60 haikus inspired by the Tokyo Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may have arrived a year late, but for many of us, they provided a welcome distraction. In fact, for many Australians in lockdown during the Games, it was a timely salve. 

And so, with the Olympics over, we asked our community to sum up their experience – perhaps inspired by a favourite moment or something more general. And all using a method that had its roots in the host country, the Japanese ‘haiku’. In its simplest form, a haiku is a short poem that comprises three lines. The first line contains FIVE syllables. The second line, SEVEN syllables. And finally, FIVE syllables again.

We received many hundreds of submissions, and while some fell at the first hurdle (maths!), most figured out the 5-7-5 rhythm with some clever short stanzas. Please enjoy this selection of our favourites…


Shiny gold medals
Waving Australian flag
Aussies made us proud!

– Rita Buttenshaw


Three Aussie women
Threw sharp sticks great distances
One Bronze; bright future

– Sophia Field


World’s greatest athletes
Striving for supremacy
To empty grandstands

– Helen Armstrong


The flame is dazzling
It runs and jumps, smiles and cries
My heart follows suit

– Sanjay Ravichandran


Locked down in Melbourne
Joyous Nicola jumps high
Perfect distraction

– Karen McLean


I watch while they swim
Great excitement all around
Australians win!



The diver takes flight
With mid air acrobatics
Graceful as a bird

– kite


Suddenly we all
Are experts in every sport
Valid Credentials?

– Amelie Giffors


Rippling Muscles Fly
Her Flag Wrapped Around Her Chest
Bold Colours Win Gold

– Jemima Dunn


All eyes on Tok-yo
As we watch the Games unfold
Who will grab the gold?

– Karmen


While we held our breath
Our athletes gave us all hope
Australian Gold!

– SJ Murray


Stadium empty
All runners surging forward
One winner; no cheers

– Allan Carter


Gold silver and bronze
For self and for their country
Pride and friendship reign

– Betty Milligan


From everywhere they came
Some won, some lost, they all tried
Onwards to Paris

– Lyn Wallace


Hope is in their hearts
Result, ecstasy or grief
I clap, laugh and cry

– Isabel Flynn


Blossoms, summer’s heat
Where phoenix and Charon meet
Together, all soar

– Stephanie McVey


Olympics inspire
Despite COVID masks and all
Find inspiration

– Han


She runs up a wall
He jumps higher than himself
I am still in awe

– Annaleise Byrd


I wanted to view
TV is no longer free
Alas, I saw naught

– Karla Ricker (USA)


Hurdles of COVID
Overcome in To-ky-o
Olympics win gold

– Daan Spijer


Twenty Twenty games
Athletes' dreams fulfilled and crushed
Lockdown forgotten

– Margaret Purcell


Breath held, fingers crossed
Supporters’ heartbeats quicken
Winner’s medal, gold

– Anthea Adams


I saw a snippet
Feel good story of courage
And that was enough

– Orly Grace


I didn't watch it
Except Tom Daley's knitting
Brow sweetly knitting

– Angelique 


Triumphant athletes
Silent crowds… watching at home
To-ky-o 20!

– Kara de Trenck


Graceful swing of arm
Flung the javelin to the sky
And his dreams came true

– Urvashi Tandon 


Focus turns inwards
Already, the race is won
On your marks , get set…

– Natasha Poynton


Pink Cherry Blossom
Rising Sun Olympic Rings
Gold Silver and Bronze

– Bill Boyd


The cauldron is lit
Heroes and legends are found
History is made 

– Emily Lee


Fierce focus, long breath
Bang. All the practice, leap, run
Cross the line. Divine

– J M Brick


In lockdown again
Rejoice we’re free, look at me
In lockdown again

– Tim Cummins


Years of sacrifice
Medals are won and dreams dashed
In sixty seconds

– Amanda Smyth


Lockdown work from home
Wait the Olympics are on
A torch turned on bright

– Ebony Macfarlane


Big spins, little splash
“Mum, that was a wow,” she sang
The first spark is born

– Iona Krefel


Pedestal for two
Their hearts flourish evenly
At the anthem sound

– Sandra Halt-Ćuže 


Once I had a dream
A dream that I could win gold
Today dreams come true

– Tammy Smith


Rio dreams shattered
A five year long wait endured
Time for redemption

– Dave Evan-Watkins


Matildas to win!
The girls gave it all they had
It was not to be

– Natty


Triumphant rowers
Glowing on the podium
Haloed nationals

– Steve Cumper


Let's do a Dubler
To push friends over the line
Mateship shouts medals

– Dannielle Viera


Aussie synchro girls
Did their best performance yet
They made us so proud

– Amy Lewis


Locked on, bated breath.
Silently muscles ripple
Spent, the tank’s empty

– Emily Charlotte Ann


Sitting on the couch
Watching people's dreams come true
Wondering where mine went

– Stephen McCarthy


Japanese beer cans
Skyscraping near the TV
Plastic soy fish – gold!

– Richard Bromwich


Finding new idols
Strength, courage, voice of reason.
Winning? Optional

– Alyson Tait


Red, yellow, and blue,
Stars and Sun tan the skins brown
After decades—gold

– Heniely Chua (on Philippines Gold medal)


Never having dived…
Now an expert in spotting

– Tracy Davidson


Competing alone
Winning for their country’s team
Athletes one and all

– Jodie Kasatchkow


The Olympics– What?
You mean, that happened this year?
I forgot to watch

– Drake McDonald


Strength, fortitude and power

– Eaglehawk


The Games completed
Athletes return from greatness
Medals packed away

– Pip Sheehan


Synchronised Diving
Like porpoises in the air
Over in a flash!

– Frances Prentice


Heart pounding, time slows
Trust your best is yet to come
Breathe. Wait. And let fly

– Olwyn Jones


Climbing to the top
Bounce once, twice, thrice then we leap
Spin, twist, splash for gold!

– David Astika


We cheered from our homes
Rooms filled with Green and Gold pride
Standing ovations

– Daniella Albanese


Obsessive gold count
The ugly underbelly
Of national pride

– L.E. Ohman


Beautiful horses
Prancing, waltzing gracefully
Like ballet dancers

– Virginia Suckling


Our Boi from Sudan
Our bursting hearts, screaming lungs
We cheer joyous forth

– Warren Jones


Dedication wins
Their inspiration leads me
To pick up my pen

– Sandra James


Run, jump, swim, dive, row
Cool, but they're able-bodied
Bring on Para Games!

– Melanie Hawkes

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