The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were nothing like we have ever seen before. Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic led the Olympics to take place a year after they were initially supposed to be held. Secondly, there were no fans allowed in the arena, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo. So, no family members of the athletes were allowed to be in the stands. The only people allowed in the stands were the athletes at the games already. Additionally, following the completion of their event, the Olympic athletes were required to return home. Although the pandemic made the Olympics different from what we are used to, there were still plenty of storylines throughout this year’s Olympics.
According to CBS Sports, this year the United States led all countries in total medals won during the Olympics. The United States has accomplished this feat every year since 1996 excluding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Additionally, the United States won the most gold medals, with 39. China was right behind the United States with 38 gold medals and Japan had the third most gold medals with 27. The United States also led all countries in silver medals with 41 and China was again the next closest country with 32.
Simone Biles withdrew from four gymnastics finals during the Olympics due to multiple reasons. She stated that mental health was a major factor in her decision to withdraw from multiple events. According to CBS Sports, she also appeared to have a condition called “twisties” which also led to her withdrawal from the events. The “twisties” are gymnastics version of the “yips,” where a gymnast loses their coordination and precision, which can be very dangerous to the gymnast. Ultimately, Biles did return to the Olympics and won bronze in the finals of the women’s balance beam.
This year swimmer Michael Phelps was not present so the people turned to see who his successor might be, and the United States may have him. Swimmer Caeleb Dressel was looked at as the United States’ new Phelps before the Olympics even started and he did not disappoint. According to The Athletic, Dressel won four gold medals in Tokyo. He first won the 100m freestyle, in which he also set an Olympic record. Next, he won the 100m butterfly, where he set the world record. Then he won the 50m freestyle and set another Olympic record. Finally, with the rest of Team USA, he competed in the 4x100m medley and won while setting another world record. It is safe to say he is ready to take on the mantle as the face of American men’s swimming.
The United States men’s basketball team had a rough start to the Olympics, as they lost multiple friendly matches before the Olympics even began. CBS Sports described how the USA men’s basketball team lost to France in the first game of the group stages. The team proceeded to win the rest of the games they played and won the fourth consecutive gold medal in men’s basketball for the United States. Kevin Durant led the team in scoring in the final against France with 29 points. He also passed Carmelo Anthony to become the all-time scoring leader in Olympic basketball for Team USA.
Allyson Felix was already one of the greatest track and field Olympic athletes of all time before entering the Tokyo Olympics. According to CBS Sports, she participated in the 4x400m relay with fellow athletes Sydney Mclaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu with the possibility of obtaining the most track and field medals by an American. The team proceeded to dominate the competition by winning by nearly four seconds. Felix then passed Carl Lewis and became the most decorated American track and field Olympic athlete as she obtained her 11th medal.
Finally, in the men’s high jump, there was an incredible competition between two athletes. In the final of the men’s high jump, two athletes went back and forth for the gold medal. Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi were in a tight duel until, according to NBC Sports, both athletes failed to get over 2.39 meters. After an official told them they could go to a jump off to see who would get the gold, Barshim asked if they could instead both get gold medals, which was then allowed. Both athletes obtained a gold medal and Tamberi was ecstatic. CBS Sports reported that both athletes had previously had ankle injuries that inhibited them from competing in major events from the past few years, but after hard work they both succeeded in making a return and both ended up winning a gold medal in the high jump.