(TOKYO) -- The U.S. men's gymnastics team came in fifth in the team competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
The athletes were up against powerful teams from Japan and China, as well as athletes from Russia competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). After going into the final rotation in fourth place, the U.S. dropped to fifth in the final scoring. Great Britain took fourth place.
It was a tight fight for the gold between the ROC team and Japan. The Russian athletes won in the end, with the last score determining who would come out on top. The difference between gold and silver was about two-tenths of a point.
China took home the bronze.
The U.S. team consisted of Brody Malone, Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus and Sam Mikulak, a 28-year-old veteran who returned for his third Olympics.
The group has become tight-knit and exuberantly supportive of each other as they sought success at these Games. After qualifying for the finals, Mikulak told his teammates in a huddle he had "never been on a team like this and he'd just had the time of his life out there," Malone told People magazine.
Their strong finish featured impressive performances especially from Moldauer on floor and Mikulak on parallel bars.
An American men's team has not medaled at the Olympics since 2008.
Although this was the final for the team competition, the men still have opportunities to medal in individual events.
Malone will compete in the all-around and horizontal bar event, Moldauer in floor, and Alec Yoder -- who was not part of the official team but is competing as an individual for the U.S. -- qualified for the pommel horse event final.
Of course, Mikulak is looking to bring home an elusive Olympic individual medal. He qualified for the finals in the individual all-around, taking place Wednesday, and in the parallel bars.
(TOKYO) -- Each day, ABC News will give you a roundup of key Olympic moments from the day’s events in Tokyo, happening 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. After a 12-month delay, the unprecedented 2020 Summer Olympics is taking place without fans or spectators and under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. men's swimming takes gold, Ledecky settles for silver
American swimmer Caleb Dressel led the men's team to a gold model in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay on Monday, marking Team USA's second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Dressel is on a quest to win six gold medals at the Games and is often referred to as the successor to Michael Phelps, the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals.
Katie Ledecky on the U.S. women's swimming team, another decorated champion, was bested in the 400-meter freestyle by Australia's Ariarne Titmus, nicknamed "The Terminator." Ledecky's silver increased U.S. swimming's current medal total at the Tokyo Olympics to 8.
13-year-old Nishiya Momiji of Japan wins gold medal in women's street skateboarding
Team Japan has now claimed both gold medals in the first two events of skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics, as Nishiya Momiji won the women's street final after compatriot Yuto Horigome had won the men's. Momiji, 13, was joined on the podium by another 13-year-old, Rayssa Leal of Brazil, who won silver, and 16-year-old Nakayama Funa of Japan, who took home the bronze.
COVID-19 cases increase to 153 among Olympic athletes and personnel
There were 16 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 among people at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, including three athletes and one personnel member staying at the Olympic Village. The total now stands at 153, according to data released by the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.
Meanwhile, the city of Tokyo reported 1,429 new cases on Monday, an increase in the rolling seven-day average of 141.2%, according to data released by the Tokyo metropolitan government.
There were no confirmed cases among the 1,144 U.S. Olympic delegates in Japan as of Sunday.
U.S. softball defeats Japan in warmup for gold medal game
The U.S. softball team defeated Japan 3-1 to keep their perfect 5-0 record, finishing the group stage. The two teams will face off again in the final on Tuesday, a gold-medal rematch of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing where Japan defeated Team USA 3-1.
(TOKYO) -- Up until last year, the Olympic games had never been postponed for any other reason than a world war. Then the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world, putting the dreams of over 10,000 Olympic hopefuls on pause.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo are now set to begin in less than two weeks, nearly 500 days after the International Olympics Committee announced the postponement of the Games on March 24, 2020.
After a year of extraordinary planning, the Tokyo Olympics will be different than any other Olympics Games before it: As the worldwide vaccination effort against COVID-19 continues, all spectators will be banned from attending the Games, the athletes will be isolated from one another, and all coaches, trainers and participants will be tested rigorously for COVID-19.
After going through what they called unprecedented training, three athletes spoke to ABC News about what it took for them to get to the Olympic stage while a global pandemic ravaged the world.
LILLY KING, USA SWIMMING
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lilly King was a breakout star at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in 2016 when she won first place in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke. When she heard the postponement news, King said she was at home training in Evansville, Indiana -- it was just one of many training sessions she’d had over the previous months. Yet still, she said the reality of the situation didn’t sink in until some time later.
“I heard the Olympics were postponed and I didn't really know what to think. I'm kind of … a serial under-reactor,” King told ABC News. “[Five months later], my mom actually got my Olympic flag framed from 2016… I saw the flag and that was kind of the moment, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, we're not going right now. This is not fun.’”
“[I had] my little meltdown that I had been waiting to have for five months… I got it out eventually and I think that was good,” she added.
In April 2020, King was forced to adapt her training routine to a world in which pools were closed due to COVID-19.
“I was sitting at home one day and my coach called me and said, ’Do you have a wetsuit?’” King said. She told him she didn’t. “He said, ‘Well, you better get one because we're gonna swim in a pond.’ It was probably mid-April, but we started swimming in the pond in Indiana. It was freezing.”
King said she and her teammates bonded over the brutally cold days in the pond and the long drives across the state to access the few pools that had begun to reopen.
“If one of us came to practice with a bad attitude one day, it would ruin the rest of it for the other nine of us. … You had to be really conscious about what you were saying out loud, or what you were thinking, because it was very noticeable to the people we were training with since we are a small group,” said King.
King said that with her previous Olympics experience, she has looked forward to the Tokyo Games as a chance to step into a role as a leader and mentor to her teammates, many of whom are young.
“Having a long career in this sport is just having a good outlook and a good attitude about things and that's what I tried to do,” said King. “It is the Olympics, but in the end it's just another swim meet. Hopefully that'll be helpful to those younger athletes and I know that would have been very helpful advice to me whenI was in their shoes.”
Hungry to compete, King said that the yearlong wait will only make competing at the Olympic Games that much sweeter.
“We still have an incredible team here and they're ready to compete and ready to go,” said King. “Hopefully I can be that mentor that I had to those younger kids on the team and just come out and swim fast and have fun.”
MARIAH DURAN, USA SKATEBOARDING
In March 2019, professional skateboarder Mariah Duran was named one of 16 inaugural members comprising the USA Skateboarding National Team in the first Olympics Games to ever feature the sport.
Two years later, she is the leading female skateboarder in the U.S. and will compete against 26 nations in her Olympic debut.
“It was big to just be a part of [the Olympics] and work towards something and to have that extra goal set in front of me as a skater,” said Duran.
“It's going to make the conversation for younger girls who want to pick up a board, their parents might be more down to let them do it,” she added.
After a whirlwind 2019 during which she competed in qualification rounds and traveled, Duran said she used the extra time from postponement to reconnect with her love for skating.
“[This year], I would have to say I really fell in love with skateboarding even more, and that aspect of when all this other noise is canceled, I still love skating and I would do it regardless of whether the Olympics happened or not,” Duran told ABC News. “I've been skating for about 14 years. So all those other years, I was just doing it because I love doing it.”
Duran, who is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, said she used the city as a training ground by finding outdoor parks, stairs, ledges and other obstacles in town.
“I just want longevity in the sport. So what can I do to create that? I was able to get two trainers [to focus my training] and we would do Zoom calls. … I would have [the weekend] just to myself and skate all day if I wanted to,” she said.
Along with practicing yoga regularly to help with her flexibility, Duran said she also used the postponement to slow down and focus on mental training, including being present in the moment.
“When you're competing at such a high level, or you're pushing yourself to do such an extreme [trick]... getting in tune with your mental space is so important because once you can control that. You can control the outcome if you know the position you put yourself in.”
Duran said she hopes that the game’s global spotlight on skateboarding will inspire other people, especially women, to get involved in the sport and continue to push their limits.
“Skating is so empowering and amazing that, when you step on a board, you don't feel like a girl or a boy. At that point, you're just a skater,” said Duran. “I really hope that people just look into the sport a little bit more and it sheds a light and it helps grow the sport.”
DAVID BROWN, USA PARALYMPIC TRACK & FIELD
Two-time Paralympian David Brown runs in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint alongside a sighted guide in the T11 sports class, which includes all athletes who have a visual field of less than 10 degrees diameter. Brown said the past year has helped him to grow more in tune with his own body as an individual runner — one who doesn't necessarily need help.
“What inspired me to actually start running was me starting to go blind when I was 6-years-old. … I started being able to just run fast,” Brown told ABC News. “Even though I am blind, I'm not going to let you take advantage of me. If you’re going to beat me, you’re going to have to work for it and it doesn’t matter if I can see or not.”
Since 2014, Brown has held the world record as the fastest totally blind athlete in the world.
Brown, who began competing in the Paralympics in 2012 and secured a gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games, said that the extra time that he spent training last year gave him the chance to better understand his muscles, timing and pace.
Brown said that training by himself allowed him to focus inward and find his own step rather than sync his stride to another person’s.
“I've been running for some years now, but I never knew the technicality of sprinting. … Especially when it comes to running with someone else,” said Brown. “Sometimes, not knowing what to do or how to do certain things, you end up molding yourself to the runner that you're running with.”
“I don't know how to walk in a straight line or let alone run in a straight line, but I was able to learn,” he added.
The extra time also allowed Brown to realize his athletic potential.
“It's odd for me to say this but for the postponement … It was a blessing overall for me because I was able to find myself as an athlete [after] being tethered to somebody all the time,” said Brown. “I was able to train as an individual, I was able to pretty much untether myself from my guide and find myself as an individual runner.”
The Paralympic games begin on Aug. 24, 2021 in Tokyo. In a year filled with novel protocols and critical improvisions, Brown said he’s ready for whatever happens.
“At the end of the day, we're not going to leave anything on the table,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, I made it here, I made it this far, which is a huge blessing and a huge accomplishment in itself.”
Brown said his goal is to inspire future athletes to test the limits of their own abilities.
“That's what it's all about, giving inspiration to the future athletes,” he said. “And then showing the ones that come after us what is possible.”
(TOKYO) - The USA men's Olympic basketball team lost to France 83-76 in the team's opening game of the 2020 Olympics.
It is the first loss for the men's team at the games since 2004, ending a 25 game winning streak.
France's Evan Fournier led the game with 28 points. Jrue Holiday was the leading scorer for Team USA with 18 points.
Team USA led after the first and second quarters, but a 25 point third quarter by the French had them leading by 6, 62-56, entering the fourth.
Team USA opened the final quarter on a 13-1 run, to put them up 69-63, with Holiday, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 12 points.
The Americans led the way until the final minute when Fournier, who plays for the Boston Celtics, hit a three-pointer with 57 seconds left to put France up 76-74. Team USA missed its next five shots, including three three-point attempts, before free throws iced the game for France.
Team USA plays Iran and the Czech Republic in its next two games of group play. They must win both games to advance to the medal rounds.
(TOKYO) -- Each day, ABC News will give you a roundup of key Olympic moments from the day’s events in Tokyo, happening 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. After a 12-month delay, the unprecedented 2020 Olympics will take place without fans or spectators and under a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
US men's basketball loses 1st game since 2004
The U.S. men's basketball team lost 83-76 in their opening game against France, the first game the team has lost since 2004. The loss hasn't knocked Team USA out of the running, they will have two more games in the group round to qualify for the next round. Since basketball's introduction to the Olympics in 1936, the U.S. men's team has won a medal in every competition except the 1980 Games, which was boycotted by the United States.
US wins 1st gold medal after 1st-day drought
U.S. swimmer Chase Kalisz won the gold medal in the men's 400m individual medley, his first gold as well as the first medal overall for Team USA at the 2020 Games. Though it was the first time in decades that the United States failed to win a medal on opening day competition, the U.S. swimming team won 6 of 12 medals in the days' competition, including Kalisz's gold, two silvers and three bronze.
US women's gymnastic team finds itself in unfamiliar position: 2nd place
The often dominant U.S. women's team saw another team leading the scoreboard after the qualifying round on Sunday. ROC, the athletes competing for Russia, finished the competition nearly a full point ahead of Team USA. Simone Biles finished first in the all-around, followed by teammate Sunisa Lee.
Coronavirus cases increase to 137 among Olympic athletes and personnel
Among the 10 new cases since yesterday, two are athletes and one of those, a Dutch rower, was staying at Olympic Village. Not included in that tally was golfer Bryson DeChambeau, who tested positive for coronavirus before leaving the United States and will no longer compete. New cases that have been reported in the Tokyo area now stand at 1,763, an increase in the rolling 7-day average of 146.5%.
Skateboarding makes debut at Olympics
Skateboarding debuted at the 2020 Games with local star Yuto Horigome of Japan winning the gold medal and Team USA's Jagger Eaton taking home the bronze in the men's street competition.
US softball heads to gold medal rematch against Japan
After defeating Australia 2-1 in their fourth win, the U.S. softball team heads to the gold medal game against Japan. This rematch from 2008, was the last time softball was at the Olympics and resulted in a silver medal for the team. The team was led by pitchers Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman, the only two players who were on the team for the loss in 2008.
Intense heat could cause rescheduling for outdoor events
Olympic skateboarders, who compete at the unshaded Ariake Urban Sports Park, said the heat was already intense at 9 a.m. a sentiment echoed by tennis players Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. The International Olympic Committee said they would make backup plans if necessary.
(TOKYO) -- Unlike most sports at the Tokyo Olympics, the venue for surfing will be decided by when and where Team USA hopefuls such as Carissa Moore and Kolohe Andino paddle out off Japan's Shidashita Beach.
Organizers of the first-time event have scheduled an eight-day waiting period -- July 25 to Aug. 1 -- to squeeze in up to four days of competition based on daily conditions -- wave heights, direction, wind strength.
Kurt Korte, the international surf forecaster for the Olympic surfing event, told ABC News this week that conditions off the Pacific Coast of Japan are starting to look good with signs of a tropical cyclone forming well south of Shidashita Beach that could whip up the type of waves for great competition among the best surfers in the world.
"That storm as it moves past could set us up for some pretty good surf. So that's kind of what we're eying right now for the initial part of the contest," said Korte, who lives in North Carolina and works for Surfline.com, a company that provides global wave and ocean forecast.
"It's definitely within the realm where we could see overhead surf and good conditions as this thing moves past," Korte said. "It's really fortunate that this is what's happening for the opening days."
Korte said Surfline.com has worked with Olympic officials for the past six years to determine if surfing was even possible at the Tokyo Games. The company analyzed 35 years of weather and ocean data to suggest Shidahita as the best possible spot, and Korte left for Japan this week to study the ocean and make recommendations on which days the competition should unfold.
The inaugural event will feature 20 men and 20 women from 17 countries.
The four-member U.S. team, described as a "Dream Team" by USA Surfing, is a heavy favorite. The Americans are led by the 27-year-old Andino of San Clemente, California, who holds seven USA Surfing Champion titles, and Moore, 28, of Honolulu, the No. 1-ranked female surfer in the world who holds four World Surfing League titles.
The team also features John John Florence, 28, of Oahu, Hawaii, a two-time World Surfing League champion. The youngest member is 19-year-old Caroline Marks of Melbourne Beach, Florida, the sixth-ranked female surfer in the world.
The American team is expected to face stiff competition from Brazil, which boasts Gabriel Madina, the world's No. 1-ranked men's surfer, and Italo Ferreira, the No. 2-ranked surfer in the world. The Australian team, led by seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, is also expected to compete for gold.
How the competition will work
The surfers qualified for the Olympics based primarily on how well they did at previous major competitions, including the 2019 World Surfing League Championship Tour, where Florence and Moore each came out on top.
The Olympic Games will be exclusively a shortboard affair, meaning surfboards are less than 7 feet long, with pointy noses and usually three small fins on the underside.
Once the water conditions are deemed fit, according to Olympic rules, athletes will take to the ocean four at a time and compete in heats, with the first round consisting of four heats.
A five-judge panel will base scores on a scale of 1 to 10 that can include decimal points. Competitors will be judged on speed, power, snap turns and how seamlessly they flow on a wave. Judges also look for difficulty, risk and innovation of maneuvers performed, such as a barrel, or riding through the tube a curling wave makes, and aerials in which surfers ride up the face a wave and catch air at the lip.
In April, Moore wowed spectators at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, the second leg of the World Surf League's Championship Tour, by nailing an aerial where she landed a reverse on the face of a wave before spinning another 180 degrees forward. The judges gave her a near-perfect score of 9.9.
In each heat, surfers will be given a 30-minute window to catch as many waves as possible but must go one at a time, with the surfer closest to the peak of a wave given preference to catch it. Participants can be docked points for violating surfing etiquette by cutting in line.
The best two scores from each surfer will decide who moves on to the next round and, eventually, the medal round, where whoever is left will compete head-to-head.
"I'm stoked, super stoked," Andino told People magazine before heading to Japan. "I think the waves on offer in Japan will be pretty fun. It'll be a lot of aerial maneuvers, so it should be pretty exciting to watch."
(TOKYO) -- China's Qian Yang wins 1st gold medal for shooting
Qian Yang, 21, received the first gold model of the 2020 Games in the 10 meter air rifle event, where competitors have 75 minutes to shoot 60 rounds at a target.
U.S. women’s soccer team bounces back to dominate New Zealand
The U.S. women’s soccer team defeated New Zealand 6-1, a strong showing after losing to Sweden 2-0 in their previous game. The women’s team has one more game left in the group round.
Coronavirus cases increase to 127 among Olympic athletes and personnel
Among the new cases, which have increased by 17 since yesterday, only one infected person was staying at the Olympic Village. In the greater Tokyo area, officials have reported 1,128 new cases on July 24, a 133% increase in the 7-day rolling average. U.S. Olympic & Paralympic medical director Dr. Jonathan Finnoff said at a press conference on July 23, that an estimated 83% of the U.S. athletes competing at the games are vaccinated.
Youngest Olympian eliminated from competition
Twelve-year-old Hend Zaza of Syria was eliminated from her women's single preliminary round table tennis match.
3-on-3 basketball debuts at 2020 Games
Three-on-three basketball made its Olympic debut today with the U.S. women's team defeating France 17-10. This Olympic version of a street game is won by being the first to 21 points, or leading after the 10-minute game clock has expired. The United States is solely represented by the U.S. women's team, as the men's team failed to qualify.
Formerly retired pitcher leads U.S. softball team to 3-0 start
Cat Osterman, 38, led the U.S. softball team to their third victory, a 2-0 win over Mexico on July, 24, 2021. Osterman was on the 2008 Olympic team that received the silver medal after losing to Japan.
(TOKYO) -- Novak Djokovic could be on his way to making men's tennis history with this year's Olympic Games.
Every year, tennis players have the opportunity to achieve a Grand Slam by winning all four majors: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.
But every four years -- or, well, five years, in this case -- they have the opportunity to achieve a "Golden Slam." That means winning all four majors and the Olympics.
It's only ever been achieved once, by Steffi Graf in 1988. No man has ever completed a Golden Slam.
Djokovic, at the very least, is close to it. So far this year, he has won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. The U.S. Open takes place at the end of summer.
A Grand Slam is rare enough. No men's tennis player has done it in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969 -- though Djokovic did hold all four titles simultaneously from 2015 to 2016.
After debating whether he would attend the game due to COVID-19 restrictions, the world No. 1 confirmed on July 15, "I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics."
Honored to play for my people and my country at the @Olympics!
(TOKYO) -- The first gold medal of the 2020 Olympics was officially won Saturday in Japan
China's Qian Yang earned gold in the women's 10-meter air rifle to take home the long-awaited first medal. The 21-year-old is a rising star in the sport.
She defeated Russian Anastasiia Galashina -- competing under the Russian Olympic Committee moniker -- in the final. Nina Christen took the bronze for Switzerland.
The first medal events took place Saturday in Tokyo, with opportunities to win in archery, men's cycling, fencing, judo, shooting, taekwondo and women's weightlifting.
Although the opening ceremony just took place Friday, competition has been underway for several days, including in soccer, softball, baseball and shooting. Competition will continue through Aug. 8, when the closing ceremony will be held.
The United States won the most medals during the last Summer Olympics in 2016, coming home with 121, 46 of which were gold. China and Great Britain followed shortly after the U.S., taking home 70 and 67 medals, respectively.
Shooting takes place in several disciplines, based on different distances from targets. In the 10-meter air rifle, athletes have 75 minutes to fire 60 shots at a target. Ginny Thrasher of the U.S. won gold in 2016. Thrasher did not qualify for the 2020 Games, though American Mary Tucker finished in sixth.
The men's 10-meter air pistol competition will be taking place later in the day.
While this is the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, there are other notable first medals coming up. The first medals ever will be awarded over the next two weeks in skateboarding, karate, surfboarding and sport climbing, four sports that are making their Olympic debut this year.
Meanwhile, American greats like gymnast Simone Biles and sprinter Allyson Felix are competing to make medal history as individuals in their sports, and Serbian tennis icon Novak Djokovic is going for gold on his hunt for an elusive Golden Slam.
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Friday's sports events:
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:
Final N.Y. Mets 3 Toronto 0
Final Baltimore 6 Washington 1
Final Milwaukee 7 Chicago White Sox 1
Final Tampa Bay 10 Cleveland 5
Final Boston 6 N.Y. Yankees 2
Final Kansas City 5 Detroit 3
Final Minnesota 5 L.A. Angels 4
Final Houston 7 Texas 3
Final Seattle 4 Oakland 3
Final Chicago Cubs 8 Arizona 3
Final Philadelphia 5 Atlanta 1
Final San Diego 5 Miami 2
Final Cincinnati 6 St. Louis 5
Final Pittsburgh 6 San Francisco 4
Final Colorado 9 L.A. Dodgers 6
(CLEVELAND) -- Following decades of backlash from the Native American community, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team announced that the franchise will change its name from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team initially announced its intention to change its name in December 2020, but the new name was shared on the team's official Twitter account Friday morning in a video narrated by actor Tom Hanks, a longtime fan.
The new name is a nod to the Guardians of Traffic, the city’s iconic statues on the Hope Memorial Bridge and is set to take effect at the end of the 2020 season.
The final decision was a product of interviews with fans, community leaders, a survey of 40,000 fans and team brainstorming sessions, which generated 1,198 name options that were winnowed down through 14 rounds of vetting, according to a Friday MLB press release.
"While inspired by the iconic sculptures of the Hope Memorial Bridge, our Guardians name is a reflection of the traits we, as Clevelanders, take pride in the most—fierce loyalty, unwavering support, and a resolve to stand side by side through thick and thin," the franchise says on its website. "As a team, as an organization, as citizens of Cleveland, we hope to protect and preserve all that we love about this city."
For the Native American community, including advocates in Ohio who have been urging the franchise to drop the Native American moniker for decades, the name change is welcomed but long overdue.
“We are excited. This has been a long half century of adjuration towards this name change. It is coming not a moment too soon," Sundance, director of the Cleveland branch of the American Indian Movement, told ABC News in a phone interview on Friday, but urged the franchise to continue to engage in dialogue with the Native American community.
Sundance is a member of the Muscogee tribe who led a successful effort to change the mascot of a high school from the Oberlin Indians to the Oberlin Phoenix.
The organization he leads has been urging national and local teams with indigenous names and mascots to change their names for more than 50 years through lawsuits, protests and public appeals, arguing that making Native Americans mascots further dehumanizes a community that has been oppressed for centuries.
“For the moment we’re just all floating on the good news that the name is changed, but I hope this does not mean that Cleveland baseball has ceased to dialogue," he said. "I am hoping that this will be an avenue for them to meet the Native community in northeast Ohio on an even playing field," he added.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the country’s oldest and largest American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization, applauded Cleveland baseball's name change in a statement on Friday.
"The Cleveland baseball team has taken another important step forward in healing the harms its former mascot caused Native people, in particular Native youth," NCAI President Fawn Sharp said. “We call on the other professional sports teams and thousands of schools across the country that still cling to their antiquated Native ‘themed’ mascots to immediately follow suit."
Before deciding to change their name the Cleveland team stopped using the Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms in 2019.
"Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them," team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a statement in December 2020.
He also said in an interview with The Associated Press at the time that the police killing of George Floyd was an “awakening or epiphany” that contributed to the team’s decision.
Amid nationwide protests and an energized civil rights movement sparked by the killing of Floyd, Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, announced in July 2020 that the team would change its name to the Washington Football Team, after FedEx, which has naming rights to the stadium, requested a change.
According to an October 2020 FiveThirtyEight analysis, hundreds of schools across the country still use Native Americans as their team mascots -- monikers widely seen as racist and dehumanizing to the Native American community.