Late sleepers in all probability didn’t see it reside, however as of 6:55 a.m. ET yesterday morning (roughly 8 p.m. native time in Tokyo) the Olympics received their formal kick-off with all of the pomp, circumstance, unintentional humor and touching moments which were a staple of the Video games’ opening ceremonies within the trendy period. Even Pita Taufatofua was there — as soon as once more bare-chested, oiled up and able to lead his house nation of Tonga to Olympic glory.
For individuals who someway do not bear in mind Pita Taufatofua, he’s a Tongan judo competitor who stole the present on the Rio 2016 Summer time Olympics as his nation’s extremely match and grass skirt-wearing flag bearer. Taufatofua went on to coach in cross-country snowboarding, certified for that nationwide group and returned to his flag-bearing duties within the 2018 PyeongChang Video games — nonetheless shirtless, nonetheless oiled up, nonetheless in a grass skirt, then in sub-zero climate. Though he’s by no means received a medal and isn’t anticipated to take action in 2021, he does show to the world that there’s multiple approach to be an Olympic champion.
That sort of outside-the-box pondering might show to be a killer asset in 2021, as it is going to in some ways be a really totally different Olympics. The opening ceremonies, as majestic as they have been, performed to a largely empty home attributable to COVID-19 issues. The opening ceremonies received’t be the one factor missing a reside viewers this yr — all the occasions can even be sans crowds.
Because the saying goes, the present should go on — and totally different doesn’t essentially imply dangerous, as consultants forecast that with the addition of reside casts streaming highlights alongside the common TV broadcasts, lots of people everywhere in the world will nonetheless see the Video games.
“I feel we may see that its attain throughout all platforms is greater than any Olympics that got here earlier than,” stated Patrick Crakes, a former Fox Sports activities govt turned media marketing consultant.
New Sports activities Striding to Heart Stage This 12 months
Including new occasions to the Video games is one thing of an Olympic custom: Since 1980, greater than 100 occasions have been added, normally on the request of every host metropolis.
This yr is not any totally different. In 2021, 5 new sports activities will debut: mountaineering, browsing, karate, 3×3 basketball and skateboarding.
The brand new occasions have generated varied quantities of pleasure from the athletes who shall be a part of their sports activities’ Olympic debut. A 12-time X Video games champion, 26-year-old Nyjah Huston, headlines Staff USA’s first Olympic skateboarding squad. He stories dreaming since childhood of with the ability to go for the gold in entrance of a worldwide viewers, and a full willingness to “put all of it on the road.”
U.S. girls’s karate consultant Sakura Kokumai, however, stated she by no means imagined she could be competing on the Olympics. “We by no means educated to grow to be Olympians,” Kokumai famous in an interview. “We simply did it purely out of the love for the game.”
The IOC has dubbed this yr’s growth “probably the most complete evolution” within the historical past of the Olympics, noting that this yr’s additions have been chosen particularly to enchantment to youthful Olympic viewers worldwide, And up to now, it appears to have labored: The brand new occasions have garnered loads of worldwide dialogue throughout social media.
Possibly not as a lot as breakdancing did when it was added to the Olympics in 1997, however shut.
The Norwegian Staff’s Battle With Bikini Bottoms
Each Olympics wants an argument, and the Norwegian girls’s handball group shall be this yr’s gold medal winner for creating one — however for a motive that, curiously, appears non-controversial. The group insisted on sporting shorts to compete of their beach-based occasion, on the sound argument that sporting a quite skimpy bikini backside added nothing to their capability to play the game.
Sadly, that call meant that they rejected Olympic regulation uniforms, which, for this sport, require gamers to compete in a sports activities bra-style high and bikini bottoms. Consequently, the group was fined $1,770 for competing in “improper clothes.”
The problem appears distinctive to handball: The Worldwide Volleyball Federation up to date its personal guidelines in 2012, and athletes competing within the sport at this month’s Olympics in Tokyo can select to play in bikinis or one-piece bathing fits or shorts and T-shirts. Norway’s Handball Federation has been campaigning to vary the IHF uniform since 2006, however to this point has made little progress. Including to the awkwardness is the truth that the lads’s seaside handball group competes in shorts and T-shirts.
The GOAT Emoji
Simone Biles is broadly anticipated to stroll away with gold in girls’s gymnastics, and various it. Though her performances might encourage a debate as as to if she actually is the best of all time, or simply the best gymnast of her technology, Twitter has already made its place identified.
The social media website has made Simone Biles the primary and solely feminine Olympian in historical past along with her personal hashtag and emoji. Her picture? A goat, after all, sporting a shiny pink gymnastic leotard and doing a really Biles-like aerial break up. Tweet #SimoneBiles and even #Simone, the emoji will pop up. Twitter confirms the emoji is supposed to acknowledge Biles’ “legacy, achievements and epic utilization of the platform.”
She tweets so much — and over the primary six months of this yr, Biles was the second-most talked about Olympic athlete on the platform, in keeping with Twitter, behind Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee.
That’s as a result of even a worldwide pandemic can’t preserve the GOAT down — or the Olympics that she is about to dominate with the arsenal of gymnastics expertise she invented.