Olympic Wristwatch Stories In Honor Of Tokyo 2020
Sports fans, ahoy! The Olympic Games have just started, making it a perfect time to look back on a few Olympic-sized sports-and-watch stories.
Like Euro 2020, this year’s Olympic Games keep the “2020” moniker even though the events were postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic.
The Olympic Games are always a fun focus time for watch sponsorships, and I love to keep an eye on what athletes might potentially be wearing.
Omega has had a presence at the Olympics since 1932, where it timed each event using a grand total of just 30 mechanical stopwatches.
I described Omega’s timing history in the Olympic games in some detail in Omega And Olympic Sports Timing, which we published during the Sochi games in 2014.
The Tokyo games represent Omega’s 29th turn as official timekeeper, a role the brand will next reprise in 2022 at the winter games in Beijing.
In 2016, at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the most successful Olympian to ever grace our television screens, Michael Phelps, swam in this competition for the final time. Phelps participated in five Olympic Games – beginning with the 2000 games in Sydney at age 15 – winning a total of 23 gold medals, three silver medals, and two bronze.
Phelps is an Omega ambassador, at the moment the only sports figure among the brand’s sponsorships, and I summed up his Omega watches in 2016 in The Omega Watches Of Michael Phelps, The Most Successful Olympian. Ever.
Richard Mille on Olympic wrists
Generally speaking, athletes do not wear watches while playing their sports. However, this maxim is almost never true for Richard Mille ambassadors, who tend to wear them all the time – even during Olympic competitions.
During the Rio de Janeiro games of 2016, I spotted four athletes wearing Richard Mille watches while competing, which I summed up in Richard Mille On 4 Athletes’ Wrists At The 2016 Rio Olympics.
Richard Mille left a few mysteries to be cleared up after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro ended, the biggest concerning Wayde van Niekerk, a gold medalist in the 400-meter track race who for most of the general public seemed to come out of nowhere.
I had the great fortune to meet the introverted runner a few months later in Paris, after which I told his tale in Olympic Gold Medalist And Richard Mille Ambassador Wayde Van Niekerk Talks Watches And Competition.
Watch out for the defending Olympic 400m champion and world record holder in Tokyo 2020, where he will once again compete following a three-year injury-induced hiatus sustained while playing a celebrity touch rugby match.
Tennis at the Olympics
Only two weeks after the close of Wimbledon, some tennis players are heading to Tokyo to compete while others have made the difficult decisions to stay back. This makes the field especially interesting.
Look out for Naomi Osaka, the number two seed in the women’s draw who will be wearing TAG Heuer watches. See more about her recent call to ambassadorship for the Swiss brand in Phenom Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka Becomes New TAG Heuer Ambassador Ahead Of Australian Open 2021.
On the men’s side, second seed Daniil Medvedev will be sporting a Bovet wristwatch when he’s not playing. See much more about which watch that might be in Bovet And Daniil Medvedev: Relationships Make One Of The Best Tennis Players In The World.
First seed Novak Djokovic will probably not be wearing a watch at all as his contract with Seiko was not renewed at the end of 2020.
Alexander Zverev (fourth seed), previously a Richard Mille ambassador, will now be wearing Rolex.
And everyone’s favorite tennis couple will also be competing, postponing their honeymoon after tying the knot on July 17 to travel to Japan instead: Gael Monfils (tenth seed) and Elena Svitolina (fourth seed). Svitolina is an Hublot ambassador, while according to Zenith CEO Julien Tornare, Monfils is set to become a Zenith ambassador in the near future.
Let’s hope for some great spotting over the next few weeks!