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As the world's greatest open water swimmers jostled for the lead, their eyes on an Olympic gold, my eyes kept drifting to the tiny figure falling further and further behind everyone else at Tokyo Bay.
Two multiracial athletes, two high-profile roles: Rising NBA star Rui Hachimura carried the Japanese flag at the Olympics' opening ceremony. Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron. For Japan, it was a remarkable showcase of racial diversity — but one that also highlighted how much remains missing in a nation that values homogeneity and conformity.
Lexi Thompson had to bring in a team manager the last three holes when her caddie succumbed to the heat. Players walked down sunbaked fairways using umbrellas, some of them occasionally holding a bag of ice on their heads.
For Triston Casas, the Olympics feel as comfortable as spring training.
They believe they are the best basketball team at the Olympics, too good to consider anything but gold.