Tokyo 2020: After 10 Days

Well, the Olympics are almost over. Already.

The one thought that I’ve been unable to shake since the Olympics began is just how much of the Olympic experience was robbed of the athletes. They finish their event and are on the next flight home.

I get it. I do. They are trying to keep everyone safe and not have people there who no longer need to be there. It is a smart operational plan.

But I think ahead to the Closing Ceremony and how many athletes won’t be there. The ones with medals won’t have that memory of walking into the stadium with a medal around their neck.

For Canada, these games have been all about the women. Canadian women won the first 13 medals (we currently have 14). Those women won’t be there. They’ve gone home.

Penny Oleksiak, the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history, won’t be there. She would’ve been a strong candidate for flag bearer, though she’s probably the early favourite for that role at the Opening Ceremony in 2024.

I feel for the athletes who got in and got out, without experiencing much else.

To see some Olympians feel the need to apologize for not winning a medal – you don’t have to apologize to anyone. In the hardest year of our lives, you competed at the Olympics. There is nothing to be sorry about.

Here are some of my thoughts on various topics:

Simone Biles
As you probably know by now, American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Team Final, as well all individual event finals, except the balance beam. It has just been announced that she will compete in the balance beam final on Tuesday.

Biles chose to prioritize her mental health.

She did the right thing.

Biles has mentioned on social media that she is dealing with “the twisties”. It’s when you feel like you can’t control your own body while spinning and flipping through the air, which means you don’t know when, or where, you’re going to land. I don’t know about you, but that sounds absolutely terrifying.

And dangerous.

Gymnastics is already a dangerous sport when the gymnasts have control of their bodies. The twisties are a new level of horror.

If you’re familiar with “the yips” in baseball or golf, that’s what “the twisties” have been compared to. It’s the same sudden inability to do a skill you once could.

There are those who have called Biles a quitter. Those people would be certified losers who are stupid idiots. You can quote me on that.

To do anything but support Biles and her decision, is ridiculous.

Canadian Women’s Softball Team
Canada won its first-ever Olympic medal in Softball, earning bronze in a win over Mexico.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Softball/Baseball hadn’t been at the Olympics since 2008, but returned this year. In 2008, Canada lost in the semi-final and missed out on a medal.

Thirteen years later, four members of that team came back to win bronze in Tokyo including, Pitcher Danielle Lawrie, who came on to close out the game.

It was such a good story and the team was so easy to cheer for. Unfortunately, we have to wait until 2028 for Softball/Baseball to, potentially, rejoin the Olympic lineup.

Mixed Events
I think it’s cool that the Olympics is starting to add events that include men and women. There are relays in swimming and athletics, with two men and two women competing. It creates a new level of drama.

If a man is running one leg of the relay against a woman, the man takes quite a big lead. And then that changes when they pass the baton. The race is like a yo-yo and you’re never quite sure who is going to win.

There was also a mixed triathlon. I get tired just thinking about triathlon. Kudos to the triathletes who train for that event.

Andre De Grasse
This was the first Summer Olympics since 2004 that the Men’s 100-metre race wasn’t going to be won by Usain Bolt. It was a wide open contest. For those of you who don’t know, Andre De Grasse is a Canadian sprinter who has a medal in every Olympic event he’s ever competed in.

Many thought he might win Gold in the 100-metre, but he won Bronze, just like he did in 2016. It was an incredibly fast race. He set a personal record. Third place is a great outcome and he has two more chances for a medal.

Ta Lou
I tried to do a better job at following the Diamond League this year. The Diamond League is a series of track and field competitions that take place around the world.

One sprinter that always stood out to me was, Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast. The women’s 100m was always stacked and Ta Lou always seemed like the underdog, even though she really wasn’t.

It’s hard to explain, but I became a fan.

She came in 4th in the 100m in Tokyo, as the three Jamaican runners swept the podium. She is still competing in the 200m (and maybe the 4×100 relay?).

Caeleb Dressel
Caeleb Dressel is an American swimmer who won five gold medals. Every time I turned around, he was back in the pool for another event.

Oh, he just finished his race 20 minutes ago? No problem. Dive back in for another one.

His schedule was basically: win gold medal, shake water out of ears, win gold medal, shake water out of ears, win gold medal.

Other

  • I’m looking forward to the Track Cycling events. There’s just something about a velodrome that gets me excited.

  • The Canadian Diving Coaches seem like the nicest, most supportive group of people.

  • The Canadian Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams finished 8th and 9th, respectively, which was disappointing.

  • The women’s rugby team got mocked/taunted on Twitter by a former men’s player who was also a coach for Rugby Canada. He has since been dismissed. Feel free to look up the story.

  • Marnie McBean is Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Olympics and has done a phenomenal job in her role. Without family or friends being able to cheer from the crowd, McBean has helped fill that role with her energy, drum, and Canadian flags.

What events have you been watching? What athletes have stood out to you?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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11 Responses to Tokyo 2020: After 10 Days

  1. darthtimon says:

    Alas, I haven’t followed the Olympics as much as I’d have liked, due to the start times. However I’m immensely proud of Max Whitlock (who, like me, is from Basildon) for getting gold in the pommel horse, with a routine that looked right on the edge the entire time. The gold medal for Tom Daley was vindication after enduring so much over the last few years.

    If I could, I’d watch the cycling and the running events. I have very fond memories of London 2012, seeing the likes of Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah landing golds. Any occasion where Michael Phelps took to the pool was spectacular. I wish I could watch more of this Olympics, and I agree that it’s such a shame for the athletes to compete in front of virtually no one.

    I also agree about Simone Biles. She has given so much for her country at past Games, and unless any of us have been in her shoes, going through the training, the demands of herself and others upon herself, and the near-constant pressure, we cannot judge her. It really makes me angry when bloated and hypocritical oafs like Piers Morgan go after her over pressure – the guy ran away and quit his job when a weather man criticised him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      The start times have been quite difficult. Almost everything happens overnight so I either stay up late or record it.

      Must’ve been awesome having a Summer Olympics at home. Did Mo Farah not qualify for these Olympics or did he retire?

      Well said. For people to not trust the judgment of the best gymnast to ever live is baffling. The world she lives in and the amount of eyes on her are something the regular person could never understand. And isn’t it amazing how it’s always the same public figures, like the one you mentioned, who have a problem with anything and everything whenever just a little bit of understanding is required. They’re very predictable in their response to things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • darthtimon says:

        I think Mo was injured, though I think he struggled in qualifying too.

        I think people need to grill people like Piers more, and see how they like it. It might help them switch on their empathy button.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How long are the games? LOL

    I had no idea that the athletes had to go home after they were done. That is kind of sad.

    Now that I’m watching in my laptop and not my
    Tv, I have been able to choose the events I want to watch. Its a lot of diving, swimming and gymnastics lol i did catch the women’s 100m sprint when all 3 medals went to Jamaica 😂 but that wasn’t planned. As I type this I am watching women’s 3M diving finals.

    I’n surprised that I’ve been watching so much but I have enjoyed it! Thanks for making me watch some events I usually wouldn’t ☺️ But I had NO IDEA there were mixed events with men and women together?!?!? I haven’t seen any!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      They’re only 17 days and end August 8!

      I like the pace of the diving events. The person gets the score and the next diver is already read to go. No wasted time.

      Glad I could get you to watch! Yeah, there are only a few mixed events I think. And they sort of just happened without much fanfare. The 4×100 running relay was fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sabrina B says:

    I didn’t know that about people going home! That’s a real shame. I understand the logic behind it, but it still sucks. Especially for those who are first time winners or big winners for their country.

    I was watching BMX yesterday! it was so impressive. I cannot imagine being like “yes I’m going to learn how to do a backflip on a bike” but they do it real well. It’s also one of those sports where I don’t understand why the men’s and women’s categories have been separated since they seem to do the exact same things. I have also caught some beach volleyball, in which I wonder 1. why the uniform for women is a bikini and 2. why is it beach volleyball, specifically?

    The triathalon does indeed look like the most exhausting thing I have ever seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yeah they were only allowed to arrive 5 days before their event started and have to be out 24-48 hours after it ends. It’s sad.

      I think those BMX riders train at an indoor facility where there are ramps and the landing area is like a soft pit. I’m sure it’s similar to gymnastics places where they fall into soft things.

      Ah yes, you aren’t the first I’ve seen to mention the beach volleyball bikini. The women are allowed to wear either a bikini, a one piece bathing suit, a tank top and shorts, or a t-shirt and longer shorts. So they do have options but I’ve read that most prefer the bikini because it’s comfortable and sand doesn’t get stuck anywhere.

      And it’s beach volleyball because it’s on sand? Even though they train indoors, also on sand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        That makes sense for the BMX riders! But also, even with a soft pit, I don’t think there is any power in the world that could get me to do that. They’re brave!

        Ah see meanwhile I look at those bikinis like “but wouldn’t sand get everywhere??” And I would worry about the bottoms riding up. I remember having dance numbers where we had to hairspray down the shorts of our costumes so maybe I’m just deeply scarred from that experience.

        Yes but my question is…why is there specifically an event on sand? Vs only plain volleyball?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Hair spray!? Never would’ve guessed. There was a scandal with the Norwegian handball team (this didn’t happen at the Olympics) a few weeks ago where they didn’t wear a bikini for their game and the team was fined for violating the rules. So, I saw a bunch of people get mad about that on Twitter and assume the same thing applied to the Olympics and Volleyball.

        They also have indoor volleyball! I think they have both because 1) it’s the summer games and they like to have as many events outdoors as possible and 2) when they invite the national volleyball organization from each country (Volleyball Canada), those organizations run both the indoor and beach teams, so it would be kinda unfair to allow one and not the other.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Yep hairspray of all things!! It works too lol and is better than double sided tape if you have a quick change and less wasteful/cheaper than using eyelash glue.

        I remember seeing that about the handball team! And thinking it was very strange that this was the uniform for handball of all things. There really should be options if it’s not 100% necessary for performance reasons.

        Ah so they just bringing everyone in

        Liked by 1 person

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