- Lourdes heredia
- BBC World Service
Tokyo 2020 has been an Olympic Games like no other, and not just because they were held during a pandemic.
The two weeks of competitions were marked by the lack of spectators, along with other security measures due to covid-19.
But there were also many moving and inspiring moments that mean these Olympics will be remembered for more than just coronavirus restrictions.
1. Teens made their mark
At the beginning of the competition, three young athletes captured the spotlight.
Women’s street skateboarding made its debut at the Games and the winners’ podium was soon filled with teenagers.
Momiji Nishiya, from Japan, won gold. With solo 13 years she is one of the youngest gold medalists in history.
She was followed by Rayssa Leal, also 13, who won silver to become Brazil’s youngest Olympic medalist, and Funa Nakayama, 16, who took home bronze.
But this was only the beginning of the presentation of teenage athletes surprising fans with their gold medals in sports such as swimming, gymnastics and the Olympic jump.
China’s Quan Hongchan scored two perfect dives on the women’s 10-meter platform on his way to a historic gold medal.
In two of her five jumps, the 14-year-old diver received the top grade -10 perfect- from the seven judges.
He managed to break the Olympic record with a total score of 466.20.
2. A trick never seen before
Four sports made their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.
Mixed team events have also been added in some sports, including relays in swimming and track and field.
BMX free style It was one of the new disciplines that were added for these games, and one of the most popular with the crowd that gathered outside the venue, despite covid restrictions.
Charlotte Worthington Great Britain pulled off a trick never before seen in the Olympics. He achieved the first backflip 360 to win the gold medal in BMX in Tokyo.
The 360 backflip, O ZakflipNamed for its creator Zach Shaw, it was the climax of a world-class gold medal-winning routine for Worthington that received a 97.50 from the judges, the highest score in the men’s and women’s events.
3. Share a gold medal
An incredible Olympic high jump final ended with Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy obtaining gold medals.
After a grueling two-hour competition, both were tied, having logged 2.37-meter jumps.
Athletes were offered the opportunity to participate in a jump-off.
But in a moment of competitive nobility, they agreed to share the title, sparking huge celebrations.
They made history with the first joint Olympic podium in track and field since 1912.
4. Games marked by sportsmanship
When runners Isaiah Jewett from the USA and Nijel Amos from Botswana fell to the ground during the 800-meter race, they helped each other, hugged and ran together to the finish line.
They were 54 seconds behind the winner. But this time around, as they told the press after the race, the timing didn’t matter.
5. Making history: first gold medals
Hidilyn Diaz made history by winning the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal. She did it after winning the women’s 55kg weightlifting event.
Díaz has gone into exile in Malaysia due to the pandemic.
The daughter of a tricycle driver in a poor town near Zamboanga, Díaz has not seen her family since December 2019.
“I really want to enjoy life because I have been in Malaysia, I don’t know, almost two years,” he told reporters after receiving his medal.
On the other hand, Bermuda, with a population of only 63,000, became the least populated nation or territory to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, when Flora Duffy won the women’s triathlon.
6. Knitting a secret weapon?
The British diver, Tom Daley, who won his first Olympic gold alongside Matty Lee on the 10-meter synchronized platform, called weaving “his secret weapon.”
Later, Daley took to social media to show what she was knitting: a sweater for her French bulldog Izzy.
7. Biles: mental health comes first
Simone Biles received praise after announcing that she would not participate in the final for women’s gymnastics teams to focus on her mental health.
“I say that you have to put mental health first because if you don’t, you won’t enjoy your sport and you won’t be as successful as you’d like, “Biles said after announcing his decision.
Team USA finished second to Russia, marking their first loss since 2010. Biles was the first to congratulate Russia’s captain Angelina Melnikova.
After failing to participate in four more events, he returned to compete on the beam where he earned a bronze medal.
While Tokyo didn’t end up being for Biles as the world might have predicted, she reflected on her experience and took it as an apprenticeship, one that can be for everyone.
“It’s definitely bringing some light to the mental health conversation. It’s something that people go through a lot and that hides under the rug,” he told reporters. “I feel that we are not only entertainment, we are also human, and we have feelings.”
Having left the door open earlier this year for Paris 2024, Biles said she was ready to take some time, though she didn’t rule anything out: “I just need to process this whole Olympic period first. It’s been a lot. It’s been five long years. “
8. There is no harm that does not come for good
At least one athlete got engaged during this year’s Olympics.
The Argentine fencer Maria Belen Pérez Maurice She may have suffered a defeat in a duel against Hungarian Anna Marton, but she did not go home empty-handed.
During her post-game interview, her coach and longtime partner, Lucas Saucedo, helped put up a sign behind her with the words: “Will you marry me? Please.”
“I said yes, of course,” said Pérez Maurice, at a time that went viral in Latin America.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.