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Olympic wake-up call: Opening ceremony scandal, men's soccer begins

During the sleeping hours in Canada, and with one day to go until the opening ceremony, another Tokyo Olympic creator departed in controversy. Here's what you missed on Thursday in Tokyo.

Opening ceremony director fired by Tokyo Olympic organizing committee

People wearing protective masks pass by National Stadium in early July, where the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be held. (Kiichiro Sato/The Associated Press)

During the sleeping hours in Canada, and with one day to go until the opening ceremony, another Tokyo Olympic creator departed in controversy. 

The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi over a Holocaust joke he included in a comedy act in 1998. 

His dismissal on Thursday in Tokyo follows two others who resigned. Composer Keigo Oyamada — known as Cornelius — recently stepped down over comments he made in the 1990s about bullying others.

In March, creative director Hiroshi Sasaki resigned after saying Naomi Watanabe — a well-known Japanese entertainer — could perform as an "Olympig."

From scandal to competition, here's a quick look at other things you might have missed. 

WATCH | What you missed while you were sleeping:

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Men's soccer gets underway

The men's soccer tournament got off to a slow start on Thursday, with Egypt and Spain ending their match with a scoreless draw. 

While it seemed that trend would continue, New Zealand's Chris Wood — a striker for Burnley out of the English Premier League — lifted his team over Korea by scoring in the 76th minute. It was the team's only shot on goal and first Olympic match win. 

Mexico scored a surprising 4-1 win against France, with all five goals coming in the second half. Saudi Arabia's own goal made the difference in Côte d'Ivoire's 2-1 win. 

Canada didn't qualify its men's team, having lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF qualifier. 

Four other matches still need to be played, including a rematch of the Rio 2016 gold medal game, with reigning Olympic champions Brazil taking on Germany.

Tight contests in softball

Olympic softball continued with a trio of close games on Thursday. 

Japan needed extra innings to pull off a 3-2 victory against Mexico, the latter still cheering with gusto in the absence of fans. Australia hung on to clinch its first win of the tournament, beating Italy 1-0. 

Earlier in the waking hours, Canada fell 1-0 in a well-fought battle against the U.S. 

Olympic flame awaits

After a one-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's now been a total of five years since the last Games in Rio. 

Though some competition has started, the majority of Team Canada's 370 athletes await the Olympic flame to be lit. 

CBC Sports's Jamie Strashin spoke to those ready to chase their Olympic dreams in Tokyo.

Swimmer weighs in on tough spot for breastfeeding mothers

Spanish artistic swimmer Ona Carbonell has added her voice to the difficulties breastfeeding mothers face at the Games. 

An Instagram video from Carbonell gained traction overnight, where she talks about her choice to leave her nursing son, Kai, at home. 

Nursing children initially weren't allowed at the Games. Mothers — including Canada's Kim Gaucher,  a member of the women's basketball team — fought to bring their kids to Tokyo. Gaucher's three-month old daughter Sophie is now along for the ride

And while Carbonell says she hopes other athletes are able to find the balance, she still found the restrictions too imposing. 

The plan to have her son and his father stay off site from the Olympic village, and to travel back and forth in order to breastfeed, raised concerns for Carbonell, including those about contracting COVID-19 and spreading it amongst her teammates. 

"This was a very complicated decision for me. I hope this video and every other athlete who is struggling with the same problem will help normalize the situation, which nowadays is not normal," she said. 

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