The Tokyo Olympics have ended, with the closing ceremonies wrapping things up Sunday (NBC will broadcast them Sunday evening in the US). But before we bid farewell to one of the more unusual Olympics in recent memory, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station have a few last-minute entries for judges’ consideration.
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency posted a series of four videos to Twitter showing some of the ISS astronauts performing — I guess we’ll call them “routines”— in zero gravity that would make fine additions to future Olympics. They even hung little flags of all the countries represented over their performance area. The videos are pretty adorkable (and watch with the sound on, I promise it’s worth it for the music and the play-by-play).
We start with the “lack of floor routine” gymnastics— I can’t figure out the rules here (is it touch nothing or touch everything?) but everyone gets points for style:
Next up is “no-handball” aka space field hockey, which seems much, much harder in zero gravity, and they sort of adapt and modify the rules as they go along:
This is my personal favorite: “synchronized space swimming” they clearly worked hard on these routines despite the lack of water that the terrestrial version of the sport requires:
And finally we have weightless sharpshooting where they shoot what look like rubber bands at a makeshift target:
You guys, they even did a “closing ceremony” on Sunday; Aki Hoshide of JAXA (Japan’s space agency) handed an Olympic flag to the Frenchman Pesquet, extremely fitting since the 2024 Olympics will be in Paris.
The real Olympics are fine and all, and congratulations to everyone who won a medal, but I think watching astronauts twirl in synch with each other and bat around a tiny ball in space would draw huge audiences to future games. Get on it, International Olympic Committee.