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While you were sleeping: Why Pavan, Humana-Paredes should be on your Olympic radar

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Welcome to our daily guide to the Tokyo Olympics of can’t-miss events and the headlines you need to start your day. All times ET.

Your morning cheat sheet

Two years after qualifying, Canadians Melissa Humana-Parades and Sarah Pavan take beach volleyball opener
Canada’s pair of reigning beach volleyball world champions walked through a straight sets win over the Netherlands in its first pool play match, taking the bout 21-16, 21-14. Melissa Humana-Parades and Sarah Pavan, who qualified all the way back in 2019 when they won the world championships, started out slow but pulled away by the middle of the first set, shaking away some early Olympics nerves.

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“I was shaking like a leaf,” Humana-Parades said after the match. “I was so nervous. I think both of us were. In the warm-up we were just trying to shake it out. But once you get out there and you play volleyball you just kind of forget about it.”

It was a business-like win in the end as the pair looks toward its next match against Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude, which gets on airwaves Sunday at 11 p.m. ET.

‘We are more than athletes’: Canada’s Olympic rugby women open up about representation, Indigenous issues
The Canadian women’s Olympic rugby team held a news conference early Saturday morning to talk about a variety of concerns on their minds going into the tournament. As the entire team addressed the virtual gathering, captain Ghislaine Landry was adamant that four prepared questions be read in a specific order — meaning they’d make statements, both in English and French, on a bullying and harassment claim against their former coach, on racial equality and on the discovery of the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children in unmarked graves at residential school sites before talk turned to their preparation over the past 12 months.

“A year ago, our team would be sitting here solely talking about the game — and the game is important to us and we are ready for that,” said Charity Williams, who made powerful remarks on the importance of representation. “But as we know, we are more than athletes. This is what it looks like when you decolonize your space.”

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Beckie rebounds to score twice for Canada in win against Chile at Olympic women’s soccer tournament
Janine Beckie rebounded from missing a first-half penalty kick and scored twice for Canada in its second game of the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It should be enough for Canada to get into the quarter-finals, after opening the tournament with a 1-1 draw against host Japan and the powerful Mana Iwabuchi.

“It’s frustrating to miss a penalty and miss an opportunity to put the team up early in the game, that would have been ideal,” Beckie said. “But it happens; you can’t score if you don’t shoot. I stepped up to take it and will continue to step up to take them. But to respond from the penalty miss is important to me and my job for this team is to score goals.

“I have great players around me that create scoring opportunities for me, so to be able to reward the team with two goals is great. We came here to win and to be able to help by scoring two goals makes me happy.”

People were not into IOC head Thomas Bach’s 13 minute-long speech at the opening ceremony
Thomas Bach’s 13-minute speech at the 3.5-hour opening ceremony was rewarded with ire on social media and in traditional Japanese media. At a Games touting gender parity — almost 49 per cent of the field are women — Bach’s speech nearly doubled female host Seiko Hashimoto.

“From tomorrow, we’ll give Bach the nickname ‘the guy who gives long speeches’,” user @Riko_Murai wrote in a tweet reposted 7,730 times and received over 20,000 likes.

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Canadian swimmer Sydney Pickrem, citing non-COVID medical reasons, pulls out of 400-metre medley to focus on best events
Swimmer Sydney Pickrem withdrew from the 400-metre individual medley on Saturday morning, a decision Swimming Canada said will help the 24-year-old be rested for events that better suit her strengths. Swimming Canada’s statement didn’t reference COVID-19 as a reason for pulling Pickrem from the event.

“With a very busy program that also consists of two other individual events which would have heats, semifinals and finals, and may also include relays, this decision is in the best interest of the athlete at this time,” said Swimming Canada’s national coach, John Atkinson, in a statement.

Pickrem will be in the pool for the 200-metre individual medley, which starts just after 6:30 a.m. ET Monday morning.

The Canadian women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, an event it won bronze in at the 2016 Rio Games, got through to the final after placing third in the first heat. The team, including Penny Oleksiak, came third both in their heat and overall with a time of 3:33.51, close behind Australia and Netherlands.

The final starts at 10:45 p.m. ET Saturday night.

Can’t-miss event of the day

Men’s skateboarding street final
11:25 p.m. ET/8:25 p.m. PT, TSN
A late one, at least if you’re on the East Coast. One of the first medals awarded will come from one of the five new events introduced at the Tokyo Games. One of two skateboarding events — the other in park skateboarding, which is scheduled for the middle of the second week — the street competition takes place on a course with stairs, rails and other aspects that intend to mock real-world obstacles. Matt Berger (Kamloops, B.C.) and Micky Papa (Vancouver B.C.) will be the lone Canadians in the preliminaries — will they make it to the final?

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Photo of the day

Nikhil Kumar of Team USA in action during his men’s singles preliminary round table tennis match on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Nikhil Kumar of Team USA in action during his men’s singles preliminary round table tennis match on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo by Ezra Shaw /Getty Images

TV schedule

8 a.m.   
Gymnastics: Men’s Artistic, TSN, TSN 2 (in progress)
Men’s Beach Volleyball: Netherlands vs. USA, SN
Women’s Soccer: Japan vs. Great Britain, SN 1 (in progress)

8:30 a.m.
Men’s Volleyball: USA vs. France, SN 1

9 a.m.
Men’s and Women’s Boxing: 48-51 kg, TSN
Basketball: Men’s 3×3, TSN 2
Men’s Beach Volleyball: Norway vs. Austria, SN

3 p.m.
Women’s Water Polo: Canada vs. Australia, TSN (encore)

3:30 p.m. 
Men’s Cycling: Road Race, SN (encore)

4:15 p.m.
Women’s Soccer: Chile vs. Canada, TSN (encore)

8 p.m.   
Rowing: Heats, TSN 2
Women’s Beach Volleyball: USA vs. Latvia, SN 1

8:30 p.m.
Rowing, CBC

9 p.m.
Gymnastics: Women’s Artistic, TSN
Women’s Softball: Australia vs. USA, SN 1

9:30 p.m.
Swimming, CBC

10 p.m. 
Women’s Shooting, SN

10:30 p.m. 
Men’s Skateboarding, TSN 2

11 p.m. 
Rowing, CBC
Women’s Beach Volleyball: Australia vs. Cuba, SN
Tennis, SN 1

EARLY SUNDAY
12 a.m.   
Women’s Cycling: Road Race, SN

12:15 a.m.
Men’s and Women’s Boxing, TSN

1:30 a.m. 
Softball: Canada vs. Japan, TSN

2 a.m. 
Women’s Diving: 3m Synchro Final, CBC
Gymnastics: Women’s Artistic, TSN 2

2:30 a.m. 
Weightlifting: Men’s 61 kg Final, SN 1

3:30 a.m. 
Tennis: Singles, Mixed Doubles, TSN

With files from Matt Scace, Gordon Anderson, Derek van Diest, Wes Gilbertson, Scott Stinson

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