Tokyo: The 2020 Olympic Games has already had some of the most memorable, iconic, and wholesome moments in Olympic history. Other than being one of the first important global sports competitions bringing the world closer by being held after two years of worldwide solitude, the 2020 Olympic Games have already gone viral for various other reasons.
Fiancés to Frenemies: Amanda Chidester of Team USA and Anissa Urtez of Team Mexico, an engaged couple, faced off against each other late Friday night during Olympic round-robin play at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Tokyo. The couple made history for being the first engaged or married couple to compete against each other in a non-equestrian sport in the Olympics. The couple went viral on the internet, with Anissa posting on her Instagram, “Don’t worry guys. We still love each other. She’s still my idol. So proud to be yours,” and winning the public’s hearts.
Refugee Olympic Team: For the second time in Olympic history, the Refugee Olympic Team is competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games. The team, a representation of the enrichment that refugees bring to different countries and cultures, consists of 11 players from Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela, competing in various sports such as athletics, badminton, flatwater kayaking, boxing, judo, karate, road cycling, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. The first Refugee Olympic Team participated in 2016.
Transgender and LGBTQ+ Visibility: This year, the Olympics have given visible representation to the LGBT+ community, with transgender athletes competing in the Olympic Games for the first time in its history. These athletes include— Quinn, for OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League for Canada; Lauren Hubbard in women’s weightlifting for New Zealand; and cyclist Chelsea Wolfe in Women’s BMX Freestyle for the US. Further, the number of openly LGBTQ+ athletes at this Olympics has doubled since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Young Savants: This year, the Olympic Games held its first-ever women’s Olympic skateboarding competition. And iconically enough, the gold was won by Japan’s 13-year old Nishiya Momiji, with Brazil’s 13-year old Rayssa Leal winning silver, and Japan’s 16-year old Nakayama Fuma winning bronze! Further, 12-year old Syria’s Hend Zaza, competing in table tennis women’s single, became the fifth-youngest person to compete in the Olympics in its history, and the youngest participant of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Gender Balance and Equality: The International Olympic Committee has stated that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the most gender-balanced in their athletic make-up in the entire history of the Olympics, with women’s participation at 48.8%. This milestone is groundbreaking, and a stark reminder of progress when compared to the athletic make-up of athletes in 1900 when women first started competing in the games, constituting just 23 athletes out of 1,000. This year, over half of the competing nations including the top nine in the final medal standings at the 2016 Summer Olympics, are sending teams made up of nearly 50% women to Tokyo. These include China, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and Italy.