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Olympics: from Doping Scandals to Politics

The Tokyo Olympics was not an easy journey. From being delayed because of the pandemic, to protests around Japan about going ahead with the Olympics, and billions of dollars spent because of the delay, and last but not least, to prevent the Olympics from becoming a COVID super spreader. The Olympics host went through a rocky road and so did the athletes who were unable to train due to the lockdowns and having to deal with the uncertainty of whether they would even be allowed to compete. But Olympics 2020 has finally come to an end, and it did not fall short of excitement, drama and even political ploys. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from this year’s Olympics.

Algerian and Sudanese fighters pull out from the Olympics because of Israel

Algerian Judo fighter, Fethi Nourine, withdrew from the Olympics to avoid fighting his Israeli opponent Tohar Butbul, citing that his support for the Palestinians made it impossible for him to fight against an Israel athlete. Later on, Sudanese Judo fighter announced that he had also pulled out from the Games as he refused to compete against Butbul. This isn’t the first time Nourine has withdrawn from a competition because of his political stance. In fact, this isn’t the first time athletes have refused to compete against Israel.

“We worked a lot to reach the Olympics, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all of this.”

— Fethi Nourine

Victor Sterpu placed 7th at the Grand Slam in Dusseldorf. | Source: olympic.md

The highs and lows of USA’s fencing team

USA’s first gold medallist in the foil fencing event is also a medical student. Lee Kiefer, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kentucky made history when she defeated ROC’s Inna Deriglazova.

Lee Kiefer. | Source: nbcolympics.com

On the other hand, the USA men’s fencing team is not happy that their team mate, Alen Hadzic, accused for rape and sexual assault was allowed to compete in the Olympics. His teammates wore pink masks in support of the sexual assault victims. Hadzic was not allowed to stay in the Olympic Village, instead he stayed at a hotel. Extra measures were taken to separate him from female athletes.

Jacob Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez all wore pink face masks to show support for victims of sexual assault, while Hadzic was singled out in a black mask. | Source: news.mundodeharleck.com

The athlete who refused to be repatriated

Belarusian track athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was told to return to Belarus after voicing her disappointment in her coaches. The athlete wrote on Instagram that her coaches failed to obtain sufficient doping tests, causing her fellow athletes to not be able to participate in the Olympics. Instead, she was entered into the 4x400m track event without her knowing.

Source: belarusian news

Soon after, her coach removed her from the competition and was escorted to the airport. She refused to board the plane back to Minsk and sought police protection. Tsimanouskaya has reportedly received a humanitarian visa from Poland which has also offered her an opportunity to continue her career. Tsimanouskaya’s husband has fled to Ukraine.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s case isn’t an isolated one. Many Belarusian athletes and coaches have been arrested and/or lost their jobs after showing discontent against the Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko.

Friends sharing a gold medal

In the men’s high jump event, Italian athlete Gianmarco Tamberi and Qatari athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim rejected the offer for a jump-off after they both cleared a record of 2.37 metres but failed the 2.39 metre jump. Instead, the pair decided to share the gold medal, making it the first time an athletics podium was shared since 1912.

Qatari athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim (left) and Italian athlete Gianmarco Tamberi (right). | Source: nzherald.co.nz

Russia loses its stronghold in rhythmic gymnastics, Israel’s controversial win

Source: rtbf.be

The Russian team has had a rough path on the way to competing in the Olympics. The delegation of 330 athletes had to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee instead of the Russian Federation as the country was exposed for sponsoring a doping scheme. Even after clearing the doping tests, Russian athletes received backlash and suspicion when they won.

During the rhythmic gymnastics events, Russian gymnasts were strongly favoured to win. Shockingly, Russia was not able to win gold in both the individual and group all around event. Bulgaria bags the gold medal for the group rhythmic gymnastics while Russia won silver.

In the individual all-around event, all eyes were on the Russian twins — Dina and Arina Averina. However Linoy Ashram of Israel took home a gold medal in a controversial win. Ashram won gold despite dropping her apparatus once, whereas Dina Averina who performed a flawless routine had to settle for silver. Russian coaches cried foul play and are requesting for a probe at the judging process. This makes it the first Olympics since Sydney 2000 where Russia has not won a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics.

Malaysians uniting in support of our athletes

Malaysia has been through ups and downs in the past year, polarisation is more obvious now than ever. Despite all this, the Olympics has always been able to unite Malaysians of all backgrounds. From simping over athletes to defending Farah Ann against misogynistic netizens and ultimately wins by the men’s badminton duo, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, and cyclist Dato’ Muhammad Azizulhasni bin Awang.

Source: thevibes.com
Source: freemalaysiatoday.com

Bonus: Tom Daley knits while he competes

Daley (left) and Lee (right). | Source: lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

Arguably one of Britain’s favourite divers, Tom Daley has finally bagged a gold in the Olympics. The diver started competing in the Olympics at age 14 and after 4 Olympics, won a well deserved gold medal in the men’s 10m synchronised diving event with his partner, Matty Lee. Daley later goes on to win a bronze medal at the 10m individual diving event.

Source: out.com

Tom Daley has been making headlines since the Olympics started, and while part of the reason was beating the Chinese duo and winning gold, he has been knitting at the diving events, even when he’s competing. The camera zooms in on Daley several times who knits while he waits for his turn. He later on reveals his final products, a medal pouch for his gold medal and a Tokyo 2020 cardigan, making him an internet sensation.

[Written by: Sarah Chong]

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TLMUN Herald

A not-for-profit publication under the Taylor’s Lakeside Model United Nations Club which focuses on amplifying the voices of the youth of today.