An overview of the 2020 Olympics

By: Cody Vannoy

Sportswriter

Since the first Olympic games in 1896, the Olympics have only been cancelled three times. World War I cancelled the 1916 Olympics and then World War II cancelled the 1940 and 1944 Olympics. On March 24, 2020, however the Olympics were not cancelled but postponed until 2021. Then, on July 23, 2021, Japan’s tennis superstar, Naomi Osaka, carried the Olympic torch into the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan to start the highly anticipated Olympic games.

Memorable Moments

The United States won the overall medal count as well as the most golds out of any country. Team USA won 39 gold, 41 silver and 33 bronze medals for a total of 113 medals in 28 different sports. In these games, it was the women who helped carry Team USA to the overall medal count. In fact, 164 women medaled for Team USA, while 93 men medaled. China was the closest to defeating the Team USA’s quest for the most golds and overall, with the country winning 38 gold medals and 88 overall medals. Japan came in third place of the gold medal standings with 27 golds and the Russian Olympic Committee took third in the most medals won with 71.

Caleb Dressel swimming in Tokyo.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images photographer Jean Catuffee

The 24-year-old swimmer, Caeleb Dressel of the United States, joined an elite company of Olympian greats. With winning five Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, he became just the eleventh Olympian to accomplish that feat. He won the gold in the 4x100m medley relay, 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and the 4x100m freestyle relay. On top of all that, he set the world record in both the men’s 100m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock, the first black female from the United States to win gold in wresting.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images photographer Jack Guez

Tamyra Mensah-Stock made history in Tokyo, when she became the first Black U.S. woman to win an Olympic gold medal in wrestling. Mensah-Stock defeated Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu 4-1 in the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle wrestling final. The Olympic champion hoped her victory would inspire young Black girls in the United States to consider wrestling.

“These young women are going to see themselves in a number of ways and they’re going to look up there and go, I can do that,” said Mensah-Stock. “I can see myself.”

In her third Olympic Games, Katie Ledecky added to her already impressive career achievements. Ledecky won the gold in the 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle as well as took silver in the 400m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle. Ledecky’s six individual gold medals are the most of any female Olympic swimmer and female U.S. Olympian.

Katie Ledecky wins gold in the 15000 meters.
Photo Courtesy of AP News photographer Matthias Schrade

With Allyson Felix winning her eleventh Olympic medal, she passes the infamous Carl Lewis, to become the most decorated American in track and field. Felix won the bronze medal in the 400m and the gold medal in the 4x400m relay.

Underachieving Moments

The second highest ranked tennis player in the world, Naomi Osaka, was one of the biggest hopes for the host nation of Japan, however, she did not live up to the expectations in Tokyo. Osaka lost in the third-round to Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova, the number 42 ranked player in the world. Vondrousova went on to win the silver medal.

Novak Djokovic, the men’s world highest ranked tennis player, recently won Wimbledon, but walked away from Tokyo empty-handed. Djokovic would lose to the eventual gold medal winner, Alexander Zverev of Germany. Djokovic would eventually lose to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match and would withdraw from the mixed doubles bronze medal match.

With the retirement of Usain Bolt, the entire world was wondering who would take the title of the fastest man on earth. Trayvon Bromell was one of the favorites to become that man in the 100m, however, the American barely made it to the semi-finals. Bromell did not even qualify for the finals.

The USA’s 4x100m relay team also did not reach the finals in the 2020 Olympics. The defending world champion 4x100m relay team finished in sixth place in the second heat. The team consisted of Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Ronnie Baker and Cravon Gillespie.

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