What a week it has been for our magnificent Olympic athletes.
And what perfect timing. If ever Australians needed a distraction from a never ending litany of bad news it is now.
While almost 200 people with links to the games - including 20 athletes - have been diagnosed with COVID since teams began arriving in the Olympic bubble, cases have been identified early and isolated at once. Earlier calls for the event to be abandoned have largely been forgotten.
Australia's representatives have been at the forefront and, as of mid morning Tuesday we were ranked fourth on the medal tally ahead of Russia - aka ROC - and Great Britain. Which is exceptional given the much greater populations of many of the countries such as Great Britain, South Korea, France and Germany we had bested.
By lunchtime on Tuesday Australia's haul had grown to 33 medals; 14 gold, four silver and 15 bronze. That compared more than favourably to the total of 29 medals, including eight gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze from Rio five years ago.
Of course that includes Culburra Beach's Owen Wrights' bronze in the surfing (left - Picture: AAP) the first ever surfing medal. And then another Shoalhaven success late Monday evening with Berry's Shane Rose claiming silver in the equestrian team eventing.
An early highlight of Friday's competition was the remarkable performances of Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell in the women's 100 metre freestyle final with Emma claiming her first individual gold and Cate taking the bronze. This is said to be the first time Australia has had two medalists in this event since Melbourne in 1956.
Another triumph was Jessica Fox's first gold in three Olympics with an outstanding victory in the canoe slalom on Thursday. Fox, who had only managed to secure the bronze in her preferred K1 canoe slalom earlier in the week, had previously chased the elusive gold in London in 2012 and in Rio in 2016.
The New York Post hailed her achievement with what must be arguably the best headline of the games so far: "Australian Olympian fixed kayak with a condom, threw up and won gold".
While the gold rush is expected to slow, our athletes have already done us proud. And, more than that, they have provided inspiration, hope and joy at a time when they are in short supply.
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