There were two gold medals awarded in the men’s high jump at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, and the two athletes who shared them could not have been more thrilled. In fact, they voluntarily chose that outcome.
Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar were both perfect in clearing bars in the high jump final until the height was moved to the Olympic record of 2.39 meters. Neither could clear that height, with each missing three times. They then met with a track official who explained that they could go to a jump-off if they wanted to decide who takes the gold and who takes the silver. Before the official could finish, Barshim interrupted and asked if both he and Tamberi could be awarded a gold medal.
The jumpers had that option, and they chose to go that route. To say they were both ecstatic would be an understatement:
Barshim and Tamberi have competed against one another in the past. Barshim says the two have developed a close friendship over the years, which made sharing the gold that much sweeter.
“He’s one of my best friends. Not only on the track but outside of the track,” Barshim said, according to The Associated Press. “We’re always together almost. True spirit, sportsmen spirit, coming here and delivering this message. … Appreciate what he’s done, he appreciates what I’ve done. This is amazing.”
Tamberi broke his ankle just before the Rio Olympics in 2016, and he has kept his cast for five years as a reminder of everything he has overcome. You could tell how much the gold medal meant to him with how he reacted. Those are the moments that make the Olympics so special.
U.S. women’s shot-putter Raven Saunders made a gesture with her arms during the photo op at her medal ceremony on Sunday night, and the International Olympic Committee is looking into whether she violated the Olympic rules related to demonstration.
After she was presented with the silver medal in the women’s shot put, Saunders stepped off the podium and formed an “X” with her arms above her head. She later told reporters the gesture represented “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” according to ESPN’s Tom Hamilton. Saunders, who is openly gay, said she wanted to show support for “the LGBTQIA community, the Black community, people who are dealing with mental health issues — I see you, I’m here for you, and I’m standing with you.”
The IOC has long forbidden political, religious and racial demonstrations at the Olympics. That rule was loosened leading up to the Tokyo Olympics to give athletes greater freedom to demonstrate away from the field of play. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee supported Saunders and said her gesture “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.” The IOC is now looking into it.
“As you all know, athletes are free to express themselves, it’s freedom of expression at press conferences, on social media, in the mixed zone. That remains the same,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said Monday. “We created a possibility before sport begins for people to make protest. But one thing we have noted in the survey we did (of) 3,500 athletes, including athletes from the United States, is that in all of the people we asked in that extensive survey we asked, they all wanted to protect the field of play. And that was found when we questioned athletes from all around the world — not just the U.S., but Europe, Asia, China, everywhere.”
The question, then, is whether Saunders made her “X” gesture in the appropriate setting. While she technically stepped off the podium before doing it, demonstrations are still not allowed during play or the medal ceremony.
Rowdy Gaines is a fan-favorite during the Olympics thanks to his great color commentary in swimming.
The NBC announcer is so passionate about swimming that his enthusiasm and energy comes through the TV and gets viewers hyped up. So what does Gaines look like when he is calling these swimming meets? Now we know.
NBC shared this great video clip that shows Gaines’ reaction as the US was competing in the men’s 4×100 m medley relay. This was awesome.
You see the way he was jumping up and down and bobbing around? The guy was into it!
The US ended up winning the gold in the event, setting a world record in the process with a time of 3:26.78. And nobody enjoyed it more than Gaines.
Caeleb Dressel even said in an interview with NBC that he could hear Gaines talking after the race, because the analyst is so loud and enthusiastic. As we said before, Gaines and Dan Hicks form an awesome duo.
Wrestler Mijain Lopez had a moving gesture for his rival Riza Kayaalp after winning a match between them at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday.
Lopez, a three-time gold medal winner in the Olympics for the highest weight division in Greco-Roman wrestling, was facing Kayaalp in the semifinals of the Greco-Roman wrestling 130kg weight class.
They engaged in a tough match that Lopez won 2-0 to advance to the final.
After the match, Lopez kissed Kayaalp on the top of his head.
That is a nod to the level of respect between them.
Lopez and Kayaalp have now met seven times, with Lopez leading 5-2. He has won all three of their matches at the Olympics, propelling him to gold in 2012 and 2016. Kayaalp has beaten Lopez twice at the World Championships, where he has won gold four times.
This level of love and respect for one’s sport, competition and opponent is what the Olympics are all about. We saw something similar in a UFC fight in June.
Caeleb Dressel has already impressed the world with his swimming performance at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But the 24-year-old is also impressing folks outside the swimming world thanks to his crazy vertical jump.
A video of Dressel leaping by the swimming pool went viral. It shows just how high the swimmer can jump.
His vertical leap has been reported as topping out at either 43 or 41 inches, depending on the source.
Dressel’s impressive jumping ability can help propel him to great starts leaping into the pool in competitions. That is especially valuable for short-distance events, like the 50 m freestyle, which he dominates.
Dressel’s vertical leap also compares favorably to many top NBA players.
Dressel is the world record holder in the 100 m fly and holds an Olympic record in the 50 and 100 m freestyle. Dressel was also part of the US’ world record-setting team in the 4×100 medley. He probably would have had plenty of success in basketball or volleyball too. It’s no surprise that his elite athleticism has helped him join elite company.
MyKayla Skinner won a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Tokyo on Sunday, and the medal came as a big shock — especially to her.
Skinner was an extra member of the US women’s gymnastics team and not expected to represent the US in any events due to Olympic limitations. Simone Biles finished first in the vault in qualifying, with fellow Americans Jade Carey in second and Skinner in fourth. Skinner was limited by the two competitors per country rule and not expecting to compete in the vault finals. However, Biles’ withdrawal from competition gave Skinner the opportunity to compete.
The 24-year-old gymnast pulled off a stunning second-place finish to win silver in the vault, finishing ahead of Carey, who placed eighth. Skinner commented after winning her medal on how surprising it was. She says she was ready to fly home from the Olympics … until Biles’ withdrawal changed everything.
“This was seriously so unexpected,” Skinner told NBC. “I was actually going to take a flight home after team finals. So for me to be able to turn myself around, to be able to come out and finally compete for one last time was seriously so unreal. It was so exciting to be out there. Having this opportunity to win silver, it’s seriously just a dream come true.”
Skinner isn’t the only gymnast who benefited from Biles’ absence. Suni Lee won gold in the all-around and bronze in the uneven bars as well. This was a much better outcome for Skinner than flying home in a plane without a medal!
Rory McIlroy has done a 180 regarding his stance on the Olympics.
McIlroy did not play at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. He did not seem very enthusiastic about competing at the Summer Games in Tokyo either.
McIlroy said prior to the Olympics that he was not a very patriotic guy but was participating just to represent the sport of golf.
Now, after competing and contending for a medal, McIlroy’s stance has changed, and he feels the beauty of the Olympics.
“I made some comments before that were probably uneducated and impulsive, but coming here experiencing it, seeing, feeling everything that goes on, not just Olympic golf but just the Olympics in general, that sort of Olympic spirit’s definitely bitten me and I’m excited how this week’s turned out and excited for the future,” McIlroy said on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Irish golfer was part of a 7-way tie for third that entered a playoff to determine the bronze medal winner. Though he did not win the bronze, which went to C.T. Pan, McIlroy said he had never competed so hard for third place. He also said he was already excited about competing in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Overall, McIlroy acknowledged that he’s a bit of a skeptic. That led him to be skeptical of the Ryder Cup and the Olympics. But once he participated in both events, he learned how special they were and was proud to be proven wrong.
Chicago Bears defensive end Robert Quinn is a two-time Pro Bowler who has had a successful NFL career, but he may not even be the best athlete in his family. Many would argue that his sister, track and field star Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, holds that that honor.
Camacho-Quinn set an Olympic record in the semifinals of the 100 meter hurdles in Tokyo on Sunday. She blew away the field with a time of 12.26 seconds, beating Sally Pearson’s previous record of 12.35 seconds. Check out how far Camacho-Quinn was ahead of the other athletes as she crossed the finish line:
Camacho-Quinn, who represents Puerto Rico, will try to win a gold medal in the 100 meter hurdle final on Monday. That would be her first Olympic medal.
The NFL has had quite a bit invested in the Tokyo Olympics, as several players have family members competing in events. Detroit Lions quarterback David Blough has also watched his wife enjoy success in track and field, and the team shared an awesome video of him celebrating her accomplishments on Friday night.
Canadian swimmer Sydney Pickrem offered a fairly unfiltered assessment of her thoughts while swimming her leg of the team 4X100m medley relay.
Pickrem was part of the Canadian team that ultimately won bronze at the event on Sunday. Pickrem, who came into the event without any Olympic medals, swam the breaststroke in the relay. To say she was nervous was an understatement.
Asked about handling the pressure during her breaststroke leg during a live interview on CBC in Canada, Pickrem offered an epic soundbite, though not exactly family-friendly.
“I was absolutely s—ing myself, I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it,” Pickrem said.
After winning an Olympic medal of any kind, you should be forgiven for swearing on live television. This one can be forgiven.
The Canadian team clocked in at 3:52.60, a second behind gold medal winners Australia.
Caeleb Dressel made Olympic history on the final day of swimming events at the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Dressel claimed his third individual gold medal and fifth overall in two separate events on Sunday. The American set a new Olympic record in the 50m freestyle final with a time of 21.07. That event earned him his third individual gold and fourth overall.
That left the 4×100 medley relay, where Dressel swam the butterfly. According to USA Swimming, his 49.03 split was the fastest in American history for that particular split.
With the help of teammates Ryan Murphy, Michael Andrew, and Zach Apple, the Americans won the event and got Dressel his fifth Olympic gold medal. It made him the fifth Olympian ever to win at least five swimming medals in one Olympics, joining Mark Spitz in 1972, Kristin Otto and Matt Biondi in 1988, and Michael Phelps, who accomplished the feat three times.
Dressel took on a grueling schedule, too, but it never seemed to impact him. He’s put himself right up there with the very best in history, and deservedly so.