On July 23rd I sat glued to my television as the countries entered the arena.  Feeling a sense of patriotism, I smiled as the team representing The United States of America circled the stadium.  I vowed to watch every moment, cheer for all that is America, and stand for every victorious National Anthem played.

But there was more than that.

As the athletes continued to pour in, I cheered for the underdog of an athlete without a country.  The isolation of the few representatives from The Island of Tonga.  I watched that Olympic flame light up, and I promised myself to watch all 28 sports and 38 disciplines of The Summer Olympics.  Every moment, every journey, and every battle.

But Dude, I didn’t know that the games would go on for 17 straight days!

In case you missed something in between opening ceremonies and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame.  Here is what went down.

  • Let’s start with the branding of this year’s Olympic Games. Welcome to the 2020 Olympics, brought to you by 2021.  Despite the games happening a year later due to COVID-19, these Olympics insisted on still calling the event the 2020 Olympics.  Can you imagine when these athletes are telling stories to their future grandchildren about the games?

“Hey Grandpa, you said you kicked that guy’s butt back in the 2020 Olympics, but the story you tell starts out on a quiet morning back in August of 2021?  You playing with us?”

  • This was also the first Olympics, due to COVID-19, without much of an audience. The last time I saw a sporting event with this many empty seats was when the Rockies hosted the Pirates at Coors Field.
  • The time zone difference between the host country Japan, and the United States made things difficult at times. One of my favorite events this summer was trying not to look at my iPhone for results before the delayed broadcast was aired.
  • In swimming, I don’t know what was more surprising. Seeing Katie Ledecky win two more gold medals.  Or seeing her not win two others.
  • In basketball, Team USA stumbled out of the blocks as they lost an early-round qualifier game to France. Apparently, when the NBA decided to send their very best, they forgot that Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert all come from overseas.

It’s not like Team USA can just put out a roster, roll out a ball, and expect to win.  Unless that ball is rolled directly to Kevin Durant.

On a side note. Late Olympic addition, JaVale McGee now has more than a decade of NBA experience, three Championship rings, and one Olympic gold medal.  Despite a career average of 7.8 points and 5.2 rebounds, is McGee a possible Hall-of-Famer?

  • Track and Field was next as the news of Sha’Carri Richardson shocked the world as the 100-meter favorite tested positive for marijuana and was subsequently banned from competing.

Marijuana is only a Performance Enhancing Drug, if Gordita eating from Taco Bell is added to the Olympic event menu.

  • Allison Felix made history in Track and Field as she won her record eleventh medal, and first as a 35-year-old mother of a young daughter.

Can you imagine if Allison Felix was your mom growing up?

“Don’t make me chase you!”

  • The fact that Olympic Gymnast, Simone Biles, is having a bigger impact on the world for NOT competing in the vault, floor exercise, and unparallel bars, further exemplifies why she’s the G.O.A.T.

  • 14-year-old diver, Quan Hongchan, absolutely killed it for China in winning gold in Women’s Diving. Rules for disallowing young athletes to compete in the Olympics were enforced years ago to protect athletes from Government Sanctioned training programs.  But for skateboarding phenom, Sky Brown, last year would have been tough to participate no matter the rules.  Apparently, she had a sleepover birthday party including dinner at Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Speaking of skateboarding. If every Olympic athlete looks to dye their hair like the Jamaican sprinters, get tattoos when the games are over, and pull off an 1080…..all of middle school is apparently training for 2024.
  • And if Olympic swimmers train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in order to get the best equipment, analytics, and coaching in the world. Where do the top skateboarders train?  That set of stairs outside of the Lakewood Mall?

Some final thoughts.

  • If you finished 16th in Men’s Doubles Badminton in the 2020 Olympics, are you still getting the rings tattooed on your bicep?
  • Sanctioning athletes from representing Russia, and instead insisting they use the double-secret acronym of ROC was pure genius! Hopefully, no one finds out that it stands for Russian Olympic Committee before the doping ban is over.
  • Congratulations to Carissa Moore (USA) and Italo Ferreira (BRZ) for winning the inaugural Surfing event at the Olympic Games. But I heard that six surfers overslept, one surfer got his dates mixed up, and 32 others kept driving up the coast looking for better waves.
  • Another congrats to Mary Hanna. The oldest competitor in the Olympics at age 66.  Wait, it’s in Equestrian?  Nice, but I’d be more impressed if the horse was 66.

Finally, the United States ended up taking home the most overall medals with a total of 113 and as a country, we should be proud.  Although, based on our population that is only one medal per 2,929,227 residents.  The country of San Marino won three medals.  Which is one medal per 11, 310 residents.

So, who really won?

Images via bbc.com, arizonasports.com, usatoday.com, npr.org, washingtonpost.com, swimswam.com

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship