Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Remembering all of the firsts at the Tokyo Olympics

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The Tokyo Olympics delivered historic moments from start to finish. Some athletes set records for long-standing dominance in their sports. Others became the first in their nations histories to win a medal of any kind. And sports such as surfing and karate made their Olympic debuts.

With the Closing Ceremonies complete, here's a look back at the most impactful firsts of the Tokyo Olympics:

- First skateboarding medal: The street and park competitions made their debuts in Tokyo, and the host country dominated, with three of four gold medals won by Momiji Nishiya (women's street), Sakura Yosozumi (women's park) and Yuto Horigome (men's street).

- First Hmong American Olympic gymnast: Sunisa Lee was the first Hmong American to make the Olympic team in gymnastics, and she ended up winning the all-around gold medal for the U.S. She also won a silver medal in team all-around and a bronze in individual uneven bars.

- First women's 1,500-meter freestyle: Katie Ledecky won the race finally added to the Olympic program, inserted in part because of her dominance in the event. She won gold in 15:37.34, ahead of American teammate Erica Sullivan at 15:41.41 and one of her four medals in Tokyo.

- First track and field gold medal for India: The world's second-most populous nation has competed in the Summer Olympics since 1900 and sent 192 athletes in track and field, but had never won a gold medal until Neeraj Chopra did so in the javelin.

- First mixed-medley relay in swimming: Great Britain won the mixed-medley relay in world record time, while the Americans finished in a disappointing fifth place.

- First basketball players to win five golds: Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi continued to lead a dominant U.S. women's team, which has now won 55 straight games after the gold-medal triumph against Japan.

- First gold medal for Philippines: In women's weightlifting, Hidilyn Diaz gave her country of 108 million people its first Olympic gold medal, after 97 years of trying. She set two Olympic records in the 55-kilogram division.

- First medals of any kind for San Marino: San Marino (population 34,000) became the smallest country ever to medal. In shooting, Alessandra Perilli won bronze in the women's trap competition, while the mixed team won silver in team trap. Myles Nazem Amine won bronze in men's freestyle wrestling at 86 kilograms.

- First out trans athlete to medal: Quinn earned a gold medal as part of the Canadian women's soccer team, which outlasted Sweden in penalty kicks for its first gold medal in soccer.

- First surfing medal: Honolulu native Carissa Moore, a member of surfing's hall of fame, won gold on the women's side. Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the men's competition.

- First gold medals for Qatar: Qatar's first gold medals came in a pair, with Mutaz Essa Barshim winning the men's high jump (and sharing the honor with his friend, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy) and Fares Elbakh taking the men's weightlifting competition at 96 kilograms.

- First medal of any kind for Turkmenistan: Polina Guryeva gave Turkmenistan its first medal with silver in women's weightlifting at 59 kilograms.

- First gold medal for Bermuda: Flora Duffy won the women's triathlon for the small Atlantic island's first gold medal. Bermuda entered this year with only one Olympic medal, a bronze from 1976.

- First karate medal: Karate joined the Olympics in the country where it was born, and Okinawa native Ryo Kiyuna, a three-time world champion, won gold in men's kata.

- First Black woman to win gold in wrestling: Tamyra Mensah-Stock defeated Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu in the women's 68-kilogram freestyle final, also becoming the second American woman ever to win gold in wrestling.

- First sport climbing medal: Spain's Alberto Ginés López won the men's combined competition, while Janja Garnbret of Slovenia earned gold on the women's side.

- First medal of any kind for Burkina Faso: By earning third in the men's triple jump, Hugues Fabrice Zango put his country on the podium for the first time. Burkina Faso sent a record seven athletes to this year's Olympics.

Published : August 09, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Jake Lourim