They were a long time coming, but in no way has Tokyo 2020 failed to live up to the hype of an Olympic Games. Perhaps now more than ever, as many of us find ourselves in an extended lockdown, the Games provide a welcome distraction from the minutiae of everyday life. With a simple flick of the channel, we can find ourselves absorbed in the sport of cone slalom or gymnastics, surfing and skateboarding, watching the world’s top athletes give nothing but their all as they look to be victorious and stand atop that medal podium.
The Games may only have just started, but already Australia’s athletes are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Our top athletes have taken to their events with steely-eyed focus and determination, and while not everyone walks away with a gold medal, the way they have conducted themselves is reason alone for celebration. It’s there in our Aussie athletes that we see just what it means to be compassionate, kind and loyal sportspeople. Of course, there are still the upsets that make sport the engaging theatre of triumph and loss that it is. With that in mind, here’s a round-up of key Olympic moments from Tokyo 2020.
Ariarne Titmus gets the upper hand
It was the swim of the Olympics, one that saw even Ian Thorpe on the edge of his seat in the commentary box. In the women’s 400m freestyle, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus went head-to-head with Katie Ledeckie, a woman who has often been touted as the greatest swimmer of all time. Despite it being neck-and-neck for much of the swim, Ledeckie tried desperately to make a move and get away from Titmus, who managed to pull her back. But it was in the final 50m that Titmus really showed her gutsy determination, turning on the power to storm away with victory as the whole of Australia cheered her on at home. Honourable mention to Titmus’ coach, Dean Boxall, whose celebrations went viral.
Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic move forward
Two months have elapsed since Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open to protect her mental health. In that time she’s faced increasing media scrutiny, but that all went away when she stepped back on the court at Tokyo 2020. She blitzed through her opening match with a win against Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4. Top seed Novak Djokovic also advanced through to the third round as he defeated German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3, keeping his hopes of an historic Golden Grand Slam alive.
In the men’s rugby sevens, two opening rounds of games saw New Zealand, Great Britain, South Africa, USA and reigning champions Fiji all end the day with 100 per cent records. Sadly for Australia, the team fell short of victory, losing 29-19 to Argentina, who in turn lost to New Zealand. Despite the loss, it seems likely that all three of those sides will progress through to the next round.
13-year-old Momiji Nishiya takes gold
At just 13-years-old, Japan’s Momiji Nishiya has become the second youngest champion in summer Olympics history, taking a win in the inaugural women’s skateboarding street competition. With her penultimate trick in the event, Nishiya took the lead with a score of 15.26. It was enough to put her ahead of fellow competitor (and fellow 13-year-old), Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, who won silver with a score of 14.64. Third place went to 16-year-old Japanese skater, Funa Nakayama, making it the youngest podium in Olympic history.
Tom Daley wins gold with inspiring message
It’s hard to believe that it was 13 years ago that a young Tom Daley burst onto our screens in the men’s diving competition. Proving that in the time since, he’s been working tirelessly on his athletic prowess, strength and agility, Daley took gold in the men’s synchronised 10m dive with his diving partner, Matty Lee. It was a powerful moment for Daley and fans watching around the world as the Olympic champion said, “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”
Coming up in the Olympics: the women’s basketball team face off against Belgium, the men’s hockey team face Argentina, and there’s also the small matter of a rugby sevens clash with New Zealand. There are medals on offer in artistic gymnastics, canoe slalom, mountain bike cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, judo, rowing, shooting, softball, swimming, taekwondo, triathlon and weightlifting.