Athletes from around the world offer praise and thanks to Tokyo and Japan

As the first large-scale international sports event since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 required major adjustments by all involved. The impact of the pandemic was particularly challenging for Olympic athletes, disrupting training, limiting their ability to travel, and forcing them to delay their dreams of competing on a global stage. 

Team USA Team USA - ©2021 Getty Images

Those setbacks appeared to be largely forgotten as the Tokyo 2020 Games neared their end. Athletes from multiple sports offered glowing reviews of their Olympic Games experience and expressed gratitude to their Japanese hosts.

“I am seeing and communicating with all kinds of Japanese volunteers, who are absolutely amazing. Totally amazing. I can see their smiles in their eyes and that means a lot to me.” - Kimberly Daniels, canoeing, Canada

“Leaving the village with a heavy heart. But how grateful I am to [have] lived these amazing @Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. Thank you for the warm welcome and the amazing memories!” - Alize Cornet, tennis, France


“My experience here has been amazing. All the Japanese who are working are just so friendly and welcoming to us. It’s really been amazing. Everyone’s been so friendly, so welcoming and really helpful.” - Katie Zaferes, triathlon, USA

“We are so happy that we can be here, that we can compete, that we have Olympic Games. I think each country is really thankful for the Games, because then we are much more in the focus of all the world, and it helps the younger riders at home a lot, to get the motivation, to get the support.” - Isabell Werth, equestrian, Germany

“They’ve done an amazing job. I mean, six weeks ago, I still didn't think this would happen.” - Carl Hester, equestrian, Great Britain

“I've had a blast… So thankful for the opportunity.” - Sally Fitzgibbons, surfing, Australia

Team Netherlands display a banner reading "thank you Japan, from Team Netherlands federation" ©2021 Getty Images Team Netherlands display a banner reading "thank you Japan, from Team Netherlands federation" ©2021 Getty Images

“It's been great. The hospitality from the Japanese people has been insane… It's been awesome for sure. This is my fourth time here. I love coming to Japan. It's always great.” - Kolohe Andino, surfing, USA

“It's really cool and we have had two great weeks, absolutely.” - Jeanette Hegg Duestad, shooting, Norway

“It still felt like an Olympics. The atmosphere, the emotions, and the rush still felt like an Olympic Games. I think that goes to show how good the organising committee is.” - Valerie Adams, shot put, New Zealand

“It was amazing, something we thought we would never have the chance to experience. We enjoyed it a lot.” - Rui Silva, handball, Portugal


“It was great. It was a great experience. Like, it was overwhelming the situation here. Also, the community, everything was so exciting.” - Nadine Weratschnig, canoe slalom, Austria

“Japan is always a cool experience, I like it here. Obviously it’s the first time in an athletes’ village for me, so not a bad experience to be in the same village as some real athletes.” - Alexander Megos, sport climbing, Germany

“I am so pleased to be here. I want to thank the government of Japan for welcoming of the refugees…Thank you to the people of Japan for welcoming us.” - Rose Nathike Lokonyen, athletics, IOC Refugee Olympic Team

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