Matt Barnes’ Olympics 2020 blog: The penultimate post from Tokyo

Japan 2020

TOKYO (WCMH) — One more night. That’s all I can think of as I sit down to type this. Part of me is very excited to say I have one night left, but the other part is a little sad because this has truly been the experience of a lifetime.

To mark the one night to go mark, I took a walk to the cauldron, which has been moved from Olympic Stadium to a bridge near the hotel we are using for our live broadcasts, and it hit me there just how special this is. Not just to me, but the Japanese people who take so much pride in their city and their ability to host events like this. They have done such a remarkable job staging these games amidst a pandemic and have enjoyed seeing great success from their Olympians in the meantime.

Overall, today was a day of reflection. My team and I began the day by taking part in a traditional tea ceremony. It was exactly what we needed after more than two weeks of working long hours, turning stories for stations all across the nation, and constantly thinking of what’s new and what’s next. For about 90 minutes, we were told to forget about what’s happening outside of our four walls. Instead, just focus on the moment. I have to be honest: It worked.

I left that tea ceremony feeling reinvigorated but also very appreciative of the opportunity I have been given to experience these Games and to come in contact with so many amazing people. Everyone from my fellow reporters, to the great people at NBC Newschannel who have helped us gather video and interviews, to my fellow Ohio Bobcats who have helped with story ideas and gave me a guided tour of Shibuya, and of course the athletes, who have left me inspired by their dedication and resolve through what has been a tough 16 months for us all.

And so, on this penultimate day of these Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, I am left nearly speechless on what this Olympic experience has been like for me. It was amazing to see more gold medals won by Team USA. Women’s water polo and Men’s Basketball extending their gold medal streaks. Both the men and women’s 4×400 meter relay teams winning in dominating fashion. And then, the great stories like Molly Seidel, running in just her third marathon of her life, pushing her mind and her body in the heat to a bronze medal. And a shoutout to former Buckeye wrestler Kyle Snyder, who will head back to the U.S. with silver after a valiant effort in his gold medal match.

One more night. That’s all that stands between me and a much-needed day off from covering this spectacle. I’m excited, but you can also bet I’m going to savor every minute of it.

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