Day 17: the 10 impacts of Tokyo 2020

1) Let us hope, with all the faith, that these empty tribunes cut out as a backdrop will not serve as scenery again. The Olympic Games did not deserve it and Tokyo suffered it in silence. He prepared the party with the illusion of mobilizing millions of people and for that he made a set of impressive stadiums available to the international community. The pandemic left them speechless. History will speak of Tokyo as the Coronavirus Games: questioned until the last moment, postponed for a year and full of controversies, especially inside Japan. They turned out magnificently well, but they lacked the popular warmth and multicultural color that visitors bring. The logical thing would have been that they were canceled, in this case the desire of the Japanese prevailed, the interests of the IOC and, it is not for nothing less, the will of the athletes, who trained in quarantine and it never occurred to them to resign.

2) They were, above all, the Games of diversity, an expression of a wonderful, free world. Quinn, a member of the Canadian women’s soccer team, was the first non-binary transgender person to win a gold medal. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was the first transgender athlete to participate in the Games. The diversity of Tokyo spread through the ages and then we had a 13-year-old Olympic skateboarding champion, Japanese Momiji Nishiya. In that sense, the message offered by Tokyo was overwhelming. Shooter Rauven Saunders crossed her arms over her head as she stepped onto the podium, a gesture of support for all downtrodden people. Enough of stereotypes, denial, rejection. Welcome to the athletes who crochet in the stands, like the British champion Tom Daley. His image went around the world. A plus for Olympism and its genuine expression of the world we live in.

3) Who will win the silver medals? The question was not a joke before the Games. Like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps on previous dates, Simone Biles was greeted in Tokyo as the megastar that she is. The question was to guess how many gold he would win. And what happened was a shocking and revealing story of neat humanity. Biles opened her heart and told us how the pressures have her against the ropes, how her mental health is threatened by a system that only demands perfection from her. He just couldn’t take it anymore. From a gymnast 10 to a woman of flesh and blood, Biles exposed the worst of professional sports, which squeezes athletes by subjecting them to a dehumanizing regime. Finally, Biles competed in the beam and took a bronze medal. It was worth all those gold that the imaginary awarded him in advance.

4) Of course, the Games crowned their heroes. In the pool, the American Caeleb Dressel (top gold winner in Tokyo, with five) and the Australian Emma McKeon (seven medals, four gold), while Ariarne Titmus (Australia) and Katie Ledecky (USA) starred in a hand to hand. heart-stopping hand that ended in a draw: two golds for each. The queen of athletics was Allison Felix, who at the age of 35 reached the eleventh Olympic medal thanks to the American triumph in the 4×400 post. Thus surpassed the 10 medals of Carl Lewis. The Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas (triple jump) and the Norwegian Carsten Warholm (400 meters hurdles) set world records and the Swede Armand Duplantis confirmed that he has no rivals when it comes to pole position. And since there are no heroes without feats, the Dutch Sifan Hassan – the one who tripped, fell, got up and won a qualifying series – obtained gold in the 10,000 and 5,000 meters and bronze in the 1,500. Speaking of amazing performances, what about Chinese jumper Quan Hongchan, who won gold on the 10-meter platform with three perfect 10-point jumps?

5) The battle for the medal table seemed to be won by China, until the final attack by the US tipped the balance by just one gold: 39 to 38. The Japanese, third in that table, was extraordinary, and so was Great Britain , since it defeated the Russians, condemned to compete without the shelter of the national flag because of doping. In that top ten, Australia’s sixth place stands out – underpinned by its tremendous swimming team – and the enormous parity between the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy (all four with 10 gold medals). Closer and closer to that exclusive group is Brazil (21 medals, seven gold), which recently took off from Latin America to compete in other leagues. Cuba, also with seven golds, maintains its validity.

6) Where is Argentina in this context? Once again, the leadership in team sports was confirmed, which were the ones that provided the three medals. That strength in the group also explains how large the delegation is. Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico won more medals, although within a framework of parity, also in terms of diplomas (they are delivered from fourth to eighth place), and that is the reference that serves to measure where we stand. Our reality puts us in line with those four countries, but with several alarms set off.

7) The retirement of Paula Pareto orphaned judo, one of the few individual sports in which we have competitive figures. The Lange-Carranza duo, gold in Rio and diploma in Tokyo, is also separated. Delfina Pignatiello took off the backpack that had been placed on her and now she will be able to face her career with greater peace of mind, but the case serves to remember that in six key sports of the Olympic program (swimming, athletics, gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting and boxing) the Argentine participation is practically symbolic.

8) The performance of the delegation was below expectations. He fulfilled the hockey, surprised the men’s volleyball and Los Pumas made that scene blow that they knew they were capable of. Basketball traveled in the negative band, struggling with a devastating fixture and a performance far from its true level. Even so, he got into the top eight and gave us that exciting moment represented by the goodbye of Luis Scola. Handball fared badly, soccer fared worse – a medal hope that quickly faded – and for Las Panteras it was a demonstration of how uphill it is to rub shoulders with the elite. Agustín Vernice got into an Olympic final and that is in itself a huge victory, as valuable as the horse riding team diploma, the quality of our sailors and the performance of taekwondo player Lucas Guzmán, who scored a bronze. Not much more.

9) There are no Games without tears. And it was tears that the Italian Tamberi and the Qatari Barhim wasted when they decided to share the gold in high jump. Both had coincided on the mark (2.37 meters) and in the absence of nulls. The regulation enabled them to agree on the victory and the hug sealed that decision. It was gold for both of them and a message for everyone: two friends, haunted by injuries, reached the summit at the same time and what corresponded was to plant both flags at the same time. Applause. It was, without a doubt, the most talked about and praised podium in Tokyo.

10) The longest Olympic cycle has ended – five years – and the shortest – three – opens. We will always have Paris and this was underlined by the closing of the ceremony that Tokyo gave us this morning. Paris is a goal, a hope, an objective. Hopefully with the pandemic nightmare as part of the past. Thousands of athletes around the globe are already planning the assault on the City of Light. That’s where Olympism goes then, to Paris. And Argentina? There is much to analyze and to decide. And there is no time to spare.


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