Every four years, the Summer Olympic Games gather hundreds of athletes from all over the world to let them show their sportsmanship and physical excellence, test and exceed their limits, break records and set new ones.
Despite some evident difficulties concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the Games 2020 were full of unforgettable moments. Even the unique circumstances and lack of spectators haven’t decreased a level of joy and excitement consistent with the past Olympics.
We have collected ten things that we think everyone will remember about the Summer Olympics 2020.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
The number one topic on the planet for the last two years is worth mentioning on this list. These Olympics will always be called the Pandemic Olympics. They were arranged in a state of global crisis, in a country whose citizens mainly didn’t want them to hold. The Games were called the 2020 Olympics, even though 2020 ended a long time ago. It seems like an effort to make people forget about what happened then, a year ago. But no one who has overcome these times will ever forget.
The first beach volleyball game got canceled. Many athletes were tested positive before and during the tournament. People could hear protests outside the stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
We will never forget the images of masked-up athletes on the podiums and the absence of supporters. Nevertheless, this all stands out as unique, not awful, because we hope never to have to do it again.
We know Simone Biles as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time and remember her spectacular performance in Rio 2016. This year, however, Simona ended up in the spotlight but not due to her sports excellence.
It was a shock when Biles withdrew herself from the competitions, but things became more evident once we learned about what had happened. Biles struggled with the things, which presented a real danger to personal well-being and her team’s result.
Biles started a conversation that there is something much bigger than sports. Something about pressure and mental health. And she unveiled it with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Nevertheless, she managed to win a bronze medal after she returned, but it seems that it was her last performance to remember.
Since Biles was out of the individual all-around, someone else had to win it. And it was Suni Lee who became the fifth US athlete to win this desirable medal. She already had something that made people sympathize with her – the first Hmong American Olympian dedicated her Olympic gold medal to her sick father.
But she also made a name in the history of gymnastics at a good time. As many people pointed out during the Games, she would enroll at Auburn University this fall. And due to the new name, image, and likeness rules, she will be able to compete for the college team and make a ton of money.
Of course, we will remember her winning performance in Tokyo, but it looks like the Olympics just happened right in time to make her a superstar college athlete.
The New Sports
Everything is changing, and the Olympics are not an exclusion. We think these Olympics will be remembered for some sports that made their debuts. Sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing were warmly welcomed and will be back in Paris in 2024. The other debut in Tokyo was 3×3 basketball, technically the same basketball, and Japan’s organizing committee did not choose it. But if all those four new sports remain in the Games for a long time, they may all be remembered together, and the difference could be erased.
Anyway, as the Olympics try to move forward and extend its audience, these Games introduced some new sports that breathed life into this event. With so many teenagers on the podium, the only question remained: will even younger athletes replace them, or will this first set of medalists stick around until the next Olympics?
Dressel coped with a nearly impossible task. He pulled ahead by setting an ambitious racing goal and succeeded Michael Phelps as the best male American swimmer at the Olympic Games. Dressel won five gold medals, set two world records and two other Olympic records.
He did more than just Phelps had done before. And he was imposing enough to be remembered for both his results and for grabbing the torch from his forerunner. Dressel is only 24 now, which means he has plenty of time to beat all possible records in Paris. And he will become an even more impressive athlete when he gets there.
Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus
Ledecky was truly impressive in 2016. The first image arising when we think about Rio 2016 is her on the other side of the pool, finished, waiting for the competitors to catch up. Ledecky was not so invincible in 2020, though she was still very successful, grabbing two gold and two silver medals.
However, in 2020 Titmus proved to be a worthy rival. She won gold in their first swim, the 400-meter freestyle, and it added a drop of drama to the competitions, showing the unbeatable Ledecky could be beaten. Then she won the 200-meter freestyle, while Ledecky finished without a medal.
After that, Ledecky managed to win the 1,500 later that night. Later Ledecky was back to square one by winning gold in the 800.
Indeed, people may forget the order of the races, or even who won which, but we suppose we’ll remember Ledecky and Titmus going toe-to-toe.
The High Jump Tie
On 1 August 2021, Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy and Qatari athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim were declared joint winners of the men’s high jump. What followed next was one of the best reactions you can imagine, particularly from Tamberi, and years from now, people will be happy they saw it.
Indeed, there were many remarkable moments in track and field this summer. Karsten Warholm impressed the whole world when he broke an old 400-meter hurdles record. The competition between Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad was incredible. But we believe the high jump tie is the top moment.
You will hardly forget something like two friends finishing tied in the high jump and then one of them jumping into the mate’s arms and then rolling around on the track, not even trying to restrain his feelings.
Felix is the most titled US track and field athlete ever, and the Tokyo Olympics has become the place to claim her that honor.
Felix is 35 now, and these are her fifth Olympics in total and the first since giving birth to her child in 2018. Some time ago, she revealed in The New York Times how Nike decided to pay her 70% less after childbirth and wouldn’t renew her contract if her results slipped. So she came to the Olympics to win a bronze and a gold medal. That is the thing that made her a legend. Felix proved to be as powerful as any young athlete, on and off the track.
His mother gave his name after legendary wrestler Dan Gable. If you watched Gable Steveson this summer, you might agree he is worth being on the list. That’s why he was predetermined to win his gold-medal match in an astonishing performance.
He also openly discusses the idea of joining the WWE, and why on earth wouldn’t the WWE accept him? We think Steveson can turn the gold medal and the backflip into unlimited fame and income. We believe you will be aware of him in ten years, even if you are not interested in professional wrestling. And you will remember that he became famous at the 2020 Olympics, even if you didn’t watch the match.
The Time Zone
One of the significant problems for the audience during these Olympics was that too many of the events were held in the middle of the night, and most fans couldn’t watch them live.
Over time, I think many of the complaints (like several other things here) will fade or vanish. Fewer people watched the 2020 Olympics than ever before. Still, many years from now, people won’t remember these specific circumstances about particular streaming platforms they had access to at that time or which events were on in the morning. Although the time zone made it hard for Americans to follow everything in time, and they didn’t watch as much as they usually do, they will hardly remember this minor nuisance in some years.
Indeed, there were many other things we considered worth listing. After a chaotic 2020 because of the pandemic, the postponed Summer Olympics nevertheless took place in Tokyo. While we couldn’t watch the Games in person, it was still possible to enjoy the Olympics regardless of whether you were there in Tokyo or elsewhere in the world.
Japan already had a long history with the Olympics; the country hosted several Summer and Winter Games before this year’s events. Though these Games were called unique in their organization, we will try to remember all the medals, smiles, and emotions they gave the world.