August 10, 2021
WRITTEN BY:
Melinda Head

Tokyo Olympics: Top 10 Memories

There were so many memories to choose from, we landed on these

1. Why Be Selfish When You Can Share A Gold Medal?

High jumpers Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) and Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) cleared 2.37 meters (7’9.3”), but failed to advance to 2.39 meters despite 3 attempts. Battling for gold, neither had committed any fouls and the pair were, therefore, tied: a jump-off would be necessary to determine the winner. That’s when Barshim asked an Olympic official: “Can we have two golds?”. The answer was affirmative and the rest is history. What a glorious moment.

“We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsmanship spirit, and we are here delivering this message … This is beyond sport.” (Barshim)

A shared gold medal and an historic demonstration of true sportsmanship

It has been 113 years since a gold medal was shared at the Olympics. What an unforgettable moment, one that will inspire everyone for years to come.

2. How’d You Like to Be Out of Control?

Simone Biles is only 4’8” tall, but can propel herself almost as high as a basketball hoop while twisting and turning her body in moves never seen before. So, when she says that she has the “twisties” and can’t compete, we must listen to her.

“In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool with no water … it’s really, really dangerous, the consequences can be catastrophic.” (former Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu)

“You get lost in the air, you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where the ground is, you don’t know how many times you’re twisting, and you can’t control how many times you’re twisting. That’s the best way to describe it. It’s really scary.” (Jordyn Wieber, 2012 Olympics gold medalist)

Twisties are the result of a lack of communication between the brain and the body:

“Biles said that the combination of mental stress and pressure leading up to the Olympics have affected her confidence … she felt a disconnect between her mind and body: her body was no longer doing what she wanted it to.”

“After the team final, we went to the Village … I expected to feel a little embarrassed and (athletes) were coming up to me saying how much I meant to them, how much I had done for their world. In that moment, I was like, there’s more than gymnastics and medals.” (Simone Biles)

On a lighter note, here’s the very human Biles debunking common myths about gymnastics on behalf of Glamour Magazine:

3. Would You Go Home If Your Grandma Warned You Not To?

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, a 24 year old sprinter from Belarus, refused to board a flight home after being taken to the airport against her wishes because she publicly criticized her team’s management.

At issue was management’s request that she participate in a race in which she had never competed: the 4x400 metres relay. When she refused, she was withdrawn from the 200 metres race and told to pack her bags.

At one point her grandmother called and told Krystsina not to come back to Belarus because it was not safe. She heeded her advice, seeking protection from Japanese police at the airport. Poland stepped up and granted Tsimanouskaya and her husband humanitarian visas.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is now safely in Poland

“… all I have wanted is to go to the Olympics and do my best … I love my Country. I did not betray it.” (Krystsina Tsimanouskaya)

4. How Young is Young?

We sent 8 American teens to Tokyo, the youngest of which is Katie Grimes, a 15 year old swimmer from Las Vegas who placed a respectable 4th in the Women’s 800m Freestyle event. Superstar swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky made their Olympic debuts at the same age – Phelps did not win a medal, but Ledecky earned a gold (OMG!!!).

Katie Grimes, touted as the next Katie Ledecky. Together, this powerhouse has been referred to as “Katie Squared”

Other teens included: Claire Curzan (16, swimmer), Brighton Zeuner (16, skateboarder), Lydia Jacoby (17, swimmer), Colin Duffy (17, climber), Evy Leibfarth (17, canoeist), Erriyon Knighton (17, track runner) and Phoebe Bacon (18, swimmer).  

The youngest Tokyo Olympics athlete is Hend Zaza, a 12 year old table tennis player from Syria, with skateboarders from Brazil, Great Britain and Japan following closely behind: 1 year older, if you can call that “older”.

12 year old Olympian, Hend Zaza, from Syria, was the youngest athlete to participate in the Tokyo Games

5. How Does It Feel To Be The First?

San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world, surrounded by Italy. It has taken 25 years to earn an Olympic medal, delivered by Alessandra Perilli, a 33 year old target shooter.

Alessandra Perilli shot 29 targets in the women’s trap shooting final, earning a bronze medal for San Marino, its first Olympic medal ever. A few days later, Perilli topped it off with a silver medal in the mixed team trap event

Turkmenistan sits in Central Asia, above Iran and Afghanistan.  Former artistic gymnast turned weightlifter, Polina Guryeva, earned a silver medal and the first-ever Olympic podium finish in her Nation’s history. This is the 7th Olympic games that Turkmenistan has competed in as its own independent nation.  

Former artistic gymnast turned weightlifter Polina Guryeva earned her Country’s first-ever Olympic medal

6. Are You From A generation That Doesn’t Care About Repercussions?

Raven Saunders is a 25 year old American track and field athlete from South Carolina who competed in the shot put, earning an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo. On the podium she raised her arms and crossed them to form an X. When asked what it meant, the woman with green and purple hair who goes by #blackgirlmagic said:

“X pretty much represents the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet. I am a black female, I’m queer and I talk about mental health awareness.” (Raven Saunders)

“I really think that my generation really don’t care … Shout out to all my black people. Shout out to all my LGBTQ community. Shout out to all my people dealing with mental health. At the end of the day, we understand it's bigger than us and it's bigger than the powers that be.” (Raven Saunders)

Our sympathies to Raven and her family who lost their mother just two days after Raven stepped onto the Olympic podium.

Raven Saunders’ X gesture on the podium. You go girl!!!

7. Do You Like To Mix It Up?

In Tokyo, a number of mixed-gender events made their Olympic debuts: track and field, swimming, shooting, judo and table tennis.

“Having the camaraderie and racing as a team just gives you so much energy, and it makes it even more significant. When you race for yourself, it’s one thing. But when other people are relying on you, it’s a whole other feeling.” (Katie Zaferes, triathlete)

“It just adds more excitement to the Games.” (Kaylin Whitney, sprinter)

Of the nearly 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo, finally - after 125 years - about half are women … but the I.O.C. remains overwhelmingly male, with women making up just a third of its executive board. Gentlemen, you’ll be accused of lip service until women are equally represented at the table, not just showcased in mixed events.

8. Are Horses Athletes?

A redundant question, of course they are. Jet Set was a 14 year old Spanish bred bay gelding ridden by Robin Godel, who was euthanized after suffering an irreparable ligament rupture in its leg during the cross country event. Our condolences to the Swiss team and all horse lovers.

Robin Godel rides Jet Set

9. Should Instagram Mess With Olympians?

Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah is an Olympic gold medalist sprinter. Wildly joyous after her stellar performance in Tokyo where she took home gold medals in both the 100-meter and 200-meter events, she was doing what we all do – sharing her experience with the world … until Facebook decided to shut down her Instagram account. She was suspended for 2 days because she did not hold the rights to the races in which she competed. Okay, let’s get one thing straight: no athletes, no races. No races, no sponsors. No sponsors, no Instagram. Are you kidding, Mr. Zuckerberg? Do you like being a puppet of NBC and the I.O.C.?

“I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days.” (Elaine Thompson-Herah @FastElaine, August 3, 2021)

Elaine Thompson-Herah is now the fastest woman in the world, but Instagram doesn’t give a s**t

Apparently, using content from the Tokyo Olympic competitions, from the stands and sidelines are considered violations of NBC’s broadcasting rights deal with the Olympics. Who signed that deal? Fire the person who signed this ludicrous contract and robbed Ms. Thompson-Herah of her Olympic joy.

10. Why Can’t Real Men Knit in Public?

Olympic diver Tom Daley from Great Britain lit up social media when he was spotted knitting in the stands. Would the same response have occurred if a female competitor had done so? You know the answer.

Tom Daley, Olympic diver, has his own recipe to deal with pressure – a skill he acquired during COVID lockdown

Anyway, the man has a new love for knitting, crochet and all things stitching, which help him “find calm, mindfulness and relief from stress”. His creations can be found on madewithlovebytomdaley, with funds raised donated to The Brain Tumor Charity in memory of his father, who died of a brain tumor in 2011.

What I want to know is, who taught him to knit: Mom, hubby Dustin, or is he self-taught? Nice stuff, Tom!

Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Tokyo Olympics: Top 10 Memories Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Tokyo Olympics: Top 10 Memories Quiz is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy in social media, so we can remind you of upcoming blog and quiz content.

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Tuesday, September 21: Royals Quiz of the Day
Wednesday, September 22: Elephant Appreciation Day
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Sunday, September 26: Week in Review (we cover this topic every Sunday)
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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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