Talk around campus: Students react to the Tokyo Olympics

by Vishnu Kannan, Co-Managing Editor

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics wrapped up on Aug. 8 after 16 days of fierce competition across 33 different sports. Students share their thoughts on the once-every-four-year event, ranging from their favorite sports and athletes to the headlines they will remember from this Olympics going forward. The 2021 Paralympics will begin Aug. 24 and end Sep. 5.

Vishnu Kannan

What was your favorite Olympic sport to watch and why?

“I liked watching taekwondo just because I come from a huge [mixed martial arts] (MMA) background,” Nicholas Delfino (11) said.  “I did [MMA] for almost a decade, and I remember when I was younger and used to watch it, I would try to learn new things that I could implement when I competed. It was fun to watch [in this Olympics] because I knew what was going on, but I could also learn new things.”

“I’m Turkish, so I really enjoy watching the Turkish indoor [women’s volleyball] national team,” Tara Ozdemir (12) said. “[Turkey doesn’t] really have a set beach [volleyball] program, so I was mainly watching the USA and Canada for beach [volleyball], but I watched almost all of the [Turkey’s indoor] games.”

Who was your favorite Olympic athlete to watch and what do you admire about them?

“Simone Biles. I know she withdrew from most of her events this year, but when does perform, she has this energy about her, this strength that I really admire,” Ashley Ma (11) said.

“Suni Lee. I think this was her first year in the Olympics, and it was amazing just watching her perform at her best in gymnastics,” Daniel Lin (10) said. “Even though I [wasn’t] a fan of gymnastics beforehand, it was just really cool watching her perform to her best ability.”

What is the one headline or story you will remember from this Olympics going forward?

“The way that people, especially online, treated Simone Biles after she got the twisties will really leave a lasting imprint on me in terms of how I talk online or with friends about certain athletes,” Gabe Sachse (9) said. “Seeing how visceral and real her reaction was to all the hate she was getting really made me think about how we as a society put these athletes on a pedestal and how we treat them.”

“My favorite part was just being able to watch Turkey make it so far,” Tara said. “It’s not a small country, but it’s relatively unknown to a lot of the United States. Also, [with the USA] taking a gold medal in both indoor and beach [volleyball], I definitely think the sport should be televised more. Especially within college, indoor and beach doesn’t really get the media attention it deserves.”

What was it like seeing athletes your age and younger compete and medal in the Olympics?

“Honestly, [it’s] inspiring that there are these people literally my age, maybe even younger, working almost full-time, practicing every single day at whatever sport they’re doing,” Daniel said. “They’re competing against world-class athletes who are so much older than them, and they’re not even scared, they’re still performing to their best, and it’s just so inspiring to watch.”

Is there any way you think this Olympics could have been improved?

“I don’t think it could have been improved, but the lack of fans and how quiet everything seemed took a little away from [the experience],” Gabe said. “I also thought they probably should have given equal coverage to every sport. All I saw on social media was gymnastics and basketball. I didn’t really see anything about baseball, tennis, or even swimming, which was pretty odd considering how many swimming records were broken.”

“I guess this is true for most Olympics, but the buildings [and] the arenas are all built for each year that [the Olympics] is held, so that’s a lot of money, resources and time,” Ashley said. “Afterward, a lot of the centers aren’t well maintained, and people don’t know what to do with them, so [there should be] more sustainability with the building process.”