Yuzuru Hanyu-approved gyozas star of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village

Meet the Tokyo 2020 athletes' dining hall gyozas that won gold after they went down a treat amongst athletes throughout the Games.

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

Food for thought? How about food for sport.

That was line of approach in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village dining hall, where gyozas - which are half-moon shaped dumplings traditionally filled with minced meat, vegetables, and seasonings - dumplings in particular were adored by athletes.

As athletes soaked up the experience of being in Japan during the Games, some documented their food findings and raved about the traditional dishes on offer.

United States rugby star Ilona Maher shared on her social media just how much she loved the tastes of the home nation, sharing videos of the gyozas alongside clips of spring rolls and ramen:

“Not to be dramatic or anything, but these are the best gyoza dumpling things I’ve ever had in my life,” she said.

American volleyball player Erik Shoji echoed his compatriot’s enthusiasm for the dish similarly saying: “These gyozas are the bomb!”

A taste of the Games

There’s a particularly good, sporting reason why athletes at Tokyo fell in love with the gyozas.

The dumplings available on offer in the Olympic Village first began production back in 2019 after two-time Winter Olympic gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu publicly declared his love of the food.

Seizing the opportunity to create something the figure skater could eat while he trained and competed, Hanyu was asked if he would taste-test a new product. He agreed.

So apparently delicious were the Hanyu-tested gyozas that 600,000 were served up during the course of the Games in Tokyo.

While the cardboard beds may have stolen the headlines surrounding athlete experiences of life in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic village, it is safe to say that by the end of the Games, the real gold medal winners are the gyozas.