Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron inside the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. | REUTERS
Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron inside the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. | REUTERS

While the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics was rocky, Japan rose to the challenge of hosting the postponed Games amid a global pandemic and despite a buildup marred by public opposition, controversy and a new variant of the virus. On the field of play, the Games were an unmitigated success for the host nation, which won 27 Olympic gold medals, breaking its previous mark of 16, as well as 13 Paralympic golds.

Swimmer Yui Ohashi won the 200- and 400-meter individual medley races to become the first Japanese women to win multiple gold medals at the same Olympics. | REUTERS
Swimmer Yui Ohashi won the 200- and 400-meter individual medley races to become the first Japanese women to win multiple gold medals at the same Olympics. | REUTERS

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles earned silver and bronze medals during the 2020 Games, but her time in Tokyo will mostly be remembered for the far-reaching conversation she sparked about mental health issues after pulling out of the team all-around event. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles earned silver and bronze medals during the 2020 Games, but her time in Tokyo will mostly be remembered for the far-reaching conversation she sparked about mental health issues after pulling out of the team all-around event. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS

Thirteen-year-old skateboarder Momiji Nishiya won the first-ever women’s skateboarding street gold medal and also became the youngest Japanese athlete to win gold at the Olympics. Yuto Horigome won the men’s gold as Japan swept the street competition, while Sakura Yosozumi earned gold in the women’s skateboarding park event. | REUTERS
Thirteen-year-old skateboarder Momiji Nishiya won the first-ever women’s skateboarding street gold medal and also became the youngest Japanese athlete to win gold at the Olympics. Yuto Horigome won the men’s gold as Japan swept the street competition, while Sakura Yosozumi earned gold in the women’s skateboarding park event. | REUTERS

Italian Gianmarco Tamberi (right) hugs Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar after the pair decided to share the men’s high jump gold medal in one of the most memorable moments from the Summer Games. | REUTERS
Italian Gianmarco Tamberi (right) hugs Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar after the pair decided to share the men’s high jump gold medal in one of the most memorable moments from the Summer Games. | REUTERS

Lamont Marcell Jacobs sprinted to gold in the men’s 100 meters to become the first Italian to win the race and the first European winner since 1992. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS
Lamont Marcell Jacobs sprinted to gold in the men’s 100 meters to become the first Italian to win the race and the first European winner since 1992. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS

Samurai Japan defeated the United States in the final to end the baseball-mad nation’s long wait for its first Olympic gold medal in the sport. | REUTERS
Samurai Japan defeated the United States in the final to end the baseball-mad nation’s long wait for its first Olympic gold medal in the sport. | REUTERS

Wheelchair tennis star Shingo Kunieda, captain of Japan’s Paralympic delegation, bounced back from a heartbreaking defeat at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro by winning gold in Tokyo. | REUTERS
Wheelchair tennis star Shingo Kunieda, captain of Japan’s Paralympic delegation, bounced back from a heartbreaking defeat at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro by winning gold in Tokyo. | REUTERS

German Paralympic long jumper Markus Rehm, nicknamed 'Blade Jumper,' maintained his dominance of the T64 category by claiming his third straight gold medal. | REUTERS
German Paralympic long jumper Markus Rehm, nicknamed ‘Blade Jumper,’ maintained his dominance of the T64 category by claiming his third straight gold medal. | REUTERS