Tokyo Olympics 2020: ‘All the best from space’ – French astronaut Thomas Pesquet extends good wishes to athletes from the International Space Station

Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a judo black belt himself, wishes luck to the athletes as he shares his experiences of watching the Olympics.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet at the International Space Station
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet at the International Space Station

The Olympics is the biggest amalgamation of athletes in the world and hence is one of the most viewed sporting events. While the Tokyo Olympics is no different, it has gone a step further to breach the Earth’s atmosphere to reach space, yes you read it right space! The astronaut’s in the International Space Station, a habitable satellite orbiting our planet.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the sporting extravaganza, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet extended his best wished to the participating athletes. In a video shared by the International Olympics Committee, Pesquet can be seen wishing luck to the athletes before doing a cartwheel in zero gravity.

Here on the ISS, 400 km away from earth, we are very much looking forward to watching the Olympics Games in Tokyo. So good luck to all the athletes, all the best from space. We will be watching,” the Frenchman said.

Thomas Pesquet shares his best experiences of the summer Games ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

Thomas Pesquet Tokyo Olympics
French astronaut Thomas Pesquet at the International Space Station

Thomas Pesquet, a judo black belt himself, shares his fond memories of the Olympic Games. He hails Carl Lewis’ extraordinary performance at the Los Angeles Games 1984 as his favorite.

I think my first Olympic memory was maybe [Los Angeles] 1984 when Carl Lewis was pretty much winning everything. It was unheard of, and it was unprecedented. Everybody was watching. I was young at the time, but I still remember that moment in the summer of 84” Pesquet shares.

And definitely, my best memory from the Olympics is 1992 in Barcelona, with the basketball dream team. All those star players came together to form the best basketball team ever assembled and won every single game to claim the tournament in style, with the world watching and following their journey. So, that was really something for me at the time.

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Pesquet hails journey to space a team sport where it is impossible to survive, let alone flourish without working as a team. “It’s definitely a team sport. You never do anything by yourself up here, you’re always in a team. You have to take everybody into account when you go out on a spacewalk.

When we are in a team of two, many people inside help us get out and back in safely. The people in the control centre are also part of the team. They are remote, but they’re just as much a part of the team as we are. So, sometimes literally, it’s a matter of life or death. Your actions could have serious consequences on your teammates. So, it is definitely a team sport,” he adds.

He goes on to share how his fights in his time as a judoka help him survive in the inhabitable conditions of outer space. “Again, I think there’s a lot that goes into competitive sport. You learn about yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You learn perseverance. You’re not always good at everything the first time, but you fall, and then you get back up. Then you fall again, then you get back up again.

It has major consequences on building your character and building your strength. I think that’s what I learned in judo in competition. I remember losing against some other judokas and giving myself the challenge to beat those guys and working towards that challenge. You work towards your goal. You set yourself a goal and try to accomplish it. So, things like this directly come from my experience as a judoka and a sportsman,” Pesquet signed off.

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Anshuman Mahapatra is currently pursuing an engineering degree. Writing and sports are his fortes. He covers cricket as well as badminton, boxing and other Olympic sports. Anshuman is addicted to reading novels and cricket. He is a huge Chennai Super Kings fan.