Daily Digest: Japan's World Cup winning team begins Olympic torch relay

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch

In today's news: 2011 World Cup winning Japan squad begin Olympic Flame torch relay, Chelsea secure first ever win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League and France mourns the death of former snowboard world champion Julie Pomagalski.

Japan national team gets Olympic torch relay underway

After the 2020 Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the torch relay has finally gotten underway in Japan. The 121-day event marks the long-awaited build up to this summer's Games, which will see 10,000 runners pass the torch across Japan before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron on July 23rd at the opening ceremony.

Members of the Japanese football side who won the 2011 Women's World Cup lit the flame during a ceremony in Fukushima earlier today. Led by Azusa Iwashimizu, the squad marked the start of the preparations ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

The Japanese football team took home silver at the 2012 Olympics in London, losing out to the USA in the final 2-1.


Former snowboard world champion Julie Pomagalski dies

Former French snowboarding icon Julie Pomagalski has been killed in an avalanche in Switzerland. The French Olympic Committee has confirmed the death of the 40-year-old after disaster struck whilst skiing with friends down the Gemsstock mountain in the Swiss Alps.

Pomagalski won gold in snowboard cross at the 1999 World Championships in Germany. She honoured her country with her achievement as a teenager before going on to earn silver in 2003 in the parallel giant slalom. She featured in two Winter Olympics, representing France in Salt Lake City in 2002 and then four years later in Turin.

The avalanche killed both Pomagalski and fellow French snowboarder Bruno Putelli.


Peloton coach vies for spot at Olympics after first competitive race

Ahead of Britain's Olympic marathon trial on Friday, 17 women are preparing to race for their spot in this year's Games in Tokyo. One competitor, Becs Gentry, has turned a lot of heads in what could be the most astonishing sporting achievements in recent history.

Gentry will feature in Friday's trial, a day before her 35th birthday, despite having never run a competitive race in her life. As a Peloton coach in New York, Gentry has been involved in athletics since she first became a running instructor in 2015. She is used to presenting the global workout sessions, but will be viewed as the underdog when she approaches the starting line on Friday.

Gentry could be looking at competing in the Olympics this summer if she can see off her rivals in the marathon trial.


Chelsea gain upper hand in Champions League

The Blues faced off against VfL Wolfsburg in the Champions League yesterday as Pernille Harder struck against her former side. The Danish international helped give her new club an important lead over the Frauen Bundesliga champions after she added to Sam Kerr's opening goal.

A penalty for Wolfsburg saw Dominique Janssen claw a goal back for the German side, who pushed Chelsea to the test during their meeting at the Ferenc Szusza Stadium in Budapest. The Wolves were close to scoring on numerous occasions, striking the woodwork twice and seeing a chance cleared off the line to deny them a foot into the game.

Pernille Harder

The narrow 2-1 scoreline marks the first time the Blues have ever managed to beat Wolfsburg and they will hope to make their lead count in the reverse fixture coming up at the end of the month.


Australia to face Germany and Netherlands

New Matildas manager Tony Gustavsson will make his coaching debut with his new side next month. Australia are set to face European heavyweights Germany and the Netherlands in their build up to competing at this summer's Olympics in Tokyo.

Gustavsson took over at the hilt of the club back in September but is yet to take charge of a game. The Matildas haven't been in action for more than 12 months and will finally have their chance to flex their muscles on the international stage.

The two fixtures will be a huge test for the Aussies as they prepare to face the defending Olympic champions and the 2019 World Cup runners-up.

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