The biggest news out of Tokyo on Thursday was by far American gymnast Sunisa Lee’s clutch performance that won her the gold medal in the individual all-around.
At the start of Olympic gymnastics competition in Tokyo, it would have been foolish to bet on anyone else but Simone Biles to take home gold in the women’s all-around. But when Biles withdrew from the team finals and all-around competition to focus on her mental health, Lee stepped into the spotlight.
Her gold medal continues the legacy of American dominance in women’s gymnastics and cements her place in the sport’s history.
Other upcoming events are stacked with Olympic athletes who have ties to New England, including the women’s soccer quarterfinals, the women’s basketball matchup, early events for the baseball tournament as well as track and field.
Here’s what’s coming up, who and how to watch:
Mass. boxer competes in women’s lightweight round of 16
Boxer Rashida Ellis, a Massachusetts native, competed in the women’s lightweight round of 16 Thursday night. Born in Lynn and raised in Boston, the 25-year-old lightweight, named USA Boxing’s 2019 Elite Female Boxer of the Year, made her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Massachusetts has a rich history in Olympic boxing — and Ellis is adding to it in Tokyo. NBC10 Boston recently visited the Lynn gym where she trains.
Ellis fell to British boxer Caroline Sara Dubois Thursday night in the round of 16.
The full schedule for streaming coverage of Olympic boxing can be found here.
US women’s soccer, including players with New England ties, battle Netherlands in quarterfinals
Two Massachusetts sisters and a Connecticut goalkeeper will play with the U.S. women’s soccer team Friday after the team snuck into the quarterfinals thanks to a draw against Australia Tuesday.
The USWNT, which placed second in Group G, knows how dangerous the quarterfinal round can be. The team fell to Sweden in the round of eight at the 2016 Rio Olympics, failing to medal for the first time in Olympic history. The Americans had brought home gold in all four prior Games.
The team has already overcome adversity in Tokyo, though. The U.S. followed up a stunning 3-0 opening defeat to Sweden with a comfortable 6-1 win over New Zealand before drawing Australia to secure a quarterfinals berth. Now, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Co. turn their attention to fending elimination and winning the U.S. another gold.
The Olympics are a family affair for Kristie Mewis and Sam Mewis, two sisters and standout soccer players from Hanson, Massachusetts. Born in Weymouth, Kristie went to Boston College and Sam, less than two years younger, went to UCLA. The duo play midfield for the U.S. Women’s National Team, the first appearance for each at the Games.This Nov. 27, 2020, file photo shows sisters Kristie Mewis and Samantha Mewis of the United States celebrate together after their win over the Netherlands at Rat Verlegh Stadion in Breda, Netherlands.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, made her first Olympic appearance in Rio and is back in action for the U.S. Women’s National Team in Tokyo.
The Netherlands has been an offensive force in Tokyo. The Dutch women topped Group F with seven points and scored 21 goals in three games. The quarterfinal tilt kicks off at 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Watch the game on NBCSN or Telemundo. Click here for to stream live.
Meet Local Olympic Athletes
Track and field competition gets off and running, with Maine native among them
The track and field competition in Tokyo begins with a full day of action and a New England native among the athletes.
The first session began at 8 p.m. ET Thursday with heats in six events: men’s high jump, men’s steeplechase, men’s discus, women’s 800m, men’s 400m hurdles and women’s 100m.
JuVaughn Harrison (men’s high jump), Athing Mu (women’s 800m) and Rai Benjamin (men’s 400m hurdles) are among the U.S. medal contenders who began their events.
The second session begins at 6 a.m. ET Friday and will see the first track and field medals of the 2020 Olympics awarded. The session features women’s 5000m heats, women’s triple jump qualification, women’s shot put qualification and 4x400m mixed relay heats. Keturah Orji (women’s triple jump), Jessica Ramsey (women’s shot put), Raven Saunders (women’s shot put) and a star-studded women’s 4x400m relay team that has won six straight Olympic titles headline the Team USA participants.
Rachel Schneider, who is from Sanford, Maine, and went to high school in Dover, New Hampshire, will be running the women’s 5,000-meter in Tokyo, her Olympic debut, shortly after 6 a.m.
The night concludes with the men’s 10,000m final. Grant Fisher, Woody Kincaid and Joe Klecker will be competing for the U.S.
Team USA faces Japan in women’s basketball
The U.S. women’s basketball team puts its 50-game Olympic winning streak on the line against Japan in a Group B matchup at 12:40 a.m. ET on Friday.
The Americans handled Nigeria by a score of 81-72 in their opener on Tuesday. A’ja Wilson led the charge with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while U.S. flag bearer Sue Bird dished out 13 points while being held scoreless.Sue Bird #6 of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team smiles before the game against the Nigeria Women’s National Team on July 18, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bird and two of her teammates, Diana Taurasi and Breanna Stewart, all have ties to Connecticut. Bird and Taurasi graduated from UConn in 2002 and 2005, respectively, helping the Huskies to multiple championships. Stewart had quite a college career at the University of Connecticut, winning four NCAA women’s basketball championships in four years.
Team USA is aiming for its seventh straight Olympic gold. The team hasn’t been beaten on the Olympic stage since the semifinals at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Japan beat France 74-70 in its first Group B contest. Saki Hayashi scored a game-high 12 points for the host nation.
Watch on USA Network or stream live here.
US opens baseball tournament against Israel
Japan started off the Olympic baseball tournament with a bang on Wednesday, beating the Dominican Republic on a walk-off single. On Friday, the U.S. makes its return to the Olympic diamond for the first time since 2008, when it won the bronze medal.
The Team USA roster blends experience with promise, including two athletes with New England ties.
Red Sox infield prospect Triston Casas, currently playing for the Portland Sea Dogs, will be on the U.S. baseball team at the Tokyo Olympics. Boston picked Casas in the first round of the 2018 draft.
Jack Lopez of the Worcester Red Sox has bounced around the minor leagues since being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2012, but will be an Olympian for Team USA in Tokyo.
Additionally, Todd Frazier, Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Gose and David Robertson bring MLB experience, while Casas, Simeon Woods Richardson and Shane Baz are promising prospects. Another U.S. star is infielder Eddy Alvarez, who has already been under the Olympic spotlight in Tokyo as one of the American flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony.
Israel’s roster features some notable ex-big leaguers in Ian Kinsler, Danny Valencia and Ty Kelly. The team is ranked No. 24 in the World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings, while the U.S. comes in at No. 4. First pitch between the two sides is at 6 a.m. ET on Friday.
Baseball was a demonstration sport in six Olympics before gaining full-time status in 1992. The sport was then voted off the Olympic program for 2012 and 2016 before being brought back for the 2020 Games. It will be removed from the 2024 slate in Paris, but it could return for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.