The internet is going crazy over ‘The Olympics’ that were originally due to be held in 2020 but were postponed as the result of the ongoing pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Held in Tokyo, Japan’s borders are still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions so only athletes and their delegations are allowed to enter the country for the event. In fact, Tokyo is still under a state of emergency with restrictions. Even so, domestic fans are allowed to attend events at the Tokyo Olympic Games with a limit of 10,000 spectators or up to 50% of capacity to minimize the risk of the virus spread.
Coming from different ages group, Olympics athletes are proving that age is no barrier to being the best. For anyone who thinks age is going to stop people from trying something new, the list of seven athletes making Olympic debuts will prove you wrong.
1) Rune ‘The Danish Destroyer’ Glifberg (46) – Skateboarding
Rune Glifberg, or most known as ‘The Danish Destroyer’ is the oldest competitor in skateboarding. He has been skateboarding for some time, long enough to have lost to the best skateboarder of all time, Tony Hawk.
Born in 1974, Glifberg turned pro in 1990 and has won X Games twice, with 12 titles in all. This legend has also appeared in the very first Tony Hawk Pro Skater game for the original PlayStation in 1999. He is one of the originals who has helped skateboarding to its place and today, he is competing in Tokyo 2020.
2) Sofía Mulánovich (38) – Surfing
Born by the beach in Punta Hermosa, Mulánovich grew up surrounded by surfers. Her mother was the only woman surfer at the time, her father and older brothers were spending a lot of time surfing too. By the age of four, she was already riding waves with them.
She won the ISA World Surfing Games twice and now 38 years old, she is doing her best to seize the gold medal for her country. Although it is not an easy task especially when she will compete against World No.1 surfer, Carissa Moore, with experience on her side, Mulánovich knows she can ride the Tokyo waves.
3) NOGUCHI Akiyo (32) – Sport climbing
Noguchi Akiyo’s dad saw her passion for climbing and built her a climbing wall in a barn when she was only 11. Thanks to that, by the age of 16, Akiyo was already climbing up the walls on the World Cup circuit and becoming one of the youngest and consistent campaigners.
Today, she has 21 World Cup titles to her name and 68 podium finishes overall.
In 2016, she was about to resign from this sport but that was before the big announcement that sport climbing was going to be included in Tokyo 2020.
“When I heard the news, I decided to compete for four more years,” she said.
“I’ll give everything for the Tokyo 2020 Games and to end my career there. It will be the first time sport climbing is held at an Olympic [Games].
“Moreover, it will be held in Japan, my home country. If it was held in another country, or if it were not the first-ever Olympic sport climbing event, I think my motivation would have been different.”
4) Bassa Mawem (36) Sport climbing
Noguchi is not the senior climber in Japan as that honor falls to 36-year-old French scaler Bassa Mawem.
He didn’t start climbing until he was 15 but his progress was rapid and impressive that he even got an opportunity to participate in the first-ever French Ninja Warrior show. Alongside his brother, Mickael Mawem, both of them are sure to excite Tokyo.
5) Antonio Díaz (41) – Karate
41 years old Venezuelan karateka Antonio Díaz has been waiting for a lifetime for this moment and now he is ready in the birthplace of martial art. Díaz has been the world champion twice and he holds the Guinness World Record for being the only athlete that has been on the podium eight times in a row at the World Karate Championships.
“Basically, the time for which I have lengthened my sports career is for the Tokyo Games,” he told the Tokyo 2020 official website.
“Throughout my years of competing, I have had several moments when I have thought about retirement. But I think the Olympic Games, the most important sporting event, and especially happening in Japan, the land of karate, is the perfect place to end it,” he explained.
6) Daniel Dhers (36) – BMX freestyle
A five-time X Games champion and 2019 Pan Am podium topper, Daniel Dhers is a BMX freestyle high-flyer who’s held on for a shot at Olympic contest.
“I want to be part of the Olympic Games because it is the only thing left for me to do,” he told Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve been a pro for 15 or 16 years. I’ve competed in practically every event in the world. I never thought that the Olympics could be part of my career.
“When there were conversations about adding this discipline in the Olympic program, I thought it would be in 2024, and so I’d be retired. But when they said it would be in 2020, I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Back then I was thinking of quitting the sport, but when they announced it, I told myself ‘I have enough gasoline in the tank, so let’s try’.”
But he isn’t here to take part, he’s here to take over – the ‘Superman’ move he pulled off at the Pan Ams in Lima was unforgettable and he’ll have a few tricks up his sleeve in Tokyo.
But he is aiming for much more than just to take part. The ‘Superman’ move he pulled off at the Pan Ams in Lima was amazing and he sure will have few tricks to be performed in Tokyo.
“Qualifying is a success on its own, but obviously I want to try to win a medal. That would be the icing on the cake in my career.”
7) Sandra Sánchez (39) – Karate Kata
At the age of 33, Sandra Sánchez was told that she was too old for karate kata but now at 39, she’s in the best shape for karate’s big Olympic bow at Tokyo 2020.