Summer Olympics Tokyo 2020 in Review


(Credit: Tokyo 2020 Olympics/

Fireworks shoot into the sky at the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Despite Covid, the Summer Olympics took place over these past two weeks in Tokyo. The games were delayed a year, as they were supposed to happen in summer 2020. With 205 nations competing and 11,326 athletes, the Olympics kicked off on July 23rd. There were 339 events in 39 sports. 

The US has been consistently successful in women’s soccer, track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and basketball. However, American fencer, Lee Kiefer, became the first ever American fencer to win gold at the Olympics, and Anastasija Zolotic became the first American woman to win gold in Taekwondo. The US earned the most medals over all (113) and the most gold medals (39).

The Summer Olympics only happen every four years (or in this case five), so when they do occur, many people are excited to cheer for their country and watch their favorite athletes compete at the highest level. However, because of the time difference, it was difficult for Massachusetts fans to watch the games live. Although events are replayed at more convenient times, many people already know the outcome of that event, making it less exciting to watch. 

Track and Field 

Track was incredible to watch this year in Tokyo. The US Olympic Trials were unpredictable — a reigning world champ failed to make the team, a college freshman won the women’s 800m, and world records were broken in the 400m hurdles and shot put — which only made the Olympic track events more widely anticipated for the track community. There are a lot of events to break down, so I’ll only cover the ones that stood out the most. 

As probably the most dominant and versatile women’s distance runner in the world this year, Sifan Hassan had her eyes on a grueling triple victory in the 1500m, 5000m, and 10000m races. Despite falling with a lap to go in the semi-finals (which she got back up to win), the Dutch runner won the 5k and 10k handily against the best in the world, and came up just short of her goal by placing third in a crazy-fast 1500m race. Two golds and a bronze is an unbelievable result for a distance runner in track and field, and the Tokyo Olympics solidified Hassan’s place among the best runners of all time.  

In the women’s 800m, 19 year old American Athing Mu continued her awe-inspiring season by leading from the front almost the entire race and closing with a time of 1:55 to take the W. The silver medalist was also 19 — Briton Keely Hodgkinson shocked herself by breaking 1:55 — and American Raevin Rodgers passed six women in the last 100 meters to win the bronze medal. All three women collected personal bests on the Olympic stage. 

The men and women’s 4×400 hurdles each displayed highly anticipated match-ups: Norwegian Karsten Warholm bested American Rai Benjamin to break his own world record, and American Sydney McLaughlin also broke her world record from the Olympic Trials to beat fellow American Dalilah Muhammed. The men’s 4x100m relay might have been one of the best the world has ever seen. The Canadian team was in contention for gold in nearly all four legs, with the 100m bronze and 200m gold medalist Andre de Grasse as their anchor leg. However, the Italians shocked everyone with their anchor’s push for the lead with only about 10 meters to go, and they took the gold. 

After breaking the world record in the Olympic Trials, shot putter Ryan Crouser beat his rival, Joe Kovacs, broke the Olympic record three times, and won gold. The last event of the Games for track and field (in this case, road racing) is the men’s and women’s marathon. Kenyans Peres Jepchirchir and Brigid Kosgei fought the brutal heat and humidity for 26.2 miles to win gold and silver, respectively, and the US runner, Molly Seidel (a Notre Dame alum!), grinded it out for bronze. In the men’s race, icon and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge decisively broke away from the field with about 10 miles to go and won by almost 90 seconds. 

Kasey Corra ‘22, Assistant Editor-in-Chief


With approximately 3.5 billion fans worldwide, soccer is always a widely watched sport at the Olympics. On the men’s side only the Under 23 teams are allowed to compete because the Euro, Gold Cup, and Copa America are all at similar times as the Olympics. Having the younger teams compete in the Olympics allows for the highest level of teams to recover from the previous tournaments. 

This year the US men’s team did not qualify. Brazil beat Spain to win gold, and Mexico beat Japan 3-1 to win bronze. 

On the women’s side, the US has been a consistent powerhouse, and is the most successful in international women’s soccer, having won four world cups. The US women have also won four Olympic gold medals. In this year’s Olympics, the US looked a bit off and were not able to perform at their usual level. This year, the US advanced to the quarter finals and beat the Netherlands in penalty kicks to move on to the semi-finals. However, the US suffered a loss to Canada in the semis, losing their chances of gold or silver. They beat Australia 4-3 and took home bronze. Two of the team’s leaders and veterans, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, each scored two goals. On August 6th, Canada beat Sweden in penalty kicks to claim gold for the first time in 117 years. 

Cate Lynch ‘24, Sports Editor


Swimming was exciting to watch this year.  There were many newcomers winning, some of them even beating the former champions. 

Caleb Dressel was incredible this year.  He placed in all six of his events and won gold in five of them.  Dressel also broke yet another world record in his gold-medal 100m butterfly.  In the past he had been overshadowed by other swimmers, such as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, but this year he was able to create an impressive legacy with his medal count.  Dressel, along with Ryan Murphy, Micheal Andrew, and  Zach Apple, won gold in the men’s 4×100 meter medley relay, setting a new world record of 3:26.78.  

Lydia Jacoby, the first Team USA swimmer from Alaska, won gold in the 100 meter breaststroke.  She also participated in the women’s 4x100m medley relay which received the  silver medal. Katie Ledecky earned four medals at this year’s Olympic games, two gold and two silver.  She participated and won the 1500m freestyle at the event’s olympic debut.  The US won another gold medal in the 1500 freestyle with Bobby Finke who also obtained the gold in the men’s 800 freestyle.  

 Overall Team USA swimming won a total of 30 medals.  With 11 gold, 10 silver, and 9 bronze they are at the top for swimming.  At the beginning of the Olympics, many worried that Australia might overpower the US team.  However the US swimmers persevered and took home medals in 30 events — defeating Australia once again. 

–Josie Marcucci ‘25 & Rosie Reale ‘24, Staff Writers


Watching gymnastics at the Olympics sent waves of excitement and emotion over everyone. The most noticeable person: Simone Biles. Everyone knows about Biles’ many “twisties” and turns. But at the end of the day Biles left the Olympics, becoming a champion for both gymnastics and mental health.  During the team competition (which the US was expected to win), Biles suffered a very dangerous mental block: The Twisties. The twisties are when a gymnast becomes disoriented in the air and loses a sense of direction and placement. Biles knew how dangerous it would be if she continued in the competition, so she dropped out leaving the entire world in shock. This surprise overshadowed the rest of the gymnastics events.

Even though Team USA lost their strongest gymnast, they won silver for the team competition (ROC won Gold). Jade Carey replaced Biles as gold medalist for the floor, Suni Lee for Individual-all-around, and Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade claimed her vault title. Team USA’s McKayla Skinner won silver for vault. And in a surprising turn of events, Biles competed in the last event: Beam, and she walked away with a bronze medal. The Women’s Gymnastics team won six Olympic medals: two gold, two silver, and two bronze.

The Men’s Gymnastics team finished 5th in the team Competition. The ROC won gold, Japan silver, and China bronze. The team consists of  Brody Malone, Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus, and Sam Mikulak, and Alec Yoder competing in the individual on the pommel horse. 

In Individual events, Yul placed sixth on the floor exercise, Alec placed sixth on Pommel horse, Sam placed sixth on parallel bars, and Brody fourth on horizontal bar. For the All-around final, Brody placed 10th and Sam placed 12th. Overall, both women’s and men’s teams did a fantastic job at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Cecilia Ashenuga ‘24, Food Editor


The USA basketball teams fared well at this year’s Olympic Games.  Despite holding the gold medal at the last three Olympic Games, the USA men’s team was coming off the worst finish in a major international competition in years.  At the FIBA World Cup in 2019, they placed seventh.  When they lost to France in the opener, many doubted that the US would take home another medal in men’s basketball.  Having won a medal in each of the 18 Olympics the men’s team had participated in, 15 of those being gold, this would be a great loss.  However the men’s team was able to win their fourth title in a row over the French, their long standing rivals. 

This year a new event was added to the roster: 3×3 basketball.  This event is played on a half-court and with a slightly smaller ball.  They even played music during the game.   The USA women’s team — consisting of Allisha Gray, Stefanie Dolson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young — won the gold medal in this event’s Olympic debut.  

The USA national women’s basketball team led by Sue Bird won its seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal.  Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird became the first basketball players to have five Olympics gold medals from the summer games.  In the final game they defeated Japan, who made it into medal contention for the first time ever.  Starting in 1996 with Dawn Staley, who now coaches the team, the USA women’s national team has remained undefeated for 55 games straight.  

Overall, Team USA won three gold medals in basketball in Tokyo.  All the teams did an amazing job and we hope to see these teams defend their titles in the upcoming years.

Rosie Reale ‘24, Staff Writer