13 of the top moments from this year’s Tokyo Olympics

After a long 18 months, this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo have come as both an almighty relief and a reminder that normality is just around the corner. We picked our best moments from the past two weeks to help keep the Olympic spirit alive a little longer.

For the past fortnight, the news has been full of medals, tears and near-misses from the Tokyo Olympics. Brexit and Covid parked to one side, we’ve seen teenagers smash world records, national treasures return to the Olympic stage to finally achieve their dreams of winning gold and athletes of all nationalities come together to celebrate the brilliance of sport.

Arguably, the stand-out moments from this Olympic Games will stay with us for longer than previous ones. Whatever comes next, we’ll always have Tokyo. Get ready to cry, clap and stare with wonder all over again.

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  • Laura Kenny becomes the most successful British woman in Olympic history

    At 29 years old, cyclist Laura Kenny becomes Britain’s most successful woman in Olympic history. She took double gold at both London and Rio and won her fifth gold medal in Tokyo with Katie Archibald in the madison sprint race. 

    “I’ve never wanted to win a medal so much in all my life,” Kenny told the BBC. She also won an additional two silver medals in Tokyo.

  • Sky Brown, the youngest ever Olympian, places bronze

    Sky Brown became an Olympic champion at just 13-years-old.

    What were you doing at 13? You may have skateboarded, but you probably weren’t preparing to skate on the world stage. Sky Brown competed in the first Olympic skateboarding contest after the sport was added to the roster of competitions and rolled away with bronze.

  • The women’s heptathlon competitors show what sisterhood is all about in a brilliant photo

    Great sportswomanship is all about coming together to support each other, and nowhere was that more on display than the heptathlon. Competitors came together at the end to celebrate this year’s winners in a photo that captures everything that’s so great about sport. 

  • Tom Daley finally wins gold in the diving

    It’s been a long time coming but Tom Daley finally got his diving gold.

    Ever since Tom Daley dived into our hearts back during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we’ve been rooting for him to win big.

    At London 2012, he took bronze; in Rio, he won another bronze; and this year, he’s finally got his gold medal. 

  • …and has time to knit a jumper at the pool-side

    Outside the pool, he even had time to knit a cosy for his gold medal, as well as a Team GB cardigan.

    “When I got to Tokyo, I wanted to make something that would remind me of the Olympics to look back on in the future,” he wrote on his knitting Instagram account.

    “I designed a pattern for the colour work that would signify everything about these games!”

    He plans to auction off the cardigan to raise money for brain cancer, following his father’s death from the disease back in 2011.

  • Featherweight boxer Nesthy Petecio dedicates her silver medal to the LGBTQ+ community

    Filipina boxer Petecio was overcome with emotion on winning her gold.

    Featherweight boxer Nesthy Petecio dedicated her silver medal to the LGBTQ+ community after becoming the first woman to win a boxing medal for the Philippines. 

    “This win is for the LGBTQ community. Let’s go, fight!” she said, according to a translation from ESPN.

  • Alice Dearing makes history as Britain’s first female Black Olympic swimmer

    Alice Dearing is the first Black woman to swim for the UK at an Olympics.

    Alice Dearing said she was left feeling “broken” after her 10km marathon swim but she made history simply by starting the race. 

    The first Black female swimmer to represent the UK, she told Stylist that her swimming journey began aged eight, when her mum signed her up to a club at her local council’s pool.

  • Simone Biles comes back from a mental health break to win bronze

    After pulling out of one finals, Simone Biles came back to collect a bronze later on in the competition.

    Simone Biles took a brief mental health break to recover from what gymnasts know as the ‘twisties’. She came back days later to take bronze on the beam, in what will no doubt be seen as one of the greatest ever comebacks.

  • Sunisa Lee, the first Hmong American to compete for team USA, wins gold

    Suni Lee’s dad couldn’t afford to buy her a balance beam to practise on, so he built her one himself. That DIY paid off when his 18-year-old daughter won gold – and set half the internet off crying with his family’s reaction.

  • BMX takes the cycling stage for Team GB with women winning big

    Charlotte Worthington wows the crowds with a gold-winning 360 flip in the BMX.

    If there’s one sporting winner this year, it has to be BMX cycling. Team GB won big in the pool, sure (five medals), but despite it being a new sport, the Brits cleaned up at the BMX events. 

    Charlotte Worthington defied gravity with her awe-inspiring turns while Bethany Shriever won gold after funding her own way to Toyko.

  • Oksana Chusovitina, 46-year-old gymnast, is the oldest competitor in a teen-dominated sport

    Chusovitina proved that age ain’t nothing but a number.

    Think sport is just for the very young? 46-year-old Uzbeck legend Oksana Chusovitina was the oldest gymnast in this year’s competition. Gymnastics is notoriously dominated by teenagers, so just by turning up on the mat, Chusovitina proved that age doesn’t always have to be a barrier.

  • South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker sets the world record for the 200m breaststroke and everyone else is delighted for her.

    Fellow swimmers gathered to congratulate the SA champion on breaking the world record.

    South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker smashed the world record for the 200m breaststroke – coming home in 2:19:95. On seeing her time, she started screaming and crying – and then was comforted and congratulated by all the competitors around her. 

    Proof that sometimes, your win is a win for everyone.

For more Olympic-themed coverage, follow Strong Women on Instagram (@StrongWomenUK).

Images: Getty/Twitter/YouTube/Instagram

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