Olympics Latest: 17 million in US saw Tokyo opening ceremony

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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NBC says an estimated 17 million people in the United States watched the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, down 36% from the kickoff to the Rio de Janeiro Games five years ago.

Nielsen says the 17 million includes people who watched the ceremony live on NBC or online when it aired Friday morning and those who saw an edited version on NBC in prime time that night.

NBC was unable to break down how many people watched live and how many saw the prime-time version. The 26.7 million who saw the Rio opening ceremony included both television and online viewership.

Nine years ago, when the Summer Olympics were held in London, the opening ceremony drew a record-setting U.S. audience of 40.7 million people.

It’s difficult to tell how much the sluggish start to the Tokyo Games reflects decreased interest in the Olympics, which were delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or profound changes in how Americans watch television. With the explosion of streaming as an alternative, ratings for live television have dropped sharply over the past five years.

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MEDAL ALERT

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt has won the men’s triathlon in a time of one hour, 45 minutes and four seconds, 11 seconds ahead of Britain’s Alex Yee.

New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde was third.

Blummenfelt is the first Norwegian to medal in triathlon, which combines swimming, cycling and running. He finished 13th in the Rio Games in 2016.

Blummenfelt was in fifth after the 1,500-meter swim and 40-kilometer cycling legs of the race before surging to the win in the final stage.

Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, who won silver in Rio and bronze in London in 2012, finished sixth.

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Defending champion Fiji has opened the men’s Olympic rugby sevens competition with a 24-19 comeback win over Japan.

The highly favored Fijians scored in the opening 30 seconds of the tournament, with Jiuta Wainiqolo posting the first points after Japan failed to control the ball from the kickoff.

The Fijians went close to doubling the lead but Wainiqolo’s attempted one-handed pickup off the ground resulted in Japan captain Chihito Matsui running three-quarters of the field to equalize for the hosts.

The Fijians regained the lead but, after the half-time siren sounded, Japan’s Fiji-born Lote Tuqiri crossed to give the hosts a surprising 14-12 lead at the break.

Japan, a surprise semifinalist when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in 2016, extended the margin to seven points early in the second half before Fiji responded with two tries and had one disallowed after the full-time siren to clinch the win.

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