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               Tokyo 2020                                                                                                          THE JOURNAL OF SPORT,  LEISURE & RISK  WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE         November 2021





                                                                                                                                   The Winners                                       the IOC continues to stick with its highly
              Tokyo 2020:                                                                                                          It is easy to be cynical about modern sport       and for that reason many non-binary

                                                                                                                                                                                     controversial ruling of testosterone levels
                                                                                                                                   (see below in The Losers section). But to
                                                                                                                                                                                     athletes were not able to compete in Tokyo.
                                                                                                                                   witness athletes competing at this level
              A Very 21st Century                                                                                                  of performance is something that even             Skateboarding was a particularly satisfying
                                                                                                                                   non-sports fans embrace. There is never
                                                                                                                                                                                     addition to the Olympic roster given
                                                                                                                                   an Olympics when a surprise isn’t sprung
                                                                                                                                                                                     its non-elite background. One beautiful
                                                                                                                                   or a new star emerges. So, obviously it
                                                                                                                                   is the athletes themselves that are the           scene came when Japanese skater Misugu
                                                                                                                                   winners. The USA ended the games with             Okamoto fell and the other skaters picked
              Olympics By Tim Mottram                                                                                              the top medal tally of 113, and standing on       her up and carried her around the deck
                                                                                                                                   the middle podium 39 times. China was             in celebration of just being there. In fact,
                                                                                                                                   behind by only one gold at 38, but lagging        some of the youngest winners came
                                                                                                                                                                                     out of skateboarding. For example, in
              Well, it happened!                                                                                                   on the other medals. Japan, predictably           the women’s street event, the podium
                                                                                                                                   as the host country, came in third. In
                                                                                                                                   fact, the Japanese population was pretty          contained two 13-year-olds and a 16-year-
              The Summer Olympics saw 17 days of furious content mainlining, with billions of                                      ambivalent about the whole thing until it         old. For young winners, gymnastics is
              viewers, eagerly feasting themselves on what was billed to be a sporting competition                                 started. Then public opinion turned very          also a good place to look. American Suni
              like no other. And that it was. The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese                                 much into a thumbs up.                            Lee was 18 when she won the all-round
              government came together to produce a fascinating event which was as uplifting                                                                                         gymnastic gold.
              as it was controversial. There was a great deal of earnest intent, a huge amount of                                  Italy rounded out the top ten, with some
              fumbling and some backroom dealing. All at the low price of US$15 billion which                                      stand-out performances on the track:              The Losers
              reports suggest could blow out to an overall loss of US$30 billion. Just like any                                    Marcell Jacobs surprised everyone by              Away from the Olympic Stadium, there
              Olympics, there were plenty of winners. But the controversies are never far behind.                                  becoming the world’s fastest man with a           was plenty of shame to be spread around.
                                                                                                                                   9.8 in the 100 metres. Italy followed this up  Tokyo shows that the people in charge
                                                                                                                                   by winning gold in the 4x100 men’s relay.         sometimes don’t know what they are doing.


                                                                                                                                   Returning to the US team, Caeleb Dressel          Right from the start, even before the
                                                                                                                                   sugar-coated a fairly flat performance for        Games were awarded Japan’s way, there
                                                                                                                                   the men with his five golds in the pool,          were reports that the bid was being
                                                                                                                                   which meant that the successful Olympic           greased by “donations” to IOC voting
                                                                                                                                   haul was made possible thanks to the US           nations, particularly targeting African
                                                                                                                                   women. In fact, this was the most gender-         nations. Investigations later produced
                                                                                                                                   balanced Olympics ever, with 49% of               admissions from Japanese businessmen
                                                                                                                                   the athletes being female. Many of the            of giving gifts to IOC personnel. Then
                                                                                                                                   events that have been switched out of             there were the resignations that preceded
                                                                                                                                   the Olympics - such as wrestling - were           the Games, starting with Yoshiro Mori,
                                                                                                                                   done to accommodate sports that have              organising committee chief. He resigned
                                                                                                                                   a women’s event attached. In fact, the            after getting caught complaining about
                                                                                                                                   spirit of inclusivity is perhaps the most         how long meetings were taking because
                                                                                                                                   impressive part of these Games.                   women talk too much; and should “know
                                                                                                                                                                                     their place”. Soon after, the creative
                                                                                                                                   Tokyo 2020 saw the first ever openly trans        director suggested putting media
                                                                                                                                   athlete taking part: lifter Laurel Hubbard.       personality Naomi Watanabe in a pig
                                                                                                                                   Despite crashing out of competition               suit and calling her Olympig. Then there
                                                                                                                                   early, the New Zealander has become               was the music composer for the opening
                                                                                                                                   a pioneer of gender rights. However,              ceremony, who belatedly got dumped



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