Tokyo 2020 Olympics: My Favourite Moments - week 1

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Tokyo 2020 - an Olympics that almost never happens

When 80% of the Japanese public were against hosting the Olympics in the middle of the pandemic and national emergency, most people were pessimistic about it. I do feel sorry for the Japanese, who put in so much effort and is capable of hosting potentially one of the most successful games ever, but ended up with empty stadiums, alienating its public and risking it into a super spreading event and further disaster.

Anyway, it is happening now, and I am lucky that I live in a similar time zone, and what better things to do during a covid lockdown? And with internet/digital TV these days, for the first time I can pick and watch live whatever sport I like. So here are my picks on the most memorable moments I have watched so far in the first week.

Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform Diving (26/7)

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As you may know, China dominates few sports and diving is one of them. Most other countries are competing for silver and bronze only. The Chinese always aim to claim all 8 golds in diving but so far has never been able to achieve such feat. It is not happening this time either, with the brilliant Tom Daley and Matty Lee edging ahead the Chinese pair by less than 1 point and claimed gold for Great Britain. Excellent stuff!

Tom Daley

Fencing Men’s Individual Foil Gold Medal Bout (26/7)

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When the news that Cheung Ka Long entered the final and secured at least a silver medal for Hong Kong, the whole city was overexcited about it. While fencing is not entirely unpopular in Hong Kong, it is never a mainstream sport and most people (including myself) are unfamiliar with it. Cheung, the 15th seed, playing against the 5th seed Italian Daniele Garozzo in the final, he was the clear underdog. He did fall behind 1-4 in the beginning, and retreated far back under pressure. But the tall left hander fought his way back to 10-5, and suddenly the prospect of a gold medal for Hong Kong was not impossible anymore. In the last point both players thought they won it, and it was a nail biting wait for the judge to confirm that Cheung had won.

This was the second ever gold medal for Hong Kong, 25 years after Atlanta when Hong Kong won its first in sailing. It was before the handover (God Save The Queen was played) and before Cheung was born.

Social media immediately went overdrive and many were telling people to mute their TV during the national anthem, because of the rift between Hong Konger and mainland China these days. Indeed, many people who watched it in a large Hong Kong shopping mall shouted “We are Hong Kong” (in English) loudly during the national anthem and some people booed, which is now a criminal offence in the territory. Since then, a person in his 40s has been arrested by the police.

Cheung Ka Long
Daniele Garozzo

Women's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final (29/7)

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I have to admit that I only watched the replay, but the win by the young Chinese swimmers was amazing. The Australians, having already won the 4x100, were so confident that even though the Chinese pretty much led from start to finish. The commentators were counting how this gold would add to their tally, even at the final 50m. But the Chinese girls did not just win, they beat the Australian world record by more than a second. In fact, both the US (silver) and Australia (bronze) broke the previous world record. What an achievement!


Zhang Yufei, who also won gold in 200m Butterfly

Men's Individual Table Tennis Bronze Medal Match (30/7)

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Both Dima Ovtcharov from Germany and Lin Yun Ju from Taiwan had narrow losses in their semi against the top two seeds from China. The bronze medal clash was more exciting than the gold medal one in my opinion. The match between the veteran Ovtcharov and the young "silent assassin" Lin did not disappoint. Lin had 4 match points in the sixth game but was unable to convert, and Dima finally won his second individual bronze medal after London.


Dimitrij Ovtcharov from Germany

Judo Mixed Team Final (31/7)

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This was the first Judo mixed team event in the Olympics. The Japanese having already won 9 individual gold medals in Judo was expected to win this unchallenged. But the French team won convincingly by 4-1, with two ippon in the first two rounds. The Japanese would have to settle for silver in their own national sport, listen to La Marseillaise playing at Nippon Budokan at their own Olympics. It is just not their year.


Axel Clerget from the French Judo team

Women's Volleyball Preliminary Round Group A - Japan vs Korea (31/7)

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This was another nail biting match between the bitter rivals. Japan lost two previous matches and were desperate to win against the lower ranking Korean team. Although having outstanding players such as Koga Sarina, and two match points in the fifth set, the Korean edged ahead with excellent blocking and striking by the tall Kim Yeon Koung. It was a double blow to the Japanese in one evening.

Kim Yeon Koung from Korea
Koga Sarina from Japan

Badminton Men's Double Gold Medal Match (31/7)

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Again I only watched the replay as it happened at the same time as the volleyball. This was again another unexpected win by the unseeded Taiwanese pair against the Chinese, the overwhelming favourite. The Taiwanese won convincingly in two straight games and 34 minutes, the first badminton gold medal for Taiwan. The Chinese, who claim the sport as their own (alongside Table Tennis, Diving and Weightlifting), had to settle for silver and listened to the National Flag Anthem of the Republic of China.


Wang Chi-Lin from Taiwan
Lee Yang from Taiwan

What have I missed?

Of course there were many another exciting moments so far, such as Hidilyn Diaz winning the first gold medal for the Philippines in weightlifting, Flora Duffy winning gold for Bermuda in Triathlon, and Ahmed Hafnaoui from Tunisia winning gold at the Men's 400m freestyle swimming.

What about you?

So did you watch the Olympics and any of the above matches? What are your thoughts? What else have I missed? Let me know in your comments and thanks for reading.

P.S. I am running a poll on which sport should be removed from the Olympics. Do check it out and let me know what you think. 

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Level 43
Jul 31, 2021
My favorite (Brazilians, of course lol) were the silver of Rayssa Leal on the Skateboarding, as she is really young, 13, and really did good. And the bronze of Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani on the Tennis of Doubles, against the Russians. The first medal of Brazil at Tennis, with unbelievable players. The inscription at last time, with difficult contact, one in Europe, the other in the US... thrilling. Oh, and the gold of Ítalo Ferreira at Surf was also amazing. He was really good. And how don’t forget his senttence: “Diz amém que o ouro vem! (Say amen the gold comes!)”! And the gold really came!

Idk of more, but the Olympics are union and the emotion. So, every moment is amazing for everyone.

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Level 43
Jul 31, 2021
And again, amazing blog!
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Level 67
Jul 31, 2021
Haha I didn't watch any of these unfortunately. I did watch a bit of Djokovic losing the bronze, and one of the surfing heats between Brazil and Australia. But tbh I don't quite understand how surfing competition works. I only found that it's frustrating to watch and wait for the waves. The typhoon also made the condition quite dangerous, or maybe it's good for surfing? Idk :p
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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
Just finished watching the men's volleyball match between Brazil and France, and what a match! Congratulations Brazil!
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Level 43
Aug 1, 2021
I don’t need so much time to convince someone that Brazil is good in volleyball, in male, and in female. See the matches, and compare. Sometimes, of course, they slip and lose, but have quality on their sets and sacks. I just couldn’t watch Brazil VS. France because, you know timezone smashing our life again lol.

About surfing, idk for me it depends. Probably it would make the competition harder because of way more giant waves, and storms, and would delay the program. But about giant waves, I just remembered of Nazaré, in Portugal, a city that has waves of about 15 meters high. And apparently, the surfers like. Err, I’m no idea now.

And I agree, Djokovic losing the bronze was unexpected and frustrating. In my family, we all support him.

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
Yes I know Brazil is good at volleyball. In fact, there was a popular Hong Kong TV drama last year on volleyball and the lead character's idol was Murilo Endres.

And congratulations to Brazil with Rebeca Andrade winning gold at women's vault.

+1
Level 55
Aug 1, 2021
And Djokovic has also managed to injure himself too. Hopefully, he can recover quickly. I still want him to win the Calender Grand Slam.
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Level 43
Aug 1, 2021
That’s nice! I’d like to know the name if you don’t mind. And yay! Our second gold. Hope more coming.

And as a supporter of Djokovic, I also want he win the next Grand Slam. Is the next Roland Garros? I’m no idea.

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
The "injury" may just be an excuse for skipping the mixed double and not winning a medal at the Olympic...
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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
https://mydramalist.com/80113-we-are-the-littles
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Level 64
Aug 1, 2021
MG, how can you forget about Richarldson’s amazing hatrick against Germany in the first 30 minutes?!?!
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Level 55
Aug 1, 2021
Richarlison will be Brazil's new striker. He has proven he has what it takes.
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Level 60
Aug 1, 2021
MG - the next Grand Slam is the US Open (30 August to 12 September 2021)
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Level 43
Aug 1, 2021
I didn’t watch the whole match. Here, if you score a hat-trick, you can ask for a music in a program called Fantástico (of Rede Globo 😑🤢🤮). But good point. Many stuff happened, is impossible to choice lol

I think Richarlison is the best player of Brazil Team actually. And thanks for remembering Yeet! Almost sure US Open was on February lol!

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Level 55
Aug 2, 2021
Australian Open- Late January- Early February

French Open- Mid to Late May

Wimbledon- Late June to Early July

US Open- Late August to Early September

And I wouldn't be surprised if Djokovic does indeed have a Shoulder Injury, he has had that before. I really want him to win US open to silence his haters though. The Media has been atrociously toxic towards him lately......

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Level 59
Aug 2, 2021
One amazing part was New Zealand beating South Korea in men's soccer. That wasn't supposed to happen, but it did!
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Level 55
Aug 3, 2021
@MG17, Andrade won Vault Gold!
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Level 62
Jul 31, 2021
I thought the Taiwanese Badminton pair would be eliminated after their first match loss to Reddy-Shetty(India). But they managed to shock the minions and win the entire tournament!
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Level 62
Jul 31, 2021
And I think Taiwan will get another badminton gold today. After yesterday's performance against Sindhu , TTY will be easily able to defeat her opponent.
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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
Tai lost to Chen in the final unfortunately. She made too many mistakes and fell too far behind in the third game, although she picked up afterwards, it's already too late.
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Level 62
Aug 1, 2021
Guess I spoke too soon. TTY had a atrocious start to the third set.(was 10-3 at one point)
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Level 62
Jul 31, 2021
And for India, it has yet another disappointong Olympic performance with our archers, shooters and boxers choking at the big stage.
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Level 67
Jul 31, 2021
India should push for cricket to be an Olympic sport
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Level 62
Aug 1, 2021
I think it will eventually be there in 2028 LA or 2032 Brisbane.
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Level 55
Aug 1, 2021
They might do it in T10 Format.
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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
How will they break up the West Indies?
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Level 62
Aug 1, 2021
Women's cricket is being at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. West Indies would be broken up into Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados , Guyana, Windward and Leeward Islands. An inter-team qualifying tournament would be held to determine who qualifies.
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Level 62
Aug 1, 2021
T10 cricket is too short , boring and unpopular. I think it would be T20.
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Level 73
Aug 1, 2021
At least, India defeated the Brits in hockey! We have a chance to bring back a gold in hockey after years!!

Cricket in the Olympics? That'd be a boon for us!

+1
Level 67
Aug 2, 2021
India has beaten Australia at women's hockey! Good on them
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Level 73
Aug 2, 2021
Really!? I did not watch that match (time zone problems). The women's team has reached semis for the first time. We have an astounding chance to bring back two medals in hockey!! 🥇🥇🏑
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Level 66
Aug 2, 2021
It's funny though. Australia had only conceded 1 goal in the entire Olympics, and then they lose their first elimination match.
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Level 42
Aug 1, 2021
The Russian Olympic committee somehow beat Japan and China in a Gymnastics event.

Adam Peaty has broken a breaststroke world record again.

Also I don’t think that I’d like any sport to be scrapped. The one I’d like to remove is surfing. It doesn’t make any sense to include Surfing and not Darts or Golf

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Level 42
Aug 1, 2021
I thought of another one.

A GB athlete had Covid-19 twice but participated in the Olympic Games and won a gold medal.

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
The Russians are very good, all ballet dancers perhaps.

Dart is not in the Olympics but golf is.

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Level 55
Aug 1, 2021
My Favorite Moments

Bobby Finke's 800m and 1500m swims

Caeleb Dressel's butterfly world record

Suni Lee's All-Around Gold

Team USA Women's soccer bouncing back from 3-0 to Sweden(despite some of our own Americans cheering against them)

Three team USA fencing teammates wearing pink masks on the podium(the fourth one was accused of Sexual Assault. A brave thing to do, especially in front of your teammat)

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
Oh I didn't know there were so many scandals in Team USA.

Suni Lee was impressive not only in her individual gold, but to take on the unexpected responsibility when Simone Biles withdrew and got the team a silver.

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Level 43
Aug 1, 2021
Biles giving up the two finals she was on, was really sad. She has a lot of quality, but need to take care of the mental health.

I’m no idea what are you talking about this team of USA. Elaborate please?

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
https://www.npr.org/sections/tokyo-olympics-live-updates/2021/07/30/1023026718/the-u-s-mens-fencing-team-wore-pink-face-masks-to-protest-their-own-teammate
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Level 60
Aug 1, 2021
If I had to pick five, they would probably be:

- Hidilyn Diaz winning the Philippines' first gold

- Bobby Finke storming back to win TWO gold medals

- Japan upsetting China in table tennis mixed doubles

- Suni Lee winning the women's all-around gold medal

- South Korea winning gold in women's team archery with a perfect set on the way

However, there have been so many other memorable moments in the first week.

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Level 67
Aug 1, 2021
I haven't watched any archery so far, should watch the replay then.
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Level 71
Aug 2, 2021
I mostly agree on highlights with everyone else here (especially Suni Lee's All-Around medal and the women's swimming relay race), but I have a few things to add myself:

-Katie Ledecky winning the 1500m freestyle. It was especially satisfying to see her clinch that medal after she got 5th place in another race earlier that day (200m freestyle I think?)

-Jamaica's sweep in the women's 100m. It never fails to blow my mind how amazing Jamaica is at sprinting events.

-Women's individual diving. While it wasn't surprising that China won, it was extraordinary how much Shi Tingmao blew everyone else out of the water (pun intended!). It was also nice seeing an American get bronze, something that apparently hasn't happened since 2000.

Unfortunately, NBC only shows certain sports (honestly just the sports America is good at), so I haven't gotten a chance to watch the judo or table tennis that you mentioned in the blog.

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Level 67
Aug 2, 2021
Yes Katie Ledecky was impressive. She was disappointed in missing out the 200m (where Siobhan Haughey won silver for Hong Kong, which is another story). I was particularly impressed with her in the 4x200 relay where she outpaced everyone, passed the Aussies and brought the US the silver.

I'm not sure how it is in the US or NBC. For me, in our TV station website and app, all live events are shown along with many full replay and highlights. I just need to check the schedule on the Olympics website, and then pick and choose and cast it to the TV, which is really nice.

There were already few other memorial moments since I wrote this blog. I'll follow up with another blog at the end of the Olympics.

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Level 71
Aug 2, 2021
Oh, well there is live streaming of the Olympics on the NBC website, but since the time zone is so different between Japan and the US, many of the live event happen while I sleep, and so I usually just watch the replays on cable TV.

Anyways, looking forward to your next blog!

+1
Level 66
Aug 3, 2021
Here are mine:

- Ariarne Titmus beating Katie Ledecky in 400m free and 200m free (and the coaches' reaction of course).

- The Tunisian you mentioned winning gold.

- Kyle Charmers silver in 100m free only months after shoulder surgery.

- Jamaica's 1,2,3 in the women's 100m final.

- France beating the US in the basketball.

- Women's 4x200m free relay final (mentioned above)