As the cauldron is now extinguished on the games of the XXXII Olympiad. These Olympics once again proved that sports took center stage when competition began through all the adversity that led up to the games’ opening two weeks ago.
Most Olympics have some surrounding controversy upon their opening. But Japan had to face the most prominent question yet: how to safely pull off the Olympic Games in the middle of a pandemic. The week leading up to the games was not the best, with multiple participants receiving a positive test. But once the games commenced, the impact of the Coronavirus lessened, and the focus was redirected to the athletes.
The other big question was the impact of the protests by the Japanese people who opposed the games. There were instances of protesters becoming the storyline, most notably at the Opening Ceremony. People gathered outside the Olympic Stadium and chanted their displeasures. Then the next day, during the road cycling race, people were lining the route with signs that again issued the same message of the public’s stance on these games.
The biggest impact of these games was once again the stellar performance of the athletes. Most notably, Hidilyn Diaz is now the first gold medalist from the Philippines.
On the American side, the United States once again showed its power in all sports. In the pool, the United States was led by Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky. Dressel, who throughout the competition broke records and cemented himself as the United States’ next big star in the pool.
Katie Ledecky, during these games, continued to put herself as the equivalent to Michael Phelps as Phelps is the greatest male swimmer of all time. Ledecky is laying claim to the title of greatest female swimmer of all time.
American Molly Seidel shocked the field to track and field in the women’s marathon and won the bronze medal. What makes the accomplishment more impressive is that Seidel was competing in her third ever marathon. On the biggest stage in the world, she won an Olympic medal. Also, at these games, Allyson Felix ended her illustrious track career winning bronze in her specialty, the 400m dash. Also, she won the goal in the 4×400 meter relay on the final night of the competition.
Then the biggest lesson the world learned from these games was the importance of athlete mental health. Simone Biles’s withdrawal from the team competition in Gymnastics brought greater awareness to an issue that most people do not consider. We all tune in to watch the show and the spectacle of these high-caliber athletes perform. Rarely do we, as the viewer, consider any part of the backstory of the athlete. Hopefully, after these games, we appreciate what the athletes do and learn more about them as people rather than entertainers.
On this note, how fitting was it that Japan chose an athlete who has struggled with mental issues in the past to light the cauldron. Naomi Osaka, who this past May withdrew from the French Open, citing her mental health.
At the end of the day, though, the Olympics went off without any significant problems or mishaps. The games did what they do best to inspire the next generation who now wish for their Olympic moment. In all truth, that is what the games do best inspire youth to fall in love with sports. Perhaps, this generation of wishers will get their chance at the next games in Paris or seven years from now in Los Angeles. The Olympics are the greatest spectacle in sports. The world will not have to wait for long as the XXIV Winter Olympics in Beijing commence in 179 days.
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