9 amazing moments from the Tokyo games that make the wait worthwhile
Better late than never
Despite coming mightily close to never actually happening at all, the 2020 Olympics finally kicked off a week ago. The stands may well be empty over in Japan, but the Games have already proven to be a real crowdpleaser.
Here, then, are 9 of the most joyous and/or incredible moments of the games so far:
Naomi Osaka provides the spark at drab Olympic opening ceremony
Perhaps understandably, the opening ceremony for these Games was a little sombre. The honour of lighting the cauldron fell to Japan's most recognisable sports star, Naomi Osaka. The sight of the tennis player climbing the Mount Fuji stage and officially opening the troubled Tokyo Olympics was a poignant moment in an otherwise forgettable ceremony.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 23, 2021
A robot playing basketball. Because why not?
At this particular moment in human history, you might question if this - a robot effortlessly sinking three-pointers with a basketball - is really what humankind needs right now. Nevertheless, it's one of the things Japan and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gave us in the opening week. Why? We're not really sure, but it was very impressive.
A basketball robot. For your pleasure. pic.twitter.com/5LZF2vpwNg
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) July 25, 2021
Tom Daley's tears
At just 27 years of age, Tom Daley arrived in Tokyo as a veteran of three previous Olympics. Few competing in these Games have devoted so much of their lives in the pursuit of Olympic gold. On Monday, all those years of sacrifice paid off as Daley - along with Matty Lee - secured an unexpected victory over the Chinese in the men's synchronised 10 metre platform.
Daley couldn't fight back the tears as he topped the podium in what was undoubtedly one of the most heartwarming moments of the Games so far.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2021
Australian swimming coach becomes a meme
Put yourselves in the
shoes swim-cap of poor Ariarne Titmus for a moment. You train relentlessly for Olympic glory for four years, only for them to be delayed. You go again for an extra 12 months, claim gold... and then get upstaged by your coach's wild and slightly questionable celebrations.
Dean Boxall was so caught up in the moment in the immediate aftermath of the women’s 400m freestyle final that he swiftly found himself going viral. He's since issued an apology for removing his mask in the process.
Come for the celebration, stay for the terrified steward lady's futile attempts to calm him down.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) July 26, 2021
Gymnast circumvents IOC rules on taking a knee by working it into her routine
Costa Rica's Luciana Alvarado took a knee and held aloft a clenched fist in tribute to the Black Lives Movement as part of her routine during the floor event. The 18-year-old explained before her performance that she wanted to highlight "the importance of everyone being treated with respect and dignity”.
She did this despite IOC rules forbidding "demonstration or political, religious, or racial propaganda in Olympic venues", which some believed would prevent athletes from taking a knee.
IOC: "We prohibit any athlete protest or political demonstration on the field-of-play or medal ceremony podium."
Luciana Alvarado: "Hold my beer." pic.twitter.com/oJmQIp3bL7
— Kelly Welles (@kelly_welles) July 28, 2021
Adam Peaty's sweary interview
Having bagged Team GB's first gold of the Games and defended his Olympic title, Adam Peaty was understandably a little bit emotional. Still catching his breath, he dropped a couple of F-bombs as he gave a brilliant interview to the BBC.
We'll let him off.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2021
Camera boat causes chaotic 'start' to the men's triathlon
Quite how this happened, we've no idea, but the men's triathlon had to be restarted on Monday after a terribly positioned camera boat prevented a third of the field from entering the water at the beginning of the 1,5000-metre swim leg. Fortunately, nobody was injured as the boat quickly attempted to manoeuvre out of the way, and the race was restarted minutes later.
What an extraordinary (false) start to the Olympic triathlon!
The gun went off - but half the athletes had a boat in their way 😬
Fortunately they didn't get too far, and the second start is under way now.
Watch on @bbcone now ➡ https://t.co/Iqw28rGJLW #bbcolympics #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/3p16Yqx8XA
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 25, 2021
Tom Dean's family and friends reacting to his gold
In normal circumstances, Tom Dean's family would've been in Tokyo's aquatics centre to see him win the 200m freestyle in the flesh. Instead, they were thousands of miles away, at home in Maidenhead. At 3am local time, this was how they - along with friends and neighbours - reacted to the final seconds of his glorious swim. It's enough to bring a tear to the eye.
At around 3am GMT, Tom Dean's family and friends in Maidenhead watch him win gold in the men's 200m freestyle #TeamGB #Olympics #Tokyo2020
Credit: Tikki Patelhttps://t.co/kQneVtRojf pic.twitter.com/nBKTvqIoI2
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 27, 2021
Courageous Simone Biles withdrawing to protect her mental health
With five Olympic golds to her name, Simone Biles arrived in Tokyo as one of the Games' biggest stars. Her withdrawal from the team gymnastics finals, therefore, came as a huge shock. It later emerged she had taken the decision to pull out to look after her mental health - a call she was rightly praised for.
Her bravery in taking the decision and speaking openly about it afterwards has again shown her to be a role model and offered a glimpse into the extreme pressure high-profile athletes - even the most gifted - have to perform under.
Look after your mental health. It's important.
Simone Biles pulled out of the women’s gymnastics team final earlier. "I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn't want to risk the team a medal," she said pic.twitter.com/o9uhkg1EPu
— TIME (@TIME) July 27, 2021