Olympics officially begin, Haiti's assassinated president laid to rest: 5 Things podcast

·9 min read

On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: We're bringing you the latest from the 2021 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo. The coronavirus pandemic is casting a constant shadow over the games, which will have no fans in attendance besides VIPs and foreign dignitaries. Plus, Haiti's assassinated president is laid to rest, and more.

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson, and this is Five Things You Need To Know Friday, the 23rd of July 2021. Today, the Summer Olympics officially begin. Plus Haiti's assassinated president is laid to rest, and more.

Here are some of the top headlines.

  1. At least 17 migrants from Bangladesh drowned and more than 300 people were rescued after their boat sank in the Mediterranean. Survivors said those who died were in the hold of the boat because they paid smugglers less than others and were suffocated by smoke when the engine caught fire.

  2. A 12 year old Oklahoma boy is dead after participating in a TikTok blackout challenge. In the challenge, TikTOk users choke themselves until they lose consciousness.

  3. And President Joe Biden announced new sanctions Thursday on a top Cuban military official and a unit of the government's repressive state security apparatus. The move marks a shift from Biden's campaign promises to restore Obama era Cuba policy that largely moved away from new sanctions.

Taylor Wilson:

The Summer Olympics are finally here. Even though some events began earlier this week, the Tokyo Games opening ceremony is set for Friday morning U.S. Time, a year after it was originally scheduled. The ceremony may look and feel a lot different than past Olympics. Details have been mostly private, but it's expected to have a more somber and thankful tone amid the coronavirus pandemic, and fans will not be in attendance. Organizers said that the crowd on hand will be limited to just under a thousand people, including VIPs and foreign dignitaries.

Taylor Wilson:

Plus, of course, thousands of athletes, including about 230 from the U.S. As for the games on the whole, there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on. USA today Sports Tom Schad considers.

Tom Schad:

The Tokyo Olympics are finally here. And with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, they promise to be one of the most unusual additions in the summer games in history. Here are five key storylines to know. The first one, of course, is the elephant in the room, COVID-19. For months, organizers who have been working on a complicated set of protocols to make sure that the games will be tested regularly, media will be tracked by GPS, and there'll be no international fans allowed at the games.

Tom Schad:

Inevitably, there'll be some sort of controversy stemming from COVID-19 at some point in the games, particularly if an athlete is forced to miss an event due to a positive test or breaks protocols and is kicked out of the games. There will also be several new sports to keep an eye on. The marquee ones are skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sport climbing. There will also be new events within existing sports, such as three-on-three basketball and in track, a mixed gender relay in the 4 by 400.

Tom Schad:

And speaking of new things, the Olympics could provide a changing of the guard in terms of star power. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, who are arguably two of the greatest athletes of their generation, now both the retired. Simone Biles will be back and is figured to win multiple golds in gymnastics. And in the pool, Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky are among the names to watch. Doping also figures to be a key storyline at this year's games, particularly with regards to Russia.

Tom Schad:

While Russia has been formally banned from the Olympics, they will still be present as the Russian Olympic Committee. They will be competing not under the Russian flag and not under the Russian Anthem, but for all intents and purposes, the athletes will still be there. They are also lingering fears about doping with regards to the pandemic that maybe athletes might have taken performance enhancing substances without detection over the past year. And finally, protests.

Tom Schad:

Over the past year, athletes in the United States have become more willing to use their voice and speak out about social change, and that's included demonstrations on the court or the field of play. And there's still a chance that we could see U.S. athletes or athletes from other countries protest at the games.

Taylor Wilson:

You can tune into the ceremony live on NBC at 6:55 AM Eastern Time, followed by re-air at 7:30 PM. Stay with USA Today Sports over the next few weeks for all things Olympics. Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moise will be laid to rest on Friday. The funeral comes more than two weeks after he was killed at his private residence in a shocking attack that has shaken the Caribbean country, creating political chaos.

Taylor Wilson:

Demonstrations after a memorial service on Thursday turned violent with protesters shooting into the air, throwing rocks, and overturning concrete barricades. It's still not entirely clear what dots need connecting in the assassination. Haitian officials have said that Moise was killed by a team of mercenaries made up of both Colombian and some American suspects. At least 26 people have been arrested so far. Moise's funeral also comes days after a new Prime Minister Ariel Henry supported by major international diplomats was installed in Haiti.

Taylor Wilson:

Henry was designated prime minister by Moise before he was killed, but he was never sworn in. Moise was sworn in as president in February of 2017, but had faced increased criticism in recent years, accused of becoming authoritarian. He'd been ruling by decree for more than a year after the country failed to hold legislative elections. I wanted to give a sneak peek of this week's Sunday edition of Five Things hosted by Claire Thornton.

Taylor Wilson:

We're featuring a story from USA Today's Never Been Told Project, which explores the unseen, lost, and forgotten stories of America's people of color. The next story from the project is about a man named Melvin McNair. In 1970, McNair was part of a group that hatched a plan to hijack a plane to Algeria. The group said they were escaping anti-black racism in the U.S. Their plan, to link up with members of the Black Panther Party in Algiers. They ended up settling in France where McNair still lives.

Taylor Wilson:

He's become a powerful force for good in the community where he lives in Normandy, helping disadvantaged kids and coaching baseball. Today, Melvin is still wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice for his role and hijacking Delta flight 841, so he can never return home to America. Here's editor Nichelle Smith talking about the project. Nichelle and reporter Kim Hjelmgaard will be on Sunday's show with Claire to discuss Melvin's story and ask the question, has Melvin redeemed himself all these years later?

Nichelle Smith:

What can we take from the lessons, from the life, from the regrets of Melvin McNair? Some of these stories you've never even heard of these folks. Some people you think you know all their theories to know about them, because you've seen a little bit of something on the internet or somebody tweeted their name out. But we're just going to flip that for you and say, okay, here is a person. Here is a place. Here is an event. You think it means one thing. Here's what it means in the context of history. Here's why it's relevant today.

Nichelle Smith:

Here's why you need to dig and understand more. I want everybody to walk away as they will do with this Melvin McNair story and say, "Boy, that's fascinating. Boy, that's complex. I never knew that."

Taylor Wilson:

You can read the full story from Kim Hjelmgaard out on usatoday.com later this month. One of the most popular shows of 2020 is back for season two.

Audio:

You have any favored this weekend. You think this will end your embarrassing streak of draws? Lord, I've never been embarrassed about having streaks in my draws. It's all part of growing up.

Taylor Wilson:

Ted Lasso premieres Friday on Apple TV+. The show stars Jason Sudeikis as an enthusiastic American college football coach who takes a job leading an English Premier League soccer team, despite knowing next to nothing about the sport. As USA Today TV critic Kelly Lawler noted in her three and a half out of four star review of the show, it was "perfect in every way for 2020. A surprise critical hit for Apple and a bright spot amid the darkness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic." And Kelly says it stacks up and may be even better than the first season.

Taylor Wilson:

A full Buck Moon will rise in the Southeastern sky on Friday. The full moon will look especially big when it's near the horizon because of the so-called moon illusion, where it looks larger there than it does when it's high in the sky. The name Buck Moon comes from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Taylor Wilson:

The Almanac wrote "the full moon in July is called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer are in full growth mode at this time. Bucks shed and regrow their antlers each year, producing a larger and more impressive set as the years go by." Parts of the West may see the moon appear red or orange because of smoke from wildfires. The moon will reach peak illumination at 10:37 PM Eastern Time.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to Five Things. You can find us wherever you get your audio, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and we ask for ratings and reviews whenever you get the chance. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their great work on the show. Five Things is part of the USA Today network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Olympics officially begin, Haiti's president laid to rest: 5 Things podcast

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