Olympic Games: Highs, Lows, Records, Inspirations and Controversies
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics came to an end in August after two weeks of fantastic action as close to 12,000 athletes competed for world glory. There were no spectators allowed, which was a shame, but despite this, there were many moments that will live long in memory of sports fans around the world. In the following article, we are going to look at the highs and lows of the Olympic Games as well as some inspirations and controversies.
When it comes to the medal table, the United States finished at the top of the pile with 39 gold medals to their name. They, in all honesty, probably expected a few more, but they can be pleased with finishing at the top of the table once more. China gave them a good fight and finished in second with 38 golds, while Japan, to everyone’s delight, did a lot better than expected and came in third with 27 gold medals. A special mention must be given to Great Britain, who impressed once again and came in fourth with 22 golds.
If you asked people at the start of the Olympics to guess the winner of the 100 meters, we are pretty certain that not many of them would have told you Lamont Marcell Jacobs. In winning gold for Italy, he became the first person other than Usain Bolt to win the 100 meters gold at the Olympics since 2004. His time of 9.80 seconds was also a European record. There would have not been many online sports betting sites that would have had to pay out on him winning the gold medal, that is for sure. Jacobs also picked up another gold in the 4×100-meter relay, taking Italy’s track gold tally to five, which is the most they have ever won.
Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first ever woman sprinter to win a “double-double”. She did this by winning the 100 meters and 200 meters to retain the two golds that she won at the same events in 2016.
Allyson Felix, meanwhile, won her 11th Olympic medal, which makes her the most decorated female track and field athlete ever. She achieved this remarkable feat by winning the gold in the 4×400-meter relay.
Neeraj Chopra, an Indian javelin thrower, made history by winning India’s first ever track and field gold medal.
The Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui, who is just 18 years of age, shocked everyone at the 2021 Olympic Games by winning gold in the 400 meters freestyle. He entered the final with the slowest qualifying time. This was only the fifth time that Tunisia had won an Olympic medal.
Skateboarding featured at the Olympics for the very first time, and Momiji Nishiya, a 13-year-old from Japan, clinched the gold to become their youngest ever gold medal winner.
Mourad Aliev was disqualified from his fight for a head butt, but the French boxer refused to leave the ring for more than an hour. He believed that he was treated unfairly and that they had decided to disqualify him before the fight even started. Talk about sour grapes.
The US men’s relay team did not qualify for the 4×100-meter final, and this was declared as a total embarrassment by their critics. Their team was made up of three of the world’s quickest runners and they still somehow managed to come sixth in their semi-final.
Tennis star Ashleigh Barty entered the Olympics as the number one female player in the world, but she lost her first match in straight sets to Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain. Big things were also expected of Japan’s Naomi Osaka, but she also crashed out early when she lost 6-4 6-1 in the third round.
Simone Biles, considered by many to be one of the best gymnasts ever, dropped out of a number of competitions to focus on mental health. She was due to take part in six events, but she pulled out of five of them because she did not feel like she was in the right mental frame of mind. While there were some who criticized her decision on social media platforms, she got a lot of praise and support for making such a difficult decision and helping mental health get the recognition it needs.
A very touching moment of the games came when Australian and Brazilian skaters rushed to console Misugu Okamoto, who entered the final with a lead, but failed to land a trick. Nerves clearly got the better of the 15-year-old, but her fellow competitors lifted her on their shoulders to remind her how well she did to make it to the final.
In the high jump, Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim chose to share the gold medal since neither could make it over the bar, which was set at an Olympic record of 2.39 meters. Facing a jump-off to see who would claim the gold, Barshim decided to ask if the gold could be shared, and the authorities agreed that it could. This has been hailed by many as one of the Olympics’ best moments.
The issue with Belarussian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya renewed the focus on the continuous political discord in Belarus. The controversy came about when she refused to get on a plane home, subsequently asking Japanese police for protection. She claimed that her team were trying to force her to leave Japan after she criticized a few decisions that they made. She flew to Poland after they gave her a temporary visa.
Karate made its debut at the Olympics, but the final bout ended in uproar when Tareg Hamedi of Saudi Arabia was disqualified after a high kick that left his opponent, Sajad Ganjzadeh from Iran, unconscious. The latter was eventually awarded the gold medal even though he had been completely outclassed in the final.
Meanwhile the current pandemic meant that the 2021 Olympics was shrouded in protests and controversies. There were around 100 cases that were linked to the Olympics before the opening ceremony, and there were more than 400 infections among those involved as the competition progressed. There was a big surge of infections in Tokyo, but to their credit, it does seem that the organizers have managed to prevent the games from being the super-spreader than many feared it could be.
World Records That Were Shattered at the Tokyo Olympics
On August 1st, Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas jumped 15.67 meters to break the previous record of 15.50, which had been in place since 1995.
In July, Norway’s Karsten Warholm set a new world record of 46.70 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, and then on the 3rd of August at the Olympics, he managed to break his own record by finishing with a time of 45.94 seconds.
Italy had a really good Olympics and they set a record in the men’s team cycling pursuit final by winning gold with a time of 3.42.032. They had previously set the world record in their qualifying race.
Tatjana Schoenmaker from South Africa won the 200-meter breastroke in a time of 2.18.95, breaking the world record that was held by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen since 2013.
The United States swimming team have never lost a 4×100 medley relay final and Michael Andrew, Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, and Caeleb Dressel made sure that this was kept intact by winning the race in world record time.
Speed climbing was a new event at the Olympics, and Poland’s Aleksandra Miroslaw climbed the 15-meter-high wall in just 6.84 seconds, beating the previous world record by 0.12 seconds.
If you are looking for more sporting inspiration this summer, then we highly recommend that you watch some of the Paralympics that is taking place in Japan from the 24th of August until the 5th of September. It is so inspirational to watch athletes with disabilities, some with extremely severe ones, show of their amazing skills. For example, we bet you never knew that there was a guy who plays table tennis with the bat in his mouth because he has no arms.
Many people believe that the Paralympics is a lesser competition than the Olympics, but we do not believe that this is the case. In fact, we would argue that is a superior competition because everyone who is taking part has had to overcome some sort of adversity in their life. So, if you have some spare time, we really do recommend that you sit down and give it a watch.