ISS Astronauts Stage The First-Ever Galactic Olympics!
Aug 28, 2021
Seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) organized the first-ever space Olympics
Members of the two teams were selected based on the spacecraft that delivered the astronauts to the ISS. Team Dragon consisted of NASA's Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, Japan's Aki Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet from France. Team Soyuz included Russian cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitsky, and NASA's Mark Vande Hei.
The two-day event, held the weekend of August 8, 2021, began with synchronized "swimming." The lack of water aboard the space station did not seem to faze the competitors. They performed perfectly choreographed floating routines instead.
Dubrov impressed his fellow astronauts with his no-touch, no-floor gymnastic skills
Next up was "lack of floor" gymnastics. The astronauts' zero gravity flips and somersaults would have wowed even the world's best gymnast, Simone Biles. Dubrov received extra praise from his fellow team members for completing his routine without touching the space station's walls.
The competition was followed up by a four-minute-long game of handball. On Earth, the players typically run across the field and try to throw the ball into the opposing team's goals. However, on the ISS, the ingenious "no handball" game relied on players using their breaths to blow a small ping pong ball through the opposing hatch - each guarded by a "goalie." The competition was fierce, especially after the rules changed halfway through and allowed for the use of body parts above the knee. The exciting event ended with Team Soyuz scoring in the final few seconds and winning the game.