Sports

Olympics 2021 Live: U.S. Beats Canada in Softball

Present time in Tokyo: July 22, 12:22 p.m.

Monica Abbott celebrated with teammates during the U.S. win.
Credit score…Jae C. Hong/Related Press

TOKYO — Behind the highly effective left arm of Monica Abbott, the top-ranked United States softball crew sneaked by third-ranked Canada, 1-0, on Thursday at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

Abbott tossed a complete-game shutout, permitting only one hit, strolling three and placing out 9. The day earlier than, her fellow American ace Cat Osterman tossed six scoreless innings and struck out 9 whereas surrendering only one hit to Italy. Abbott got here in for the ultimate inning to safe the 2-0 win.

So in two video games, Osterman, 38, and Abbott, 35 — who each performed within the final Olympic softball event, in 2008 — have mixed to permit simply two hits, hand over three walks and strike out a whopping 21 batters.

Pumping 70-mile-an-hour fastballs, Abbott vexed Canada’s offense all sport on Thursday. And when she did cough up successful within the sixth inning, her teammates got here to the rescue.

With a runner on first base, Canada’s beginning pitcher, Sara Groenewegen, smacked a double into the right-center subject hole. However heart fielder Haylie McCleney chased down the ball and fired it to second baseman Ali Aguilar, who relayed it to catcher Aubree Munro in time to nab a sliding Joey Lye at dwelling.

The defensive play preserved Abbott’s gem, and Ken Eriksen, the crew’s head coach, caught along with her for the ultimate inning.

On offense, the U.S. threatened with base runners all through the sport however struggled once more to transform its probabilities. Its lone run got here within the fifth inning, when McCleney reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Janie Reed.

Going through Jenna Caira, Amanda Chidester slapped a ball to proper subject for a single that scored McCleney. Standing at first base, Chidester pumped her arms and shouted towards her teammates.

No softball video games are scheduled for Friday because the event shifts to Yokohama Baseball Stadium, nearer to Tokyo. The U.S. will subsequent play on Saturday, dealing with Mexico. After every crew performs 5 video games, the highest two groups within the six-team subject advance to the gold medal sport.

Outside the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The decision to hold events without spectators has proved divisive.
Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Occasions

Extra athletes have been in motion on Thursday in Tokyo, the second full day of Olympic competitors earlier than Friday’s opening ceremony, with softball video games within the morning and males’s soccer kicking off later within the day.

Off the sector, organizers are nonetheless struggling to reassure residents that the hundreds of arriving athletes received’t worsen the unfold of Covid-19 in Tokyo. And a brand new rash of circumstances has sidelined extra gamers and groups, together with Mexico’s whole baseball squad, which is now in quarantine again dwelling and ready for clearance to journey.

Whereas solely two sports activities — soccer and softball — have formally began play, there are already indicators that gamers will make the most of guidelines that enable for extra activism and protests earlier than the beginning of a sport. On Wednesday, members of 4 ladies’s soccer groups took a knee earlier than their matches.

The U.S. ladies’s soccer crew started the event the way in which it had ended the 2016 video games in Rio: by shedding to Sweden.

Again then, the quarterfinal loss value them an opportunity on the gold medal. This time, the 3-0 defeat on Wednesday ended the crew’s streak of 44 straight video games with no loss. The U.S., which has received 4 gold medals, was one of many favorites to win all of it, coming off a title within the 2019 World Cup.

The U.S. aspect now has two days to regroup earlier than its subsequent match, on Saturday in opposition to New Zealand. That and Tuesday’s match with Australia are doubtless must-wins if the U.S. ladies need to gather sufficient factors to qualify for the subsequent spherical, the place they might face powerhouses like Britain, Brazil and the Netherlands.

Having delayed these video games by a yr due to the pandemic, Tokyo organizers made some main concessions for the occasion to occur this yr, together with barring spectators, which has proved divisive. However the steps have achieved little to assuage the considerations of individuals throughout Japan, the place numbers of circumstances are rising.



Athletes who’ve examined constructive for the coronavirus

Scientists say that constructive exams are anticipated with each day testing packages, even among the many vaccinated. Little data on severity has been launched, although public studies recommend that circumstances amongst athletes have typically been gentle or asymptomatic. Some athletes who’ve examined constructive haven’t been publicly recognized.


July 21

Sweet Jacobs

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United States

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Amongst athletes, officers and others working on the Video games, 86 folks have examined constructive for the coronavirus as of Thursday, together with eight athletes, in accordance with Tokyo 2020’s database. That tally doesn’t embrace those that examined constructive earlier than arrival in Japan. Two gamers on Mexico’s baseball crew examined constructive earlier than the crew’s scheduled departure to Tokyo, forcing the crew into quarantine in Mexico Metropolis. A number of gamers, together with some from the U.S., will miss the Video games after constructive exams.

Simply two weeks in the past, the English males’s soccer crew grabbed headlines when its gamers knelt to focus on racism earlier than video games within the Euro 2020 event. Whereas the crew misplaced the championship to Italy, it helped spotlight causes that have been necessary to the gamers and drew the ire of some politicians in England.

On the Olympics, organizers relaxed guidelines, permitting gamers to protest earlier than video games, though not throughout play or on the awarding of medals. To this point, the ladies’s soccer groups from Chile, america, Sweden and Britain have taken a knee.

Viewers ought to put together for extra protests on Friday on the opening ceremony and over the approaching weeks of occasions, in accordance with Tommie Smith, who famously raised a fist to focus on the oppression of Black Individuals when he was awarded the gold medal for the 200 meters in monitor and subject in Mexico Metropolis in 1968.

Learn the New York Occasions interview with him on what to anticipate.

The 2020 video games haven’t even formally began, and we’re already speaking concerning the host for 2032: Brisbane. It’s the third-largest metropolis in Australia, positioned on the nation’s east coast close to the browsing meccas of the Gold Coast. It’s the third time Australia will host the video games.

The choice to call Brisbane because the 2032 host most likely didn’t come as a shock to at least one individual: John Coates. He’s one of many vice presidents for the Worldwide Olympic Committee, which wrote the brand new guidelines for choosing a number. He additionally occurs to move the Australian Olympic Committee, the group that pitched the bid.

Learn Tariq Panja’s profile on Coates and the way he led the cost to deliver the Video games again to Australia.

Canada and the United States faced off on Thursday after each won their first game of the tournament.
Credit score…Jorge Silva/Reuters

It’s Thursday on the Olympic Video games, or as it’s formally identified, “Day Unfavorable 1.” (The opening ceremony is on Friday.)

The hearth hose of sports activities that can begin spewing on Saturday continues to be however a trickle, however there are a number of occasions of word.

The Tokyo morning options three extra softball video games. The US beat Canada, 1-0, as pitcher Monica Abbott tossed a complete-game shutout. Mexico-Japan and Australia-Italy matchups observe.

Then within the Tokyo afternoon and night, soccer resumes, this time the lads as an alternative of the ladies. The US didn’t qualify for the lads’s event, which is made up principally of youthful professionals.

The highlights of the eight video games are Mexico-France in Tokyo at 5 p.m. (4 a.m. Jap on Thursday) and Brazil-Germany in Yokohama at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Jap on Thursday). Within the 2016 Video games in Rio, Brazil beat Germany within the gold medal sport in a penalty shootout.

Right here’s easy methods to watch in america:

All occasions are Jap.

  • U.S. and Canada at 8 p.m. on Wednesday on NBC Sports activities Community.

  • Japan in opposition to Mexico at 11 p.m., on NBCSN.

  • Italy in opposition to Australia at 2 a.m. Thursday on NBCSN.

  • Mexico in opposition to France at 4 a.m. on USA Community.

  • Brazil in opposition to Germany at 7:30 a.m. on USA Community.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday night time in Tokyo. However the time distinction with Tokyo means will probably be Friday morning in america.

NBC could have a stay morning broadcast of the ceremony, beginning at 6:55 a.m. Jap time. Savannah Guthrie, the anchor for “Right now,” and NBC Sports activities’ Mike Tirico will host the ceremony.

Much like years previous, the community will air a packaged prime-time model of the ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Jap on Friday.

Along with NBC, Olympic occasions will probably be proven on the Golf Channel, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports activities Community, Telemundo and USA Community. Occasions will even be streamed on NBCOlympics.com, NBCSports.com and Peacock, the community’s streaming platform.

After the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Video games will stretch throughout 16 days, culminating within the closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Ona Carbonell competing in Gwangju, South Korea, at the world championships in 2019. 
Credit score…Clive Rose/Getty Pictures

The Spanish creative swimmer Ona Carbonell is expressing her “disappointment and disillusionment” that it’s not sensible to deliver her son to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics whereas she is breastfeeding him.

Carbonell mentioned in an Instagram video this week that she wouldn’t take her son, Kai, who is sort of a yr previous, to the Video games. She mentioned she had to decide on between her household and her Olympic objectives in creative swimming, the game previously referred to as synchronized swimming.

“Just a few weeks in the past, some feminine athletes began posting about this on social media,” she mentioned in Spanish within the video as she breastfed her son. “The topic was to decide on between household and breastfeeding or to take part within the Olympic Video games.”

“We have been informed this was not appropriate,” she mentioned.

On the finish of June, the Tokyo organizing committee loosened a restriction on bringing infants who’re nursing to the Video games. However the situations imposed nonetheless made it troublesome for moms, Carbonell mentioned, as a result of kids must keep in a lodge exterior of the Olympic confines and underneath strict quarantine.

“They wouldn’t be allowed to depart the lodge room in the course of the 20-ish days I’d be in Tokyo,” Carbonell mentioned. “For me to go and breastfeed Kai every time he wants it in the course of the day I must depart the Olympic villa, the crew’s bubble, and go to their lodge, risking my crew’s well being.”

Carbonell, 31, is competing in her third Olympics. She received a silver medal within the duet competitors and a bronze medal within the crew competitors in London in 2012, and positioned fourth within the duet competitors in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

In a message accompanying the Instagram video, she mentioned that whereas she had acquired “numerous expressions of help and encouragement to go to Tokyo with Kai,” she “needed to specific my disappointment and disillusionment that I’ll lastly need to journey with out him.”

The Worldwide Olympic Committee didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark about her video.

Correction: 

An earlier model of this story described Carbonell’s statements incorrectly. She mentioned restrictions made it impractical to deliver her son to Tokyo in the course of the Olympics. She didn’t say that she had been informed that he was not allowed to return in any respect.

Credit score…Jorge Silva/Reuters

After a 13-year absence, softball has returned to the Olympic stage, with one irritating distinction: The video games are being performed on baseball fields somewhat than ones for softball.

Followers and gamers alike expressed disappointment throughout social media this week. Among the many fundamental variations is {that a} softball subject is smaller than a baseball subject, often with an infield solely composed of dust. Baseball diamonds are manufactured from a mixture of dust and grass or synthetic turf.

Others, nevertheless, are much less bothered.

“I don’t care what the sector appears to be like like, we’re blissful it’s again & we’ve been ready a really very long time,” Danielle O’Toole Trejo, who performs for Mexico’s nationwide crew and can also be a participant within the Athletes Limitless professional league within the U.S., wrote on Twitter. “Our play WILL NOT change. We’re GOOD sufficient to adapt.”

In each the 2004 Athens Video games and the 2008 Beijing Video games, the host cities constructed softball fields as a part of their Olympics infrastructure.

Nonetheless, Jennie Finch, a former U.S. pitcher and Olympic gold and silver medalist, mentioned taking part in on baseball fields is regular, including that she performed on baseball fields many occasions all through her profession.

For softball, the second is large: It first turned an Olympic sport in 1996, and it appeared in every Summer season Video games via 2008, after which it was dropped.

It has a rising international footprint, and within the U.S., it’s a aggressive collegiate sport with no main league dwelling. Final August, softball was the inaugural sport in Athletes Limitless, however even that season was solely six weeks lengthy.

“Our sport wants this,” Finch mentioned in an interview this week. “It’s essential for our sport globally to be within the Olympic Video games and have our presence and have the platform to showcase how nice of a sport it’s.”

Sweden celebrated its third goal against the United States.
Credit score…Doug Mills/The New York Occasions

CHOFU, Japan — 5 years. That’s how lengthy it had waited for this sport.

5 years since america ladies’s soccer crew’s hopes for an Olympic gold medal on the 2016 Rio Video games have been dashed by Sweden. 5 years since a defeat that pressured the Individuals to look within the mirror and ask arduous questions on their age, dominance and future.

5 years of ready, solely to finish up proper again in the identical place.

The US opened the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday precisely the place it ended the Rio Video games 5 years earlier: reeling from a humbling, embarrassing defeat to Sweden.

Again then, it was a loss on penalties within the quarterfinals. This time, it was not almost as shut: Sweden dominated america, 3-0. Again then, Sweden had bunkered down and annoyed the Individuals. On Wednesday, it merely dominated from one aspect of the sector to the opposite.

“Did we count on this end result tonight? No,” U.S. ahead Megan Rapinoe mentioned. “It’s irritating, and it’s irritating that it’s Sweden.”

“I don’t bear in mind the final time we gave up a objective,” she added. “So to surrender three just isn’t nice.”

Defender Kelley O’Hara acknowledged earlier than the sport that she and her teammates had been pining for one more shot on the Swedes on the Video games. “It’s what we’ve waited now 5 years for, to be again right here,” she mentioned.

They only by no means anticipated it to go like this.

Striker Stina Blackstenius delivered a objective in every half for Sweden, a glancing header within the twenty fifth minute and a point-blank end within the 54th that felt like a simply reward for a dominant efficiency on the tip of a Sweden assault that had the Individuals on their heels nearly as quickly as the sport started.

The US tried the whole lot to show the tide. Positional tweaks to attempt to help a midfield that was routinely overrun. Substitutions to refashion a largely toothless assault. Reinforcements to bolster a protection that was first stretched after which minimize aside.

Even probably the most dependable of veterans introduced on to assist appeared to have little impact. Carli Lloyd and Julie Ertz — in her first look in months — got here on at halftime, however Sweden quickly doubled its lead. Rapinoe was inserted to supply a little bit of menace on the wing, nevertheless it by no means materialized.

Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos raised their gloved hands in protest at the 1968 Olympics. 
Credit score…Related Press

When the American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the medal stand on the Mexico Metropolis Video games in 1968 to protest the oppression of Black Individuals, they gave voice to generations of the athletes keen to talk their minds, even because the Worldwide Olympic Committee and athletic federations attempt to curtail what they think about political demonstrations.

Whereas the usO.P.C. mentioned in December that it’s going to now not penalize athletes who protest, the I.O.C. reaffirmed that protests throughout Olympic occasions or the medal stand are prohibited. That rule will probably be examined when the Tokyo Video games open on Friday, Smith mentioned in a current interview, as a result of athletes in all places have been woke up within the yr because the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Girls’s soccer gamers for Britain, Chile, Sweden and america knelt earlier than their video games on Wednesday, which fell underneath a relaxed I.O.C. rule that enables for demonstrations earlier than the beginning of competitors.

In a wide-ranging dialogue following the discharge of “With Drawn Arms,” a documentary about his life, Smith mentioned it was fruitless for the I.O.C. to attempt to muzzle athletes.

“It’s a rational thought that there’s going to be some kind of change,” he mentioned. “I feel inside the subsequent three weeks, we’re going to see some change in one thing. I don’t know from who. That’s why the long run is so necessary.”

Advertisers have spent more than $1 billion to run spots on NBC and its streaming platform.
Credit score…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Occasions

The Olympics have lengthy been an nearly very best discussion board for firms selling themselves, with loads of alternatives to nestle advertisements among the many pageantry and the feel-good tales about athletes overcoming adversity.

However now, as 11,000 opponents from greater than 200 nations convene in Tokyo whereas the coronavirus pandemic lingers, Olympic advertisers are anxious concerning the greater than $1 billion they’ve spent to run advertisements on NBC and its Peacock streaming platform.

Calls to cancel the greater than $15.4 billion extravaganza have intensified as extra athletes check constructive for Covid-19. The occasion can also be deeply unpopular with Japanese residents and plenty of public well being consultants, who concern it can turn into a superspreader occasion.

The Olympics are already broken items,” mentioned Jules Boykoff, a former Olympic soccer participant for america and an skilled in sports activities politics at Pacific College in Oregon. “If this example in Japan goes south quick, then we might see some whipsaw modifications in the way in which that offers are minimize and the willingness of multinational firms to become involved.”

Panasonic, a prime sponsor, is not going to ship its chief govt to the opening ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday. Neither will Toyota, one in all Japan’s most influential firms, which additionally mentioned it had deserted its plans to run Olympics-themed commercials in Japan.

In america, advertising plans are principally shifting forward.

For NBCUniversal, which has paid billions of {dollars} for the unique rights to broadcast the Olympics in america via 2032, the occasion is a vital income. There are greater than 140 sponsors for NBC’s protection on tv, on Peacock and on-line, a rise over the 100 that signed on for the 2016 Video games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Not being there with an viewers of this dimension and scale for a few of our blue-chip advertisers just isn’t an choice,” mentioned Jeremy Carey, the managing director of the sports activities advertising company Optimum Sports activities.

Chris Brandt, the chief advertising officer of Chipotle, mentioned that the state of affairs was “not very best” however that the corporate nonetheless deliberate to run a marketing campaign that includes profiles of Olympic athletes.

Tv has attracted the majority of the advert spending, however the quantity introduced in by digital and streaming advertisements is anticipated to rise. A number of forecasts predict that TV rankings for the Olympics will lag these for the Video games in Rio and London, whereas the streaming viewers will develop sharply.

Advert company executives mentioned firms have been checking in for updates on the Covid outbreak in Japan and would possibly fine-tune their advertising messages accordingly.

“Everyone seems to be slightly bit cautious,” mentioned David Droga, the founding father of the Droga5 advert company, which labored on an Olympics marketing campaign for Fb that showcases skate boarders. “Individuals are fairly fragile in the meanwhile. Advertisers don’t need to be too saccharine or too intelligent however are looking for that proper tone.”

Lucy Bronze of Britain took a knee before a match with Chile in Sapporo.
Credit score…Masashi Hara/Getty Pictures

Britain’s ladies’s soccer crew turned the primary athletes to make the most of the loosening of the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s decades-long prohibition in opposition to expressions of protest.

Simply earlier than kicking off their 2-0 win over Chile, gamers on Crew GB dropped to at least one knee in a protest to advertise racial justice in a fashion that has turn into frequent locations on soccer fields in the UK and elsewhere over the previous yr. Chile’s gamers joined the demonstration as effectively, and gamers from america and Sweden additionally knelt earlier than Sweden’s 3-0 win later Wednesday.

Such an motion would have led to extreme sanctions had the foundations not been modified within the lead as much as the Tokyo Olympics.

The gesture, which unfold throughout the sporting scene after the killing of George Floyd 14 months in the past, is more likely to be repeated all through the video games as athletes throughout the spectrum have pushed for higher rights of expression. These calls led to the organizer of the Olympics to water down Rule 50 of its constitution that banned any “demonstration or political, non secular or racial propaganda.”

Nonetheless, for some athlete teams the I.O.C.’s change of stance has not gone far sufficient. Athletes is not going to, for instance, be capable to specific their protests on the medal podium. The I.O.C.’s guidelines additionally enable particular person sports activities federations to retain the ban. FIFA, soccer governing physique, has mentioned it has no issues with participant protests on the Video games. The identical goes for monitor and subject. Nonetheless, swimming’s leaders have mentioned they won’t countenance any type of protest on the pool deck which, in accordance with the president of its governing physique, ought to stay “a sanctity for sport and nothing else,” the place there ought to be “respect for the higher entire, not the person.”

The hodgepodge of laws raises the opportunity of some athletes being sanctioned for gestures that others could have made.

“There may be probably not a ‘one dimension suits all’ answer,” I.O.C. President Thomas Bach mentioned earlier than the Video games.

Nippon Budokan in Chiyoda ward in Tokyo on Sunday.
Credit score…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Occasions

The invention of remoted circumstances, even in vaccinated athletes on the Olympics in Tokyo, is solely anticipated, scientists say, and never essentially a trigger for alarm.

“This isn’t actually that a lot of a shock,” mentioned Angela Rasmussen, a virologist on the Vaccine and Infectious Illness Group on the College of Saskatchewan.

Nonetheless, these circumstances do elevate thorny questions on easy methods to design testing packages — and reply to check outcomes — at this section of the pandemic, through which the patchy rollout of vaccines signifies that some folks and communities are effectively shielded from the virus whereas others stay in danger.

As Dr. Rasmussen put it: “When does a constructive check actually point out that there’s an issue?”

Covid-19 exams, which have been as soon as profoundly restricted, are actually extensively obtainable in many of the developed world, making it attainable for organizations — together with personal employers, faculties, skilled sports activities leagues and the Olympics organizers — to routinely display folks for the virus.

Vaccination just isn’t required for Olympic contributors, and officers are relying closely on testing to maintain the virus at bay in Tokyo. These headed to the Video games should submit two unfavourable exams taken on separate days inside 96 hours of leaving for Japan no matter vaccination standing, in accordance with the Olympic playbooks, or manuals.

At the very least one of many two exams have to be taken inside 72 hours of departure. Contributors are once more examined upon arrival on the airport.

Athletes, coaches and officers are additionally required to take each day antigen exams, that are much less delicate than P.C.R. exams however are typically faster and cheaper. (Olympic employees and volunteers could also be examined much less continuously, relying on their stage of interplay with athletes and officers.) If a check comes again unclear or constructive, a P.C.R. check is run.

“Every layer of filtering is a discount within the danger for everyone else,” Brian McCloskey, the chair of the Unbiased Skilled Panel of the Worldwide Olympic Committee, informed reporters this week, including that the variety of confirmed infections to this point are “decrease than we anticipated.”

Questions on transmission stay unsettled. Vaccinated folks with asymptomatic or breakthrough infections should still be capable to go the virus on to others, however it’s not but clear how typically that occurs. Till that science is extra definitive, or till vaccination charges rise, it’s best to err on the aspect of security and common testing, many consultants mentioned.

However whenever you look that onerous for infections — particularly in a gaggle of people that have just lately flown in from all around the globe and have had various ranges of entry to vaccines — you’re all however destined to search out some.

Kang Can Young, a member of South Korea’s formidable national archery team, practices in her home country in April.
Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Occasions

For South Korean archers, profitable Olympic gold medals feels nearly like a given — they’ve claimed 23 of the 34 golds awarded within the sport since 1984.

It’s attending to the Video games that’s robust.

Simply ask Chang Hye-jin, who received two gold medals on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, or Ku Bon-chan, who pulled off the identical feat on the lads’s aspect. Neither champion made the minimize this yr.

Or ask Kim Je-deok, 17, who this spring efficiently navigated the crucible of South Korea’s nationwide crew choice event, which gathers the nation’s prime 200 archers to vie for six tickets — for 3 males and three ladies — to the world’s largest sporting occasion, with no regard for rankings or previous efficiency.

“As soon as-in-a-lifetime luck got here to me,” mentioned Kim, who just lately overcame a shoulder damage that will have stored him out of the Olympics if the occasion hadn’t been postponed by a yr.

The South Korean archers fired hundreds of arrows every over a number of rounds of grueling competitors unfold out over eight anxious months. For many who prevailed, the arduous half would possibly now be over.

The South Korean archery crew has received gold medals at each Summer season Olympics since 1984. The ladies’s crew has been notably dominant, profitable gold eight straight occasions because the crew occasion made its debut in 1988 in Seoul. On the 2016 Video games, the lads’s and ladies’s groups swept the gold medals within the crew and particular person occasions.

The crew is legendary within the archery world for the depth and element of its preparations. Nationwide coaches make use of wind machines and pump synthetic noise (crowd sounds, digital camera shutters) via audio system to simulate opposed environmental situations athletes would possibly encounter in competitions.

“Our objective is zero-defect coaching,” mentioned Jang Younger-sool, the vp of the Korea Archery Affiliation.

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