Okay, most of us are locked in our houses. It’s cold. There’s a pandemic going on outside. Thankfully, we have the Olympics to distract us. Unlike Rio and London, Tokyo is only ONE HOUR behind Australian Eastern Standard time, meaning you can turn on Channel 7 (or 7+) at almost anytime and have something to watch.
We’re counting down five must-watch performances at Tokyo 2020.
Canoe and Kayak Slalom
Finals 27 and 29 July
I’ll bet you didn’t know that French-born, Penrith-raised Jessica Fox has built a reputation as the greatest paddler of all time at only age 25. She’ll be representing the Green and Gold in both the Canoe and Kayak Slalom events, with the finals expected to take place on the 27th and 29th July. She’s already won 10 world championship medals, with Olympic gold the only elusive figure in her storied career (she won Silver at London and Bronze at Rio).
Women’s Shortboard Surfing
Heats and then Finals 25 to 28 July
Making its debut at Tokyo, the new surfing event represents another opportunity for Australia to inflate our water-based medal tally. Stephanie Gilmore is one of Australia’s four representatives. The seven time World Champion is in the twilight of her career — she hasn’t won a world title since 2018 — but cometh the moment cometh the woman. She’s expected to make some noise in the women’s shortboard event.
Men’s Team Basketball
Heats and then Finals, 24 July to 8 August
While it was only an exhibition match, Australia recorded a historic victory over the USA — their first since NBA players began competing in 1992. This should be Australia’s best opportunity to medal in the sport ever, guided by the veteran leadership of Olympic flagbearer Patty Mills. 76ers fans might recognise defensive stopper Matisse Thybulle — he spent about seven years living in Sydney and quite frankly… we’ll claim him. The Opals are without Liz Cambage but are still in with a good chance to medal — they’ve medalled in five of the last six games.
Men’s Park Skateboarding
Like most Australians, my understanding of skateboarding — how it is performed, how it is scored — begins and ends with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. If that’s anything to go by, the Gold medal will be going to whoever lands the coveted 900 before the timer runs out. Australia’s hope in the Men’s Park event is 17 year old Kieran Woolley. A former Australian Junior Bowl Riding Champion, he’s famous for finishing runner up at the Park Skateboarding Nationals with two broken wrists. It’s kind of a funny story, he broke one wrist, had it set in a cast, and then broke the other.
Seriously, watch the video above. He’s skating with two casts.
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
Starts July 25, with finals dotted between 26 July and 3 August.
Technically not an Australian event, we can’t help but ignore Simone Biles, who’s following up FOUR gold medals (and a bronze!) at Rio with another five events. Biles you might recognise from viral videos displaying gravity-defying, sport-stretching performances. She’s re-defined what can be done on a padded gym mat. Don’t worry if you miss it, it’ll be all over your social media feeds by the next morning.
But don’t do anything until you watch that video above.
The Olympics are showing for free on Channel 7 and 7+. The app on either your phone, tablet, or smart TV can give you the widest possible set of events to watch.