It’s been a rocky street to the Tokyo Games, which, after being delayed a yr by the pandemic, will now take place (beginning Friday) without any spectators. Uncertainty and controversy, and a rising variety of Covid-19 cases within the metropolis, have more and more overshadowed the run-up to the Summer season Olympics, and early occasions just like the ceremonial torch relay have felt subdued.
However regardless of the circumstances, the Video games will (nearly definitely) go on, and that’s to be celebrated. Whether or not you’re a devoted Olympics fan or an off-the-cuff viewer, these six podcasts will get you within the temper.
This compelling new investigative podcast collection tells the little-known true story of one of many largest errors in Olympic historical past. Girls’s gymnastics acquired off to a tough begin on the 2000 video games in Sydney, Australia, marred by controversies over substance use and falsified ages — after which, throughout a contest vault occasion, issues actually acquired bizarre. One after the other, with the entire world watching, elite gymnasts stored falling off the vault, in ways in which have been embarrassing at greatest and harmful at worst. By the point anyone found out what was happening (no spoilers right here), the injury was performed. On this five-episode collection, by interviews with athletes who have been there, Ari Saperstein delves into the weird again story of what occurred.
Starter episode: “Episode 1”
The primary podcast from Group U.S.A. debuted lower than a yr in the past, in November of 2020, and it’s positive to whet your urge for food for the long-awaited Video games. Hosted by Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist in determine skating, the present options weekly conversations with visitors who’re primarily fellow Olympians, together with a number of Tokyo-bound athletes just like the gymnast Yul Moldauer, the Paralympic basketball participant Matt Scott and the softball participant Haylie McCleney. As a result of the present started through the pandemic, most of the interviews contact on topics like psychological well being and staying motivated in a time of uncertainty, that are simply as related to non-athletes. The present simply wrapped up its first season at the beginning of July, however plans to return sooner or later.
Starter episode: “Tokyo Bound”
Lots of the hottest Olympics-related podcasts are hosted by elite athletes who can communicate on to the aggressive expertise. “Off The Podium” is emphatically not that. As an alternative, it’s proudly hosted by three males — Ben Waterworth, Colin Hilding and Jarrod Loobeek — who “dream of Olympic glory and have as a lot athletic prowess as a bit of cheese.” Whereas they might lack Olympic-level talent, they do possess palpable ardour and data a couple of vary of sports activities. The present has been operating since earlier than the Rio Video games in 2016 and has returned intermittently to debate occasions together with the 2018 Winter Olympics. Primarily based on its protection from previous years, you may anticipate each day episodes recapping the newest information and highlights all through the 2021 Video games.
Starter episode: “The Best of ‘Off the Podium’ Part 2”
When a metropolis wins its bid to host the Olympics, the implications go approach past the one summer season (or winter) when the ceremonies happened. Utilizing the town of Sydney as its check case, this six-episode present explores what occurs as soon as the final medal has been awarded and the crowds have dispersed. Twenty years after the Sydney Olympics, the journalist Mark Beretta interviews the organizers and officers who have been accountable for fulfilling the pledge to make it “the greenest Video games ever,” and the way that call impressed city transformation and environmental progress all through Australia.
Though it’s hosted by Laura Wilkinson, a gold medalist diver, this present isn’t strictly concerning the Olympics. Wilkinson’s interviews with fellow athletes are targeted extra on the coaching methods and psychological instruments which have geared up them for achievement all through their careers. Interviewees from a variety of disciplines share candid ideas concerning the psychological well being pitfalls of elite sports activities, overcoming concern in pursuit of targets and the best way to keep the course within the face of uncertainty. Even if you happen to’re simply beginning a operating routine or attempting to get your self again to the fitness center, there are many insights to be taught from the mind-set of Olympic athletes.
For a non-American perspective on the Olympics and Paralympics, give this relaxed, affable British present a shot. All year long, “Something however Footy” presents an summary of nearly each Olympic sport performed in England (besides, because the title suggests, soccer), and makes a degree of together with sports activities that don’t all the time get the highlight. The hosts, John Cushing and Michael Weadock, show their wide-ranging data all through the information and evaluation segments. There are additionally a few long-running mini-series throughout the podcast: “Nice British Bosses,” that includes interviews with sports activities leaders in Britain, and “Again on Monitor,” which explores how Tokyo-bound athletes acquired themselves re-motivated after the coronavirus delay.