Matt Barnes’ Olympics 2020 blog: Ohio athletes advance

Japan 2020

TOKYO, Japan (WCMH) — What a weekend in Tokyo. Starting to slowly understand what it’s like to cover an Olympics now. Yes, you start covering it once you land but with the competitions beginning, it’s starting to really feel like something big.

Since I forgot to post Saturday (apologies on that. Working too hard), let me give you a quick recap of the entire weekend.

Saturday was a slow day to start but picked up steam quickly. That’s because the action involving the Ohio athletes I am following started to happen. That means I keep my eyes peeled on those results but also keep on writing and editing the stories that I am responsible for. The Ohio athletes on day one were amazing. Tiger Johnson (Cleveland) and Duke Ragan (Cincinnati) won their opening bouts. Rose Lavelle (Cincinnati) scored the opening goal in Team USA’s 6-1 win vs. New Zealand in women’s soccer. And Alec Yoder (former Buckeye) qualified for the pommel horse final with a dynamite routine. It was a lot to track while also balancing the other part of work, but seeing those athletic achievements was special.

Sunday was fast-paced from start to finish. While Saturday saw no medals from Team USA, Sunday began with medals won by the U.S. Swimming may be in primetime in the U.S. for you but here, it is happening in the morning, starting around 9:30 a.m. So while I’m eating breakfast, the medals are being won by American swimmers. And they won plenty. Six in all in the pool. Four more would be won later in the day, including a gold for Cleveland native Lee Kiefer in fencing – women’s foil. She made history winning that. So did Anastasjia Zolotic, who won gold in taekwondo.

In all, a fantastic day 2 for Team USA, now up to 10 medals overall. And for me, a crash course in covering all of these sports and athletes at once. When a member of Team USA medals (and they are done with all competitions), they bring them to the NBC compound where we are for in-person interviews. So today, we had five medalists come by. It’s great to hear from them after they see their dreams reached. It’s inspiring as well, considering what they went through during the pandemic.

So, yes, I’m excited for what is to come. So many more athletes to follow and root for. And many more interviews to get, stories to tell, and food to eat. Stay tuned to my social media for the latest and I’ll look for you on air on NBC4 Today at 5:45 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.

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