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Tokyo 2020

10 controversies from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Here, we look at 10 controversies that engulfed the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Tokyo Olympics Controversies

10 controversies from the Tokyo Olympics


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 13 Aug 2021 1:27 PM GMT

The Tokyo Olympics gave some wonderful memories for sports fans across the globe. There were some highly inspiring moments, to go with some big surprises, heartbreaks and exemplary display of sportsmanship.

But, it was not all rosy as it seems. It never is. No edition of the Olympics is complete without its share of controversies, and the Tokyo Olympics was no different. Here, we look at 10 controversies that engulfed the Tokyo Games.

Protests by Japanese citizens

The Japanese citizens were never in favour of hosting the Olympics under the prevailing covid-19 circumstances. They were worried about an outbreak in their country due to the quadrennial event, and they made their displeasure known to the world. Right from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games, protests against the sporting event broke out in various parts of the country.

Maskless US Swimmer

A swimmer from the United States of America (USA), Michael Andrews, went maskless during a media interaction leading to a huge uproar on social media. What struck the most was that Andrews was unvaccinated against the coronavirus, further raising concerns.

Competitors refuse to comment on Laurel Hubbard

There were a lot of controversies surrounding the participation of Laurel Hubbard at the Tokyo Olympics, a lot before the Games had started. The first transgender athlete at the Olympics, Hubbard was accused of having an unfair advantage by her fellow competitors. If all of this was not enough, the three weightlifters who finished on the podium in her weight category refused to comment about Laurel Hubbard's participation in a post-event media interaction.

Raven Saunders' protest

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had banned any kind of protests from athletes while standing on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. But, Raven Saunders refused to budge. A shot putter from the USA, Saunders displayed an 'X' sign to represent a junction where the oppressed people of the world meet after winning the silver medal in women's shot put. A probe was ordered into Raven Saunders' action but it was later paused on the news of her mother's death.

Deepak Punia's coach expelled

The coach of Indian men's freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia was expelled from the Games village after he allegedly assaulted a referee after Punia fell to a narrow defeat in the bronze medal bout of 86kg.

Belarus sprinter refuses to return

A sprinter from Belarus, Krystina Tsimanouskay, refused to return back to her country fearing punishment after she criticised the team's officials in Tokyo. A controversy unfolded when the sprinter refused to board a flight back to Belarus and accused the officials of forcing her to return back home early. Both Tsimanouskay and her husband have since found refuge in Poland.

Manu Bhaker embroiled in multiple controversies

One incident which probably no Indian sports would want to recollect from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics definitely has to be Manu Bhaker's performance. Firstly she and her coach were accused by gun manufacturer Morini for not approaching them when her gun malfunctioned in the women's 10m air pistol qualification. Then she was found in the midst of an ugly war of words with former coach Jaspal Rana - something which still continues to unravel.

US Fencers protest against own teammate

The fencers of the USA's men's epee team came out for a match wearing pink masks in order to protest against the inclusion of teammate Alen Hadzic, who was accused of sexual misconduct by three women.

Simone Biles mental health

The star gymnast from the USA, Simone Biles, decided to withdraw from multiple events in Tokyo citing mental health concerns. While this brave step from the gymnast found a lot of support, she was criticised by many for running away from her duty.

Karate's Olympic debut concludes in controversy

The Olympic debut of martial art Karate drew to a controversial end in Tokyo after Saudi Arabia's Tareg Hamidi was disqualified for a high kick in the final of over 75kg division. The Saudi Arabain was on the verge of a win when he knocked his opponent down with a kick to his head, which eventually led to his opponent being awarded the gold medal after he was taken out of the arena in a stretcher.

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