Edwin Moses: I couldn't have imagined competing in Tokyo conditions
Former hurdles star Edwin Moses questioned the Games going ahead in Tokyo but insisted time will tell as to whether the decision was correct.
Prior to the delayed Games, there was scepticism towards the safety of holding such an event amid a global pandemic, but Tokyo 2020 was completed without major incident.
Moses, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, agreed with the concern throughout Japan – and across the world – as he discussed the unusual competitive conditions.
"I was always very concerned," the former United States athlete told Stats Perform.
"I always wondered whether it was the right decision to expose the Japanese people to tens and thousands of people coming in. I guess we’ll see what the fallout is.
"I would have been compelled to go if I was 25 years old. [The] conditions are not normal for athletes. I can't imagine competing under them."
Paris awaits in 2024 before Los Angeles and Brisbane follow as the next hosts.
But Moses, who set the world record four times in 400 metre hurdles, was unsure as to whether the Olympic model has been too restrictive for a competition that prides itself on inclusivity.
"[It] was talked about trying to move the Olympics to different countries," the 65-year-old continued. "I think the set up and model now means that it will never be somewhere like Africa. They can't afford it.
"I think they're behind the eight ball in terms of moving it around. Right now they've restricted themselves to American, [Asian] and European countries. [The] model is not sustainable to diversify delivery."
Asked whether they can alter this issue and make the model more inclusive, Moses responded: "I don't know. I'm not sure if it was in somewhere like South Africa for example.
"People would want that amount of money spent on it. They've been trying but [I am] not sure theyve found a reasonable solution."
One leading light for the delayed games, however, is the conversations that have opened on mental health.
Simone Biles, who would later take to social media to further inform her audience as to her mental health struggles, made the headlines when she courageously withdrew from artistic gymnastic events before emphatically returning to secure bronze on the beam.
IOC president Thomas Bach praised the athletes for offering "hope" as one of the "most precious gifts" during Sunday's closing ceremony and Moses offered insight into the mental health aspects of being an athlete.
"It's intense," Moses added. "People have no idea what it takes. And in today's world with the commercialism, Simone Biles was expected to win five medals.
"I think it was a combo of physical and mental. Her internal GPS system disconnected from her motor system and she could have been in danger."
Moses, who credited athletes for removing the stigma of mental health by opening up on the topic, concluded: "At a certain level competition is competition and if you are not ready for it it's okay.
"The problem is big athletes are pulling out of events now. Athletes will have had deaths in the family, people ill, all kinds of situations."
Paris 2024 organisers pledge 'new model' for Olympics
As the Tokyo Olympics bade farewell Sunday a year later than planned, organisers of the 2024 Paris Games looked forward to welcoming the world to France in three years.
Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, a three-time gold medallist in canoe slalom, praised everyone involved with the Tokyo Games for managing to hold the event amid a global pandemic.
As the Olympic flag was passed from Tokyo to Paris on Sunday, though, Estanguet talked up his team's plans to host their first Summer Games since 1924.
"We waited an extra year for this moment, but we are already waiting 100 years to bring the Olympic flag back to Paris, so the excitement is very strong in our team and back home in France,” Estanguet said.
The Paris bid, awarded in 2017, features venues familiar to any tourist, with competitions to be held at the Pl
ace de la Concorde, Champs de Mars, Les Invalides and the Palace of Versailles, among other high-profile spots.
"Every host city must bring something new and contribute to the evolution of the Games," Estanguet said.
"With Paris 2024, our ambition is to offer a new model to open the Games to more people. This starts with offering the Games to the city.
"Our plan is based on taking sport out of its traditional spaces and putting competitions at the heart of the city, in front of the most famous Parisian landmarks; the Eiffel Tower for beach volleyball, wrestling and judo, and equestrian at the Chateau de Versailles.
"The ambition is simple: invite the world, including the hundreds of millions of viewers, into the very heart of Paris.”
Thanks to that one-year delay, the welcome will occur relatively quickly. On July 26, 2024, Paris will take centre stage.
Tokyo Olympics: McKeon magic and more stunning stats from the 2020 Games
Swimmer Caeleb Dressel led the way with five golds as the United States finished top of the medal table at the Olympic Games for a third successive time.
Team USA's haul of 113 medals at the Tokyo Games – comprising 39 gold, 41 silver and 33 bronze – was 25 more than second-placed China, while Japan finished third.
The 58 medals won by the hosts set a record for the most they have ever won at a single Olympics, including 27 golds – 11 more than their previous record from 1964 and 2004.
Italy (40 medals), the Netherlands (36), Brazil (21), New Zealand (20), Turkey (13) and Chinese Taipei (12) also enjoyed their best ever Games showings.
In all, 93 different competing nations claimed a medal in Tokyo, which is more than any other edition of the global showpiece, surpassing the previous record of 87 set in 2008.
That includes first ever Olympic medals for Turkmenistan, San Marino and Burkina Faso in weightlifting, shooting and athletics events respectively.
Indeed, with a population of around 34,000 people, San Marino are now the smallest nation to win an Olympic medal.
MCKEON IN SEVENTH HEAVEN
Twenty of Australia's 46 medals came in the pool, with swimmer Emma McKeon responsible for seven of those – at least two more medals than any other athlete in Tokyo.
In doing so, the 27-year-old became the second female athlete to claim seven or more medals at a single Olympics after Maria Gorokhovskaya in 1952.
Dressel swept up five golds in the men's swimming events, meanwhile, to become the 10th athlete to reach that tally at a single Games.
Away from the Aquatics Centre, it was an Olympics to remember for Elaine Thompson-Herah as the Jamaican became the first woman to win both the 100 metre and 200m sprint at two Games.
Further success came for Thompson-Herah in the 4x100m relay, making her only the second woman to win five athletics golds after Allyson Felix (seven).
The Netherlands' Sifan Hassan also wrote his name in the record books by becoming the first athlete to win a medal in the 1500m (bronze), 5000m (gold) and 10,000m (gold) at the same Games.
Indeed, Hassan is the first track and field athlete to claim a medal in three individual disciplines since Carl Lewis and Heike Drechsler in 1988.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
Japanese skateboarder Momiji Nishiya became the youngest Olympic gold medal winner since 1960 – and third-youngest of all time – with victory in the women's street event at the age of 13 years and 330 days.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, 62-year-old Andrew Hoy of Australia became the oldest medallist at the Olympics since 1968 with a silver and bronze in the equestrian competitions.
Judokas Hifumi Abe and Uta Abe kept it in the family by becoming the first brother and sister combo to claim gold medals at the same Olympics when winning the men's -66 kilograms and women's -52kg events respectively.
July 28 proved to be a day to remember in more ways than one for Olga Frolkina and Evgeniia Frolkina, meanwhile, as the twin sisters took silver in the 3x3 basketball on their 24th birthday.