The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been riddled with controversy, confusion, and chaos. But it has also produced some incredibly touching moments as well.
From countries winning their first-ever gold medals to underdog victories, here are some of the most heartwarming triumphs from this year’s summer games so far:
Tunisian Teen Wins Surprise Gold
While it’s always fun to watch dominant USA swimmers win medals, there’s something incredibly special about watching an underdog story.
Prior to the 400-meter freestyle final, nobody thought Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui had a chance to medal, let alone win. He was in lane eight, which means he had the slowest qualifying time of all the finalists, and yet he still managed to win a gold medal for his country.
He finished the race in 3:43:26, enough to beat the other seven swimmers in the field. However, it was his emotions following the race that really captured hearts all over the world. He punched the air, splashed the water, and let out cheers of pure emotion.
Good for you, Ahmed. Good for you.
Fourth Time’s the Charm
There’s no question British diver Tom Daley is one of the more popular athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. But, after competing in Beijing, London, and Rio, Tom had only ever won a bronze medal at an Olympics Games.
However, that all changed this week when he and his partner, Matty Lee, beat out China’s Chen Aisen and Cao Yuan for a gold medal.
While the victory was incredible for Tom, it was also a major moment for the LGBTQ community. Tom, who was overcome with emotion following the competition, revealed he was so proud to be competing in the Olympics as a gay man.
“I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieved anything because of who I was,” he told reporters, according to The Guardian.
“To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.”
Phillippine Weightlifter Wins First Gold For Her Country
It’s overwhelming enough to win a gold medal for your country, but can you imagine being the first athlete to win a gold medal for your country? Well, that’s exactly what Philippine weightlifter, Hidilyn Diaz, did.
She competed in the women’s 55k weightlifting category and managed to lift a combined weight of 224kg — enough to win her a gold medal and an Olympic record.
Simone Biles — the Ultimate Teammate
Simone Biles shocked the world at large when she pulled out of the team competition on Tuesday, July 27 due to a mental health issue. After working so hard for so many years, the decision could not have been easy for Simone. However, she did what was best for herself and for Team USA.
And, despite clearly going through a difficult time, Simone was the ultimate teammate throughout the competition. She got her teammates chalk, gave them words of encouragement, and cheered them on from the sidelines.
Simone proved once and for all that there truly is no “I” in “team,” as the US gymnastics team went on to win a silver medal.
Final Standing Ovation
Oksana Chusovitinia, who is from Uzbekistan, is the oldest competing gymnast in the Tokyo 2020 games at the age of 46. Yes, 46! She confirmed prior to the Olympics that this would be her last time competing after more than 30 years in the sport.
But, after failing to qualify for events later this week, Oksana was overcome with emotion as she received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“It was really nice. I cried tears of happiness because so many people have supported me for a long time,” she told reporters afterward. “I didn’t look at the results, but I feel very proud and happy. I’m saying goodbye to sports. It’s kind of mixed feelings.”
In a sport where the majority of athletes are under the age of 25, Oksana showed age really isn’t anything but a number.
Sharing the Gold
Who says there can’t be a tie in the Olympic’s high jump competition?!
The men’s high jump final, which took place on Sunday, August 1, was in a dead heat after Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi cleared every bar in their path.
But, when the bar was raised to 2.39 meters, neither Mutaz nor Gianmarco was able to clear it. Simply put, they were stuck in a tie for first place. An Olympic official then went over to talk to both men, explaining they could go to a jump-off to decide who wins.
However, Mutaz asked if there could be “two golds,” and the official went ahead and awarded it to both of them. Needless to say, both men were very emotional. In fact, they leaped into each other’s arms and could not stop smiling.
Though the Olympics is often about who finishes in first, this display of sportsmanship and unity proved once in for all that greatness can be shared with others.
It’s not always about being better than your opponent. Sometimes it’s about being just as good as your opponent.