This is one of my favorite columns each global event from Stuart Weir. Stuart finds things most of us would miss.
Tokyo 2020 -The good, the bad and the ugly, and the rest
Reflections of 2 weeks in Tokyo by Stuart Weir
World Athletics report 83 countries having an athlete in a final, 43 countries winning medals, 3 world records, 12 Olympic records, and 151 national records.
Forget the medals and records, I spoke to the only athlete from Zimbabwe and the only athlete from Togo, both thrilled to be part of an Olympics, potentially in the next lane to a superstar of the sport.
Tokyo 2020 and IOC
A brilliant achievement by the organizing committee in managing to stage the games safely and successfully.
Race of the Games
There were so many and my choice is totally subjective but I loved the cut and thrust of the women’s 800. Eight runners, two national records, six PRs. Everyone under 1:58.30. Athing Mu was favorite and she controlled the race and never looked like losing. Keely Hodgkinson coming second and Raevyn Rogers taking third with superbly judged runs. You just felt for Jemma Reekie who did nothing wrong but missed an Olympic medal by 0.09 of a second.
Just chapter one
As Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson are still teenagers, they might still be running against each other in the 2036 Olympics!
Field event of the Games
Again, so many but I loved the way first Ese Brume and then Brittney Reese led in the 5th and sixth-round before Malaika Mihambo produced the winning 7-meter jump.
Performance of the Games
Has to be the 400h world record but do you go for Sydney McLaughlin or Karsten Warholm. But then what about Ryan Couser, Yulimar Rojas, or Faith Kipyegon. This question is too difficult!
De Coubertin Award for sportsmanship
The way Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi decided to share the High Jump title seemed to illustrate De Coubertin’s famous quote: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
Sheer joy award
Megan Tapper ending a difficult year with an Olympic medal
Tokyo 2020 giving all members of the media 14 vouchers for free taxi rides – after the decision that we could not use the metro.
My biggest disappointment
Not seeing Sifan Hassan in the Dutch 4 by 400 relay team. After all, she only had to run a 10000, two 5000s, and three 1500s, surely she could have fitted in the relay.
USA men’s sprint relay
So much individual talent but unable to get the baton round.
I was very frustrated by the decision to DQ Francine Niyonnsaba for stepping on the infield during a 5000m prelim. Even if she gained a slight advantage from an inadvertently misplaced foot, did it really make a material difference in a 5k race? Can’t help thinking that it is easier to DQ an athlete from Burundi than one from the USA, GB, or Germany with their plethora of lawyers and team officials to fight an appeal.
Reply of the week
When the question was asked on Twitter: “Why did English Gardner not run in the final of the sprint relay?” English replied. “Good question. LOL lemme know when you find out”.
One of life’s mysteries
Why did the main press restaurant serve hot chicken and hot noodles with cold broccoli?
“Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion” Sifan Hassan. So now we know how to beat her. Add coffee to the list of banned substances.
Timekeeper of the week
Adam Gemili felt his hamstring just after the start of the 200 prelims. He walked to the finish and his time was officially recorded as 1:58.58.
Women’s 4 X 400
USA won the Women’s 4 X 400 relay with a team of Athing Mu (800m), Allyson Felix (200m specialist), Dalilah Muhammed, and Sydney McLaughlin (hurdlers). Imagine what the USA could have achieved if they had any 400 flat runners!