Torch Now Passes to Paris for 2024 Summer Olympic Games
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo wrapped up on Sunday, albeit a year behind the original schedule. It was hard to escape the reality that the Games were happening amidst a deadly global pandemic, yet, the world was treated to an amazing escape from reality as the athletes came together to compete during the unprecedented time in history.
Final Medal CountsRead More »
The Americans finished with 113 medals overall with 41 silver and 33 bronze medals. The 113 overall medals are distinguished as the second-largest amount going all the way back to the 1998 Summer Games when the Americans won 121. The US has finished first in overall medals dating back to the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
China was right on the heels of Team USA with 38 gold medals. However, the Chinese were well behind the overall count with 88 total medals. Japan notched third place in the overall medal count with 58.
Highlights from the Pool
Highlights of the Games for Team USA include swimmer Caeleb Dressel coming home with a whopping five gold medals for his performance in the pool. US swimmer Katie Ledecky continued her impressive run at the Olympic Games with two gold medals and two silver medals. Ledecky’s six individual gold medals over the years are the most of any female Olympic swimmer.
Track and Field Success
Over at the track, Americans Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad finished in first and second place in the 400-meter hurdles. McLaughlin set a world record while earning her gold medal. In addition, both the American women’s and men’s 4×400-meter relay teams crossed the finish line first to win gold. Team USA athlete Ryan Crouser set a new Olympic record three different times on his road to winning a gold medal in the shot put. Lastly, Allyson Felix earned her place in history by becoming the most decorated American track and field Olympian in US history when she notched her 11th career medal, passing the legendary Carl Lewis.
Women’s Gymnastics Battles Adversity
While Simone Biles’ decision to pull out of the majority of the competition due to mental health issues was a major storyline during these Games, the US Women’s Gymnastics team still managed to shine. The women nabbed the silver in the team competition even without Biles at the helm. Sunisa Lee took home the coveted gold medal for the all-around competition while also winning a bronze in the uneven bars. Her teammate MyKayla Skinner earned a silver medal in the vault final with Jade Carey taking the gold in the floor routine. Biles got her redemption arc when she was able to return on the final day of the competition to win the bronze on the balance beam.
Other Team USA Highlights
After a rocky start to the Games, the US Men’s Basketball team finally found a way to start winning, eventually beating France for the gold medal. Led by Kevin Durant with 29 points, Team USA won the championship game by a score of 87-82. On the women’s side, Brittney Griner scored 30 points to lead Team USA to a 90-75 victory over Japan in the gold medal match.
Team USA also swept the individual golf events with Xander Schauffele delivering the first US gold medal in the event since 1900 followed by Nelly Korda taking first on the women’s side.
COVID-19 Not the Story
Heading into the Games, the major plotline was sure to be COVID-19. However, despite a few glitches in the days leading up to the opening ceremonies, very few Olympic athletes had to deal with any COVID-19 cases or quarantines. For the most part, organizers were happy with how well the COVID-19 bubble held in the Olympic village.
Most of the confirmed cases of the virus were traced back to volunteers or staff members, rather than athletes or coaches. Despite the relative success of keeping the athletes protected from the virus, the city of Tokyo is dealing with a significant surge in new cases. While not all of these cases can be traced back to the Games, the presence of such a large global contingent of travelers certainly did not help the cause.
Looking Ahead to 2024
Although there are usually four years between each Summer Games, the world will only need to wait three years due to the delay of the 2020 Games thanks to COVID-19. The 2024 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Paris, France.
The organizers of the Tokyo Games passed the torch to the Paris committee at the closing ceremonies. The French organizing committee is already offering a glimpse into what these Games may look like in this iconic European city. Some of the most legendary Parisian landmarks will serve as the backdrop of the events, including beach volleyball in front of the Eiffel Tower and the equestrian events at the Château de Versailles.
As the baton was passed, the organizers of the Paris games celebrated by unfurling the world’s biggest flap atop the Eiffel Tower. As the flag measuring the size of a football field was unveiled, the elite air team known as the Patrouille de France flew overhead to signal the arrival of the Games to Paris.
Paris last hosted the Games in 1924. The city of Los Angeles has already been awarded the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.
New and Returning Events
Team USA is bringing home three medals in three of the newest events, placing in 3×3 basketball, skateboarding, and surfing. Sport climbing was another event that made its debut at these Games. All of these sports are set to be contested again at the Paris Games. Breakdancing will also enter the fray in Paris.
However, baseball, softball, and karate are not on the docket for the Paris Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) gives the host country the discretion to add sports as it fits their culture. While baseball, softball, and karate are popular sports in Japan, the French decided against including them during the competition in Paris
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