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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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