Tom Goldman

Updated October 23, 2021 at 9:58 AM ET

One more U.S. soccer match to go for Carli Lloyd.

The popular, 39-year-old veteran of the women's national team will play her final game in a U.S. uniform next Tuesday in Minnesota, in a so-called friendly against South Korea. The two teams played to a scoreless draw Thursday in Kansas City – a crowd of more than 18,000 cheered Lloyd as she came on as second-half substitute.

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And I look forward all week to saying, and now it's time for sports.

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Updated September 30, 2021 at 12:25 PM ET

The NBA has returned and back with it are COVID-19 worries.

For a third season the association is navigating operating games while trying to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

This time around they have a new move: Vaccines — but not all players say they're ready to take them. The vast majority of players in the league are vaccinated, but some high-profile athletes have said they won't disclose if they're vaccinated or not.

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TOKYO — They were called the "COVID Olympics." The "pandemic Olympics." The "anger Olympics." Many Japanese people were upset to host such a huge and risky event in the middle of the pandemic, and many outside observers were surprised it happened at all.

TOKYO — An American teenager has made history at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Nevin Harrison, 19, became the first female athlete from the U.S. to win a gold medal in the sport of canoe sprint.

By winning a new event, the women's 200-meter canoe single, Harrison not only became the first U.S. woman to claim gold, but Games statisticians say she's only the third female teenager to win an Olympic canoe sprint race. Harrison beat her one-time idol and now rival, Canadian Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, who has won multiple world championships and took silver in the 200 meters.

TOKYO — Ryan Crouser of the USA is golden again. He repeated as Olympic champion in the men's shot put equaling what he did in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. He also set an Olympic record in the process. Not once. Not twice. But three times.

On a sweltering day at the Olympic stadium, the big man put on a big performance. The 6-foot-7 inch, 320-pound Crouser broke the Olympic record three times in his six throws. And he saved the best for last.

TOKYO — Traditionally, doping at the Olympics has been an uncomfortable companion to the Games' soaring athletic achievements.

In Tokyo, it hasn't been the issue it often is because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

But it's still there, along with a Russian team that has come to embody doping controversy.

A joke and suspicion

There's a joke that's been going around at these Olympics: When has there ever been so much talk about positive tests, and not have it be about performance-enhancing drugs?

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TOKYO — We're in the home stretch of the most dramatic Olympics in recent memory, held against great odds amid a global pandemic in a country where many Japanese residents didn't want it to happen at all.

TOKYO — U.S. golfer Xander Schauffele won the Olympic men's individual stroke play competition Sunday. Schauffele sank key putts near the end of the final round while Japan's top golfer faded out of medal contention.

The 27-year-old clinched what he called the biggest win of his career with two pressure putts. On the 17th green, he sank a six-footer for birdie to break a tie with Rory Sabbatini, representing Slovakia. On the final green, Schauffele sank a 4-foot par putt to give him a one shot victory over Sabbatini.

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TOKYO — At Thursday's Summer Olympics, the women's all-around gymnastics winner was ... not Simone Biles.

The title and gold medal went to Sunisa Lee of the U.S.

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TOKYO — American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks is out of the Tokyo Summer Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus. Kendricks, a world champion, was considered a medal contender.

According to a statement from U.S. Olympic officials, Sam Kendricks is ineligible to compete in the Tokyo Games following his positive test. He's been transferred to a hotel and put in isolation. Kendricks' dad, who's also his coach, said on social media his son feels fine and has no symptoms.

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The American swimmer Katie Ledecky won her first gold medal today at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. She and her fans celebrated the win, but there were enormous expectations for her at these games. Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

Japan's Naomi Osaka is out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing on Tuesday in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round.

The loss is a major upset and a shock to the host country. Osaka is considered the face of these Games and lit the cauldron during the Olympic opening ceremony a few days ago.

Updated July 25, 2021 at 4:46 AM ET

TOKYO — The golf world is reeling after two of the best golfers will miss the Tokyo Summer Olympics because of the coronavirus. World #1 Jon Rahm of Spain and #6 Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. both tested positive before leaving for Japan.

Updated July 23, 2021 at 4:01 PM ET

TOKYO — In some ways, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics looks very normal. Delegations of athletes decked out in clothes representing their countries march triumphantly into the stadium, waving flags. A beautifully choreographed spectacle from the host country, Japan, celebrates its art and traditions.

It's Opening Ceremony day in Tokyo, heralding the official start to another Olympics. Although we've already had two days of sports competition, there's the knowledge that once the smoke settles after tonight's ceremony-ending fireworks, the gates are flung open to 16 straight days of unprecedented drama.

As a reporter, it'll be fine to have a daily plan — but as always, I'll be ready to wad it up and throw it away as unforeseen stories capture the imagination.

So at this point, there is a sameness about these Tokyo Games.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics officially begin Friday with the Opening Ceremony.

But the sports actually start today (8 p.m. ET).

Host nation Japan kicks off competition with a softball game against Australia.

With three first-day games (the other two are top-ranked U.S. vs Italy and Mexico vs Canada), softball is in the Olympic spotlight after being out of it for the past 13 years.

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The NBA has long been considered the most progressive of the major professional sports leagues – teams and especially players have taken the lead with their activism and focus on social issues.

But coaching hires this week have critics wondering whether the NBA has taken a step back.

A difficult moment

As new Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups sat down for his introductory press conference on Tuesday, it was a difficult moment.

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