The Olympics the world needed.

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2021

It was delayed over 12 months.

There was much conjecture as to whether it should go ahead at all even this year. 

It promised to be a very different Games, without spectators and their energy, surely it wouldn't quite live up to previous editions held within cauldrons in front of hundreds of thousands of screaming fans, be it Atlanta, Sydney, London or Rio. 

With the rest of world in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, economies crippled and so many people "just getting through" would anyone even care about the Tokyo Games?

We needn't have worried, because in a time like to no other in history.

It truly was the Olympics the world needed. 

The feats of human performance, resilience and genuine care for others were plentiful and reminded us all that there is plenty of good in the world. 

As an Online Running Coach who coaches people from all over this great planet,  my attention as it normally is was fair and square on the week 2 athletics schedule.

But, as an Australian I was enamoured  by our swimmers led by Emma Mckeon who remarkably won 7 medals including 4 gold. Kaylee McKeown was phenomenal and who could forget Ariarne Titmus and her coach Dean Boxall who's celebrations  after she won her first Gold medal was a major highlight of the games.  

The Australian Boomers led by Patty Mills and Joe Ingles brought home the Bronze in a hugely inspiring performance, that every Basketballer who had ever pulled on a Boomers singlet felt apart of. Basketball legend and 5 time Olympian Andrew Gazes' reaction as he spoke on a post match television show was simply the BEST and reminds us what sport is all about. 

There were so many phenomenal moments of these Games that a whole generation will never forget. 

And it was at the Track and the on the Road that so many of these magic moments were executed. 

We didn't have to wait long for one of those special moments. Night 1 saw the Men's 10,000m run in horrendous heat and humidity. It was an absolute war of attrition, Aussie Patrick Tiernan went with the best in the world for 9.5km before he totally and utterly hit the proverbial wall. Tiernan stumbled over the finishing line after collapsing twice in the home straight, a true act of courage and one of the best moments of the Games for mine. He left it ALL out there. 

Selemon Berega won Gold beating home WR holder Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo. 

Nicola McDermott winning silver in the High Jump was a monumental achievement, but what I loved even more was her real time journaling, a brilliant example of a process driven athlete. 1 jump at a time, process, execute, review. Magnificent. 

The 1500m, both the  men's and women's editions certainly lived up to expectation. In the women's event Faith Kipyegon of Kenya won brilliantly in an Olympic Record time. 

It was sensational to have 2 Aussie girls make the final in Linden Hall and Jessica Hull, these girls will be mixing it the big guns for a long time to come. 

In the men's race, Norwegian phenom Jakob Ingebritgtsen beat a stacked field including Timothy Cheruiyot to win Gold also in Olympic Record time. 

Aussies Stewart McSweyn and Olli Hoare were simply sublime, both running their way into the final. Both have had a huge year and in McSweyn's case a huge 3 years, they will both be vying for medals in years to come. 

Peter Bol finished 4th in the men's 800m, the best result for an Australian since Ralph Doubell won Gold in Mexico City in 1968. Bol is first class both on and off the track, his Olympic performance was special as was his post race speech. "At the end of the day we are all just human beings" 

Possibly the moment of the games came in the Men's Decathlon, going into the final event, the 1500m,  Aussie Ash Maloney was on the cusp of winning our nations first ever Olympic medal in the event. Maloney though is not a super strong middle distance runner in fact it may be his weakest of all 10 events in the Decathlon. 

Enter Cedric Dubler, his Aussie teammate, his more experienced team mate who was out of medal contention and is quite a handy 1500m runner. He took it upon himself to absolutely extract every last inch out of Maloney, running with him, coaching him and willing him to run faster and bring home a medal. 

It was truly special to see Maloney collapse on the ground at the finish line and see Dubler finish and celebrate harder than even if he had won a medal himself. 

That race is what the Olympics and indeed sport is all about. 

The Marathon, always a MAJOR highlight was held in Sapporo over 800km from Tokyo to avoid the heat and humidity of the Host City. 

It didn't work.

Both the Men's and Women's races were complete and utter carnage, and like the 10000m races they were a true war of attrition, which is so bloody good to watch!!!

To run well in an Olympic Marathon when it is raced in this kind of heat and humidity  is one of the world great sporting feats!

44 year old Aussie mum of two Sinead Diver was simply phenomenal running through the field. The Victorian superstar finished in 10th position overall in a brilliant display. 

Fellow Aussie girls Elle Pashley 23rd, and Lisa Weightman 26th also ran out of this world. 

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won Gold just ahead of countrywomen and World Record holder Brigid Kosgei, while Molly Seidel of the US inspired a generation of young American girls when she took out the Bronze medal in only her 3rd Marathon. 

The Men's Race was just as scintillating with hall of fame athletes dropping like flies including all 3 Ethiopian runners!  

Around the 30km mark when all runners were showing the strain of running flat out in the heat and humidity, the greatest athlete of all time and defending Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge turned the screws on the entire field and put them all to the sword. Kipchoge ran away from the field in a manner befitting of the King that he is. 

Kipchoge now has to be mentioned in the conversation as the greatest athlete in any sport ever!

He beat home Abdi Nageeye and Bashir Abdi from the Netherlands and Belgium respectively, but both expats of Somalia, it was another epic Olympic moment to see Nageeye slow down to encourage Abdi to pass Kenyan Lawrence Cherono, it warmed the heart of all but Cherono id suggest.

Melbourne Electrician Liam Adams was the best of the Aussie men finishing 24th in a very tough display to run 2.15. Not bad for a bloke on the tools 5 days a week!

Now with the 2 weeks of sporting bliss firmly in the rear view mirror, we reflect on moments like the ones mentioned above and the many more that may come to hand instantly and automatically, without 'googling' in the future because THAT is was makes sporting moments so grand. The moments that truly stick with you for decades to come. 

And the Games of Tokyo 2020 held in 2021 had many of these moments. 

For that we are grateful. Grateful to Tokyo, to the organisers, officials and volunteers who made it all happen. Most importantly to the coaches and athletes in a time of such worldwide mayhem, they  gave us something tangible, something special and something truly memorable. 

Only 3 years until Paris2024!

Continue to move with gratitude 





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