Biles, Osaka, Djokovic – Olympia of failed superstars
The Olympic Games in Tokyo go down in history as those of the failed superstars. The American gymnast Simone Biles was the tragic heroine, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic came away empty-handed.
Five gold medals were ready for Simone Biles. It seemed like the 24-year-old from Texas could climb Olympus after the retirements of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, the superstars of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games, even surpassing her 2016 yield.
On the most important occasion, however, the exceptional talent showed weaknesses for the first time ever since her meteoric entry into the gymnastics world in 2013. The immense pressure was for once too much for the 1.42 m tall Biles, which manifested itself in the form of a blockade. After the aborted team final, the American only competed on the balance beam and left Tokyo “only” with one silver and bronze.
Tennis players Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic also failed to live up to expectations. Osaka made her biggest appearance at the opening ceremony when she was the last torchbearer to light the flame. On the pitch, however, she was not yet the old one again, after she had recently stayed away from the tour due to depression.
Djokovic had competed in Tokyo to close the last gap in his Palmarès with the Olympic victory. But the world number 1 failed in the semi-final to Alexander Zverev and remained without a medal. The Serb got a taste of what to expect at the US Open in three weeks at Ariake Tennis Park. Then it’s about his greatest legacy in tennis, winning the Grand Slam.
Dressel, Thompson-Herah, Warholm
Not all favorites failed, however. In the swimming pool, the USA, led by Caeleb Dressel, swung in a duel with Australia on top. Dressel became only the third swimmer after Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps to win three individual races and took his Olympic victories 3 to 7. Australian Emma McKeon won seven medals, four of them gold.
Three gold medals were won by Australian Kaylee McKeown (swimming), South Korean An San (archery), New Zealand canoeist Lisa Carrington and Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica, who repeated her sprint double from Rio de Janeiro, but this time also won the Olympic title with the relay. Italy surprisingly established itself as the number 1 sprint nation in the men’s category after the Bolt era and, with Lamont Marcell Jacobs, became the first European 100 m Olympic champion since 1992.
The most impressive performance in the athletics stadium was provided by the Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who advanced over 400 m hurdles by improving his own world record by 76 hundredths of a second in spheres that had previously been considered unthinkable. Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands won the double 5000 m/10’000 m and won bronze in the 1500 m.
The faux pas of the games
The fact that the Olympics write its own stories was already evident on the first weekend in Tokyo, when cyclist Anna Kiesenhofer won the first Olympic medal for Austria on the road. The 30-year-old duped the favourites from the Netherlands, whose best Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the finish line in jubilation – believing she had won. It was the fallacy of these games.
As always, there were premieres and records. San Marino, the fifth smallest country in the world, won precious metal for the first time ever thanks to trap shooter Alessandra Perilli. Japanese skateboarder Kokona Hiraki became the youngest Ever Olympic medalist 22 days before her 13th birthday. Her 13-year-old compatriot Momiji Nishiya had previously crowned herself Olympic champion in another discipline of this new sport. In table tennis, the Syrian Hend Zaza was a twelve-year-old at the start.
Japanese Olympic heroine: With these videos, the 13-year-old amazes on social media
Host Japan was delighted with the 3rd place in the medal table behind the USA and China and the victory in baseball, the most popular sport in the country. Tokyo also witnessed the birth of a coming Superstars. The 20-year-old gymnast Daiki Hashimoto won the all-around and stretch finals and followed in the footsteps of Kohei Uchimura, whose last Olympic appearance ended with a fall from the bar. He, the gymnast of the last decade, was also denied the big appearance in Tokyo. (sda)
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