The 2021 Tokyo Olympic games have proved to be one of the most exciting ever, despite the many restrictions facing the games due to COVID-19 safety measures. With new sports such as skateboarding and surfing included, along with major upsets in home favourite Naomi Osaka’s run in tennis and U.S. champion Simone Biles in gymnastics, this year’s games is making up for the extra year we all had to wait for them.
Skateboarding has already broken records, with some of the youngest medal winners seen in games history. Momiji Nishiya of Japan became one of the youngest gold medal winners in the Summer Games at just 13 years old. Winning the silver medal was Rayssa Leal from Brazil, who is also 13 years old. The bronze medal was won by Japan’s Funa Nakayama, who is 16 years old. It’s first time at the Olympic Games and certainly turning a lot of heads, we can expect to see much more from skateboarding in the future, along with these exciting young skaters.
Defeat for tennis superstar Naomi Osaka shocked fans as she bowed out in the third round to unseeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Having lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the games, big things were expected of second-seed Osaka. She lost out 6-1, 6-4 in a heartbreaking defeat. Osaka has previously spoken publicly about the importance of mental health in professional sports, which is something we are seeing more and more of amongst athletes who feel immense pressure.
Simone Biles took a similar route to Osaka, choosing to retire from the USA team gymnastics event for mental health reasons. After stumbling on the vault, Biles announced that she would not be competing in the rest of the team finals for team USA. Many have criticized her decision, although this is an important turning point for professional athletes. Mental health is just as critical as physical health, and Biles has expressed extreme pressure being felt on her behalf to perform at the Olympics. Despite her decision not to compete in the finals, team USA still managed a silver medal win in the finals.
Drexel alumna, Gabriela Marginean is competing at the Olympics in Basketball for Romania. Against Mongolia, she led all scorers with seven points in their win. She will be in action again against France later in the week. Keep an eye out for other Drexel alumni, Justin Best ‘19, who will be competing on the U.S. Men’s Eight rowing team, and Reilly Dampeer ‘21, who will be coach to Benin’s first-ever rower to qualify for the Olympic Games. A total of three Drexel alumni are in action at this year’s games!
In the first week of this historic Olympic Games, the host country Japan is currently in the lead for medals, with 10 gold, 3 silver, and 5 bronze, making a total of 18. A close second is the United States with 9 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze, a total of 25 medals so far. Third is China, with 9 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze for a total of 21 medals. This is just the early stages of the games, and we can expect many more shocks and surprises as the action continues!