Flag bearer Kara Winger at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 8, 2021 in Tokyo.
TOKYO — The weather on the final day of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was a metaphor for these Games. With the Closing Ceremony looming in Tokyo’s open-air Olympic Stadium, a typhoon was unleashing torrential rain on the city.
But as evening approached, the rain stopped and skies cleared, and a warm evening welcomed the athletes to the Closing Ceremony. Just like Tokyo had warmly greeted the athletes (and all Games participants) in the previous weeks.
The Games had been postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the postponement is now, thankfully, a memory.
After 17 days of tough competition — and many months of uncertainty leading up to the Games, plus stringent restrictions and regular Covid-19 testing for all participants — the Closing Ceremony was a celebration that Tokyo had pulled off a successful Games. With a park-like setting, the ceremony offered a communal place for the athletes to relax and celebrate.
And U.S. athletes have much to celebrate. Team USA tallied 113 total medals, the most of any nation at the Tokyo Games, and the most gold medals, with 39 (one more than second-place China). Although it was not the most medals ever, or the most golds (the Rio Games still hold that honor), Team USA athletes scored many milestones.
With a silver in the team event and bronze on the balance beam, Simone Biles tied Shannon Miller as the most decorated U.S. gymnast in Olympic history, with seven medals. … Five-time Olympian Allyson Felix became the most decorated American track and field athlete, winning two more medals in her final Olympic Games. … Delaney Schnell and Jessica Parratto won the first medal for the U.S. in synchronized platform diving. … American teen Nevin Harrison won the first gold medal in women’s canoe/kayak. … At the Izu Velodrome south of Tokyo, Jennifer Valente became the first U.S. woman to win a U.S. gold medal in track cycling. … And Caeleb Dressel won five Olympic gold medals — the most of any American here in Tokyo — and set two world records in the pool.
To name a few.