Plenty of athletes have represented the warmth to that of an Olympic torch by showing true sportsmanship and planting a smile on our faces. More than winning, the Olympic's target is to instill qualities of a true sportsman, one which is certainly beneficial in all facets of life. Here's 5 moments that couldn't go amiss in bringing us one step closer to sport.
1. THE HEIGHT OF GOLD
Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatar's Murtaz Essa Barshim made history as it was the first joint podium in athletics since 1912. More than savouring gold, is the story that led up to this event.
Both, had their best clearances at 2.37m and in a gruelling 120 minutes had 3 failed attempts to match the Olympic record of 2.39m. Instead they settled to share the medal, as Barshim asked the Olympic official if they could have two gold medals, to which the steward nodded, saying, "if you can agree to share it". The rest is history.
Barshim had his fair taste of medals at London and Rio, picking up bronze and silver respectively. However, having gold to show is different. He also added to Qatar's medal tally, taking them to 2 golds in total.
On the other hand, Tamberi fell short in Rio as he picked up an injury that proved to be a major blow, to his then Olympic dreams. As illustrated in the image above, he had a cast on at the time with 'Road To Tokyo 2020' written on it. He had the same cast with him on this glorifying occasion. Despite, his career threatening injury, he rose to the occasion and made his dream a reality.
2. WHAT POLITICS CAN LEARN FROM SPORT
"In general people in different countries get along a whole lot better than their governments do," the US coach told reporters. "Once you get to the politicians, suddenly it becomes much more complicated." This clearly makes it evident that all matters should be settle on the court.
It was a beautiful spectacle to watch, two countries who are constantly at loggerheads with each other due to national policies, depict qualities of true sportsmanship. The Americans applauded the Iranian national anthem, as did the Iranians. Mutual respect was uniform before and after the game, despite Iran losing 120-66.
US coach, Popovich shook hands with Iran coach Mehran Shahintab and members of his staff both before and after the game, further complimenting the way the Iranians performed on and off the court.
The Iranians had one former NBA player against USA, a team of 12 current NBA players. “People are different,” Shahintab said, “and separate from politics.”
Even amid decades of political rhetoric, the U.S. and Iran have shown that athletes from those nations can coexist. “We’re just here to play basketball,” Iran center Hamed Haddadi said, who has featured in the NBA. The players from both teams have shown true qualities of what the Olympics stands for i.e. Peace and harmony for all.
3. AN ACT OF KINDNESS
Caeleb Dressel is Tokyo's most decorated athlete winning 5 gold medals in the Men's 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4*100m medley and 4*100m relay. What was most impressive was what came in the latter event.
To give Dressel enough time to rest, due to a packed schedule, Brooks Curry was one of the four men who swam for Dressel during the team's qualifying heats, helping the team secure their spot in the medal race. Curry's swim for the Americans was crucial to starting their Olympic journey with a win.
Dressel and his team mates were all smiles after the final race, but he took no time in admiring his medal. He ran straight up to Curry who was in the stands and tossed him the medal. While it might not always seem like it, swimming is a team sport and inclusion is what makes one a true sportsman. Kudos to Tokyo's most decorated athlete.
4. TOGETHER TO THE FINISH LINE
Isaiah Jewett and Nijel Amos bowed out of the 800m race with less than 200m remaining as one was clipped by the other. Regardless of the fall, the American and the Motswana ran in each other's step to the finish line. They were 54 seconds behind the winner, but that didn't matter at all. As all eyes were on the true sportsmanship they showed.
“Regardless of how mad you are, you have to be a hero at the end of the day,” Jewett said. “Because that’s what heroes do, they show their humanity through who they are and show they’re good people.”
Jewett was in front of Amos and just about to go into his kick on the final turn when the back of his heel appeared to hit Amos. He went down and so did Amos. “As he looked at me, he said, ‘I’m sorry,’” Jewett recounted. “I said, ‘It’s OK, man.'' Jewett further said that he had one rule when it came to racing and that is to finish.
“It’s adrenaline right now that I’m standing and able to run around,” Jewett said. “I felt a little bit of spikes on my legs. I’m still living. I’m still walking. That’s all anybody can ask for.” There's plenty of takeaways for us that this race and these two individuals teach us.
5. MARY KOM
Mary Kom who led the Indian army at the opening ceremony had an impressive start to the Olympics. However, the nation was gutted during the Round of 16 bout when our 38 year old legend went toe-to-toe against Columbia's Valencia. Mary Kom failed to progress into the next round, but she won the hearts of many.
As soon as the winner was announced, Kom depicted utmost humility and respect for her opponent. In fact, she even hugged Valencia after her loss and kept her smile as she exited the boxing arena. Columbia's boxer similar to Mary Kom, is the first female boxer to have represented Colombia at the Olympic Games, as well as the nation's first female boxer to win an Olympic medal.
6. ONE FOR ANOTHER
“You’re a f***ing fighter!” Norway's Miller told her Belgian competitor. The Norwegian had come in 24th out of 55 athletes. Triathlete Lotte Miller of Norway walked over to Belgium rival Claire Michel on Tuesday after the event to console the athlete when she came in last.
Although 55 athletes from 31 nations took part in the event at the Odaiba Marine Park, which is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, on Tuesday, not everyone finished the race.
There were 21 athletes who were lapped or did not finish the event, which involves a 1.5-kilometre swim, a 40-kilometre cycle, and a 10-kilometre run.
Michel, who was obviously upset at her finish, was the last of the 34 competitors to finish the race. She finished with a time of two hours, 11 minutes, and five seconds.
Following her finish, she collapsed to the floor, which was when Miller went over to console her.
It is pleasing to see these images for all the young ones out there, and it isn't too late for the old to change their ways of sportsmanship. This is what makes the Olympics a beautiful spectacle for us to immerse ourselves in.
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