Even though the Olympic opening ceremony was just this morning, the long-awaited Tokyo Games are already riddled in controversy, emotional stories and outright strange occurrences.
With over 600 Team USA athletes, 27 of which have Austin ties, and dozens of stories from those whos dreams are finally realized, there's a lot to keep up with. Here's a few tips and tricks to get you started:
How to watch
Up to 44% of U.S. households no longer have cable, and the number is growing as more households cut the cord. Unfortunately, both the Olympics and NBC rely on ad revenue from cable channels as part of their business plan. So if you have full service, just grab your remote and go!
If not, here are a few ways you could access some competitions:
- If you're looking to go old-school, there's always the option of grabbing your grandma's old antenna or buying one yourself. With an antenna, which usually ranges in price from $10-40, you can get access to channels basic channels, including Olympics broadcaster NBC, while avoiding monthly fees. Check out tips and tricks to getting an antenna here.
- Peacock, NBC's streaming cousin, is acting as an off-brand version of the cable channel for Olympics coverage. The app will stream five hours of coverage daily, starting with a morning show by their own hosts and ending with events including women's gymnastics and track and field. Every event will be delayed by at least 24 hours, however, and you won't be able to rewind anything unless you have a $4.99 monthly subscription. With the subscription, you'll also have on-demand live access to U.S. men's basketball events.
- If these two don't work for you, head over to that really good friend of yours with cable. There's also always the tried-and-true trick of sharing cable usernames and passwords (you didn't hear this from us) or waiting for highlights to surface on social media or YouTube.
Austin watch parties
While many sports bars across Austin will be watching the world's games on the big screen, some are better suited than others for an immersive party experience. Here's a few suggestions we have for watching Team USA competitions:
- Haymaker Austin is the undisputed headquarters for American Outlaws, or fans of the U.S. men's and women's soccer teams. They've already slated out a watch party for Saturday's match vs. New Zealand and are expected to open early whenever needed to watch their favorite team play. Learn more about Saturday's early-morning watch party and upcoming drink specials here.
- Black Sheep Lodge, a sport's lover's paradise, played the Olympics all two weeks long back in 2016, and they're back with drink specials and constant streaming this go-round. Learn more here.
- Gibson Street Bar on South Lamar was another fan favorite in 2016 and features food from trailer Luke's Inside Out parked out front.
- Plucker's Wing Bar, with locations around Austin, told Austonia they would be playing the Olympics all two weeks long.
Day 1: July 23
- Opening ceremony- 6:55 a.m.
- Men's and Women's beach volleyball prelims- 8 p.m.
- Men's gymnastics qualification- 9 p.m.
- Softball opening round- 9 p.m.
- 3x3 Basketball men's and women's pool play- 9:15 p.m.
- Men's and women's swimming heats- 9 p.m.
Day 2: July 24
Team USA 🇺🇸 takes Game 2️⃣ of #TokyoOlympics with 1-0 shutout win over No. 3 Canada.— USA Softball Women's National Team 🇺🇸 (@USASoftballWNT) July 22, 2021
📰 RECAP » https://t.co/XQohdiuIs3
The 🔴⚪️🔵 return for Game 3️⃣ against No. 5 Mexico on Saturday, July 24 at 1:30 a.m. ET. pic.twitter.com/rpw7wqIFdK
Wake up bright and early—or hit record—to see San Marcos resident and UT alum Cat Osterman with Team USA as the softball team takes on border rival Mexico and Australia. Simone Biles and Co. will also make an appearance for the women's gymnastic competition, and swimming medal rounds for today include the women's 100m butterfly final, the men's 100m breaststroke final, the women's 400m freestyle final and the men's 4 x 100m freestyle relay final.
- Softball USA vs. Mexico- 1:30 a.m.
- Women's beach volleyball, USA vs. China- 8 p.m.
- Women's gymnastics qualification- 9 p.m.
- Softball USA vs. Australia- 9 p.m.
- Swimming finals- 9:30 p.m.
Day 3: July 25
Tell me you’re at the Olympics without telling me you’re at the Olympics 🤩🤩 pic.twitter.com/gYV4cRhtJ1— Krysta Palmer (@PalmerKrysta) July 19, 2021
Osterman will be back against Japan, men's basketball featuring Kevin Durant will have their debut vs. France after a rocky start and watch Austinite Alison Gibson go for the gold in the women's synchronized 3m diving competition.
- Women's diving 3m springboard- 1 a.m.
- Men's soccer group play-Brazil vs. Ivory Coast- 4:30 a.m.
- Men's and Women's fencing medal rounds- 6:50 a.m.
- Men's basketball preliminary round- USA vs. France - 8 a.m.
- Softball opening round - USA vs. Japan - 9 p.m.
Day 4: July 26
- Men's synchronized diving 10m platform final- 2 a.m.
- Men's gymnastics team final- 6 a.m.
- Women's volleyball vs. Argentina- 9:15 p.m.
- Swimming finals- Men's 200m freestyle, Women's 100m backstroke, Men's 100m backstroke, Women's 100m backstroke 9:30 p.m.
Day 5: July 27
Softball and Biles and crew go for the gold. Meanwhile, the women's basketball team, including UT alum Ariel Atkins, start their preliminary rounds, and Texas stars Remedy Rule and Erica Sullivan fight for the finals in swimming.
- Softball bronze medal game- 12 a.m.
- Women's basketball preliminary round-USA vs. Nigeria- 12:40 a.m.
- Women's gymnastics team final- 6:45 a.m.
- Softball gold medal game- 7 a.m.
- Swimming finals- Women's 200m butterfly, Men's 200m butterfly, Women's 1500m freestyle, Men's 4 x 200m freestyle relay 9:40 p.m.
- Men's and Women's cycling time trial medal rounds - 10:30 p.m.
Day 6: July 28
Men's basketball comes into play once again. Men's golf begins, including Venezuelan and Texas alum Johnnatan Vegas, and the U.S. women's water polo team gets their start.
- Men's basketball group play-USA vs. Iran- 12:40 a.m.
- Women's water polo-USA vs. Hungary-1 a.m.
- Men's gymnastics individual all-around final- 6:15 a.m.
- 3x3 basketball Men's and Women's medal matches- 7:45 a.m.
- Men's golf round one- 6:30 p.m.
- Swimming finals- Men's 800m freestyle, Men's 200m breaststroke, Women's 200m butterfly, Women's 4 x 200 freestyle relay - 9:30 p.m.
Day 7: July 29
Group play for women's gymnastics may be over, but individual work is where Biles truly shines. She'll be looking to make history today. Meanwhile, US women's volleyball, golf and men's water polo continue. Track and field begin, including the highly-contested women's 100m heats, which will feature Texas alum Teahna Daniels for Team USA.
- Men's water polo group play-USA vs. Italy- 1 a.m.
- Women's gymnastics individual all-around final- 6:40 a.m.
- Track and field heats-Women's 800m, Men's 400m hurdles, Women's 100m- 8:50 p.m.
- Swimming finals-Women's 200m breaststroke, Men's 200m backstroke, Women's 100m freestyle, Men's 200m individual medley- 9:30 p.m.
Day 8: July 30
- Men's beach volleyball-USA vs Italy- 8 a.m.
- Women's basketball-USA vs. Japan- 12:40 a.m.
- Women's soccer quarterfinals- 4 a.m.
- Baseball opening round- USA vs. Israel- 6:30 a.m.
- Swimming finals- Men's 100m butterfly, Women's 200m backstroke, Women's 800m freestyle, Mixed 100m medley- 9:30 p.m.
Day 9: July 31
Things begin heating up in track and field. The women's 100m-dash, men's discus and men's 4 x 400m mixed relay see their finals today, as do men's golf and several swimming events. Meanwhile, the men's soccer quarterfinals and women's rugby sevens finals begin today as men's boxing begins to wrap up.
- Trampoline final- 12:30 a.m
- Men's soccer quarterfinals- 4 a.m.
- Women's rugby sevens medal matches- 4:30 a.m.
- Track and field finals, Men's discus, 4x400m mixed relay, Women's 100m- 7:15 a.m.
- Men's basketball-USA vs. Czech Republic- 8 a.m.
- Men's golf final round- 6:30 p.m.
- Swimming finals-Men's 50m freestyle, Women's 50m freestyle, Men's 1500m freestyle, Women's 4 x 100m medley relay, Men's 4 x 100m medley relay- 9:30 p.m.
- Men's boxing semifinals - welterweight, light heavyweight- 11 p.m.
Day 10: August 1
Biles will attempt to perform the world's most dangerous vault- the Yurchenko double pike, which has never been successfully done at the Olympics- as part of several men's and women's individual gymnastics finals. Steffin McCarter, a former UT men's long jumper, could see the finals as track and field continues, and for some old-fashioned fun, check out the men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals.
- Gymnastics finals-Men's floor exercise, Women's vault, Men's pommel horse, Women's uneven bars- 4:30 a.m.
- Men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals- 5:15 a.m.
- Track and field finals-Men's high jump, Women's triple jump, Men's 100m- 6:10 a.m.
- Men's long jump, Women's 100m hurdles, Women's discus, Men's 3000m steeplechase, Women's 5000m- 9:20 p.m.
Day 11: August 2
Gold medal rounds for badminton come into play all day, the wrestling finals end, and Team USA (hopefully) enters the quarterfinals for men's basketball. UT alum Tara Davis looks to be in the finals for women's long jump.
- Badminton finals- 6 a.m, 12 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
- Gymnastics finals-Men's rings, Women's floor exercise, Men's vault- 4:15 a.m.
- Men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals and finals- 5:15 a.m.
- Men's basketball quarterfinals- 9 p.m.
- Track and field finals-Women's long jump, Men's 400m hurdles, Men's pole vault, Women's hammer throw, women's 200m- 9:50 p.m.
Day 12: August 3
Meet Adam Ondra. Adam is participating for the Czech Republic in the new Olympic sport of Sport Climbing— UNDRAFTED sports (@UndraftedMedia) July 15, 2021
Adam Started climbing at age 6; Seven-time World Cup gold medalist. He is frequently considered one of the best climbers in the world#sportclimbing #olympics @AdamOndraCZ pic.twitter.com/3XKphTyvjY
Cyclers go for a gold-medal finish, women's basketball reaches the quarterfinals and track and field stars push to new heights as the men's pole vault final begins. Sport Climbing makes its debut as an Olympic sport early in the morning.
- Sport climbing Olympic debut- 3 a.m.
- Gymnastics finals-Men's parallel bars, Women's balance beam, Men's horizontal bar- 4 a.m.
- Cycling finals-Women's team pursuit and Men's team sprint medal rounds- 4:15 a.m.
- Men's pole vault finals- 5:20 a.m.
- Women's basketball quarterfinals- 9 p.m.
- Track and field finals- Women's 400m hurdles, Men's hammer throw, Men's 800m, Men's 20m- 10:30 p.m.
Day 13- August 4
The equestrian's individual competition, making its debut in the Olympics this year and features Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica Springsteen on Team USA, comes to a close. The first baseball semifinal match is held, boxing semifinals continue, and men's weightlifting comes to an end.
- Boxing semifinals-Women's flyweight, Women's welterweight, Men's Super heavyweight- 1 a.m.
- Baseball semifinal # 1- 6 a.m.
- Equestrian jumping individual final- 6 a.m.
- Men's weightlifting (+109kg) final- 6:50 a.m.
- Track and field finals- Men's triple jump, Men's shot put, Women's pole vault, Men's 400m- 10 p.m.
Day 14: August 5
One of our 10 to watch in Tokyo, April Ross is hoping to bring home her first gold in beach volleyball. pic.twitter.com/PWAFq6U8To— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) July 22, 2021
The men's basketball semifinal begins as the baseball semifinals continue. Women's beach volleyball and women's soccer see their medal matches as the USWNT fights for redemption and another gold. Karate begins its medal matches.
- Karate semifinals, final- 5 a.m.
- Men's basketball semifinal #1- 12:15 a.m.
- Baseball semifinal- 6 a.m.
- Men's basketball semifinal- 7 a.m.
- Women's beach volleyball medal matches- 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m.
- Women's soccer gold medal match- 10 p.m.
Day 15: August 6
Updates from #Tokyo2020— RAF🇷🇼 (@RwandaAthletics) July 20, 2021
👱♀️ Marthe Yankurije
They entered the Olympic Village.
🗓 : On 30th July Marthe will compete in 5000m
🗓 :on 08/08 John will compete in Full Marathon
📽:@RwandaOlympic 👏 pic.twitter.com/NkTQMmIDKy
The men's basketball championship match is today, alongside the semifinal matches for women's basketball. Women's field hockey and men's beach volleyball host their gold medal matches. The longest-running (get it) sport in the Olympics, the marathon, takes place for the women's competition.
- Women's basketball semifinal #1- 12:40 a.m.
- Women's field hockey gold medal match- 6 a.m.
- Women's basketball semifinal #2- 7 a.m.
- Track and field finals- Women's Javelin, Men's 5000m, Women's 400m, Women's 4 x 100m relay, Men's 4 x 100 relay - 7:50 a.m.
- Women's marathon- 6 p.m.
- Women's golf final round- 6:30 p.m.
- Men's basketball gold medal game- 10:30 p.m.
Day 16: August 7
Behind every success, there are is a support system cheering you on. 💪@DiverJordan, 'Team Jordan' have a message for you. ❤️#StrongerTogether@TeamUSA | @USADiving | @fina1908 pic.twitter.com/78fctYCFpe— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
UT alum Jordan Windle hopes to see himself in the finals for the high-flying 10m platform diving competition. Men's soccer, baseball, women's basketball and mixed boxing competitions see their gold medal finals today.
- Boxing finals- Men's flyweight, Women's flyweight, Men's middleweight, Women's welterweight - 1 a.m.
- Men's diving 10m platform final- 2 a.m.
- Men's baseball gold medal game- 6 a.m.
- Track and field finals-Women's high jump, Men's Javelin, Men's 1,500m, Women's 4 x 400m, Men's 4 x 400m- 6:35 a.m.
- Men's soccer gold medal match- 7:30 a.m.
- Men's marathon- 6 p.m.
- Women's basketball gold medal match- 10:30 p.m.
Day 17: August 8
The U.S. Women 🇺🇲 got their first look at Ariake Arena on Thursday. They will play their first Olympic match there on Sunday at 7:05 pm PT against Argentina. #GoUSA #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/B5sC1FWnpf— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) July 22, 2021
The OIympics are wrapping up! Catch a last-minute volleyball, boxing or men's water polo match before the closing ceremony begins at 7 a.m.
- Women's volleyball gold medal match- 12:30 a.m.
- Boxing finals- Women's lightweight, Men's lightweight, Women's middleweight, Men's super heavyweight- 1:30 a.m.
- Men's water polo gold medal match- 3:30 a.m
- 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics closing ceremony- 7 a.m.
For a full Olympic schedule, click here.
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Austinites love their pets and even more so, they love to name them Charlie and Luna, according to the latest report.
The two names topped both top male and female categories for dogs and cats in the annual end-of-year report from Rover, a site for dog care. While the names Charlie and Luna topped the Austin lists, they came in second nationally. Luna goes on another year of reigning, while Charlie climbed up to the top spot this year.
Top dog names of 2021 in Austin
Top cat names of 2021 in Austin
But that's not to say the year's events and other factors didn't have an impact on how people named their furry friends. Here are some notable trends seen this year in Austin pet names.
- Food-inspired names: Hershey is up 1,030% for dogs, while Sushi is up 944% and Bean is up 544% for cats.
- Alcohol-inspired names: Tequila is up 630% and Merlot is up 330% for dogs.
- Olympics: Manny, after Puerto Rican skateboarder Manny Santiago, is up 730% for dogs. Amber, inspired by U.S. Women’s Skeet Shooting Gold Medalist Amber English, is up 730%.
- Pop-culture: Dogs named Greta are trending up 930%, which could be inspired by rock band Greta Van Fleet.
- COVID: For the first time in Austin, the dog names Rona and Zoom made the list.
- Austin weather: Storm is the most popular new-to-the-list name for cats. Snow was also new to the list.
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Looks like Austin FC is cleaning house—and they're taking a few Verde faves out ahead of the 2022 season.
Following the retirement of defender Matt Besler, the club's original 33-man roster was trimmed to 22 in roster changes announced Tuesday.
(From top left) Players Emmanuel Perez, Jared Stroud, Ben Sweat, Aaron Schoenfield, Brady Scott, Aedan Stanley, Kekuta Manneh and Sebastian Berhalter will not be with Austin FC for the 2022 season. (mlssoccer.com)
Austin FC declined its contract options for six players, including:
- Kekuta Manneh
- Aaron Schoenfeld
- Brady Scott
- Aedan Stanley
- Jared Stroud
- Ben Sweat
Stroud became an early fan favorite for the team after helping teammate Diego Fagundez to the team's first goal in April, racking up a second assist just one match later with another Fagundez goal. After a few months of limited appearances, Stroud started once again in November and attempted his first MLS goal, but no dice.
Manneh, a forward, showed promise as Austin FC's first Austinite: a Gambia native, Manneh played soccer in the Texas capital while in high school and early in his professional career. Manneh showed energy on the pitch but never saw his efforts translate to the stat board.
By the start of the season, Sweat had secured a starting spot as left back for Austin FC but tore his ACL in the Colorado Rapids match on April 17, putting him off the pitch for the remainder of the season.
Both under 23, Stanley and Scott saw few appearances to the Verde pitch. In May, Scott went on loan to play as goalkeeper for USL Championship side Memphis 901. Schoenfield, a 31-year-old forward, has played briefly for various MLS and USL teams as well as professional teams in Israel.
Austin FC also announced that they would not exercise the transfer options for Sebastian Berhalter and Emmanuel Perez, both of whom spent the 2021 season in Verde on loan.
Berhalter, the son of U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, filled some big shoes in key moments of the season as central midfielder. At just 20, Berhalter started five times in the key position for Captain Alex Ring. Perez made four starts as forward for Austin FC.
(From left) Captain Alex Ring, Will Pulisic and Freddy Kleemann all had their contracts renewed with Austin FC for the 2022 season.
It wasn't all doom and gloom. The club held on to the following for the 2022 season:
- Captain Ring
- Freddy Kleemann
- Will Pulisic
Ring, known as one of the top defensive midfielders in the league, had a rocky but rewarding road as Austin FC's captain in their inaugural season. Despite two red cards that rendered him out of two key matches, Ring tallied four goals and three assists as he led the team throughout the season, earning MLS Team of the Week honors multiple times.
At 22, Kleemann made just three appearances in central midfield for Austin FC but showed potential toward the end of the season. Pulisic wasn't able to start due to fellow goalkeeper Brad Stuver's standout success, but the cousin of Chelsea standout Christian Pulisic has plenty of years left in the tank.
Austin FC now has three goalkeepers, six defenders, seven midfielders and six forwards as the team's brief offseason continues. After the retirement of legendary central midfielder Matt Besler, the team will need to make strong signing options in the back and midfield positions in the MLS SuperDraft and transfer seasons before their first match against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, February 26.
But don't worry about fan favorites Fagundez, Sebastian Driussi or Stuver: all 22 other players are still firmly rooted in place for the upcoming season.
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Just as the world takes a breath from the Delta variant-induced third COVID surge that pushed hospitals past capacity this summer, a new variant—the omicron—is forcing countries around the world to once again consider shutting their doors.
It's too early to tell whether the variant will have the devastating effects of the Delta variant, the Mu variant—which accounted for 3% of U.S. cases before dropping off almost entirely by October—or somewhere in between. But as omicron continues to rise sharply in all provinces of South Africa, the Biden administration is reintroducing some travel restrictions that went into effect Monday.
As the variant spreads to countries around the world, including Canada, the Netherlands and Hong Kong, the World Health Organization declared omicron a "variant of concern"—though some are calling the move premature.
What is omicron?
The omicron variant, B.1.1.529, is now under strict watch from the WHO after quickly spreading throughout Southern Africa.
It's genetically different from the Alpha and Delta variants and has up to 30 mutations in its genetic code, leading some to worry that the risk of retransmission from those who have already had COVID could be high. The strain's mutations could also aid omicron in beating out other strains and spreading more quickly to hosts.
Omicron is the latest version of the coronavirus to cause concern. Here’s what we know about where it’s spread so far and what makes it different than other variants that came before. https://t.co/ncciXnIuw9
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 29, 2021
It appears to be doing the trick. While an Associated Press report found that case numbers in South Africa are still well below other pandemic peaks—3,220 new cases were reported in South Africa on Saturday— up to 90% of new cases in the South African province of Gauteng are omicron.
The strain's effects seem to be mild so far, and hospitals haven't been overburdened yet, though hospitalizations are rising.
And doctors worry that the full extent of the variant hasn't been realized. Vaccine hesitancy is strong among South Africa's youngest population—22% of those aged 18 to 34 are vaccinated—and most of those infected with COVID have been in those younger age groups. Doctors worry that older age groups will be more adversely affected.
And while experts in the country expected a fourth surge and possible variant, the omicron still came as a "shock" as it quickly spread to all nine South African provinces and other continents. It's now the first strain labeled as a "variant of concern" since the Delta variant.
It's unclear if the variant is more immune to vaccines, although some signs indicate that it's a possibility.
Where has it been detected?
Cases of the Covid omicron variant have appeared in more than a dozen countries as of Monday. https://t.co/2bPapBIYK2 pic.twitter.com/idnQ6LjIfH
— NBC News Graphics (@NBCNewsGraphics) November 29, 2021
The omicron strain still hasn't been detected in dozens of countries, and it's far from the first strain to make a mark since Delta. But it's coincided with a quick uptick in cases in South Africa, where it was originally found, and became the dominant strain in Pretoria, a city of around 750,000, in just a few weeks.
Omicron is now present in nearby Botswana and has jumped on board flights to Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Hong Kong has detected three cases, while 10 European nations including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany have found a total of 45 cases. Canada has detected three cases, and none have yet been found in the United States.
What has been done?
Against the wishes of both South Africa and the WHO, several countries have decided to once again shut their doors.
After detecting an omicron case, Israel decided to bar entry to foreigners, while Morocco suspended incoming international air travel for two weeks. Dozens of countries are restricting travel from Southern Africa to South Africa's chagrin—the government said travel restrictions are “akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker.”
The WHO also called for borders to remain open as closing borders appears to have a limited effect on the spread of variants, and many countries are hesitant to clamp down on restrictions that have limited its citizens for so long.
The United States said in a statement Friday that it would restrict travel from eight southern African countries except for citizens and permanent U.S. residents who test negative for the virus.
White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that it's "too early to say" whether tightened COVID restrictions will be needed to combat omicron but that citizens must be ready to do “anything and everything” to prevent its spread.
When will we know more?
The WHO said it will take around two weeks to gauge the full effects of omicron, from its ability to evade vaccines to its contagiousness.
For now, countries have once again urged their citizens to get vaccinated. Some vaccine companies have already spoken about the strain, including Moderna, which said Sunday that a new vaccine that protects against the variant could be released in early 2022 if needed.
For now, Fauci said that the country must "prepare for the worst" just in case omicron becomes the culprit of yet another surge.
“Inevitably, it will be here. The question is will we be prepared for it? If and when, and it’s going to be when, it comes here hopefully we will be ready for it,” Fauci said.
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