouring love & support" she's received since announcing she would not compete in the women's individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics to focus on her well-being.
"[T]he outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before," Biles tweeted.
It remains unclear if the six-time Olympic medalist will compete in other events.
Tokyo heat: The committee is also working to prevent heat illnesses, particularly heat stroke, during the Games, Tokyo 2020's medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said.
Budgett pointed to provisions such as changed formats, giving 10-minute cool-down breaks and stopping the match when the temperature rises over 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit), saying the committee has been “very well prepared” for the heat situation, particularly for tennis events.
Additionally, the committee has been working with local experts to prevent heat stroke as the athletes push themselves, he said.