Australia’s Tokyo Olympics campaign has been one of its most successful ever but, even outside of the gold medal wins, these Games have thrown up a bevy of heart-stopping moments.
Here are a few of the highlights.
The hour of power
Australia had a lot of great moments this Olympics, but the morning of July 28 rivals the most successful periods in Australian Olympic history.
It started with Australia’s women’s four rowing team crossing the finish line first on Sea Forest Waterway, followed 20 minutes later by the men’s team, also in top position for their event.
The men’s and women’s sculls teams brought the goods to each win a bronze medal in the following events.
At the same time our rowers were gliding their way to glory, Ariarne Titmus was taking on American Katie Ledecky in the pool.
She caught Australia’s third gold medal in the span of an hour in the women’s 200m freestyle.
The combined efforts of the Australian team netted 5 medals in the space of an hour — and the men’s 4x200m freestyle team brought home another bronze shortly after.
It all added up to a medal haul that equalled Australia’s best ever days at the Olympics. So good, it almost makes you want to fist pump.
Speaking of which…
Dean Boxall’s reaction to Ariarne Titmus’s legendary win
Who among us hasn’t got a bit overexcited watching these games?
While Ariarne Titmus’s 400m victory over swimming titan Katie Ledecky was cheered across Australia, the greatest exuberance came from her coach, Dean Boxall, who celebrated by sending all four of his limbs into overdrive.
Boxall’s excitement couldn’t be contained to the coach’s section: he clattered through a barrier, to the shock of venue staff, ripping off his mask in jubilance.
Countless fist pumps and a memeworthy hip thrust later, Boxall went viral for his passionate support for his athlete.
Weightlifter who practiced with bamboo and water jugs wins gold
There are myriad ways elite athletes prepare for the Games, but Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz had one of the toughest.
After her gym in Malaysia closed in lockdown last year, Diaz took to training with water jugs connected by a bamboo pole.
The fact it turned out to be part of a gold medal formula for the Air Force sergeant made the Philippine’s first-ever gold medal all the sweeter.
Kaylee McKeown’s f***ing incredible achievement
Australia’s Kaylee McKeown blasted through the women’s 100m backstroke to attain gold on Tuesday, setting a new Olympic record in the process.
But a cheeky post-win interview captured almost as much attention.
Moments after winning, McKeown was asked if she had a message for her mum and sister back home in Australia, instantly blurting out: “F*** yeah!”
Quickly realising she’d just dropped an f-bomb on live television, McKeown cupped a hand to her mask and gasped, “oh shit”, still in range of the microphone.
It was quickly branded the most Australian way possible to celebrate a win.
Simone Biles taking a time out
Heading into these games, few athletes were under a brighter spotlight than US gymnastics great Simone Biles.
Biles was the hot favourite to sweep her events, but that kind of pressure comes with a toll.
After completing a poor first vault in the team gymnastics finals, Biles retired early, later confirming that she’d pulled out of that event and the women’s all around finals to focus on her mental health.
It sparked a wave of concern and support for the star, who thanked fans around the world.
“The outpouring of love and support I’ve received has made me realise I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics, which I never truly believed before,” she said on social media.
The brief hiatus from competition thankfully put Biles in good stead and she returned to win bronze on the balance beam.
Can we have two golds?
You could argue it wasn’t as sweet as it looked when Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi agreed to share a gold medal rather than continue to compete.
After all, it wasn’t in either of their interests to risk taking home silver when an easy gold was on offer.
But when the moment came, and Barshim said the words “Can we have two golds?” jubilation quickly took hold of his Italian mate.
Tamberi jumped into the Qatari’s arms and screamed the moment officials agreed it was possible to share.
Even if it was in both their interests to take home a double-gold, it was also a remarkable display of sportsmanship, and seeing two friends achieve a lifelong dream together was one of the purest celebrations of the Tokyo Games.
And finally, two words: Emma McKeon
And two more: seven medals.
Australia’s queen of the pool pulled off a remarkable feat in Tokyo, becoming the equal most-awarded female Olympian ever from a single Games with four gold medals and three bronze.
She’s also the only Australian to win 11 medals across two Olympic Games, ensuring she, and the Tokyo Games, will go down in history.