‘It spoke of humanity and hope’: our readers’ favourite Olympics moments

What I love about the Olympics is getting invested in sports I would never watch otherwise. Esta vez, I was absorbed by the taekwondo. The rules are quite easy to pick up and the sport itself is full of drama. There were so many matches decided by a last-second point being scored, which really kept me on the edge of my seat. Having some British athletes to cheer in the medal matches definitely helped. The gold medal bout between Matea Jelic and Lauren Williams in the women’s 67kg category stood out. It was an incredibly close contest and Lauren heartbreakingly lost, having had a three-point lead in the final seconds of the final round that Jelic was able to overcome with a pair of late kicks. Jorge, 26, IT worker, Swindon

What I enjoyed most about the Olympics is how medals are being won by athletes from unexpected places: a cycling gold for Ecuador, a fencing gold for Hong Kong, a triathlon gold for Bermuda. Perhaps talent is starting to overcome the size of a nation and the money it invests. A more democratic Games is good for everyone. My favourite moment was Flora Duffy winning the triathlon. Bermuda is one of the smallest nations participating in the Olympics: it only has 62,000 gente. Prior to this, they had only won one other medal: a bronze in boxing in 1976. Breakthrough moments like this are memorable: I recall when Anthony Nesty, a swimmer from Suriname won the gold in the 100m butterfly at the 1988 Juegos Olímpicos. These moments prove that the Olympics is for everyone: yes it’s more difficult for smaller or poorer nations to win medals, but anything can happen at the Games. Talent can rise to the top, no matter where it comes from. Christian DeFeo, 49, communications manager, Peterborough

Every four years I love to watch some weightlifting, diving and beach volleyball. It all makes a welcome change from football. I’ve loved Tom Pidcock and the mountain-biking, Tom Daley knitting, the stewards with their clipboards, small countries getting a bronze in some unusual competition, Qatar and Italy sharing the high jump gold. Forget Team GB’s performance in the medal table; just embrace the internationalism and the personal achievement of athletes qualifying to be there. Oh, and well done Japan for making it happen during the Covid pandemic. Every four or five years we watch half an hour of high-jumping. I loved it when the official approached the two men with a clipboard – not a tablet – and Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim asked to share the gold. sí, that would be possible, came the reply and the pair were filled with joy. The whole thing spoke of humanity and hope. I loved Daley knitting a little bag for his gold medal, también. Jenny, 60, Edinburgh

I loved watching the rugby sevens. The star has been the tiny ball delivery car. The Olympics is the best way to bring rugby to new audiences. We have been lucky to have witnessed some incredible moments, such as Argentina beating South Africa despite being down to five players. But the standout moment was definitely the Fiji men’s team singing a hymn as beautifully as they played after they won gold. It showed their passion and unity, and what the Olympics means to people. Lorcán, 33, The Netherlands

The skateboarding was wonderful. The youngsters are so brave and their tricks a joy to watch. They fall on to concrete with and get up smiling. They hug their opponents and greet each other with cool gestures that are their own shared language. There is no antipathy and yet they have competed with all the skill and determination of true competitors. It gives hope for a more harmonious and joyful future for humanity. Alan Vickers, 76, retired architect, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire

My favourite event was women’s volleyball. I watched all the games that USA played. I used to play volleyball in high school, so I’ll always love it. I love seeing the sportsmanship and friendships between athletes. The story of Barshim and Tamberi sharing gold in the men’s high jump was especially heartwarming. Most people may not want to share gold medals so they can prove they are better. But it takes even more spirit to share success. That’s true sportsmanship. It was touching to see Simone Biles overcome her fear and finish her routine on the balance beam. It was brave of her to tell the world about her mental health issues. I’m rooting for her. Lok Man Fan, 35, Los Angeles, California

Despite my hesitation at the Tokyo Games even going ahead, it became all-consuming. We are in lockdown in Australia and it has bought our family closer and made quarantine a little easier. There were so many stories about athletes sacrificing to get there that I teared up on several occasions. Not giving up is what the Olympics is about and I guess the Aussie Patrick Tiernan, who collapsed twice before finishing the 10,000m, said it all. Jessie Fox winning a gold in the kayak slalom after missed attempts at three past Games was also special. Scott Wilson, 62, Adelaide, South Australia

I was finding it all a bit sterile, but then I remembered how the Olympics throws up incredible stories, such as Anna Kiesenhofer’s shock win in the women’s cycling road race and the Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui’s surprise gold. Even the disappointments brought drama, such as Jade Jones’s loss in the taekwondo and Geraint Thomas’s cycling crash. It’s the emotion I’ve experienced with every Olympics I’ve watched. Para mí, the highlight was Tom Daley and his medals. He has been a joy to watch over the years and despite three previous Olympics, we’ve finally seen who he really is and what this means to Tom the person, as opposed to Tom the competitor. It seems this has been an Juegos olímpicos about people, not stars, and he sums it up. Mateo, 39, Brighton

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