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Arigato Tokyo. Bonjour Paris.
Despite the omnipresent spectre of the pandemic, Tokyo managed to pull off a mind-boggling event which ended with a glorious gallimaufry of colours in the closing ceremony as the proverbial Olympic flag was passed on to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo.
It was a tournament of many firsts. It was the first time an openly trans-person won an Olympic medal. It was the first re-scheduled Olympics and the first one held without any spectators. Over 11,000 athletes participated in 42 venues in 339 medal events from 205 national Olympic committees.
It was, to quote IOC chief Thomas Bach, the most “challenging Olympic journey” but one that truly lived up to its new motto – Citius. Altius. Fortius. Communiter (Faster. Higher. Stronger. Together). It was a remarkable achievement for Japan.
For India, it was its best campaign ever. Neeraj Chopra won the elusive gold in track-and-field as India ended up with seven medals. Watch his exclusive conversation with HT.
The men’s hockey team won a thrilling bronze with a fantastic comeback against Germany. The women’s team came within a whisker of winning. Mirabai Chanu set up a lifetime of pizza supplies by winning silver on Day 1. PV Sindhu brought home another medal. Lovlina Borgohain even got a road outside her home after her triumph. Grapplers Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia picked up medals in wrestling.
And of course, a former fat kid from Haryana gave us the proudest moment feasible for any Indian – hearing the national anthem. And he’s only 23 and hopefully just getting started.
Perhaps, India could’ve done better in archery and shooting, two disciplines where they underperformed but this is not the time for post-mortems, but a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit amid the greatest adversity that mankind has faced.
Hopefully by the time Paris 2024 rolls around, fans from across the world can cheer on their athletes.
Highlights of the Olympics:
The USA edged out China on the last day by winning 39 gold medals to China’s 38.
Caleb Dressel was the most successful Olympian at Tokyo 2020 with 5 gold medals in swimming.
Allyson Felix became the most decorated US track and field athlete with 11 medals, moving one ahead of Carl Lewis. Only Paavo Nurmi (12) has more.
Hosts Japan had their best haul with 58 medals including 27 golds.
Great Britain also had a very successful campaign with 65 medals.
17 world records were smashed in various sports and six new sports were introduced at this year’s edition.
Mental health also became a huge talking point after Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from several events.
Over 180 queer athletes participated in these Olympics.
Question of the Day
Who is the first openly trans-person to win a medal at the Olympics?
(Scroll down for the answer)
Indian athletes return with extraordinary results
The typhoon off the Tokyo Bay that was gathering pace since Saturday morning, when Aditi Ashok got within a single shot of winning what would have been the most unpredictable medal for India at the Olympics, finally blew in a couple of hours after Neeraj Chopra pierced the night sky with his spear at the Olympic stadium. Read more
Bajrang Punia bemoans knee injury after Tokyo bronze
Bajrang Punia was far from his attacking self at the Tokyo Olympics until he switched to aggression mode in the bronze medal playoff against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov to claim a medal. Punia said the protective tape and cap on his right knee had hampered him in earlier rounds Read more
Tokyo 2020: The silence and the screams
With no spectators, who make the quadrennial event feel like no other sporting event in the world, some of the great performances across a fortnight had to make do with shrieks of delight or tears of joy or dismay from the athletes themselves. Read more
Click to Expand
AVISHEK ROY IN TOKYO
I slept with the gold medal close to my pillow: Neeraj Chopra
A day after his historic javelin gold, Neeraj Chopra was his usual happy self, smiling at everyone, shy in conversation, walking around the Games Village wearing a peach T shirt and blue tracks. On Sunday morning, the final day of the Games, the few Indian athletes and coaches remaining in the Village got together for the first time since the Olympics began, to cut a cake and celebrate.
In an interview, 23-year-old Chopra spoke about what went right for him on his big day, the difficulties of coming back from an injury and how he peaked for the golden throw. Read more
Bronze medalist Bajrang Punia holds the Indian flag at the Olympics Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics 2020, in Tokyo, Sunday, Aug. 8 (PTI)
Down Memory Lane
Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony: Shinzo Abe as Super Mario
When Rio 2016 closed, the world didn’t know that a pandemic would upset the best-laid plans, but it had a very illuminating handover. Crammed into a two-minute film, it showed athletes in front of iconic Japanese locations and also included video game characters like Pac-Man, Hello Kitty, Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario. But the icing on the cake was when the former Japanese PM emerged from a pipe in full Super Mario costume. Watch the footage.
Meme of the Day
Meet the Heroes
Kashmiri Lal – Chef of the Stars
There’s an old saying. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes even more effort to raise a gold medallist. Kashmiri Lal, whom Neeraj Chopra affectionately called Kashmiri Uncle, would know. Before Chopra joined the National Institute of Sports, he stayed at the Haryana government’s Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex where his dietary needs were met by Kashmiri Lal.
A former dhaba cook, he treated the future superstars like his own kids, stopping them from overeating but still indulged them from time to time.
Lal described Chopra as an extremely humble lad who’d always touch his feet. And said he can’t wait to welcome back with his favourite cheat meal - rajma chawal and halwa puri.
Video of the Day
Watch: How Indian athletes partied, cut cake, praised 'golden boy' Neeraj Chopra
Canadian footballer Quinn became the first openly trans athlete to win an Olympic medal as Canada beat Sweden in the gold-medal match in women’s football. Quinn uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’ and identifies as non-binary.
PS: That’s all folks. This is the last edition of Tokyo Sunrise. Till next time. Stay safe, wear a mask and get vaccinated (if you still haven’t).
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