Olympic Games

The most heartwarming moments from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

The Olympics are always full of emotions, but this year’s have been unique following a year of a pandemic - see some of the most heartwarming moments

From Simone Biles surprising us all by withdrawing from the competition and shedding a light on the difficult and emotional side of the Olympics, to Laurel Hubbard making history as the first transgender woman to compete in the Olympics, the Tokyo Olympic Games have seen lots of ups and downs of emotions.

But through it all, we have seen competitors show astounding acts of sportsmanship. When stakes are high and the pressure is on, these athletes still show that the true leaders are the ones who stand up for others, applaud their wins, and support each other as fellow athletes and humans.

Here are just some of the most heartwarming moments from the Tokyo Olympic Games

1 - When Simone Biles withdrew from the team competition, her team went on without her to win the silver, just behind Team ROC, who took the gold. Though Biles may have felt some disappointment at having to pull out, she didn’t show it. She was jumping in excitement and running over to hug Angelina Melnikova, the ROC team captain, a show of sportsmanship that is beautiful to see in a competitive event like the Olympics.

2 - During the men’s high jump, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar both jumped 2.37 meters with no failed attempts. They then both attempted and failed three times when the bar was raised to 2.39 meters. Given the choice between a jump-off and sharing the gold, the two rivals decided on the latter, without a second thought. Though they are technically competitors, the two are actually good friends, and after being told two golds was possible, they didn’t need to hear any more. They looked at each other before jumping and whooping for joy. In an interview after, Barshim said of Tamberi, “he is one of my best friends, not only on the track, but outside the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the sportsman spirit, and we are here delivering this message."

3 - Two runners, Botswanaian Nijel Amos and American Isaiah Jewett were competing in the men’s 800-meter semifinals heat when they rounded a corner and inadvertently fell. The two were in a good position to finish in the top two and move on to the finals before the fall. They stayed on the ground a moment before finally helping each other to their feet and putting their arms around each other and walking to the finish. Amos believed he was responsible and apologized to Jewett, who told him, “let’s just finish the race man.” Amos then let Jewett finish one step ahead of him. The two both displayed true acts of good sportsmanship during a devastating moment for them both.

4 - When Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas broke the world record in the triple jump at 15.67 meters, she and the crowd went wild. But what had us more emotional was seeing her competitor, Ana Peleteiro of Spain, celebrate with her as if she’d won it herself. The way she jumped up in excitement for her fellow athlete and ran to hug and celebrate her was heartwarming and inspiring and reminds us that we should all celebrate each other’s wins.