The Olympics are here and they’re a welcome distraction from Covid-19.
Watching the Games on TV is a major source of entertainment. It’s also a chance for some good news and inspiration as we watch our athletes compete against the world’s best.
Australia is a proud sporting nation and punches above its weight* on the world sporting stage, particularly at the Olympics.
We have the occasional lean period*, but the Olympic honour roll is full of Aussie legends like Cathy Freeman, Betty Cuthbert, Sally Pearson, Ian Thorpe, Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose, Shane Gould and Andrew Hoy, to name just a few.
Having been delayed a year due to Covid-19, we are seeing the Tokyo Games deliver us a new era of sporting heroes, and even though it is still the first week of competition, Australians are making their presence felt already!
The swimming has not disappointed, with medals being won in the pool and also the emergence* of a new swimming star for Australia.
Ariarne Titmus, the 20-year-old from Tassie whose family moved to Queensland for better training facilities, won the women’s 400m freestyle Olympic gold medal, defeating US superstar Katie Ledecky. She then went on to win the 200m freestyle final as well two days later.
But it was not just her win in the 400m that made headlines around the world. The celebrations by her coach, Dean Boxall, after her win in the 400m also captured global media attention.
I have drawn hundreds of cartoons on the Olympics over the years, its stars and its controversies*, and I knew the coach’s antics celebrating Titmus’ win would be a huge talking point.
So I took up the pen and just started sketching the coach in some of the very athletic moves he displayed in his elation*. With his long blonde hair flying it looked like a rock ‘n’ roll performance!
I drew several poses and thought it was a shame to only use one, so I decided I would have them all in the cartoon.
I placed them in a line on the pool stadium balcony so that as the reader’s eyes scanned across they animated* Dean Boxall’s movements.
The second part of the drawing was portraying* the athletes themselves. That had to be simple, so I drew the pool with Titmus and Ledecky having just finished the race, resting on the lane ropes as the swimmers do, Titmus with her fist raised in celebration.
I love the way these highly competitive swimmers have a chat after races, and I like to imagine what they are saying to each other?
I thought Ledecky should be looking up into the stands and deliver the punchline* on Boxall’s celebrations.
In the cartoon she says to Titmus: “I think your swim isn’t the only gold medal performance here today”.
It is what we were all thinking!
To win a gold medal at the Olympics is an incredible achievement, not just for the athlete but also for the whole support network around them, from coaches to family. It is a monumental* effort and shows that even though they are an individual athlete, it is a team effort.
- punches above its weight: a saying that means to perform better than expected based on level of experience, size or other attributes
- lean period: a time when there’s not much success
- emergence: become visible or obvious
- controversies: disagreements, when people have strong views that aren’t the same as each other
- elation: great happiness
- animated: created the appearance of movement
- portraying: showing or describing
- punchline: last part of a joke, story or cartoon that explains the meaning or makes the point
- monumental: great in importance or size
- Name two of the Aussie legends Mark Knight includes on the Olympics honour roll?
- What is the name of Ariarne Titmus’ coach?
- Mark Knight described the coaches celebrations as like a what?
- Why did Mark Knight draw several poses of the coach lined up on the pool stadium balcony?
- Which swimmer delivers the “punchline” in Mark Knight’s cartoon?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. What happens next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job.
Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design
Stretch your sentence
Choose one of the people in the cartoon. Write their name down and then add three adjectives to describe them better.
Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?
Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.
Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.