The Week That Was: Tokyo Olympics to Take Place With No Overseas Spectators

The Olympic Rings in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Tokyo 2020

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With the Tokyo Olympics 131 days away, Games organizers announced no overseas spectators will be permitted to attend the competition. Meanwhile, the athletes competing for spots in Tokyo are hitting faster times than they ever had. Regan Smith and Luke Greenbank were just two names that broke national records this past week.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: Tokyo Olympics to Go On With No Overseas Spectators


The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Pool – Photo Courtesy: Tokyo2020

By Liz Byrnes

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo are to go ahead without overseas spectators, according to reports by Kyodo News agency.

The Olympics are scheduled to open on 23 July with the Paralympics set to follow from 24 August, a year after Tokyo 2020 was slated to take place but was instead pushed back a year because of the pandemic.

Now it appears that overseas fans will not be able to travel to watch the Games which would also seemingly rule out athletes’ families.

Kyodo says that the Japanese government and the organising committee are expected to hold a meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) later this month to make a formal decision over the absence of overseas visitors.

They state that the “government has concluded that welcoming fans from abroad is not possible given concerns among the Japanese public over the coronavirus and the fact that more contagious variants have been detected in many countries, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

#2: Regan Smith Swims Fastest 100 SCY Back Ever


Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

By Andy Ross

18-year-old Regan Smith of Riptide in Minnesota broke the American record in the 100 backstroke on Sunday at the Aquajets March Invite in Minneapolis with a 49.16. Smith took a smidge off of Beata Nelson’s American record of 49.18 from the 2019 NCAAs as Smith got her American record back that she originally set two years ago before Nelson set the standard two weeks later. Smith lowered her own best time of 49.66 as she now holds the American records in the 100 and 200 backstroke in both yards and in long course meters.

Smith was out in 23.78 and back in 25.38, in near identical splits to Nelson’s record setting effort when she flipped at 23.76 and came back in 25.42. She is currently in a gap year as she is staying home for a year to prepare for the delayed Olympic Trials and Games with coach Mike Parratto in her home state of Minnesota. After the Games, Smith will head west to Palo Alto to train with head Olympic coach Greg Meehan as her long-awaited debut will make Stanford a very dangerous team next season in the NCAA race.

The Week That Was #3: Nort Thornton Hospitalized With Heart Condition


Photo Courtesy: Cal Athletics

By Dan D’Addona

Former Cal swim coach Nort Thornton is in the intensive care unit at a hospital in California with a heart condition, according to sources near the former coach.

“His heart is weak and he has been informed that it will not get any better,” said former Cal swimmer and 1992 Olympian Roque Santos. “Nort is loved and he is one of the good ones. First class, always fair and always has a good joke — and always ready to talk about swimming.”

Thornton was Cal’s coach for 33 years before retiring in 2007. His impact has been strong on generations of swimmers, who are now sending thoughts and prayers his way.

“Marc (Nort’s son) has received over 50 calls in the last two days from the Cal family and the entire swimming community,” Santos said. “Marc knows the impact Nort has had on so many people’s lives. Nort created an environment where champions were inalienable. Through this he helped create great people. All of my Call swimming family knows that this is the cornerstone of what Nort created at Cal. We all love the man, the coach and the father.”

#4: USA Swimming Extends Contract of Tim Hinchey For Four Years


Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

By Matthew De George

USA Swimming on Wednesday announced that the contract for President and CEO Tim Hinchey has been extended four years through 2025.

Hinchey’s contract means he’ll guide U.S. Swimming through the 2024 Paris Olympics. He joined USA Swimming in 2017.

“I’m humbled and truly appreciative of the Board of Directors’ support of our organization’s work these last four years and their confidence in my vision for the future,” Hinchey said in a press release. “I continue to relish this opportunity that allows me to work in a sport I love, alongside the world’s greatest athletes, coaches and volunteers. It has certainly been a remarkable and unpredictable journey since July 2017, but I am confident in knowing that the organization is brimming with incredibly skilled and talented people who will help drive our future success.”

The Week That Was #5: Luke Greenbank Sets British Record in 200 Backstroke


Luke Greenbank: Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Liz Byrnes

Luke Greenbank set a new British 200m backstroke record of 1:55.34 at the British Swimming Invitation Meet to slice 0.24secs from the mark held by James Goddard since 2010.

The 23-year-old, who won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, had served notice of his intentions with a PB of 1:55.69 in the morning heats at the Manchester Aquatic Centre.

That was just 0.11secs off Goddard’s national record of 1:55.58 set at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, in October 2010.

Not only did that augur well for Friday evening, but it was also an indication of an athlete capable of performing at his best come Tokyo with its morning finals.

Come the evening in Manchester and Greenbank split 27.43/56.33/1:26.03 before coming home with a 29.31 blast to write a new entry into the record books.

It cemented his place at the top of the world rankings ahead of Kosuke Hagino, the Rio 2016 400IM champion, who went 1:55.84 last week with the pair the only men to have gone inside 1:56 so far this year.