Top Five Moments from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics concluded on Sunday with the closing ceremonies, and it certainly was a memorable edition of the Games. With no spectators, rising COVID concerns, and shocking withdrawals, the 2020 Olympics, which were delayed a year, was consistently the top news story for two whole weeks. 

Now that the Olympics are over, it’s time to reflect on just how amazing these Games were. After an incredibly hard year, having some sort of normalcy return with the Olympic tradition was really quite refreshing. There were so many incredible moments of strength, triumph, inspiration, and pure dominance from all the countries competing. 

There were a lot of memorable moments during the Olympics, but there are five specific ones I want to highlight. It was an incredibly hard list to make, truth be told, because there were so many jaw dropping moments. I didn’t rank of any these moments, because they are all equal in sheer brilliance, so enjoy the top five most (equally) amazing moments from the Tokyo Olympics:

  • Caeleb Dressel wins his first individual gold and tearfully reunites (virtually) with his family
    • Dressel had a truly unforgettable run at these Olympics. He took home five gold medals, with two of them being in team competition. He set two world records and two Olympic records and became just the third American swimmer to win three individual gold medals in a single Olympics. The most touching moment of the Olympics came early on, where Dressel won his first individual gold medal in the Men’s 100 M Freestyle. Dressel teared up at the thought of winning his first individual gold, which kicked off an amazing Olympic run for the swimmer. In the post-race interview, though, the real emotions hit, as he was able to connect with his family briefly over Microsoft Teams. The humble young man broke down getting to talk to his wife, mother, and father after they watched him win his gold. It put the biggest smile on my face and gave everyone at home all the best feelings! The 24-year-old swimmer has an amazing and historic career ahead of him, for sure. 
  • Allyson Felix becomes the most decorated athlete in Olympic track and field history
    • Allyson Felix is one special person. At 35 years old, she competed in her fifth (and final) Olympic Games in Tokyo, and still looked like the superior runner. She took home two medals in this Olympics, winning gold in the Women’s 4×400 M Relay, and bronze in the Women’s 400 M. This puts her at 11 medals all time and makes her a truly legendary athlete that has cemented her place as one of the best track and field athletes to ever take a step. Women’s track and field was represented well with Team USA, with New Jersey native Sydney McLaughlin setting a new world record in the 400 M hurdles to win the gold, with fellow American Dalilah Muhammad also breaking the record, but winning the silver. Clearly, Felix is leaving the team in good hands with athletes like them, but her legacy will never be forgotten!
  • Quan Hongchan wins diving gold in historic performance at 14 years old
    • If the Olympics were not postponed last year, Hongchan would not have been eligible to compete, as she would’ve been too young. But luckily for her (and all of us watching), she just made the age restriction this year to compete in the 10-metre women’s platform diving event. In the finals of the event, each diver performed five different dives. In Hongchan’s second and fourth dives, she received very rare perfect scores, earning 10’s from all seven judges. In her fifth and final dive, she nearly achieved perfection, with six judges giving her 10’s, and one giving her a 9.5. It was a truly remarkable performance for the young diver, who easily won the gold for China with a total score of 466.20, which set a new record. The previous record was 447.70 points, so she was a full 18.5 points higher, shattering the record and becoming one of the best divers the world has ever seen.
  • Bobby Finke storms back to win gold in 800 M and 1500 M
    • A rookie at these Olympics, Bobby Finke was known for being a strong long-distance swimmer. He represented Team USA in both the 800 and 1500 M Finals, where he had very similar performances in both events. Finke trailed for much of the 800 M Final (which is 16 lengths of the pool), consistently staying in fifth place for the first 750 meters. But, in the last 25 meters or so, Finke suddenly came out of nowhere, with a second wind kicking in, thrusting him ahead of the pack. He surprisingly took home the gold despite trailing most of the race, as he was clearly pacing himself for an electric finish. If that wasn’t enough, he did the exact same thing in the 1500 M Final!!! With a mile-long race that goes 30 lengths of the pool, Finke again found himself trailing for the first 1450 meters but came alive at the end to win his second Olympic gold. The future is bright for the 21-year-old Finke! 
  • Jade Carey and Suni Lee step up and win gold in Simone Biles’ absence
    • Arguably the biggest storyline of these Olympics was Simone Biles. After experiencing mental health issues and getting the “twisties,” which is a predicament among gymnasts when they don’t where they are when they’re in the air, causing a potentially very dangerous situation, the other members of Team USA Gymnastics were forced to raise their game. Biles dropped out of every event final except the balance beam (where she won bronze), and her fellow teammates stepped up big time in her absence. First, in the women’s individual all-around final, 18-year-old Suni Lee won the gold with a total score of 57.433, a near 0.2 points ahead of the silver winner. Her performance allowed Team USA to win their fifth gold medal in the individual all-around in a row, and Lee joins a list of the most elite gymnasts of all time. Carey, on the other hand, had a similar amount of pressure to perform, being the only American to represent the team in the women’s floor exercise final. She performed remarkably to win the gold, and certainly made all of Team USA proud! Both Lee and Carey showed a resilience and determination that few athletes possess, and it set up their extraordinary performances.

So, it was clearly a pretty memorable Olympics. There were so many incredible highlights, and I am personally looking forward to seeing what these athletes have in store in Paris for the 2024 Games!


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