See hospitalized kids ‘run the bases’ at Dodger Stadium, via robots

Take me out to the ball game, bots.

Richie visits the baseball field from the hospital.

“Turn it that way, there we go,” Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux coached a patient, who was maneuvering the robot around the field from afar, using buttons that direct the bot backward and forward. “Hey, you did a great job running the bases,” Lux said, getting up close to the display atop the robot’s base, which let him interact with the young baseball fan via video chat. Young fans get to run the bases after some Dodgers home games, and this gave the ill children a chance to participate.

The foldable Ohmni Telepresence Robots, from OhmniLabs, stand just under 5 (1.5 meters) feet tall and weigh 20 pounds (9 kilograms). For this occasion, they wore blue and white Dodgers jerseys. Some of the patients also donned Dodgers garb.

“Experiences like this are incredibly powerful for patients who cannot leave their hospital rooms or homes because of their health conditions,” Kelli Carroll, director of the Child Life Program at UCLA Health, said in a statement.

Telepresence robots aren’t new. Among their many uses, they’ve allowed sick kids to attend school and beamed students who had to be out of town at prom time to the big event. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought the robots’ many potential uses into sharper relief.

“Hopefully, you get better and you can come out here, and we can play some catch,” a player told a patient named Crew who plays right center field and catcher. Here’s wishing Crew, and all others, a lifetime of home runs.

Naomi Osaka drops out of Wimbledon

The withdrawal follows Osaka’s exit from the French Open last month.

Naomi Osaka serves in a tennis match at the French Open on May 30.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

The withdrawal follows Osaka dropping out of the French Open in May after facing a $15,000 fine from tournament organizers for declining to take part in media interviews. Osaka had cited mental health reasons for not wanting to meet with the press during the tennis tournament.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.”

Wimbledon is slated to take place from June 28 until July 11. Tournament organizers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

WWE Survivor Series 2021: Start time, how to watch, full card

Survivor Series is live right now.

But of course, it woudln’t be Survivor Series without 5-on-5 elimination matches. We’ll have two such eliminator matches, one that pits Raw men against SmackDown men and another featuring Raw women facing a team of women from SmackDown. True, the whole “brand versus brand” thing is a bit contrived and definitely lacks stakes. But in spite of that, the wrestling in these champion versus champion matches is usually a bunch of fun.

The show also marks 25 years since The Rock’s debut, and to celebrate there’s a 25-man battle royale — one person for every year of Rock, I suppose. Who knows, maybe we’ll even catch a glimpse of The Great One on Sunday.

As you probably know by now, Peacock is the new home of WWE’s pay-per-views. The WWE Network has in essence migrated to NBC’s Peacock streaming service and that’s where you’ll go to watch Survivor Series 2021. Peacock has three tiers: Free, Premium and Premium Plus. To watch WWE content, you’ll need a Premium subscription. The good news is that’ll set you back $5 a month, less than the $10 for WWE Network.

If you’re outside of the US, you’ll watch Survivor Series 2021 on the WWE Network as usual.

Survivor Series 2021 takes place at New York’s, Barclay’s Arena on Nov. 21. For those without a live ticket, it starts at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m ET. Grappling fans across the pond will have to stay up late, as the show starts at 1 a.m. UK time. In Australia, Survivor Series begins at 12 a.m. AEDT on Monday.

NBA Finals 2021: How to watch, stream Bucks vs. Suns Game 6 tonight on ABC

Fans can watch the game live on Sling TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV or AT&T TV with no cable subscription required.

The action shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6, with tipoff for tonight’s contest scheduled for 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) on ABC. Here’s everything you need to know to stream the action, no cable required.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will look to win the franchise’s second-ever NBA title and close out the Suns on Tuesday night.

The 2021 NBA playoffs started May 22, and the 2021 NBA Finals started on July 6. As in past years, each playoff series requires four games to win and runs up to seven games. The Suns have the home-court advantage due to their superior regular-season record.

Here’s the schedule for the NBA Finals, via NBA.com.

Tuesday, July 20 (Game 6)

Thursday, July 22 (Game 7, if necessary)

Nearly all of the five major live TV streaming services offer ABC (all but Sling TV), but not every service carries your local ABC station, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area. Sling, to its credit, will be simulcasting the ABC games on ESPN3, so you will be able to stream the games on its service.

Our top picks? For the most complete option — and a better app — check out YouTube TV. If you want to get all the games for the cheapest rate, Sling TV is the pick.

Since the games will all air on ABC, if you don’t want to use a streaming service you can order an antenna and catch the games that way.

Google’s live TV streaming service offers ABC for $65 per month.

Read our YouTube TV review.

Sling TV’s Orange package runs $35 per month. While it does not carry ABC, Sling says it will simulcast the games that air on ABC via ESPN3.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu Plus Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ABC.

Read our Hulu Plus Live TV review.

AT&T TV’s basic Entertainment package costs $70 and carries ABC.

Read our AT&T TV review.

FuboTV offers ABC as part of its $65-per-month Basic plan.

Read our FuboTV review.

Whereas the 2020 playoffs took place in a Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida, the NBA has played its 2020-21 season in regular arenas with fans increasingly coming back to stadiums as local COVID-19 restrictions have eased. Fans are allowed at playoff games this year, and both the Bucks and the Suns are welcoming near-capacity crowds for the Finals.

EA Sports removing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22

The disgraced former Raiders coach will be replaced with a generic likeness.

EA Sports is scrubbing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22.

Gruden’s resignation came after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.

One of the higher-profile coaches in the league, Gruden won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before becoming a top analyst for ESPN. He returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the Raiders, which he had coached years before.

According to the gaming news website Kotaku, which reported the removal earlier this week, in addition to re-creating NFL players, Madden NFL 22 shows each team’s head coach on the sidelines and cuts to them frequently throughout games. They’re also part of the game setup process.

Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency, won’t allow spectators

Rising COVID-19 cases in Japan’s capital have led to a third state of emergency for the city, one that will last throughout the Olympic Games.

The Olympics were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“New cases in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area have been rising since June,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was reported as saying in the Japan Times. “Stronger measures have become necessary in those areas, but could be lifted early if we see evidence of the positive impact of the vaccine rollout.”

Tokyo’s COVID-19 cases peaked with the new year, with over 2,392 new cases on Jan. 8. Numbers have fallen since, but they’ve been rising since the middle of June. Tokyo recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases on June 15, but July has seen new cases fluctuate between 500 and 920. It’s the third state of emergency the city has endured since the pandemic’s onset, following similar precautions in April and January.

Around 15% of Japan’s 126 million citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A worldwide death toll from the virus had risen to more than 4 million as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In Japan, nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus.

After being postponed more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23 in Tokyo. They’ll run through to Aug. 8. Though many experts cautioned against holding the games, Japan’s government has pressed on — albeit with increasing restrictions as the games approached.

Officials last month said local fans would be allowed to physically attend the games, but with venues limited to 50% capacity or up to 10,000 spectators max. In March, officials banned overseas spectators from the Olympics.

Just 2 months ahead of Olympics, US issues do-not-travel advisory for Japan

Team USA says it’s “confident” it can safely compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The US has issued an advisory against travel to Japan.

Read more: The Tokyo Olympics: Will the games be canceled, expected start date, full schedule

Team USA said it’s aware of the updated travel advisory, but is “confident” it can safely compete this summer.

“We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan and during games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA,” the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in an emailed statement.

Last month, the US issued Level 4: Do Not Travel advisories for around 80% of all nations. The travel advisories were updated to reflect the CDC’s COVID-19 health notices about other countries. Japan was initially left off the Level 4 warning list, but was added Monday.

Read more: Vaccine passports for COVID-19: How they’ll be a part of global travel

Watch Jake Paul knockout Tyron Woodley with a monstrous punch

In the sixth round of their rematch, Jake Paul defeated Tyron Woodley with a massive right hand shot.

Jake Paul, after defeating Tyron Woodley on Saturday night.

The rematch between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley ended in brutal fashion Saturday night, thanks to a crushing, fight-ending right hand from Paul that sent Woodley face first to the canvas.  It was as clean a shot as you’ll see in a fight that — up until that point — was mostly devoid of action.

A cut from a head clash early in the contest saw Paul facing some early adversity, but Woodley failed to land any real, significant shots in a fight that was mostly fought in the clinch.

But then, at the end of the sixth round, Paul landed the right hand. With force.

Paul was rowdy in the post-fight interview, seemingly calling out UFC stars Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, but paid tribute to Woodley, for taking the fight on two weeks notice after his initial opponent, Tommy Fury, pulled out with a rib injury.

See below for our live, round-by-round coverage of the event as it happened.

Jake Paul at the weigh-ins.

Alright it’s time for the big one. Paul vs. Woodley 2.

Personally, I’m picking Paul here. I thought he clearly won the first fight and, as I mentioned earlier, Woodley has been gun shy for at least five years. Kinda gutted were not seeing the Tommy Fury fight, but also happy to see Woodley get a second shot.

Let’s see how this all plays out. If anything I’m expecting Paul to be more dominant. He’s a young guy, improving constantly and Woodley is very much at the tail end of his career. Another thing: The size difference. It’s huge. Woodley was a welterweight in the UFC at 170 pounds and he’s fighting at 192 here. That’s a huge difference. Very tough for Woodley to knockout the bigger fighter, even if he clips him hard.

And Jake Paul just walked out to Y.M.C.A.. Fair play, what an absolute banger. Mad props for that Tai Tuivasa-esque walkout song!

Alright, here we go!

Woodley already looking more active than he was last fight, which is a good sign for his chances.

But after than fast opening, things have slowed up a little. Both Paul and Woodley are trying to jab their way in. A couple of head clashes already. Weird round so far.

My score: 10-9 Paul

Is Woodley really going to come to this fight and do the exact same thing as last time? It would be a very Tyron Woodley move. Paul is landing the jab more here and Woodley is en route to giving away another round. Not great. Extremely dull. 

Would be great if Woodley actually threw a shot or two.

My score: 10-9 Paul

A clash of heads or an elbow has opened up a cut on Paul, but he’s winning.

But wait, Woodley is opening up here, landing big shots. Much better round for Woodley here so far. 

Woodley is not taking advantage of this cut though, standing flat footed and not throwing. He does better when he’s on offence. Woodley is not a counter puncher.

My score: 10-9 Woodley

Woodley lands a nice uppercut, but he’s still incredibly frustrating to watch. A sharp hook lands as well for Woodley, but hardly game changing.

Woodley randomly dumps Paul to the ground? This fight is so grim man. Hard to watch.  Woodley is sort of winning this round, but just… not a great fight. 

My score: 10-9 Woodley

Woodley landing a couple of body jabs, and some tight shots in the clinch. So many head clashes in this fight. These guys are constantly clinching and it’s the worst. 

Is this what Woodley is doing with his second chance? Can’t believe how bad this is. 

My score: Man who knows. Or cares. 10-9 Woodley I guess.

These guys don’t want to fight. Absolute shitshow.

Paul looks tired to be honest. After this there’s only two more round, and it feels like they haven’t landed any shots yet? Just embarrassing. 

OH SHIT!

And Jake Paul lands absolutely CLEAN and puts Woodley straight out to the canvas. Oh my god, what a huge shot!

Jake Paul wins by KO.

Damn, that was a crazy shot. Clean as a whistle and Woodley went face first to the canvas. What a punch. Fair play to Paul, he had to go through some adversity here with the cut and he ended up completely melting Woodley with that shot.

Woodley was CLEAN OUT. Face first to the canvas. Very obviously a straight out stoppage.

Amanda Serrano is one of the best female boxers alive.

In one corner we have Amanda Serrano, one of the most decorated female boxers of all time, in the other corner we have Miriam Gutierrez. She’s not exactly a gimme for Serrano, but most expect her to win this en route to a true women’s super fight against Irish boxer Katie Taylor. That’s probably the biggest fight in women’s boxing right now.

Let’s see how this one plays out…

Serrano corners Gutierrez and absolutely wails on her. Crazy output for the first round, Serrano is just going nuts here. Gutierrez is in real trouble here. What a wild round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Man this is a slugfest, and Serrano is just picking great shots here. Gutierrez is landing though and, given she’s a bigger fighter, she should be careful. 

That said, the difference in hand speed is huge here.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Much quieter round here. Serrano still controlling the fight however. I give her this round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is attacking the body hard here. She’s running away with this fight as you might have expected.

But Gutierrez has landed a few clean, heavy shots here. Don’t seem to affect Serrano much however. 

Serrano backed Gutierrez into the ropes there, and the pair of them began slugging it out, with Serrano getting the better of it.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Gutierrez very flat footed now, just getting absolutely punished here. Serrano looks incredibly sharp and I’m already thinking about Serrano vs. Taylor right now.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano continues to punish the body here. This is a clinic, marching forward with great shots and combinations. Credit to Gutierrez however, who’s game and trying to match the exchanges unsuccessfully. 

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is on a mission here. She’s absolutely going full terminator here. She clearly wants this finish and I wonder if the ref will ultimately stop this. Gutierrez is really fading here and running out of fight. 

Serrano lands a massive shot to finish, but Gutierrez makes it another round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Gutierrez and Serrano are in the pocket just firing short punches at each other. Serrano just has no respect for Gutierrez’s power at this point and keeps marching forward.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Can’t believe the fight has made it this long, here we are!

Serrano has slowed down a bit here, I think on the advice of her corner, who asked her to save some juice for the final round. She still does enough to win this round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is back in terminator mode. Crazy volume, so many shots and Gutierrez is a punching bag at this point.

Man, this final round is just pure toe-to-toe stuff. Slugfest there. What a fight. Great performance from Serrano. She didn’t lose a single minute of that fight.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Amanda Serrano wins va unanimous decision: 99-90, 99-91, 100-90

Deron Williams at the weigh-ins.

As is customary with Jake Paul cards, there has to be at least one freak show fight with folks coming from other sports to try their hand at boxing.

In this case we’ve got Frank Gore, a former elite player from the NFL facing off against Deron Williams, an ex-NBA player and three time all-star. Both highly decorated players in their respective sports.

This is an exhibition bout and I have zero idea what to expect beyond potential chaos?

This fight is rounds, which is about right. I expect these two to tire very quickly. After that initial burst, no idea what happens.

Let’s go!

Williams lands hard coming out and Gore went for a double leg? Hahaha! Strange one there. Both look surprisingly sharp here and Gore lands some tight shots on the inside. This is a fun fight!

When Williams fights long he looks real sharp, when Gore gets inside, he looks good.  Oh! And Williams lands a few bombs in the final minute.

This is a great fight!

My score: 10-8 Williams

Damn these guys are swinging! Both are landing hard to the dome, both have huge chins on them! 

Gore lands a huge shot that has Williams on wobbly legs. He survives, then a collision sends Gore through the ropes? Ruled a push though. Wild stuff. 

Something’s happened with Gore though, and the doctor has come in. Looks like he’s going to continue.

And now Williams has been pushed through the ropes. Hahaha wow. Incredible stuff. Now they’re swinging. This is the wildest fight I’ve watched in a while!

My score: 10-9 Gore

This fight is amazing for all the wrong reasons.

Bombs are flying here and both are landing HUGE shots. How are they standing. Incredible show of heart from two elite athletes. 

Gore gets a standing 8 count after getting wailed on by Williams in an exchange.

The fight continues and there’s just some wild exchanges, zero defence. Love it. The ref is having the fight of his life trying to make sense of this chaos.

My score: 10-8 Williams

These fighters are exhausted now and understandably so. Crazy showing from both guys, leaving it all in the ring.

Man, huge overhand from Gore. Williams is tough as nails. Gore is winning this round, but both are slowing down considerable.

My score: 10-9 Gore

I don’t know if they’re actually going to score this, if it’s an exhibition. I’ve got Williams winning, but it was a great fight. Incredible entertainment.

Split decision win for Williams: 38-37 Williams, 38-37 Gore, 40-35 Williams

Australian boxer, Liam Paro at the weigh-ins.

This one is a battle between two currently unbeaten prospects at 140 pounds.Australian boxer Liam Paro is the favourite according to the oddsmakers, but this could go either way. This should be a true high level match-up with the winner potentially looking at some type of huge fight in the near future. A great fight to open with.

Paro pressuring early with a snapping jab, but Alamo lands early also. Bit of a feeling out here, but Paro lands a nice jab to the body and a check hook at one point. A clean left hook as well for Paro. 

Ooft. Alamo lands and sends Paro to the canvas. Bit of a shocker there.

My score: 10-8 Alamo

Paro comes out much busier, clearly trying to make up for the knockdown. Paro is flicking the jab out, but not too many clean shots landed yet.

Pretty nothing round.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Alamo appears to be waiting to counter, but probably needs to get busier. Paro still throwing the jab constantly and landing to the body effectively.

They open up a little mid round and Paro takes a hard jab.

Alamo pressures late here and lands some clean shots.

My score: 10-9 Alamo

Alamo so far seems the more dangerous fighter, but Paro is clearly pushing this fight. 

Paro is landing more here though, Alamo could be slowing down. Another pedestrian round here that’s incredibly hard to score. Anyone could be winning this fight. Tough to call.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Can’t see this fight not going the distance. Both fighters are boxing very conservatively. 

Paro is landing a few straight lefts here, and some good shots to the body. The body is there all day for him actually and Alamo’s output is waning. Paro lands a big left that puts Alamo on the ropes, but nothing comes of it.

Paro seems to be taking over this fight. A better round all up.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Paro opens with a real solid jab that stings Alamo. At this stage Paro’s output is winning him this fight — on my scorecard at least. He’s opening up here, sensing that Alamo’s power isn’t quite what it was.

And then… of course Alamo hits him clean. Was that a knockdown? It wasn’t apparently.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Alamo hit Paro clean early in an exchange, but Paro is still landing to the body. Is Paro still recovering from that non-knockdown? Hard to tell. Paro and Alamo both hit each other hard with an exchange.

My score: 10-9 Alamo

More shots landing here from both. Alamo is hitting harder, but Paro is landing with volume.  He’s winning this round, but somehow feels in more danger from Alamo, who is clearly in wait with counters.

The crowd are apparently distracted by something happening outside the ring?

This fight is pretty dull, so it’s hard to blame them.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Great left overhand by Paro to start the round.

Paro got a warning for a shot to the back of the head. Bit harsh to be honest.

They’re finally opening up here and Alamo has landed some stiff punches, but for me Paro is still winning this round with volume. He just seems to have more in the tank.

My score: 10-9 Paro

The final round of a fairly drab fight. Paro is leading the dance again here and bombs are being thrown on both sides. Alamo has upped the volume here, but Paro has taken the centre of the ring and is controlling this round for me. A sharp uppercut from Paro to finish the round, and the fight.

Let’s see how the judges have it.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Liam Paro wins by split decision: 95-94 Paro, 95-94 Alamo, 96-93 Paro

While we wait for the first match, I might offer a quick prediction on the main event between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley.

Woodley came close to finishing Paul in the first fight, but the reality: That was a rare high point in a boxing match that Paul mostly dominated. Woodley, like he was during his final matches in the UFC, was incredibly gun shy throughout. Before every fight he promises to let those hands go, but it rarely happens. I see this playing out very similarly to the first fight, with more dominance from Jake Paul, who is becoming a better boxer with each contest.

It’s worth bearing in mind — Woodley is not the athlete he used to be. A huge part of his ability to win fights came from his explosive punching, which has waned as of late. Tyron Woodley is almost 40 years old at this point.

I’m picking Jake Paul here.

How to rewatch the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics

Missed the opening ceremony? Here’s how to rewatch…

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place at Japan’s new Olympic Stadium.

NBC rebroadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) Friday, but that’s been and gone. Thankfully, NBC’s Peacock streaming service also has a page for the opening ceremony, noting it will be streamable the day after it airs.

In addition the Opening Ceremony and the replay will also stream in 4K HDR on two services, FuboTV and YouTube TV. See below for details.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Watch in 4K HDR with FuboTV, YouTube TV or broadcast

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, but only in 11 major markets. Unless you live in one of those markets, you won’t be able to stream NBC live. Read our Sling TV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area. Read our YouTube TV review.

To watch in 4K HDR you’ll need to subscribe to be signed up for the company’s new 4K option that costs an extra $20 per month on top of the $65 regular monthly rate — although there’s a 30-day free trial that’s long enough to last through the entire Olympics. The 4K feed isn’t available in every market however; here’s the full list.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes the five NBC channels. Click here to see which local channels you get. Read our FuboTV review.

Unlike YouTube TV, Fubo’s 4K coverage of the Olympics doesn’t cost anything extra. Unfortunately it’s only available in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes NBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live. Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. Peacock won’t show the Opening Ceremonies live but you’ll be able to watch the replay on either of the Premium plans. Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

In the UK the BBC and Eurosport have the rights to the Tokyo Olympics. It was broadcast live on BBC One and available to stream on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. Now it’s over, you’ll be able to catch up on iPlayer.

Much like in the UK, the Tokyo Olympics is available to watch on free-to-air TV. The opening ceremony will be available to rewatch via the 7plus streaming service.

Want to watch the Olympics via a streaming service from another country, or in another language? Try a VPN to change your IP address. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, finals schedule, how to watch

Next up for climbing: Men’s finals.

Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.

Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.

All the qualifiers have taken place. All that’s left is the finals. First up is the men’s finals, which starts at 4.30 a.m. August 5 EDT (1.30 a.m. PDT).

Full schedule:

The women’s finals follow a similar schedule on August 6.

In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

The finalists for the men are…

Bassa Mawem is expected to withdraw as a result of bicep injury inflicted during qualification.

Finalists for the women are…

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Two climbers, one wall.

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch.

In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner.

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6).

In the men’s event the favourite is almost certainly Tomoa Narasaki. Some of the other climbers like Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are considered stronger climbers in terms of their performance on real rock, but this is competition climbing and it’s very different beast. Narasaki was born in the darkness of comp climbing. He’s the Bane of bouldering and, of all the strong climbers, he’s evolved to the weirdness of speed climbing the best. This gives him a great shot at claiming gold.

In the women’s event you’d have to pick Janja Garnbret. She’s been literally unbeatable in the competition scene, particularly in bouldering. There are plenty of others worth watching. From Japan both Akiyo Noguchi and Miho Nonaka have a great shot. Noguchi is probably the most decorated female comp climber of all time and Nonaka is a great all-rounder who competes well in speed — the boogie event most top climbers are nervous about.  

Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.