Reflections on Tokyo 2020 as Games pass midway point

01 Aug 2021
IOC News Tokyo 2020

Historic moments and record engagement defined the first half of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as the world’s attention turned to sport and the heroics being witnessed in venues across Japan.

A general view of play at sunset in the 3x3 Basketball competition on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©2021 Getty Images

Reflecting on the Games as they passed the half-way point this weekend, the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi, said at the daily press briefing in Tokyo: “Has sport ever looked so good? The bar has been set extremely high with you [Tokyo 2020] and your team… Every time we go out there [to venues], it really looks fabulous.”

Volunteers © IOC/ Ubald Rutar

Noting the massive interest in the Games across digital and linear channels, Dubi continued: “The engagement in these Games is phenomenal. Engagement means that people are not only receiving information; they are actively participating. Engagement means that the Games belong to everyone.

“In the end, the ultimate stories are ones that inspire us, whatever their age, wherever they’re from, whatever the results. It’s athletes, more athletes and more athletes’ stories. This is what the Games are about.”

Team USA ©2021 Getty Images

More fans than ever connected to the Olympic Games

As of 31 July, more than 130 of the 339 events have been completed, involving around 9,000 of the 11,000+ athletes expected to participate in the Games.

Fourteen gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze medals have been awarded to athletes who received Olympic Solidarity scholarships, from which 836 athletes currently competing in the Tokyo 2020 Games benefit.

Turkmenistan’s Polina Guryeva (L) San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli (R) Turkmenistan’s Polina Guryeva (L) San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli (R) - ©2021 Getty Images

Some 205 National Olympic Committees and the Refugee Olympic Team are participating in this year’s Games. Of those, two nations, so far, have won their first medals – Turkmenistan’s Polina Guryeva won silver in the women’s weightlifting, while San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli won bronze in the trap shooting.


The IOC Olympic Refugee Team is competing with 29 athletes taking part in 12 sports. Of these refugee athletes, 21 have already participated, with another eight still to compete.

Italo Ferreira of Team Brazil surfs during the the mens semi-final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Italo Ferreira of Team Brazil©2021 Getty Images

Five new sports were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme, aimed at reaching more urban and youthful audiences. These are baseball/softball, skateboarding, karate, sport climbing and surfing. The first gold medal in these sports, which were chosen by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, was awarded to local hero HORIGOME Yuto, from Japan, in the street skateboarding.

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