Astronauts Compete in Zero-Gravity Space Olympics

Though Earth’s Olympics are over, many viewers missed the most exciting events from this Olympic season. All the way up in space, the astronauts living in the International Space Station celebrated their own Olympics.

astronauts in space pose with flags from countries all over Earth

ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet

In a story we first saw on The Verge, Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut from the European Space Agency, shared a series of videos depicting the Space Olympics. According to Pesquet, these Olympics consist of “4 disciplines. 7 athletes. 2 teams, and a boost for crew cohesion.”

First up, the “Lack-of-floor routine,” which entails an astronaut completing a difficult maneuver… without ever touching the floor! In many ways, this doesn’t seem different from our earthly actual floor exercise. However, everything is cooler in space.

Next, the astronauts competed in a game of “No-handball.” In this complicated event, players use their breath to maneuver a ball into the goal. Watching the ball nearly levitate in place as the astronauts float around it really does paint a picture of Space-living.

Then, the teams moved onto “Synchronised space swimming.” This is by far the most popular Space Olympics event. Again, teams displayed great grace as they spun, leaped, and laughed in tandem. A truly heartwarming “show [of] teamwork and crew cohesion.”

Finally, “Weightless sharpshooting” took the stage. Hitting a target in zero-gravity is no easy feat, but the astronauts did so with skill (or luck)!

The Space Olympics are a beautiful show of international cooperation, much like the Olympics themselves. Seeing astronauts from different countries come together in zero-gravity to celebrate each other and the world is incredibly moving. To finish off the event, Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide passed the Olympic flag to France’s Thomas Pesquet. So as the Tokyo Olympics end, even off-planet sports fans can look forward to Paris 2024! Here’s hoping we even get to see another Space Olympics.

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