The just concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics were nothing short of eventful. From the decision by USA gymnastics queen Simone Biles to drop out of the competitions on grounds of mental health to the less than encouraging performance of team Kenya at the beginning of the games, there was something to keep us glued to our screens every day. There are several lessons that we all can learn from the games as follows.
Team Kenya’s poor start
At the beginning of the Olympics, there was no hope for team Kenya. Our hearts as Kenyans sank the lowest when we lost the Steeplechase title for the first time in 37 years. At that point, it seemed that this year’s Olympics was going to be the worst in Kenya’s history. In the end, however, the fortunes turned and team Kenya ended up topping the African continent.
Lesson learnt: Don’t give up just because the start is slow
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge after winning the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Marathon. (Image: The Guardian)
At just 24 years old, Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast of her time. Biles was set to be one of the headliners of the Tokyo Olympics in a bid to defend the vaulting gold she won in the 2016 Olympics.
Simone Biles.[Image: Gregory Bull/ Associated Press]
However, Biles stunned the world when she decided to pull out of the competition and decided not to defend her title for what she cited as mental health concerns.
Lesson learnt: Your well-being, both mental and physical, should be a priority regardless of what is at stake.
The athletic mothers of the Olympics
Om August 6, Kenyans watched in great awe and admiration as Faith Kipyegon powered through to the finish line to clinch the gold in the Women’s 1500 metres final. It was not lost on many people that her stomach bore the marks of someone who had recently given birth and most people celebrated her for it.
Faith Kipyegon during the women’s 1500 metres final. [Image:Olympics.com]
Lesson learnt: To all mothers out there, you can have your cake and eat it! You can pursue your career and still ace your motherhood game.
German gymnasts Leotard strike
Traditionally female gymnasts wear a sports costume known as a Leotard. It is a one-piece body fitting stretch garment that covers the body from the shoulders to the top of the thighs leaving much of the skin exposed.
This year, Germany’s gymnastic team, defied tradition and wore full-body suits known as Unitards. The team was the only one competing in Unitards and they said their decision was born out of a desire to fight the sexualization of women in sports and to show the world that everyone should decide what to wear.
Interestingly, no team has tried this before and they are the only ones who wore the Unitards.
German gymnastic team in Unitards. [Image: ABC News]
Lesson learnt: Do not be afraid to stand for what you believe in and do not be afraid of being different.
Timothy Cheruiyot giving his bracelet to his opponent
When Timothy Cheruiyot lost to Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the men’s 1500 metres finals, he removed his bracelet, one of those that have the Kenyan flag colours, and gave it to his competitor.
Image: World Athletics
Lesson learnt: There’s no harm in accepting defeat and celebrating those that beat you. In fact, the more gracious you are in your defeat, the more wonderful of a human you are.
Team Kenya’s silent return
As the rest of the world welcomed their athletes in pomp and colour and gifts, team Kenya sneaked back into the country with no one to receive them at the airport. Even though the government has said the lack of reception was due to Coronavirus and even though they might be feted in days to come, it still hurts that the best team in Africa did not receive a befitting welcome.
Lesson learnt: Do what you do because you love it not because you want recognition
Featured Image: Olympics.com