Jul 23, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by a sabbatical-bound Justin Green — is 450 words, a 1.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The quietest Games
Photo: Michael Kappeler via Getty Images

Fit for the occasion: Multicolored seats replaced cheering fans, masks were a central part of the uniforms, and a somber tone marked today's opening ceremony for the 2020 Olympic Games, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

  • The ceremony paid tribute to the first responders of the pandemic. A moment of silence was held to honor the lives lost from the coronavirus — which has killed more than 4.1 million globally.

The big picture: The opening was met amid simmering anger and disbelief in much of Japan, AP notes.

  • Organizers hope the excitement of the sports to follow will offset the widespread opposition.

"Today is a moment of hope. Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

  • Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron.
Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Team USA entered the stadium with veteran basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez leading the squad as flag bearers.

  • It's the first time a duo shared the responsibility.

Some Team USA athletes, including those on the women's soccer and gymnastics teams, were not able to attend the ceremony, so they held their own private event instead. (Watch the video.)

  • Go deeper: We've launched an Olympics dashboard, which we'll constantly update with headlines, buzz and medals counts.
2. Being there

Opening Ceremony photos by Axios' Ina Fried:

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Above: The view from inside and outside Olympic Stadium before the opening ceremony kicked off.

3. Catch up quick

Via Cleveland Guardians

  1. The Cleveland Indians baseball team will change its name to the Guardians, following years of activism and protests. Go deeper.
  2. The U.S. government has purchased an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, to be delivered from October through April. Go deeper.
  3. Another one: A significant and far-reaching heat wave is poised to build across much of the continental U.S. during the next few weeks. Go deeper.
4. 1 smile to go: Shark Week's bite

Lemon shark. Photo: Discovery

Shark Week just finished its 33rd running on Discovery — a TV event so old that one ad exec joked it could have its own kids, AP's David Bauder writes.

  • New research illustrates its potency in bringing new viewers to the network — something increasingly important in an era where networks and streaming services are competing furiously.

LG Ads found that during Shark Week last year, 37% of the people who tuned in hadn't watched Discovery during the previous month.

  • That phenomenon was more pronounced for National Geographic's six-week Shark Fest, where 51% of viewers hadn't seen the network the month before.