For the third time in a row, the United States finished in first place with 39 Gold medals and 113 in total. Just behind, China with 38 Gold medals, also had a strong Olympics but couldn’t hold onto the lead. Japan, in third, will have no regrets, producing a performance to be proud of on home turf. Russia, though unable to compete under its own country flag, sent its athletes under the Russian Olympic Committee flag and saw many victories. Elsewhere, Aussies finished strong, too. After finishing sixth in 2008, they dropped down a few ranks in both 2012 and 2016, only to climb back up in 2020.
As expected, Tokyo delivered an opening ceremony to remember. Full of colour, lights and excitement, the opening ceremony provided the perfect starter for the games ahead. And who better to light the Olympic cauldron than the beloved tennis star Naomi Osaka of Japan.
Despite the empty stadiums, the passion for the Olympics truly remained. In one of the most heartwarming moments, Italy’s Tamberi and Qatar’s Barshim shared the Gold medal for Men’s high jump. For the first time ever, the Olympics introduced skateboarding as an official event and the event was won by 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya from Japan itself.
‘Superman’ Karsten Warholm smashed the 400m hurdles world record with a time of 45.94 seconds, having previously set the world record of 46.70 in Oslo, Norway back in July.
Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela broke the triple jump world record – a record that had stood for up to 26 years.
In the Women’s 800m Final, the first and second-placed runners were both only 19 years old. Athing Mu, who won Gold, smashed the US record with 1:55.21 and Silver medallist, Keely Hodgkinson bettered the British best to 1:55.88. The future is very bright indeed for these youngsters.
Katie Ledecky, months before the start of the Olympics had been touted as a likely winner of Gold – and she achieved just that. However, this was no ordinary win, in fact, Ledecky won Gold at the 2020 Olympics first-ever women’s 1500 m event in swimming. A creditable achievement indeed.
And with that, we wave goodbye to yet another year of sheer Olympic magic. It came one year later, though. It has been such a tough year and a half due to the Covid pandemic, but everyone associated with the Olympics really pulled off a magnificent event that will be talked about for years to come. Now, we look forward to Paris 2024!
(Pictures by Prins Gunasekara)