Boneless Brawn Olympic Edition - Green Team
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics featured 11,091 athletes repping 206 different flags. A number of those athletes also rock with the vegan flag too.
So how many medals did Team Vegan produce?
Coming into the Olympics, Serbian Novak Djokovic was inevitable. He had already wrapped up the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon singles titles this year. With an Olympic Gold, only the US Open would stand in the way of the elusive ‘Golden Slam’. No men’s player has ever achieved all Grand Slam titles and Olympic Gold in the same calendar year. Steffi Graf is the only women’s player able to accomplish the feat in 1988. No pressure.
Djokovic won his first three matches in straight sets (best of 3 at the Olympics) before succumbing to German Alexander Zverev (6 -1, 3 - 6, 1 -6). The rest of the tournament was a wash, as Djokovic was clearly disappointed in not being able to be the first ever men’s ‘Golden Slam’ achiever. He’ll have to settle for a plain ole’ Grand Slam at next month’s US Open.
The USWNT weren’t themselves in Tokyo. Few teams keep pace with USWNT when they’re popping off, let alone topple them. Yet they dropped two matches, 0 - 3 to Sweden in Group play and 0 - 1 to eventual champions Canada in the semifinals.
Morgan had a goal in the USWNT 6 - 1 beatdown of New Zealand in group play. She didn't start in this tournament like year’s past, instead subbing in each match. Unfortunately, during the bronze medal match against Australia Morgan suffered a calf injury which will hinder her return to club play. The USWNT were still able to snag bronze winning 4 - 3.
Respeck on Javale McGee’s name has been long overdue. Hopefully the gold he just helped the USA men’s basketball team achieve will definitively place him in a new light. Either way history was made as Javale and his mother (Pamela McGee) are the first and only mother son duo to both earn Olympic gold.
A late call-up to Team USA, McGee brought rebounding, defense and hustle to a squad that had more than enough scoring. They dropped their opening game to France before rolling the rest of the competition on their way to a gold medal rematch vs France. They avenged their loss, in a close one (87 - 82) and walked away with gold.
Javale has come far from his Shaqtin’ days on the Wizards. He’s still good for a laugh though except this time around he’s in on the jokes.
I’m going to keep this short. The USA women’s basketball team (aka UConn post-grad) stomped the competition on their way to a 7th straight gold medal. They have now won 55 straight games, the last loss coming in the 1992 Barcelona games. Taurasi now owns five Olympic gold medals alongside her fellow UConn alum Sue Bird. Ho-hum the women won.
The final score of the gold medal match against host country Japan, 90 - 75. Trust, it wasn’t that close.
Let me introduce you to...
Canadian skateboarder Mickey Papa has been pro since signing with Blind skateboards in 2015. He has competed on the SLS (Street League Series) and Dew Tours as well as the X Games. In 2020 he finished seventh at the Canadian Nationals and placed eighth at the 2021 World Championships to slide into the top 30 World Rankings on his way to Tokyo.
In the inaugural Olympics skateboarding competition, Papa represented with a preliminary score of 30.39 in the street competition, finishing 10th and missing the final cut by 2 spots or points.
John John Florence
John John Florence is a two-time World Surfing League champion (2016, 2017). Despite injuries requiring surgery as recently as May 2021, the Haiwaian managed to qualify for the inaugural Olympic surfing competition.
At the Olympics, Florence made it to the third round before getting beat out by fellow countryman Andino Kolohe 11.60 - 14.83, placing ninth.
Former 400m sprinter Morgan Mitchell took to the 800m race for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. It’s a mid distance competition that Mithcell feels better about as she, “was either going to quit running or change events”.
Mitchell finished her first round race with a time of 2:05.44. She did not advance to the next round.
Cheavon Clarke might be an immortal being which makes sense given that he’s a heavyweight fighter. At both age eight and age eighteen Clarke died only to be revived at a hospital. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica before moving to England at age 10. Clarke represented Jamaica in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and quit the sport after losing his first match there.
Years later Clarke was back in the ring, winning the 2017 Britain National Championships and earning bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He made his way to Tokyo after a quarterfinal win at the European Olympic Qualifiers over Narek Manasyan.
In his round of 16 Olympic bout, Clarke lost to Abner Texiera of Brazil 4 -1.
Participating in her second Olympic Games (2016, 2020), Hong Konger Vivian Kong went into this year’s Olympics looking to best her 11th place finish in Rio. Having achieved moderate success since, including a 2018 Individual Epee Asian Championship, she has reason to be confident.
Kong placed fifth in the individual women’s epee fencing competition. She claimed her first two matches vs Doig Claderon of Peru and Renata Knapik - Miazga of Poland, 15 - 11, 15 -8 respectively.
In the quarterfinals she faced Aizanat Murtazaeva of Russia in a slow bout (so slow both fighters received red cards for inactivity). Eventually, Kong fell to Murtazaeva 15 -10 to place fifth. She also competed in the women’s team epee event but her Hong Kong team lost to China 44 -32.
Polish skateboarder Amelia Brodka had some interesting insights into skateboarding’s debut Olympics:
“There are some skateboarders who will never accept the inclusion… But I think it helps people all over the world. Skateboarding has always been exclusive to California. Only living here you could be a professional. But now there will be more skateparks all over the world. Skateboarders will receive support from their governments. The fact that more people will be able to skate professionally will help the sport’s development.”
As a sorta skater, that’s what’s up.
Brodka placed 17th in the women’s park prelims with a score of 20.17.
Australian Izzi Batt-Doyle came into the Olympics fresh off a 15:04.10 run in the 5000m to qualify for the Olympics. It was the former University of Washington All-Americans personal best.
At the Olympics she placed 15th in her heat, with a time of 15:21.65.
Dustin Watten is a Libero for Team USA. These “back-row specialists” typically scramble around for balls that taller setters, hitters etc might have trouble getting to. (If it sounds like I don't know what I'm talking about, blame my unlinked sources).
Watten has been a part of the national team since 2009, including their bronze finish in 2016 at Rio.
This time around Team USA was unable to make out of pool play, losing a win - or - go home match to Argentina in a 3 - 0 sweep.
I’m positive I am missing other vegan athletes that competed. No sweat, they're eating regardless.
The final vegan medal tally: Two Golds, One Bronze.
Shoutout to all members of veganism though. We’re all gold at heart or some other cheez-e shit.