SPORT / MISCELLANY
Uncertainty remains the attraction of Olympic competitions
Published: Jul 28, 2021 11:43 PM
Chinese paddlers Xu Xin (left) and Liu Shiwen react during the match on Monday in Tokyo. Photo: VCG

Chinese paddlers Xu Xin (left) and Liu Shiwen react during the match on Monday in Tokyo. Photo: VCG

The Olympics so far has witnessed several upsets: the world's most decorated gymnast Simone Biles won't defend her titles as she withdrew from gymnastics competitions for the second time due to mental health reasons, tennis ace Naomi Osaka was eliminated in a third-round stunner and Japan's badminton top seed Kento Momota was knocked out in the first round. 

Chinese athletes in table tennis, diving and weightlifting - often referred to as title favorites - were also on the list of upsets. 

In table tennis, the most popular sport in China, Chinese pair Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen were stunned by Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito of Japan in a thrilling seven-set mixed team final.

That has made thousands of netizens flood the Weibo and Instagram accounts of Ito with unpleasant content, saying she "does not deserve the gold medal."

But a defeat on the court will never be rewritten by off-court comments. A defeat could only act as an incentive to the beaten athletes to push themselves to new heights - both physically and mentally, if they want to win.

In weightlifting, China's Liao Qiuyun was flawless in successfully snatching six tries in the women's 55-kilogram class, but was overshadowed in the final round by the Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz, whose unexpected effort ended the Southeast Asian country's 97-year wait for an Olympic gold.

Liao, current world record holder, reacted graciously over the defeat, simply saying Diaz "did a better job" in the final. For sure, Liao will seek other chances to retain her dominance in the sport.

The Olympics is never just a place for the world's top players to win a gold medal. It is the uncertainty, and potentially the stunners, that makes the Olympics worth waiting for.

Along with Diaz's triumph, we have also witnessed Flora Duffy of Bermuda taking home the first-ever gold medal in women's triathlon for the North Atlantic delegation.

Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Bernadette Haughey made headlines on Wednesday with a silver medal in the women's 200 meters freestyle with an Asian record-setting 1:53.92. Never had a Hong Kong swimmer ever made it to the finals of swimming competitions at the Olympics until Haughey did so.

It is such inspiring stories that give the Olympics its mystique, not only gold medals. An easy gold medal will only lead to an easy oblivion of the once-winning athletes.
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