There are many kind acts at the extraordinary Olympics


Tokyo (AP) — A surfer jumps in and translates for a rival who has just defeated him. A high jump friend who agrees to share a gold medal instead of moving to a tiebreaker. Two runners are tangled in their legs and help each other to the finish line.

At the special Olympics, where mental health is at the forefront, kind behavior is everywhere. The world’s most competitive athletes are captured and show their kindness and warmth to each other — weeping tears of celebration, talking and disappointment.

Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi was disappointed that he lost to Brazil’s Italo Feheila at his Olympic debut.

Not only did he shoot gold on the beach where he grew up on surf, but he was also cursed online by racist Brazilian trolls.

A Japanese-American surfer may have simmered silently, but instead he developed his knowledge of Portuguese and helped translate Ferreira’s press conference questions on the world stage.

The crowd laughed at the translations between rivals, and officials thanked the silver medalist for their support.

“Yes, thank you, Kanoa,” said radiant Ferreira, who is learning English.

A few days later, at the Olympic Stadium, Italy’s Jean-Marco Tamberi and Qatar’s Mutazbalsim were in a situation they had spoken to but never experienced.

Both high jumps were perfect until the bar was set to an Olympic record height of 2.39 meters (7 feet 10 inches). Each missed 3 times.

They might have been able to go jump off, but instead decided to share the money.

“I know the fact that I deserve the money because of the performance I did. I know he deserves the money because he did the same,” Bassim said. rice field. “This is more than sports. This is the message we deliver to the younger generation.”

After they made the decision, Tamberi slapped Versim’s hand and jumped into his arm.

“Sharing with friends is even more beautiful,” said Tamberi. “It was just magic.”

Previously, on the same course, US Isaia Juet and Botswana Nijel Amos fell entangled in the 800-meter semifinal. Instead of getting angry, they helped each other and folded their arms to finish together.

Many top athletes get to know each other personally from time on the road where they can feel long, focused, and intense — characterized by the moments of their career that may be the best or worst of their lives. Can be done.

These feelings were often amplified at the Tokyo Olympics, where the pandemic was delayed. There is an unmistakable longing for normality, and perhaps a new appreciation for seeing a familiar face.

Limitations designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean that Olympic athletes cannot mix normally.

After a fierce three-set victory in the beach volleyball round-robin final at Shiogase Park on Saturday, Brazil’s Rebecca Cavalcanti flirts with American Kelly Breath during a post-match interview. I poured bottled water.

The American team had just defeated Brazil, but the winner laughed at it, explaining they were friends.

“Once the quarantine is over, it’s exciting to be able to sit at the same table and go to dinner together, but it’s a bit difficult in the bubble because we have to leave,” Cress said. Said teammate Sarah Sponsil.

For fellow American Carissa Moore, the pandemic and associated restrictions made her close to other surfers.

The current world champion said she usually goes to surfing competitions with her husband and father. But this year all fans were banned and Moore admitted that he struggled without their reassurance during the first few days of the tournament.

Moore flew to Japan with the US team 10 days before the first heat, but soon began to live at home with other surfers, including Caroline Marks.

Moore said he didn’t know Marks well before the Tokyo Olympics, but that night she was elected winner, Marks fourth, and rivals greeted her first.

“Being with the USA surf team was a great experience for me to connect with them. It feels like the whole family has been able to do it in the last two weeks.”

Norwegian Lot Miller, who finished 24th after a women’s triathlon penalty in Tokyo last week, was uncomfortable, fell to the ground and sobbed, talking to Claire Michel of Belgium.

Michelle finally arrived 15 minutes behind Bermuda’s winner Flora Duffy, but at least she was done. 54 athletes started the race, but 20 lapped or dropped out.

“You are a (swearing) fighter,” Miller told Michelle. “This is the spirit of the Olympics and we have 100%.”


Contributed by Associated Press reporters Pat Graham, Jimmy Golen, and Jim Vertuno.


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