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Going for gold under the cloud of COVID-19 makes the Tokyo Summer Games an Olympics like no other. This newsletter is here to help you make sense of it all, with original stories from Globe reporters in Canada and Tokyo, tracking Team Canada’s medal wins, and past Olympic moments from iconic performances. Tokyo Olympics Update is sent every Friday in June and July and twice daily during the Games, which run from July 23 to Aug. 8. You can sign up here. Let us know what you think by e-mailing audience@globeandmail.com.

Good morning, here’s the latest Olympic news:

Once a precocious newcomer, Andre De Grasse is grown up – and locked in on capturing gold

Andre De Grasse of Canada celebrates placing third after the men's 100-metre final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)Paul Gilham/Getty Images South America

Andre De Grasse will be predicted as one of a handful of athletes who could take the crown of fastest man in the world when the men’s 100-metre finals run on Aug. 1. He knows as much, and intends to fulfill those expectations.

“I want to bring back a gold for Canada, whether it’s in the 100 or 200,” he told The Globe’s Rachel Brady.

In the five years between the 2016 Rio Games, where he won bronze in the 100 metres, and the 2021 Games, much has changed for De Grasse. He’s become a father, written a children’s book, suffered hamstring injuries and switched coaches. The 26-year-old, while still relatively new to sprinting and untraditional in his physique compared to other sprinters, isn’t one to bet against, Athletics Canada’s national team head coach Glenroy Gilbert said.

“His résumé is remarkable for such a young guy and I don’t see that changing in Tokyo,” Mr. Gilbert said.

How Team Canada is shaping up

The Tokyo Games are 35 days away. Here’s how Team Canada is looking.

  • 172 athletes have guaranteed spots on Team Canada, a 52-athlete addition from last week. 314 athletes represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Games, collecting 22 total medals – four better than the 18 it won at the 2012 London Games.
  • Canadians Kelly Olynyk and Khem Birch, two NBA players originally on Canada’s men’s basketball training camp roster, were no longer on the list as of Wednesday as the team begins its pre-Olympic qualifying training camp in preparation. The team, which hasn’t qualified for the Olympics since 2000, will play in a six-team Olympic qualifying tournament starting June 29.
  • Moh Ahmed and Justyn Knight, two Canadian runners, now hold the two fastest 5,000-metre times in North American history after the two slid nearly 10 seconds under the 13-minute barrier last week in Florence. While Mr. Ahmed will run in the 5,000-metre race, Mr. Knight is also qualified for the 1,500 metres and hasn’t decided which event he’ll run in.
  • Canada’s men’s volleyball team won a preliminary match in a tune-up Nations League tournament as the team prepares for Tokyo.
  • In the U.S., decorated runner Shelby Houlihan’s four-year ban for turning up a positive test for the banned substance nandrolone – which she claims came from a tainted pork burrito – sent shockwaves across the running community as the U.S. Track and Field Trials get underway on Friday. In tennis, Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Games to give his body rest after last week’s French Open semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic.

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Olympics get President Biden’s stamp of approval

U.S. President Joe Biden asserted his support for the Olympics last weekend at the Group of Seven summit. Biden reportedly met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the sidelines of a meeting at the G7.

“President Biden affirmed his support for the Tokyo Olympic Games moving forward with all public-health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff and spectators,” the White House said in a statement.

In Japan, Prime Minister Suga said Thursday that the country will ease emergency measures in nine prefectures – Tokyo included – but seven will maintain “quasi-emergency” measures, which allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 7 p.m. and shut at 8 p.m.

And, after news last week that domestic spectators may be allowed, local media have reported that up to 10,000 local fans will be allowed into stadiums during the Games. Vaccination rates are continuing to lag across the country, with Mr. Suga estimating vaccination for over-65s will be complete by the end of July when the Games will have already begun.

Olympic moment

Canada's Daniel Igali, from Surrey, B.C., cries on the medal podium after defeating Russia's Arsen Gitinov to win the gold medal in 69kg freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia Sunday Oct. 1, 2000.RYAN REMIORZ/CP

October 1, 2000: Newly-minted citizen Daniel Igali captures wrestling gold

Daniel Igali started producing results for Canada quickly after he came to Canada in 1994. After representing Nigeria at the ‘94 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Mr. Igali seeked out refugee status in Canada due to unrest in his home country, eventually gaining citizenship in 1998. A seasoned wrestler by the time he settled down in Canada, he enrolled at Simon Fraser University and won all 116 of his matches between 1997 and 1999.

A reigning world wrestling champion entering the 2000 Sydney Games, Mr. Igali had to grit through the elimination pool – requiring a judge’s decision to claim one victory – and won the quarter-final and semi-final matches in overtime. In the gold-medal bout against Russian Arsen Gitinov, the two remained in a deadlock until Mr. Igali pulled a two-point “gut wrench” to make the final score 7-4.

Draped in the Canadian flag after the match, Mr. Igali laid the maple leaf on the mat and ran circles around it as a symbol that his story had “come full circle,” giving it a kiss before the medal ceremonies began. Standing atop the podium, tears flowed from Mr. Igali as the national anthem played.

Is there a Canadian Olympic moment you can’t seem to forget? If so, e-mail us at audience@globeandmail.com and tell us why.

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