Friday, July 23, 2021


 You know who is the happiest person TigerBlog knows right now?

That would be Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog. And why is he so happy? Because the Olympics are starting (and, presumably, because he's married to TB's brother).

TigerBlog isn't sure he knows anyone who likes the Olympics more than his brother-in-law does. He's all set to watch endless amounts of Olympic coverage, both on the American networks and on the Canadian network, since he lives in Seattle and can get CBC.

TigerBlog is into the Olympics too.

The Opening Ceremonies for the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo are tonight, a little more than a year after they were supposed to begin. These Games will be different than any that have come before them due to the Coronavirus pandemic - for starters, these are the first-ever Olympics to be held in an odd-numbered year. 

There will also be no spectators permitted, and there will be rules for the athletes and coaches in terms of arrivals and departures from the Olympic Village. Even the presentation of medals has been affected, as the traditional placing of medals over the athlete's heads has been replaced by a contact-free method.

It's not going to have the same feel that it's always had. But it's still the Olympics, which are the largest sporting event in the world. And for athletes who have trained their whole lives for this opportunity, they might miss out on the frills but they're still laser-focused on the opportunity.

His second-favorite part is watching all of the events that aren't on in primetime and seeing athletes who are mostly anonymous compete in sports you rarely get to see. His favorite part is watching the Princetonians.

There are 18 of them who are competing in Tokyo (not 19, as TB originally wrote after miscounting). They will be representing nine different countries - the U.S., Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, American Samoa, Uganda, Egypt, Australia and New Zealand - and they will all be taking a piece of their Princeton experiences with them.

They range from a member of the Class of 2007 (rower Gevvie Stone) to three current Princeton students (steeplechaser Ed Trippas, fencer Mohamed Hamza, pole vaulter Sondre Gottormsen). 

Of the 18, four have competed previously in the Olympics and two have won medals. Ashleigh Johnson, of course, won gold with the U.S. women's water polo team in 2016 and is favored to do so again, which would match Caroline Lind for the most golds by a Princeton woman. Stone won silver in 2016 in single sculls, and she is back this time in the pairs event.

The other two returning Olympians are Hamza and Kat Holmes, both of whom fenced in 2016.

There will be no shortage of Olympic coverage from Princeton Athletics. If you haven't already seen it, go to the "Tigers In Tokyo" page off the main website. You can access it HERE.

There is a lot of information there. It has the complete list of the athletes (and the four coaches) who are in Tokyo. It has schedules of when they compete. It has bio information.

It will constantly be updated as well during the Games themselves. You can also find information on social media and, obviously, here with TB.

In fact, the first Tigers have already competed, as Stone and Hannah Scott rowed their first round matches yesterday. Kathleen Noble, who will row today, will be the first rower ever to represent Uganda. In addition, Holmes has her first individual epee match tonight. 

Maybe the best picture TB has ever seen of a Princeton athlete is the one of Gevvie Stone from 2016, with her medal around her neck and the American flag held over her outstretched arms. The look on her face is one of sheer joy, incredible joy, the kind of joy that very, very few athletes will ever experience. 

It was captured perfectly in that photo. Will there be another such picture of another Princeton athlete this time around? TB certainly hopes so. 

In the meantime, it's time for the Olympics, which means once again time to root for the Tigers who will be there. 

Let the Games begin.

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