The Summer Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo are over. Two weeks of intense sports coverage are lying behind us. Definitely special games, especially due to the impact of Covid-19 and the lack of spectators. I initially wanted to post about my personal best and most negative experiences with the games (some sort of “Tops and Flops”), but then I felt it is better to look at each one separately. My final posting about these games – also have a look at my Flyctory.com alternative medal table.
My Thoughts per Sports
As in my Flyctory.com medal table posting, I am using the same split into sports according to the IOC and the Tokyo website. I listed the sports alphabetically, there is no ranking in it.
Just pure alphabetic coincidence that 3×3 Basketball (we used to call it Streetball in young ages) is on the top of this list. Nonetheless, it is also on the top of my list regarding the sports which took profit from Olympics most. I don’t like “classic” basketball – but this one is really cool. It is so damn fast, matches are so thrilling and tell good stories. Finally, that’s like the way sports has to be in the 21st century: fast, interesting, and simple enough to be understandable. Even though there was rarely any team I was cheering for, I enjoyed so many matches I saw.
I hate South Korea… Nothing racist or bad against the country (in fact, regarding travelling it is quite on the top of my bucket list) – but in archery, getting drawn against a Korean athlete is like taken out of the tournament. It happened thrice to my Indian athletes in the Archery contest. Thus, my hate is full of admiration for this country in this sports. Apart from the fascinating precision of Korean archers, the sports is just amazing. Playing a video game version and feeling the impact of the weather conditions to the way the arrow is flying even increases being fascinated by the sports. Definitely a sports I am looking forward to regarding Paris 2024.
The versatility you need to master all the different Artistic Gymnastic disciplines is fascinating to me. It is definitely not my favorite sports, but I am looking forward to some hours with this sports in three years. Good to watch.
The older I get, the more I enjoy watching that (and the more, I value the athletic and artistic effort behind this sports). Artistic Swimming might not play a major role in our day-to-day life, but I really appreciate it more and more as part of the Olympic program every four years. Maybe not the highlight of the Games, but definitely a solid part of the set of sports.
With Swimming getting weaker and just having too many similar competitions, the track and field sports are simply the king of sports at the Olympics to me. There was a weird schedule and too many too good world records, which finally relates to two points I will be making at the end of this posting. The runs, jumps and throws again lead to events you just have to watch.
Even though Badminton is part of the Olympic Games since 1992, it still feels so young to me. I don’t need to comment too much about them: they just present great sports. Quick, athletic, relatable and fascinating. Always worth watching a match or two.
Baseball / Softball
You had numerous parallel streams from the Olympics in Germany – but nonetheless, you rarely got any coverage of baseball and softball. Would be interesting to hear how it was in your country. I do enjoy watching a ball game from time to time (these times may also happen every second year or so…), but I feel that this sports just does not make it well when the five rings are around. Weird thing, as it is such a big sports in many countries.
Funnily, they played the Men’s Final before the Men’s Bronze Medal Match, due to better US TV broadcasting times. Team USA was the definite favorite for two golden medals here – and they converted. A bit of sad. I am not too much into basketball – and I feel the 3×3 one has so much potential, let’s see how the sports will develop over years the next years.
TMOI – Too much of it. Olympic competitions need to be compact in a certain way. Somehow, you first learned that people love the sport – and then you just play it almost any way. Other sports do knock out elimination, maybe with a repechage round (which I feel to be the best thing for Olympics) – but Beach Volleyball just plays group phase for ages before the action really begins. I was tired of this sports before the action really started.
Boxing struggled that much over the last year to find good rules for the Olympic competition. I feel they finally made it this time. Good action, very intense, I guess that I never enjoyed watching that sports as much as I did this time. Won’t become a boxing fan, but I definitely will not argue to kick it out of the program the next years.
Germany has an amazing stats in Canoe Slalom 2020/2021. But that’s not the core reason why I love to watch that sports. It just creates that fascinating pictures. I have never been in a canoe – nonetheless, of seem to feel the difficulty of moving through the gates while being pushed by the power of the water. Cool sports, which should be more in focus of the normal coverage. Too long to wait for Paris for three more years.
Canoe Sprint just more and more strongly feels to be better than the traditional rowing to me. The different kind of boats and distances lead to very interesting races. Like it!
Cycling BMX Freestyle
Now that the Olympic Games are over, I have almost forgotten that sports already. BMX Freestye did not really attract me at all.
Cycling BMX Racing
I was confused that you have that many heats in quarterfinal and semifinal (and thus even may quality into the finals even though you had a terrible crash in the semis) and then it is a best-of-one, a showdown, when the world is looking at your sports. BMX Racing feels to be an established sports already. It is full of action for less than one minute. I can’t deny it is cool – but on the other hand, it just feels like motocross without motors to me. I appreciate that motor sports will never be Olympic (likely), but they just have longer races, more thrill. BMX Racing is intense, but somehow too short to me.
Cycling Mountain Bike
My Swiss friends will celebrate the Mountain Biking forever, I guess. Their triple medal there was very remarkable, no doubt. The sports delivers cool pictures, fun to watch. Good.
When you think of road cycling as a German, you have to think about the Kameltreiber affair first (the German coach who called the Eritrean and Algerian racer a camel driver). You have to emphasize that the German athletes reacted much better and quicker than the German Olympic Association, who finally sent this guy home to Germany.
Four rows about one idiotic action. Even though I saw quite much of the races, I just cannot relate to this sports any more. Too many thoughts about doping and whether these guys do a clean fight. Especially the Road Race delivered great views of the region around Mount Fuji – but that’s maybe the key argument why I would keep this one in the program. It just does not feel like the professional races.
Cycling at the Olympic Games felt like an up and down to me. Track Cycling more and more feels to be the coolest part of riding something with two wheels and pedals to me. There feels to be so much action in the velodrome. And – even if most of us never rode a bike in this kind of oval, it feels so relatable, you are just in it (maybe apart from the Denmark–Great Britain team pursuit clash, where you need a good commentary to understand the scenery). Well done!
If you are not really into diving, how much of that did you watch? I feel there are just too many disciplines in this sports. I love the pair dives and it is a fascinating sports – they just have to make it more compact in my point of view. Why not having some sort of all-height combined competition? You need to develop in this world to stay above the line. I don’t see that much of it in Diving.
Equestrian is like a medal shooting machine gun to Germany – and I absolutely appreciate and praise the amazing Isabell Werth, who made another two medals in Tokyo. Still, I feel that Equestrian should be out of the program. There is too much risk that the animals are not well treated. That the horse Jet Set by Swiss rider Robin Godel had to be euthanized as a direct consequence of its appearance in the Eventing competition is just another argument to stop this sports. It is the only sports, which is harming and potentially even killing beings who have not chosen to be part of the competition.
I recommend you to try to spot a video of the situation which finally costed Jet Set‘s life. It is extremely hard to find these pictures – if they would have been spread, I am sure, it would have been a “Game Over” for the sports in Paris 2024 already. And if you need more reasons, look at Irish Cian O’Connor, who competed with a horse with a bleeding nose. I just don’t understand that.
There were Olympic Fencing competitions on nine days of the Tokyo 2020 schedule. It is still a massive part of the program. The sports is very quick and athletic – even though they try to do massive effort, it is just extremely hard to understand the different kinds of hits and the scoring based on that. It is immanent to the character of Fencing. I am not sure whether Fencing can change in a way that people really keep on watching it.
Football / Soccer
I feel that for Women’s Soccer, the Olympics is still such an important event – but there is more and more risk that the guys destroy the ladies dreams (it just wouldn’t be the first time in that sports that they do so). The German team nomination has likely been the most ridiculous one of all male competitors – but there are too many teams now who block the once-in-a-lifetime perspective of an Under 21 soccer player to be at the Olympics. I did support women soccer for so many years and it breaks my heart – but I strongly feel: kick that sports out of the Olympic programme. It is simply overdue.
Especially on the Ladies’ side with the amazing Indian Aditi Ashok, the sports much more fascinated me as part of the Olympic program than in Rio. For Paris and Los Angeles, there will be no doubt to continue that route, I guess – people play golf almost anywhere, so that the effort is limited enough just to do it.
I would really be interested about opinions on that from other countries – but I felt that the sports did not take the opportunity of Tokyo 2020, at least in Germany. Germany is a handball country, the people tend to love the sports – but there was so few presence of it. One reason for that might have been the rather “unfriendly” TV times from a German perspective.
India did an amazing campaign in this sports. On the other hand, people who know me know that I don’t like the sports. I cannot understand that parents sent their kids to a sports, which makes them stand on the goal line at a penalty corner. The sports did try to develop a lot. It still comes with its key problems like that it is still a key tactical element to try to hit the opponent’s body with the ball. Some of the rules are weird and even after watching hockey for several Olympic Games now, I still don’t get some of the rules. Not that I don’t know them, but I just don’t understand why they are there. The latest addition to that set of “Why?” rules is the completely weird penalty shoot-out.
Nonetheless, I felt that Tokyo 2020 rather lead to a strengthening of the position of Field Hockey in Olympic Games. Not because the sports did so good – but too many other sports did just weaker. Hockey just showed a reliable product, in contrast to others. Why should you discuss about kicking hockey out of the Olympic program as long as there is tennis, soccer and some others?
Hard words from my side: if I would create a Paris 2024 program based on my Tokyo TV and live streaming experience, there would be no doubt to kick Judo out. The coolest thing was the traditional venue they played in. Not just the Ippon which automatically closes the battle, but in general, there is very rare scoring in the duels – which automatically means that the competitors are very careful, trying not to do a decisive mistake. A lot of golden score battles, which did not feel too dramatic from that point of view. I am sure Judo is great as an amateur sports – but it needs to think about changes on a competitive level.
Karate and Japan – just feels like the perfect success story. To me, it wasn’t. The artistic Kata performances are just not relatable to people who are in that sports. But that’s what Olympics are about (if you are not Track & Field or Swimming at least…): present your sports to people who don’t know it too well The fights are not bad, but overall, I expected more.
Not just due to Germany’s golden medal, these guys are the kings of swimming. Amazing performance, which is just fascinating to watch. Their bad luck: you just can do one or two competitions and then it is over. Thus, it will never become an Olympic highlight, but it is a great part of the Games.
No words about this one. Every four years, I am amazed that Modern Pentathlon is still in. And I am sure I will have the same feeling in three years in Paris… and in seven in Los Angeles.. They did a lot to make the sports better – but they just don’t give me that “King of the Athletes” feeling that this sport should have to stay in the list of sports. Maybe you just need four disciplines for it. Maybe you need eight, I have no idea. But this set of five disciplines just does not work. And please don’t torment the horses any more – we had the same issue in Athens, now the by-far women’s leader just did not get around with the horse and finally put pain on a being. See equestrian – it cannot be part of the Olympic spirit to abuse any kind of beings.
By the way: a coach which is encouraging to abuse a horse by saying Hau drauf, hau richtig drauf (“Hit him, hit him hard”) should in my point of view immediately be sent home as well as one who is called other sportsmen “camel driver”. This is unacceptable behavior. If you understand German, I by the way recommend this commentary from a German riders online magazine about the happening.
Rhythmic Gymnastics has a tough time in my point of view. If you just have two medal competitions in two packed weeks with 46 different sports, you need to be special in a certain way. People need to watch you. In earlier Games, Rhythmic Gymnastics was something like a “classic Olympic sports” – also in a sense that people made some jokes about it. But even if they are joking – this still means they are talking about the sports. There are too many new sports – and that gives Rhythmic Gymnastics a tough time. They deserve to be part of the Games, but they may face a challenging future.
One of these sports where Germany used to gather masses of medals. Not only because of this, I feel that rowing is on a strong decrease in popularity. Canoeing seems to me much more popular and versatile to me. They more or less need to have the same facilities. There is risk for this sports, but so far, they are safe, I feel.
Rugby Sevens was the big winner of Rio 2016 to me – and in Tokyo, they just continued in my point of view confirming that they belong to this sports event. What a quick, intense – and fair – sports. Rugby Sevens also comes with a good match duration – not too long, not too short and very relatable.The sports has just kept being one of the best sports in the whole competition to me.
It is hard for me to say anything about the sailing competitions at all. They put a lot of effort into it to make it an attractive event – but finally, it just takes too long, works over too many days. Make the story short: I would take Sailing out of the Olympic sports list immediately. What do you think?
Shooting is one of the traditional Olympic sports. I do like a couple disciplines, like Rapid Fire Pistol or the Trap/Skeet competitions. There are still too many medals in shooting in my point of view. I also ask myself whether you really should split the competition between male and female shooting. Are the ladies really lacking due to their physical abilities? In the Mixed competitions, some girls were better than their male partner.
With Street and Park, there was an overall of four Skateboarding golden medals in Japan. Somehow good sports, but it does not touch me that much. I definitely appreciate that they deliver a lot of action, though. There will be no reason to discuss about them being in the Olympic schedule.
Sport Climbing was one of the sports I was most curious about how it will be as an Olympic competitive one. I have to say, it disappointed me. Speed climbing is definitely cool. But with runs being just half as long as the 100m Athletics final, it is just too short in my point of view. The contrast to that was the Boulder qualification. Chaotic as a Saturday after at a popular climbing arena on thunderstorm weather. I feel that the sports itself comes with a lot of potential – but they need to refine their rules and formats.
Better than Sailing. But to me, the sports could not leave a proper impact. Very hard if you just have a few days and events to present yourself. I would definitely give Surfing another chance to persuade me. At least, I loved surfing at California Games at the C64, so there is some sympathy for the athletes.
Swimming is – of course – an integral part of the Olympic Summer Games. Hard to imagine that there could be an edition of the Games without it. However, it more and more bores me. There are just too many disciplines. And in contrast to the athletics, where you have track and field disciplines and especially the field ones add so much value. You don’t have 100m sprint, 100m backward running and 100m forward jumping in the athletic oval. I would significantly cut down the number of medals in swimming. Needless to say that it hurts watching the sports from a German perspective – we used to be that good in the water, but now a medal feels like a long-awaited Christmas present to the German sports.
This sports would have been such a party if they had spectators. In general, I feel it is so difficult to show table tennis on TV and live streaming. All the spins on the ball are just too hard to really identify at full speed. Nonetheless, I felt that the sports delivered amazing battles and so many catching moments. To me, table tennis is definitely one of the sports which took most profit of the opportunities Tokyo 2021 offered.
You have a couple of this fighting competions (I would even say that you have too many of them). To me, Taekwondo is one of the best. The versatility leads to surprising moments and a lot of action – and thus, it is entertaining even when you don’t understand the sports in depth.
Tennis is one of the sports, which wrote one of my deepest Olympic memories. But more and more, I feel that they are about no to write Olympic memories at all any more. Ridiculous playing system in doubles, mixed doubles is becoming a circus sports if they don’t push harder for it and play more tournaments. Too many withdrawals as well. If the ATP, WTA and ITF don’t work hard, there may be the dark clouds sooner than you would expect.
I feel that Trampoline Gymnastics is not bad at all – but somehow, this sports is just a bit too hidden in the Olympic program. They need to take care that they are not dropped again – which would really be a shame in my point of view.
It is one of the core athletic multi-event sports. The big stars of the sports do the Ironman – but that’s just not what you got at the Olympics. The team competition is ridiculous to me. In a multi sports event as a team sports, any contestant has to do all disciplines in my point of view. Triathlon entertains us for the time it is on – but we tend to forget it too quickly thereafter. Finally, I feel, Olympics somehow need to find conditions to get the full distance in.
It is not my favorite sports – but also as I just had an overkill and too much contact to the beach variant, I felt that Olympic volleyball did not do that bad. Still, the sports is not really where it should be, though.
Water Polo is such an amazing sports – nonetheless, I feel that they have to take care that they will not slowly move out of this event. There are interesting new team sports. In general, a sports needs to be really good and attractive that people follow it over the Olympics for a longer period. I really love the sports – but nonetheless feel a bit of afraid about its Olympic future.
Weightlifting always feels to close to the magical D Word I mention below. I feel the way they drive it now is fine – there is no real alternative in the Olympic program for it. Fascinating performances, regardless how they do it.
Also as other sports did not do well, I feel that Wrestling did very good in the Toyko Olympic Games. Good, compact fights. It looks a bit old-fashioned, but I enjoyed and looked pretty many fights.
Some Special Topics
This posting is mainly about my sports by sports review – but I just felt too tempted to add these topics as well.
Equality is good. I feel it is right that we have female Boxing or Weightlifting. I would love to have male Artistic Swimming as well. Mixed team competitions are a good thing – but in some cases, they just blow up the medal count. Mixed Shooting (see above – does any sex have a disadvantage in this sports?) competitions are just one example.
I feel there is a lack of journalism around the Olympics. If you are a sports hater, you may complain that there was no other topic than people sweating for medals the last two weeks. Still not enough? What I mean here is that the commentators are too much of fans, it is very positive. Nobody is asking what is going on there. Only a few stories so far lead to negative news (for example the two silly shouts by German coaches in Cycling and Modern Pentathlon).
During the Olympics, I loved to follow German journalist (proper journalism!) Jens Weinreich and his great blog Sport & Poltiics for that cause. He is a great journalist also in regards of how the Olympics and the IOC work in the background and he is very active in soccer federation journalism as well. His style is great – very informative, but also with a touch of irony. Would love to read more than that.
I Felt Tokyo 2020 Covid-19 was lucky to Tokyo 2020 – The Schedule
Of course, having Olympics without people was a mess. I was at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – and it was just so memorable meeting people from so many different countries. It is an event bringing people together. Why lucky then? The original schedule was crap for a couple of sports – for example outdoor sports which had to compete in an incredible heat. The Tokyo organizers could shift the schedule leading to better competitions. If you sell tickets, you cannot do that that easily. It might have become a nightmare in some disciplines.
The ROC Thing..
Maybe you can help me out with that topic. You accuse a country for doing systematic, state driven doping programs and thus ban it for four years from international competition. I can’t check it out if Russia really did so, but I understand it. If you finally reduce the ban to two years, it may be quite fortunate that you have more Russian media and sponsors for the Tokyo Games, but overall, that’s sports law, I don’t comment on it.
What I just don’t get if you just believe in why you banned them – why do you allow them to start as Russian Olympic Committee? Ain’t that somehow the head of sports organization, the centre of all the fuss? And, yeah, they are not allowed to use their flag and their anthem… But they have red, white and blue jerseys. Feels quite close to their national colors to me. The Olympics and sports in general struggle too much with that topic – and I felt, the role of the Russian athletes became really ridiculous in 2020/1. Either let them start as their country’s representant, under really neutral colors – or not at all! That, of course, leads to the everlasting topic, …
… and, of course, the D Thing
The good, old (tooth) braces at adult ages thing… Especially Swimming and Athletics just came with too many world records. Athletes were showing massive improvements compared to performances they have shown recently. Covid-19 lead to a massive decrease in doping controls and athletes being present in competitions outside their home country. So far, you cannot proof it, but you may already have a really strong guess. Some fourth of fifth placed athletes might get a medal in some weeks, months, years… Unless they have not been part of the same thing as well (and this can be proven against them).
Title picture: Tokyo 2020 logo and some sports pictorgrams, copyrighted by the IOC.
Here are all Flyctory.com postings related to the Olympic Games: