The 2021 Tokyo Olympics: A Race to Go for the Gold

With+the+2021+Tokyo+Olympics+wrapped+up%2C+it+was+a+thrilling+two+weeks+of+competitive+competition+all+throughout+the+participating+countries.+With+the+United+States+trailing+behind+China+the+majority+of+the+way+in+gold+medals%2C+the+U.S+athletes+stepped+up+and+surpassed+China+in+the+final+day+of+the+competition%2C+finishing+with+39+total+medals.

Anthony Russo

With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics wrapped up, it was a thrilling two weeks of competitive competition all throughout the participating countries. With the United States trailing behind China the majority of the way in gold medals, the U.S athletes stepped up and surpassed China in the final day of the competition, finishing with 39 total medals.

Anthony Russo, Sports Editor

Every four years extraordinary athletes from over 200 countries compete in an international event known as the Olympics. The athletes who are eligible train vigorously, not only for a spot in the event but for the chance to honor their countries by being awarded either a bronze, silver or gold medal.

These medals do not compare to any other ones across the globe as they represent the peak of athletic dedication and achievement. With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics already concluded, The United States came away with the most gold medals, holding 39 total. China, despite being in the lead for the majority of the games, fell just short of holding the most gold medals, finishing with 38.

These 39 medals consist of multiple competitions such as Athletics, Basketball, Gymnastics and more. In each of the last two Olympics, the U.S. has held 46 gold medals respectively, which shows that their pace this year was relatively slower than previous years. Though COVID-19 hit and hindered the teams’ progress, athletes were still in high spirits and hopeful that they could pull through.

Athletics:

Athletics holds many competitions within its category, ranging from discus throwing to hurdles to distance running. The U.S. had four gold medalists in this category, the first being that of Valarie Alman. Alman specialized in discus throwing and beat Germany’s Kristin Pudenz and Cuba’s Yaime Perez on Aug. 2. Athing Mu was another gold medal winner who specialized in distance running. At age 19, Mu won in the 800-meter dash. In the process, Mu also broke Ajee Wilson’s national record, set in 2017, for a continental under 20 seconds.

Sydney McLaughlin was another standout, record-breaking gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles competition. McLaughlin set the internet ablaze when she broke her own record, established in her previous Olympics appearance back in 2016. Ryan Crouser, a reigning Olympic champion, impressed viewers by not only bringing a gold medal to the United States but also by breaking his own record in discus throwing. Crouser tossed the discus 74 feet and 11 inches to break his previous record by a little over one foot.

“Because the Olympics comes around once every four years, you have to make time to catch at least a couple of events. It is really great to see these athletes’ dreams come true on a worldwide level,” senior Alex Gonzalez said.

Basketball:

Team USA’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are infamous for being dominant in the Olympics. The women’s USA basketball team has won 8 of the last 11 gold medals in their regards and the men’s has won 16 total gold medals since their introduction in 1936.

This Olympics has been no different as both sides have once again walked away with gold medals. The women’s team won their gold medal in a three versus three game where they faced off against Russia in a 10-minute match.. The USA’s Women Team, which consisted of players Stephanie Dolson, Alisha Gray and Kelsey Plum, won in a close game with a score of 18-15.

Following the scrimmages in early July, the USA’s Men’s Basketball Team was written off early as they dropped their first two scrimmages. Team USA silenced the doubters, however, as they beat their opponents in a convincing fashion and ended up meeting France in the final round to compete for Gold. Team USA ended up beating France and bringing another gold medal to the United States.

Although team USA has dominated basketball in the Olympics over the past few decades, this year really seemed like the world had started to catch up with them. Although the other countries did play extremely well, the United States proved once again why they deserved gold”

— senior Daniel Michel

Gymnastics:

Gymnastics is a category that the U.S. has always performed well in, but after Simone Biles forfeited as she chose to put her mental health first, Russia came in and took gold in the team competitions.

Although unfortunate for the U.S., the setback was short-lived as Sunisa Lee, an 18-year-old from St. Paul, Minn., took home the gold for the U.S. in the all-around individual competition. Lee ended up beating Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade and Russia’s Angelina Melnikova. In the individual competitions, Lee also managed to bring home bronze in the uneven bars competition.

Following Lee’s bronze performance was Jade Carey, who took home the gold during the on-floor routine final. Carey finished with a score of 14.366, good enough to beat both Italy and Japan in the competition.

As the 2021 Tokyo Olympics wrapped up, the U.S. was able to push ahead at the closing moments of the event to surpass China by one gold medal. The event ended with the closing ceremony where they held the passing of the baton and extinguished the Olympic flame. With such a great display of worldwide athletes, the world can not wait to see the reopening of the Olympics in Paris 2024.