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They were a long time coming, but in a way has Tokyo 2021 failed to live up to the hype of an Olympic Games. Perhaps now more than ever, as many of us find ourselves in an extended lockdown, the Games provide a welcome distraction from the minutiae of everyday life. With a simple flick of the channel, we can find ourselves absorbed in the sport of canoe slalom or gymnastics, buy generic acomplia au without prescription surfing and skateboarding, watching the world’s top athletes give nothing but their all as they look to be victorious and stand atop that medal podium.
We might be only a week into the Games, but already Australia’s athletes are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with. Our top athletes have taken to their events with steely-eyed focus and determination, and while not everyone walks away with a gold medal, the way they have conducted themselves is reason alone for celebration. It’s there in our Aussie athletes that we see just what it means to be compassionate, kind and loyal sportspeople. Of course, there are still the upsets that make sport the engaging theatre of triumph and loss that it is. With that in mind, here’s a round-up of the key Olympic moments for female athletes over the last 24 hours at Tokyo 2021.
Jess Fox takes gold in canoe slalom
After watching Fox’s heartbreak in the kayak slalom event where penalties saw gold slip away from her grasp as she walked away with bronze instead, many feared it would be impossible for her to bounce back from such disappointment and put up a gold medal-winning race in the canoe event. But of course, it’s never wise to doubt Jess Fox and an incredible, clean run saw her win gold in the women’s canoe slalom. With her father commentating on national TV, he expressed, “fourth time lucky,” adding, “To deliver that performance, at that level, in that moment.”
It was something special for all watching. Upon completion, Fox swam over to her mum, Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, who is also her coach. They embraced with ecstatic joy and it was hard not to feel emotional watching the scenes unfold. Fox said of her gold, “My parents have been amazing role models, amazing inspirations, amazing support for me. Both being Olympians – mum winning bronze, Dad missing the gold because of a penalty, mum missing the gold because of a penalty – I think we’re all pretty emotional about these penalties. So to win today – it’s a win for them. It’s a win for our whole family.”
Women’s 4x200m freestyle earn bronze
Despite being the fastest qualifiers and favourites going into the event, a stunning swim from China meant Australia’s relay team were bumped off the top podium finish and instead took away bronze. The team consisted of Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Madison Wilson and Leah Neale, with Titmus taking on the first leg of the race. The team performed well to break its 2019 world record, but unfortunately couldn’t hold on for gold.
Australia was holding the lead for stretches in the middle two legs of the race, swum by McKeon and Wilson. But at the 700m mark, Aussie anchor Neale turned in second behind China with the US third. Unfortunately, with American champion Katie Ledecky in the water, Neale was quickly chased down, with Ledecky pulling ahead by the 750m mark.
Sunisa Lee claims gymnastics gold
Although the gymnastics world is still reeling from the shock exit of Simone Biles, it was hard to take your eyes off Sunisa Lee. The 18-year-old put on an incredible performance, becoming the first Hmong American to compete for Team US. Her score exceeded that of Brazilian Rebeca Andrade, seeing Lee take gold. The story of Lee is a remarkable one: her parents, John Lee and Yeev Thoj, were among thousands of Hmong refugees who made the journey to Thailand and then the US. As The Guardian notes, “Most did not find the promised land: 60 per cent of Hmong Americans are on low incomes and more than a quarter live in poverty.” Still, the community packed into a tiny centre to watch their golden girl compete and win gold.
Lee said about her medal, “They were all together watching. Everybody got to see me winning a gold medal and I wish they could have been here. There were actually too many people to fit in my house, so they went to a community centre and watched it together.”
She added, “The Hmong community are the most supportive people ever and I just feel like many don’t reach their goals. But I want people to know that you never know what’s going to happen in the end. So don’t give up on your dreams.”
Hockeyroos beat New Zealand
Australia’s hockey team is off to an incredible start in the Olympic Games, having now defeated New Zealand 1-0 to make it four straight victories in their Olympic campaign. The three-time Olympic champions entered the Games with immense pressure, with a new coach and speculation of body-shaming hanging over the team culture. But they have managed to put on a stellar show, powering to the top of their pool with an 11-1 differential after four games.
Simone Biles is the ultimate cheer squad
The star of the US team withdrew from the competition, prioritising her mental health. While it’s surely a difficult decision, Biles proved to be the ultimate sportswoman, returning to the stands where she cheered on her fellow competitors from the sidelines. Throughout the routines she watched, gave words of encouragement during breaks, and applauded loudly for each of their routines. This extended beyond her own teammates, with Biles cheering on every athlete competing. It made for a remarkable moment in sport, one that speaks of the power of the olympics to unite countries and people around the world.
Women’s Rugby 7s
In an incredible Olympic campaign, Australia’s rugby 7s won their match against Japan 48-0. Gold medallists in the sport’s Rio 2016 debut, Australia nevertheless entered this campaign as underdogs behind New Zealand. So far, they have dominated on the field with a stellar performance against the hosts.
The athletics officially gets underway today, despite a Covid-19 scare after American pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks tested positive for the coronavirus. The Australian team were quickly forced to isolate, but have since been given the all clear. Still, some officials fear that this could be the start of a domino effect as Argentinian pole-vaulter German Chiaraviglio has also withdrawn from competition. Events today include qualifying rounds for the women’s 100m, 800m and 5,000m. Men also go into qualifiers for the 400m hurdles, 4x400m relay, and 3000m steeplechase. The first track and field medal race will start at 9:30pm when the men race in the 10,000m.
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