2021 Tokyo Olympics Recap: Highlights, History, and More

2020 Tokyo Olympic Medals

It’s nearly been a month since the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games took place, and we’re still celebrating the results. The United States took home the most gold, and with the highest total medal count, we’re proud of Team USA, to say the least! Aside from some incredible wins, these Olympic Games also made history with some new additions, broken records, and more.

Just because the games are over doesn’t mean awesome sports feats have to end. The 2022 Winter Olympics are around the corner, and some major sports seasons are about to start. Read on for a recap of the Summer Olympics and what to look forward to in the world of sports!


2021 Tokyo Olympics Highlights


The 2021 Tokyo Olympics, still officially called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was truly one of the most historic Olympic Games to date. Of course, having a pandemic thrown into the mix is one of the most notable historic moments, but there are plenty of other events that took place during this awesome show of athleticism and unity. From countries winning their first gold medals to four new sports being added to the roster, the Tokyo Olympic Games definitely made some history.


Tokyo Olympics 2021 Medals

  1. ​​United States: 39 gold, 113 total
  2. China: 38 gold, 88 total
  3. Japan: 27 gold, 58 total
  4. Great Britain: 22 gold, 65 total
  5. ROC: 20 gold, 71 total
  6. Australia: 17 gold, 46 total
  7. Italy: 10 gold, 40 total
  8. Germany: 10 gold, 37 total
  9. Netherlands: 10 gold, 36 total
  10. France: 10 gold, 33 total

The total medal count for all countries can be found here.


Woman Biting Gold Olympic Medal


Olympic Firsts & Records Broken

  • New Olympic sports added: 3×3 basketball, surfing, sport climbing, and skateboarding
  • Philippines earned its first gold when weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made her record-breaking 127 kilogram lift
  • India earned its first gold in athletics when Neeraj Chopra threw the javelin 87.58 meters, earning him the top spot on the podium
  • Qatar earned its first gold when Fares El-Bakh won the gold medal in weightlifting
  • Bermuda earned its first gold when Flora Duffy won in the women’s triathlon
  • Hong Kong earned its first gold since the territory’s handover in 1997 when Edgar Cheung Ka-long won in fencing
  • Yulimar Rojas broke the world record in the women’s triple jump
  • Carissa Moore won the first gold medal in women’s surfing
  • Yuto Horigome of Japan won the first gold medal in men’s skateboarding
  • Japan’s 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya became the first gold medalist in women’s street skateboarding
  • The U.S. women’s team became the first to win gold in 3×3 basketball
  • Japan’s Abe Uta and older brother Abe Hifumi became the first brother and sister to win golds at the same Games
  • San Marino (population 34,000) became the smallest country to medal at the Games


Olympic Inclusivity

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first transgender athlete to qualify for the Olympics’ 125-year history. Additionally, a soccer midfielder on the Canadian women’s team named Quinn was the first out, transgender, and nonbinary athlete to compete and medal (and with gold!), and skateboarder Alana Smith is the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete in the Games.

The 2021 Olympics also expanded the number of mixed-gender competitions. Seven sports added mixed-gender events to their roster this year, including track, swimming, shooting, judo, and table tennis. In total, men and women competed side-by-side in 18 events. The IOC also claimed that this was the most gender-balanced Olympics on record, with women making up close to 49% of the 11,000 athletes – up from 45.6% at the Rio Games in 2016.


Man Skiing to Compete in Winter Olympics


Olympics: What’s Next?


A month after the games have ended, you’re probably itching for more. What’s next for the Olympics? Typically, the Summer Olympic Games and Winter Olympic Games are held approximately two years apart. Because the pandemic pushed the 2020 Olympics to 2021, that means the 2022 Winter Olympics are actually just around the corner! Held from February 4 to February 20 in Beijing, the Beijing 2022 XXIV Olympic Winter Games will feature winter sports such as alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, snowboarding, and much more. If you’re a hockey fan, keep an eye out for NHL players who will be participating.

Speaking of hockey, while you’re waiting for the next round of Olympic games, there are plenty of other sports to watch. NFL football season begins in September, NBA basketball season and NHL hockey season both start in October, college basketball season picks up in November. It’s going to be a great end to 2021 and start to 2022!

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