By Keith Miller
The Hope Solo Poor Loser Award
Renowned clown, antivaxxer and general nuisance Novak Djokovic, come on down! Not content with behaving like a spoiled brat and throwing his racket into the stands during his Bronze Medal loss to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, he then promptly threw a childish tantrum and withdrew from the mixed doubles. As if that wasn’t bad enough, that was also a Bronze Medal match – by pulling the pin, he left his doubles partner Nina Stojanovic with no opportunity to compete for a medal. Whenever Tennis is mentioned in the same breath as the Olympics, there are plenty of people who are dubious as to whether it should be there. Djokovic did nothing to further the sport’s cause.
From the “Who Knew?” Department
The Athletics is always the blue-ribbon event at any Olympics, so it’s not often that there is a stat, a fact or a record that isn’t that well known. However, for the field events at Olympic Stadium the officials measured the distances by using a metal measuring tape. Why? Well, the extreme heat meant that there was a possibility that a plastic or cloth tape may have been warped in the extreme heat and led to inaccurate measurements. There you go.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
From a purely selfish perspective, it was the little we were able to see of Simone Biles. Going into Tokyo, all signs were pointing to the US gymnast becoming the darling of the Games, however, in withdrawing from the bulk of her events the world was deprived of seeing her incredible athleticism. On the counter side, Simone Biles was able to raise increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues in high profile stars in two days than most could have achieved in a lifetime, and for that she deserves our unwavering support and respect.
The Return of the Veteran
When you consider that there was a five-year gap between Rio and Tokyo, it was pleasant surprise to see so many relatively senior athletes competing in 2021. There were 45-year-old Hammer throwers and Kayakers, 40 year old divers, a 48 year old Table Tennis player competing in her sixth Olympics , and of course Andrew Hoy, who at 62 years of age, won Silver and Bronze. With only three years until the next Olympics, will a few others now hold on?
The Feelgood Moment of the Games
Going into the Men’s High Jump Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim was the likely favourite. When he and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi failed all three attempts at 2.39m, the event was tied. Officials were then looking to arrange a jump off to determine who would win Gold and who would take the Silver, which is the normal case under international rules. As the official was doing his best to explain how things would pan out, Barshim asked “can we have two Golds?”. The two friends embraced, decided that two Golds would do the trick, and the celebrations began.
The Supreme Athlete Award
In the oppressive heat of Tokyo, running for any length of time was going to be hard going. For Dutch runner Sifan Hassan to attempt the virtually impossible treble of winning the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m was surely madness. But remarkably, Hassan picked herself up off the track after falling in her 1,500m heat to win that in convincing fashion, before winning the Gold Medal in the 5,000m final later the same night. Two days later she won her 1m500m semi-final. Two days after that, she took the Bronze in the 1,500m final, and then backed up the following night to win Gold in the 10,000m. It was an astonishing achievement in the most difficult set of conditions. Take a bow Sifan Hassan.
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You can find more on the Tokyo Diaries, here.