U.S. swimmer sparks doping controversy, high octane BMX marred by crashes

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Swimming - Men's 200m Backstroke - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo Aquatics Centre - Tokyo, Japan - July 30, 2021. Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee, Ryan Murphy of the United States and Luke Greenbank of Britain pose on the podium with the gold, silver and bronze medal respectively REUTERS/Marko Djurica

An American swimmer sparked controversy at the Tokyo Games on Friday when he said it would take a long time to clear his sport of doping after losing his Olympic title to a Russian.

Doping re-emerged as an Olympics theme on Day 7 of the Tokyo Games as the centrepiece athletics programme got off to a scorching start with morning heats in the women’s 100 metres.

A series of crashes on the BMX track cast a shadow over the day, the worst of which had American favourite Connor Fields taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Upsets continued to dominate the Olympics narrative as new winners and losers were crowned across sports. The unpredictable nature of this Games due to COVID-19 disruptions and delay has created high drama at the top of the medal tally with both China and Japan leading the United States for bragging rights.

The on-field action, however, has not translated to a ratings boost for broadcasters globally. Ratings data from the opening ceremony and first few nights of events indicate that the Tokyo Games are currently the least watched Olympics in recent history across Europe and in the United States. TV viewership is up in Australia and Japan.

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