Everyone, from seven athletes to virologists, was concerned about whether the Olympic Games would, could, and should be held this year. Tokyo was not able to host the 2020 Games because of COVID-19. Even the host country didn’t believe the virus would spread a year later. A May poll found that 83% of Japanese believed the Olympics should not take place. By this time, the buzz around the Olympics had barely surpassed featherweight. How can you be concerned about rhythmic gymnastics when there are so many concerns? Or dressage, i.e. rhythmic gymnastics plus horses? Who looks after men’s badminton?
Viktor Axelsen was the Dane who defeated Chen Long from China, the defending champion. He spoke straight sentences and wept with joy. We have grown accustomed to seeing unbridled happiness over the past 18 months. The Olympics continued, and to everyone’s surprise, started to perform their bizarre, if somewhat worn, magic. This may have not been obvious at the opening ceremony. However, once the Olympic frenzy started, attendees displayed an amazing ability to obliterate their surroundings and get down to business. Even if your parents are shouting at you from a hundred yards away, you manage to grab your staff and your safe.
If you aren’t Sam Kendricks the American vaulter, grab your sticks. On July 29, Kendricks tested positive for COVID. His games ended before they even began. He was missed in competition. Duplantis was defeated by himself and tried to climb the bar at a record six meters and nineteen inches, which is a bit more than the world record. However, the attempt failed to cause any injury to his thighs.
It is rare that the games show such an ethereal grandeur. Sometimes, even at such high performance, there are people who leave their opponents far behind. Mijaín López, the great Greco-Roman wrestler from Cuba, calmly won his fourth Olympic gold in Tokyo; It must be sobering as a fellow wrestler to know for sure that no matter how hard you train, you will always end up bent over and over with López across you and your nose on the mat. Caeleb Dessel from the United States won the pool and Emma McKeon, from Australia, won the pool. They proved that they were porpoises. Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela, the tall, lean empress in triple jump, broke a 1995 record. Karsten Warholm (Norwegian four-hundred-meter hurdler) broke his own record with a distance of so absurd that he was thrilled to see his vest fall open. Warholm is still possible to defeat, but it takes a lot of kryptonite.
Some profit margins in the line merited complaint, rather than suspicion. It was pointed out that the most recent footwear was being used. Usain Bolt said before the Games that he was tweaking the spikes to make it easier for athletes to run faster. There are two important points. First, Bolt’s record of over one hundred and two-hundred meters cannot be broken using technology. To do this, you must write to Wile E. Coyote at Acme Company to order those giant feathered sneakers. Sharpness does not guarantee success. The US runners, including Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Mohammed, who won silver and gold in the four-hundred meter hurdles, were very energetic. However, their male counterparts, so well-shod had a great time. The sprint relay was unable to win gold and they finished behind Canada, Italy and Germany in the semifinals. Although the Americans did not lose the baton, they were unable to keep the plot together.
Even though the heat and humidity were a threat, the Tokyo Olympics provided surprising relief. The children were the reason. Simone Biles was so distracted by the children that she had many glances. When she attempted to compete on the bar in her honour and came third, Guan Chenchen from China, who has won gold for her, barely paid any attention. Guan is 16. The last year and half has been a disaster for young people in all aspects of their lives, from school to social interaction to academics. Now, there is an opportunity for many of them, the ones with insane talent, to compete for the right to avenge the captivity of a whole generation. They made it look fun, too.
This joy is more apparent than ever in recent disciplines. Olympic sports are constantly being added to. The rule is that once you’ve voiced reservations about an event, then you witness it in action, it becomes addictive and you wonder how the Games would have survived without it. This year’s debutants included sport climbing, skateboarding, BMX freestyle, and surfing. These require three skills: speed, bouldering, and lead. (Home viewers are rewarded for pretending to understand the jargon. The victorious climber was the eighteen-year-old Spaniard Alberto Ginés López. Gravity was the loser. A similar disregard for the laws of nature was observed in skateboarders who live in the haze of the Dudeish community, where age is not a factor. At the Women’s Park, the silver and bronze medalists were thirteen and thirteen years old. Bryce Wettstein, an experienced veteran of 17 years, was America’s top-ranked American. A commentator praised her for her “timeless, butt ollie”, which would have made Stan Laurel scratch its head.
The Olympics this year proved that there was no way to end the economic uncertainty, pandemic, fires and flooding, and economic chaos. But, it is hard to believe that the darkness was not lifted for two weeks. Athing Mu, nineteen, was born in Trenton, New Jersey. Her parents were immigrants from Sudan. Her confident stride won her a gold medal as well as a new US record of eight hundred meters. After the race, she tweeted her response, “Lol. I think it’s funny. We literally run so fast that we just stop when our reach the line.” Then, why not stop? Mu could be a lesson for us. She could run and continue running.She could run and run. ♦
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