Ddelayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were unlike any other.
With its strict protocols, it is the first modern Olympic Games to be held without spectators. But these Games will also be known for many other firsts. In addition to the many world records broken so far, the Tokyo Games have been rich in historical performances in competition and inspiring victories from barrier-breaking athletes.
Here are some of the record book entries after these unique Olympics.
Sunisa Lee made history
Sunisa Lee of the United States poses during the award ceremony after the final of the women’s artistic gymnastics all-around in Tokyo, Japan, July 29, 2021.
Xinhua — Sipa United States
Sunisa Lee became America’s first Hmong Olympic gold medalist after beating the competition in the all-around. The 18-year-old also helped Team USA take silver in the team all-around final and won bronze in the uneven bars final on his Olympic debut.
First gold medal for Bermuda
The tiny island of Bermuda found its first Olympic champion in Flora Duffy, who won the country’s first-ever gold after competing in the women’s triathlon, where she swam, cycled and raced to victory.
America’s first openly non-binary athlete competed
Alana Smith, an American skater, was the first openly non-binary American team athlete to compete in the Games. They said in an Instagram post that their goal for the Games was “to be happy and to be a visual representation for humans like me.”
Alana Smith of Team USA reacts during round three of the women’s street preliminaries on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Patrick Smith — Getty Images
First medal for Turkmenistan
When weightlifter Polina Guryeva lifted 217 kilograms (478 lbs), she won the silver medal, the first medal for her country since it declared independence from the Soviet Union. “No sport in Turkmenistan has won a medal, not a single one,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “I am so in shock.”
First siblings to win gold on the same day
Japan’s Hifumi Abe, gold medalist in the men’s -66kg judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and her sister Uta Abe, gold medalist in the women’s judo -52kg competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, pose with their medals before the last block of the third day of judo competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 26, 2021.
Franck Fife — AFP via Getty Images
Brother and sister Hifumi Abe and Uta Abe of Team Japan each won gold in their respective judo divisions. Their victories made them the first siblings to win gold in individual events on the same day, the IOC reported.
The smallest country to date has won a medal
When Alessandra Perilli won a bronze medal in women’s trap shooting, it was the very first medal for San Marino, the small nation in southern Europe. Added fun fact, Perilli’s feat helped San Marino, with a population of just 34,000, become the smallest country to have won a medal games. Perilli went on to win another medal, this time silver, in the mixed team trap category with Gian Marco Berti. Myles Amine won another bronze medal for the wrestling country.
First medals for surfing, skateboarding, karate and sport climbing
Momiji Nishiya, 13, of Team Japan, won the first ever gold in women’s street skateboarding. In fact, Japan won three of the four gold medals at the inaugural Skateboarding Olympics. Carissa Moore of the US team won gold in the first ever women’s surf competition, while Ítalo Ferreira took first place in the men’s. In karate, a notable gold medal went to Japanese Ryo Kiyuna, originally from Okinawa, the homeland of martial arts. In sport climbing, the Slovenian Janja Garnbret and the Spaniard Alberto Ginés López won the first gold medals.
America’s first black woman won wrestling gold
Team USA’s Tamyra Mariama Mensah-Stock celebrates losing to Team Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in the women’s 68kg freestyle gold medal match on Day 11 of the Tokyo Olympics at Makuhari Messe Hall on August 3, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.
Tom Pennington — Getty Images
Tamyra Mensah-Stock became the first black American woman to win Olympic gold in wrestling after winning the 68kg freestyle final. “I’m like ‘Oh my God, watch us represent it,’” Mensah-Stock said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s so awesome. You make history, I make history. We are writing history. So it meant a lot.
Swim in history
Katie Ledecky cemented her place in swimming history by increasing her cumulative individual Olympic gold medal count to six, more than any swimmer except Michael Phelps. She also won the first-ever gold in the women’s 1,500m freestyle as the event made its Olympic debut (the men swam the race for a.
Also in the pool, Australia’s Emma McKeown won seven medals in Tokyo, tying the record for the most medals an Olympian has ever won in a single Games. (The record was set by gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya of the Soviet Union in 1952).
First gender balanced Olympic Games
The Tokyo Games are the “first Games in history with gender parity,” the IOC reported. Almost 49% of the athletes competing are women. The Paralympic Games also have a record number of female competitors, the committee reports.
The Philippines won their first gold medal
Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won her country’s first-ever gold, appearing to lift a whopping 127kg (279lbs!) With ease.
Hidilyn Diaz of Team Philippines competes in the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Chris Graythen — Getty Images
The first openly trans athletes represented their country
While trans athletes have been invited to compete in the Olympics since 2004, no one has done so openly until now. This year, Canadian soccer player Quinn became the first openly trans athlete to win an Olympic medal; Canada’s women’s soccer team won gold. New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was the first trans athlete to compete in the Olympics. And Chelsea Wolfe, an alternative to freestyle BMX, became the US team’s first openly transgender athlete.
Felix’s medal record
Allyson Felix of Team USA reacts after winning bronze in the women’s 400m final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan .
Matthias Hangst — Getty Images
Allyson Felix, with a third place in the women’s 400m, won her 10th Olympic medal to become the most decorated female Olympic track and field athlete of all time. She is also tied with Carl Lewis for most Olympic medals won by an American track athlete.
Some of the youngest athletes in history have competed and won medals
Twelve-year-old Syrian table tennis star Hend Zaza was the youngest female competitor in Olympic history. At 13, British team skater Sky Brown was the youngest athlete from her country to compete in the Summer Games. Japanese team skateboarder Kokona Hiraki, 12, was also her country’s youngest summer Olympian.