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.
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.”
Les 1ers Jeux spatiaux ! 1 samedi après-midi sur l’ISS. 4 disciplines. 7 athlètes. 2 équipes. Et la cohésion au sein de l’équipage boostée comme jamais ! #Olympics— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 6, 2021
The first Space Olympics. 4 disciplines. 7 athletes. 2 teams, and a boost for crew cohesion. pic.twitter.com/IFsnobXsTT
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.
Space #Olympics 1/4:— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 6, 2021
Lack-of-floor routine – much 👏 to Pyotr for completing his routine without touching anything, a difficult feat!
Gym hors-sol – on ne dirait pas comme ça, mais les immobilisations en plein vol de Piotr requièrent une grande expérience#MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/gXAHSHHmcu
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.
Space #Olympics 2/4:— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 6, 2021
No-handball – we had to adapt the rules a bit during the match, much investment on both sides for the win.
Handball sans les mains – les règles ont dû être adaptées au cours d’un match que nous décrirons sobrement comme intense. pic.twitter.com/dVOv3GRThD
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)!
Space #Olympics 4/4:— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 6, 2021
Weightless sharpshooting – concentration and skill (or luck) proved necessary to reach the target.
Tir sans gravité – concentration et persévérance ont dicté cette épreuve pour bien négocier la trajectoire des élastiques#MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/eV2cSxEWQ5
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.
Avec Aki on a pris un peu d’avance sur la #ClosingCeremony en attendant le vrai passage de relais #Tokyo2020 -> #Paris2024 sur 🌏 dans quelques heures— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 8, 2021
With the @Tokyo2020 @Olympics ending today and the next #Olympics to be @Paris2024, @Aki_Hoshide and I held a ceremony pic.twitter.com/7dpYBr4Xwu