On Friday night, July 23, the 2020 Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo took place. Yes, the 2020 opening ceremony occurred in 2021. We all know why- the delay of the Summer Olympics was yet another side effect of COVID-19.
United By Emotion At 2020 Olympics
The title of the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was “United By Emotion” and the stands were almost entirely bare due to limited capacity, as Japan and its frontline workers are still vehemently battling the pandemic. This year, the US team was represented by flag bearers Sue Bird (point guard for Seattle Storm) and Eddy Alvarez (infielder for Miami Marlins). This opening ceremony was similar to others we’ve seen over the years, aside from the bare audience.
Osaka Lights Olympic Torch
Perhaps the most moving moment of the ceremony was witnessing tennis star, Naomi Osaka, lighting the Olympic cauldron, that will remain lit for the entirety of the Olympic Games and extinguished at closing ceremony. Osaka, whose mother is Japanese, is often found representing Japan on the world stage. Osaka was last in the press after her withdrawal from the French Open and open acknowledgement of mental health struggles.
This somehow made her the most perfect candidate to light the Olympic flame, Japanese heritage aside. Similar to the rest of the world, who has struggled in some way throughout the last year, it seems more than clear that she is here and ready to compete. Viewers and fans all over the world are also ready to get back to it, and experience a semblance of normality in these trying times.
Highlights After 2020 Olympics Opening Weekend
Coming away from this weekend, the United States trails behind Japan for the most gold medals, with 7 (Japan has 8). China is currently leading in total medal count, with 18, followed by the US with 14. This is just the beginning and anything can change by the closing ceremony of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
US Women’s Gymnastics
The US women’s gymnastics team underperformed and was overshadowed by Russia. Even superstar, Simone Biles, fumbled and made a few small errors. She’s still undoubtedly the GOAT and will have a chance, along with the rest of the team, to redeem herself on Tuesday.
US Women’s Soccer
After a disappointing loss to Sweden, the women came out fighting- or shall I say KICKING in their game against New Zealand on Saturday. With a relentless goal of getting the ball in the net, they did it– 6 times. The US Women’s National Team is currently second in Group G, behind Sweden. The women still have a chance to win gold and become the first women’s soccer team to take home gold at the Olympics, after winning the World Cup (which they did in 2019). Fingers crossed for these ladies.
US Men’s Basketball
In a disappointing 83-76 loss to France, the men’s basketball team shot only 36% in Sunday’s game. This was their first Olympic loss since 2004. Evan Fournier (France) led the game with 28 points. Fournier played last season for the Celtics. Jrue Holiday, who just helped the Bucks to win the NBA title, came in with 18 points. This game, and perhaps this team is a reminder that while the US has incredible players, including Kevin Durant, these players do not necessarily know how to play together. With a slim possibility that they can figure it out in time, we just sit and hope for the best for this group of talented men.
The Swim Team Brings In The Gold
After opening day on Saturday, the US failed to bring in any medals. By midday Sunday, the American men and women’s swim teams had half a dozen. Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland took home gold and silver in the 400 IM.
US 10m Air Rifle Gold
20-year-old Will Shaner, the youngest man to ever compete for the US in a rifle event, took home the gold, with China’s Sheng Lihao trailing behind him.
US Wins First Ever Fencing Gold Medal
27-year-old Lee Keifer won the first ever US gold medal in fencing at the Tokyo Olympics. This is Keifer’s first ever medal, after coming in 5th at the 2012 olympics.
A Gold Medal In Taekwondo
18-year-old Anastasija Zoloitic became the first American woman to win a gold medal for taekwondo. It’s been 16 years since American Steven Lopez took home a gold medal in 2004.
There you have it, folks. And the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are just getting started.