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  • Writer's pictureJessica Taylor Yates

Highs And Lows Of The Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Love them or hate them (who hates them?!) there's no denying that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are just what Australia needed to feel united against a backdrop of state fighting, lockdowns, and winter. Now that they're over (devo!) let's take a look back at the truly awesome and truly cooked moments of the XXXII Olympiad.



Best: Watching Ariane Titmus dominate the pool

Go Aussie Go! Source: Associated Press


The states of Australia may be at each other’s throats due to Covid rn (see, our Insta) but nothing brings us together like beating the Yanks. The fired-up comp between Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky live had Australians around the country jumping for joy. Even if we had never heard of them before (guilty), everyone on this day was an expert on the golden girls in the pool. GO ARNIE!



Worst: The Opening Ceremony

Snooze! Image: GiPHY


I’m calling it.


No one else is willing to call a spade a spade. Look – love me some Japan. Adored the country, love the people, the food, the fashion, the culture, the old meets new world. But…what the hell was that?! I ordered in sashimi, put on a kimono and forced my partner into what felt like 100 hours of…nothingness. The whole ceremony felt like it was the lead up to something that never got started. I thought we were gonna get sumo wrestlers, Pokemon battles, a stadium of dance-dance-revolution competitors, crazy anime and light pyrotechnics in lieu of people cos of Covid. Instead there was some chick running on a treadmill for 9 hours and a piano recital. Granted the drones were cool, as was Armchair Judging the country fashion, but it was a hell no from me. Bring back the Spice Girls from #London2012


Best: Dean Boxalls reaction

Tell me you’re Australian without telling me you’re Australian… Image: GiPHY


Or ‘how to become an instant meme.’ Ariarne Titmus’ coach gained overnight stardom with his reaction to her beating the USA for gold, with fist pumps, hip thrusts and an outpouring of happiness and excitement that had Australians cheering ‘F*ck yeah!’ While the Yanks tried to cancel him, Aussies weren’t having it, with Boxall’s cheer going down in the history books as one of the best Olympic moments of all time (alongside Bradberry, obv).


Worst: The vitrol against Simone Biles

Love you sweetie. Image: GiPHY


Everyone’s favourite gymnast Simone Biles shocked the world when she decided to pull out of the Games at the 11th hour for the sake of her mental health. Instead of support for one of the most decorated young Olympians of all time, she was met with backlash in countless media outlets around the world. Perhaps some of these naysayers should try getting a few gold medals on a world stage before having an opinion?


Best: Watching Zac Stubbelty-Cook go from first to last

Yes hun! Source: Getty


The swimmer who wasn’t even expected to gain a place in the 200m backstroke didn’t have much of a lead-up to his race, but man it was a goody. Starting in fifth place, he started gaining momentum when viewers thought he may have chance at a bronze. In the final few seconds in a lead no one was expected, he pushed ahead to not get bronze or silver, but gold in the nick of time. What a race!


Worst: All the whingeing

Shut uppp! Image: GiPHY


Listening to other countries having a whinge about losing, like the Americans claiming the golden girls relay team ‘cheated’ to get gold (they didn’t), the Russian high-jumper demanding a white flag, and athletes refusing to stand on a podium, wear a medal or wear a mask, we weren’t here for it. Shut your whingeing and be a good sport (says the woman who kicks over a Monolpoly board when her sister buys the purple houses and she KNOWS they're my favourite colour...she KNOWS!)


Best: Tom Daley casually knitting a dog sweater in the audience

Marry me! Image: Getty


We could not with this. British diver Tom Daley melted hearts around the world when a camera panned on him in the audience of the springboard finals, casually knitting a jumper for his dog. The internet’s new boyfriend has risen.


Worst: Seeing the empty stadiums

Well now I'm just depressed. Image: USA Today.


Whilst of course it was the right call, after the first ever delayed games, seeing the empty stadiums can be a real shock and gives pings of sadness when you see Olympians cheering on their wins with their families via a digital screen. The whole concept is difficult and sad and upsetting, but the troopers our Olympians are have brought happiness to millions around the world with their resilience to keep going.


Best: Cedric Dubler’s iconic support for Ashley Moloney

I'm not crying you're crying! Image: Getty.


During the 1500m, the Australians competed against each other for medal glory. However, when Dubler could feel he was no longer in medal contention, he gave up his own race in order to run alongside Moloney as his personal coach and cheerleader, encouraging his teammate on to Olympic bronze glory. Mateship at its finest.


Best: Australia’s golden girls dominating the pool

Girls girls girls! Image: Reuters


Yes, we are finishing off on a high with two bests! The Australian swim team broke its own record during Tokyo 2020; taking home 20 medals in the pool, with seven of those going to new golden girl Emma McKeon, becoming the most decorated Olympian in Australia’s history (she has 11 all up).


We could keep going with the best, from the country uniting to cheer on sprinter Peter Bol, the first ever skateboarding win to Australia’s Keegan Palmer, and of course, the way it united Australia amidst a breadth of lockdowns and uncertainty. We thank our sportspeople for providing us with the excitement, happiness and relief we so desperately needed to bring us together in 2021.


Here’s to Paris 2024!



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