Here Are Some of the Most Heartwarming Olympic Reactions

The pandemic stole the chance for many families and friends to cheer in person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take part.

Jul 28 2021, 11:54am

The Tokyo Games may not have the massive crowds of pre-pandemic Olympics, but friends, family and fans are cheering from the sidelines of social media in heartwarming viral videos.

Australian swimming coach Dean Boxall led the pack with his delirious reaction celebrating the victory of Olympian Ariarne Titmus, who bested her American rival Katie Ledecky on Monday.


Here are a few more of the epic and touching reactions to Olympic glory from around the world.


Lydia Jacoby of United States celebrates after winning the Women's 100m Breaststroke on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

American swimmer Lydia Jacoby shocked the world when she pulled off a surprise win, upsetting fellow American Lilly King and South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker to win a gold medal on Tuesday. 

The 17-year-old American, who became the first Alaskan native to swim in the Olympics, was initially behind but built enough strength and momentum to outpace the other contestants.

But the action back in her small hometown of Seward, Alaska was also gripping, as hundreds of Jacoby’s classmates, friends and relatives were filmed cheering her on. As she raced for the gold in the 100-meter breaststroke, the crowd started going wild, with people jumping up and down and breaking into boisterous cheers. 

“That was amazing. That was amazing, to see someone that you know and love do that,” Susan Willet, 64, was quoted as saying in the Anchorage Daily News. “Yeah, Seward’s going to have a magic water pool from now on.”

The stunning video from the watch party was paired with clips from Jacoby’s actual competition, and then tweeted so all could relive the moment the town will never forget. 

After the watch party, a small group of people trooped in an impromptu parade in downtown Seward, with a pickup truck, loudspeaker and “Go Lydia” banners.



Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of Team Philippines poses with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Weightlifting - Women's 55kg Group A on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo International Forum on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday by becoming the first Filipino to ever win gold in the Olympics.

The victory in Tokyo topped her silver win in the Rio 2016 games, and was welcome news in the Philippines that’s grappling with a hamstrung pandemic response and economic recession.

Her feat was so historic that she upstaged Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who was delivering his final “state of the nation” address to congress right about the time she was setting a new Olympic record for women’s weightlifting. 

The public’s attention quickly turned from Duterte’s speech to Diaz, who earned praise and gratitude from Filipinos who have been waiting for an Olympic gold since their country first joined the games 97 years ago. 

Newspapers were ready with Duterte’s speech on their banners but had to switch to Diaz’ glorious moment just before the presses rolled.

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Filipino social media exploded with videos of families and officemates going berserk around TV sets as Diaz took the top spot on the podium. One woman pulled her colleague's hair out of excitement. 

Diaz returned to the Philippines on Wednesday with some $100,000 cash and in-kind incentives waiting for her, including a house, unlimited plane rides and petrol. 

Hong Kong

People in a shopping mall watch and cheer on Siobhan Haughey in Hong Kong on July 28, 2021, as she wins a silver medal in the women's 200m freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. PHOTO: ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of Hong Kongers gathered at malls to cheer on swimmer Siobhan Haughey as she competed in the 200-meter freestyle competition. Local media reports said the malls and restaurants opened early to accommodate groups wanting to witness the historic event. 

And Haughey did not disappoint. Finishing second, the 23-year-old swimmer made history to become the first Hong Konger to win an Olympic medal for swimming. People who gathered at the mall applauded and waved their balloons as they watched Haughey race on a giant LED screen, a Facebook Live video by the Hong Kong Free Press showed.

People in a shopping mall watch and cheer on Doo Hoi-kem in Hong Kong on July 27, 2021, as she plays in a womens singles table tennis match at the Tokyo Olympics. PHOTO: ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP via Getty Images

Other athletes from the city also took center stage, including table tennis player Doo Hoi-kem and gold medal-winning fencer Cheung Ka Long.

After getting a gold and then a silver medal, Hong Kong is having one of its best Olympics yet since it joined the games in the 1950s. For a city still reeling from two years of political turmoil with increased control from mainland China, the wins gave Hong Kongers an opportunity to celebrate and assert their local identity. 



Rosa Maria, mother of Brazilian volleyball player Ricardo Lucarelli, cheers with Ramon Augusto (brother-in-law) and Rafaelli Santos (sister) as they watch the Olympic games on TV from the family's home in Contagem, Minas Gerais state, Brazil on July 23, 2021. PHOTO: DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images

The family of Brazilian volleyball player Ricardo Lucarelli had booked an apartment in Tokyo to watch him play at the Olympics, but because of travel restrictions and the ban on spectators, they could only watch the game on TV from the family’s home in Minas Gerais state, Brazil.

Rosa Maria, Lucarelli’s mother, said she has a superstition that she had to watch the games with her husband, and with their son’s shirt lying on the sofa.  Since the death of Lucarelli's father, she has kept the ritual, but now with the shirts of the player and his father. 

Rosa Maria's superstition while watching her son's game. PHOTO: DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images

Photos show Rosa Maria all smiles as she watches her son on a large TV screen. She and her companions were also photographed throwing their hands in the air in an apparent celebration for a point made by the Brazilian team. 

She also prayed for her son’s squad before turning to the television to watch Brazil’s debut against Tunisia.

Rosa Maria smiles as she sees her son Brazilian volleyball player Ricardo Lucarelli on TV. PHOTO: DOUGLAS MAGNO/AFP via Getty Images

Follow Anthony Esguerra on Twitter.


japan, tokyo, Tokyo 2020, worldnews

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