Sunday 8 August 2021

Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together

When the Olympic committee confirmed the Tokyo 2020 edition would go ahead, my first thought was that the decision would backfire as Covid infection cases were still rising in Japan and the athletes would not be able to perform to their best. Worse, some of the best athletes and even sponsors pulled out before the games started. Most likely it would be dull. But having already delayed for a year, I guess the organizers were pressed to go ahead as an obligation under duress.

No matter, I watched part of the opening ceremony and felt for the performers as an empty stadium stood silent. The Japanese are stoic people and beneath the smiling faces, they must be sad as well but being the ever professionals, the show had to go on. Once the games got underway, I made it a point to watch a competition each day and took in archery, badminton, football, gymnastics etc for an hour each. It must have been my lucky streak after I witnessed several amazing games. One, women's cycling where the Dutch team got bamboozled by an unknown Austrian rider. "Anna Kiesenhofer" will be the spear in their hearts till the next Olympics. Two, Brazil versus Argentina, not football but volleyball. A superb fightback from two sets down to win in thrilling end to end stuff. Three, women's shooting where the score was so close until the last shot and both competitors fluffed their lines to hand gold to the lesser mistake. Four, the first ever mixed swimming medley at the games where tactics played a big part. Five, fine running in the women's athletics sprint events and long jump. In my opinion, the ultimate athlete is Ana Cunha of Brazil. I watched her race for forty minutes and wondered how it was possible to swim 10km in open waters. Even the commentators were running out of words to describe the proceedings as the entire event finished after two hours! We even had a representative, Chantel, who finished a respectable 20 odd minutes behind. Unfortunately, Singapore as a whole didn't perform to expectations but I applaud the mentality and determination.

This may not have been a normal Olympics but kudos to the athletes for giving their best efforts. I have thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings although there will always be that little asterisk in my mind, 'The bravest and healthiest won'.

Tip: Tempus Two Varietal Shiraz 2019, lemon tart acidity with strawberry and blueberry

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