Logan Martin. There were more than a few laughs from Olympic traditionalists when extreme sports were introduced to the Games. These were quickly silenced as a new era of Olympic athletes mesmerized viewers with tips and skills that translated superbly on the big stage.
Logan Martin, from Logan, Queensland, won gold in BMX freestyle and only needed one run to bury his rivals. He had built a replica of the Tokyo skatepark behind his house and was riding with the freedom of a man who might as well have been in his backyard.
The citizens of Tokyo. The Olympics have been hailed internationally as a success in the face of overwhelming odds, enough to cheer the world on during a crippling pandemic. It was fine, if you weren’t from Japan in general and Tokyo in particular. Fans have been barred from the stadiums, ensuring those who had paid the huge investment demanded by the world’s largest multisport event were left out of the summer heat. Even so, they were the most gracious hosts and deserved so much more.
Kim Raisner. When the German modern pentathlon trainer angrily slapped a horse in the side after he refused to try fences during the show jumping component, she was unsure of the impact it would have on- beyond the unfortunate animal upon receipt of the blow.
Raisner was fired from Tokyo, and within months the entire equestrian component was taken out of the sport, sending his athletes into a global revolt.
Trolls. Tokyo has been a wake-up call for the mental health of athletes. Simone Biles, the star American gymnast and one of the faces of the Olympics, has pulled out of the events due to her mental health. Hundreds of other athletes spoke about the pressures they faced and the burdens they carried.
Those who are used to treating athletes like machines and blowing them up on social media suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history. The conversation has changed forever.
Brisbane 2032. It was always a good thing, but Brisbane’s victory in the race to host the 2032 Olympics sparked considerable consternation on the international stage, as well as questions about the role of the Australian Olympic Committee chairman and vice-chairman. of the John Coates International Olympic Committee.
With a new auction system in place, composed largely by Coates, Brisbane was so far ahead of the pack that it had finished its pitch to the IOC while its potential rivals were just preparing their PowerPoint presentations.
Coates has been questioned at length about a potential conflict of interest – he maintains he had no input into the IOC’s decision – but skepticism remains high among some international Olympic observers.
MAN OF THE YEAR
Patty Mills. From flag bearer to history maker on the basketball court, Patty Mills has had the best two weeks of her sporting life in Tokyo. Mills proudly walked alongside swimmer Cate Campbell in the opening ceremony, then played the best game of his career with the Baby Boomers to take them past Slovenia and win a bronze, the first for an Australian men’s team at the Olympics. He might just be the nation’s most universally beloved athlete.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Emma McKeon. Those who follow swimming closely knew that something huge could be on the cards for the soft-spoken McKeon. Her performances even exceeded her own expectations as she won four gold and three bronze medals to become Australia’s most successful singles athlete and most decorated Olympian in Australian history, with 11 medals. in two Olympics. It suited a swimmer once considered a strong member of the team that is now a great Olympian.
VIRAL MOMENTS OF THE YEAR
Ariarne Titmus defeats Katie Ledecky. It was arguably the most replayable moment of the Tokyo Games for Australia. In the greatest pool match race, against the great Ledecky of all time, Titmus faced a legend and beat her in the 400m freestyle.
Ledecky set a steady pace but couldn’t break the heart of Titmus, who made him move in the final 100 yards to knock down the late American champion. It stirred things up.
Cedric Dubler. Ash Moloney won a historic bronze in the decathlon, but the vision of his teammate Dubler cheering him on in the 1500m will long remain in collective Olympic memory. Out of the competition and injured, Dubler paced Moloney in the 1500m, then yelled in support as Moloney rushed into the final sprint to hold on for a medal.
Cate Campbell’s relay heroism. If it was the last race of Campbell’s rich career, she ended with a bang, slashing American Abbey Weitzeil in the free stage of the medley relay. Campbell is a superb relay swimmer and had to use all of her drive and experience to help her team win gold by the smallest of margins. When all said and done, it was a staggering 0.04s change that gave him the edge in a biting finish.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR
“F — yeah”. Kaylee McKeown on live TV after winning backstroke gold. Candide, to the point, we liked it.
CRYSTAL BALL FOR 2022
Australia will head to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February with a number of strong and fit medal chances, including mogul skier Jakara Anthony, dynamic flyers Danielle Scott and Laura Peel and mono-bobsledder. Bree Walker. Some believe Australia could improve on their best medal harvest (three), which came at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
America will fight back hard in the pool at the FINA World Championships in May, giving Australia a welcome call back to Paris, while Josh Giddey will give the Boomers a new dimension at the FIBA World Cup 2023. The Opals will emerge from the Liz Cambage era. On the home front, politics surrounding the Brisbane 2032 Games will begin in earnest when the organizing committee is formed and everyone lines up for jobs.
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