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What you need to know about this year's Summer Games

President Biden praised Team USA athletes on a video call on Saturday that included special shoutouts to gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky. Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden praised Team USA athletes on a video call on Saturday that included special shoutouts to gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky.

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden congratulated the U.S. Olympics team during a Saturday Zoom call that included some of the nation's top athletes, heralding their achievements as having "restored the soul of America."

"I know you have a sense of it, but I don't think you'll appreciate 'till you get home how proud you made America," said Biden, joined by first lady Jill Biden on the livestreamed call.

President Biden said Team USA's displays of sportsmanship were not just about athleticism but also about "moral courage."

The president made specific mention of Katie Ledecky's performance, in which the swimmer won gold in the 1,500- and 800-meter freestyle competitions and silver medals in the 400-meter freestyle and, with her relay team, the 4 x 200-meter freestyle.

"I realize that you can probably swim a mile quicker than most people could run a mile. It's just amazing — all you've done," Biden said.

Biden also praised gymnast Simone Biles, who withdrew from the all-around gymnastics event and other competitions citing mental health. Biles also said she had come down with a case of the "twisties," a terrifying mental block that can cause gymnasts to lose track of the ground while spinning through the air.

Biles told the president, "The Olympics was not how I expected it to go, but putting my mental and my physical health first will probably be one of my greatest accomplishments."

"If you would have asked me in my younger years, I would have probably been too stubborn. But at that point I knew that I just had to take a step back, let the other girls go up and do their job," she said.

Biden told Biles that she set an example for the American people and compared her pressures at the Games to those of military personnel who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"You had the courage to say 'I need some help. I need some help. I need some time,'" Biden said. "And you became an example to everybody. And guess what? You got back up on that damn beam!"

Biles went on to take the bronze medal in the balance beam competition.

During the 2020 Tokyo Games, the U.S. won the overall medal count — pulling in 113 total medals, with 39 gold, 41 silver and 33 bronze.

"These are the things that people look at around the world, more than anything that I do as your president or other people do in public life," Biden said. "They get the impression of who we are as Americans — who we are. And you handle yourself with such grace and such decency. You made me so damn proud."

Biden extended an invite to the athletes to visit the White House: "We'll set a date."

Hungary's Ervin Zador is led from the pool with blood pouring from a cut eye after a water polo match with the Soviet Union descended into chaos at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The Games played out in a volatile time — and thanks to a 17-year-old's letter, they ended on a note of unity. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Hungary's Ervin Zador is led from the pool with blood pouring from a cut eye after a water polo match with the Soviet Union descended into chaos at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The Games played out in a volatile time — and thanks to a 17-year-old's letter, they ended on a note of unity.

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

When the Olympics end, athletes don't repeat the highly regimented parade of the opening ceremony. For the closing, they sort of wander in, mingling with other nationalities. It's all part of a plan hatched 65 years ago by a teenager. Despite being credited with saving the Games from disaster, for decades, few people knew his name.

In the closing ceremony, the athletes walk "en masse and in no particular order," officials for the Tokyo Games said, making the final parade much more casual and easygoing than the highly scripted opener. In Sunday's ceremony, Olympians wandered in, chatting with other delegations and pausing to take photos together, blending national colors.

So, why did the often stodgy Olympics decide to accept randomness?

"The idea of having all the athletes parade in no order comes from a young Chinese man, John Ian Wing, an apprentice carpenter in Australia for the 1956 Games in Melbourne," Tokyo organizers said in their notes for the closing ceremony. "Before these Games, the athletes had always marched behind their flag-bearer, as at the Opening Ceremony."

The idea was sparked by an international crisis

The 1956 Melbourne Games famously teetered toward chaos rather than unity as international discord spilled over into the athletes' showcase. In Europe, post-war tensions hit a new peak as the Games began, with the Soviet Union sending tanks into Hungary to crush a national uprising. Elsewhere, Egypt and Israel were at the center of the Suez Crisis, prompting boycotts by Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. China also boycotted because of the inclusion of Taiwan (as "Formosa-China").

Even before the Games began, organizers had faced calls to cancel the Olympics. Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands also boycotted. Some countries who participated ordered their athletes not to mix with other delegations in the Olympic Village, according to the Olympic Museum in Germany.

Then came the infamous "Blood in the Water" water polo match — a contest between Hungary and the Soviet Union that turned vicious. As violence broke out in the water, the scene threatened to become an all-out brawl among athletes and team officials.

"The match had to be stopped," historian David Wallechinsky told NPR. "There was a famous photograph of one of the Hungarians emerging from the pool, with blood streaming down his face."

The Soviet force had arrived in Hungary in early November — the same time as the Summer Olympics, which were aligned with the Southern Hemisphere's seasons.

"The Hungarian Olympic team only heard about the developments back home after arriving in Melbourne," as Katie Cella has written for NPR, "and then promptly tore down the Hungarian flag with the communist insignia in the Olympic Village, raising the free Hungarian flag in its place."

With the Olympic ideals of camaraderie and respect in jeopardy, organizers faced a quandary about how to conclude the Games.

An anonymous letter suggests ''only one nation''

With the Melbourne Games threatened by disarray, Wing, a 17-year-old Australian of Chinese descent, wrote to organizers with his idea for how to end the Olympics peacefully.

"I was observing all what was going on and it saddened me to see politicians were using the Olympics for their political gains and the athletes were a 'pawn' in their game," Wing later said. "It was pointless to scream and shout at politicians because it goes in one ear and out the other ear. But I remembered an old saying, 'The pen is mightier than the sword.' "

The goal for the final parade, Wing said in his letter to Olympics officials, should be for the athletes to walk together — as "only one nation."

John Ian Wing convinced Olympics officials to have athletes march together in a show of unity at the end of the 1956 Summer Olympics. Wing later moved to London, where he remained involved with the Olympic movement. Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images hide caption

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Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

John Ian Wing convinced Olympics officials to have athletes march together in a show of unity at the end of the 1956 Summer Olympics. Wing later moved to London, where he remained involved with the Olympic movement.

Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Wing sent his anonymous letter to Sir W.S. Kent Hughes, chairman of the Melbourne organizers' committee. He wrote: "I believe it has been suggested that a march should be put on during the Closing Ceremony, and you said it couldn't be done. I think it can be done."

If all countries' athletes march together, Wing said, "there will be only one nation. War, politics and nationality will be all forgotten." He added, "Well you can do it in a small way. ... No team is to keep together, and there should be no more than two team-mates together."

Hughes liked Wing's idea — and it was adopted, just one day before the closing ceremony was to take place.

Wing succeeded in helping the Melbourne Olympics close out on a positive note. But his identity remained a mystery for decades. After being identified and contacted by an Australian journalist in 1986, he was honored by International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch. A street in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Village was named after him.

"I didn't put my name or address to the letter in case someone thought it was a daft idea," Wing said, according to comments published by the Olympic Museum. After his idea became a new Olympic tradition, he opted not to tell anyone, thinking they wouldn't believe him.

Olympics go from bloody to the ''Friendly Games''

Wing also wrote a second letter to Hughes, giving his name and address but asking to remain anonymous. It was that note that, once discovered, publicly uncovered Wing's identity.

Wing later said that Hughes acknowledged his contribution in a unique way. Shortly after the Olympics were over, Wing told The Age newspaper, he was in his father's restaurant when a waiter told him he had a visitor. There, a man in formal attire handed him a plastic case, containing an Olympic bronze medal.

"It is from Mr. Kent Hughes," the man said as he left.

Thanks to Wing's innovation and the calm that had pervaded the Games before the tussle between the Soviet Union and Hungary, the Melbourne Olympics soon came to be known as the "Friendly Games."

When the intermingled athletes marched into the stadium in Melbourne for the closing ceremony, a huge sign above them declared: "The 1956 Olympic race is run. May all who have been present go forth to their homelands and may the Olympic spirit go with them."

The French Aerial Patrol fly by the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the handover ceremony of Tokyo 2020 to Paris 2024, as Paris will be the next Summer Games host in 2024. Francois Mori/AP hide caption

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Francois Mori/AP

The French Aerial Patrol fly by the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the handover ceremony of Tokyo 2020 to Paris 2024, as Paris will be the next Summer Games host in 2024.

Francois Mori/AP

As the Olympic games concluded in Tokyo, the next city to host, Paris, has already started its celebration.

During the closing ceremony on Sunday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo received and waved an Olympic flag in the Tokyo stadium, a traditional pass to the next city. But the celebration then had a few twists to how the handover is usually done.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, right, holds the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Lee Jin-man/AP hide caption

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Lee Jin-man/AP

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, right, holds the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

Lee Jin-man/AP

The French national anthem was played by the National Orchestra of France in a filmed video that took viewers all over sites in Paris.

Then, a live broadcast took viewers straight into the handover celebration in the streets of Paris. The Paris 2024 Olympic flag was unfurled from the Eiffel Tower, which organizers said set a world record as the largest flag ever flown — it's almost the size of a football field. And the Patrouille Acrobatique de France, conducted a flyover that displayed the country's flag in the sky.

Spectators gather by the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the handover ceremony during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic games. Francois Mori/AP hide caption

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Francois Mori/AP

Spectators gather by the Eiffel Tower in Paris as part of the handover ceremony during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic games.

Francois Mori/AP

Visuals presented at the event also showcased what the Paris games may look like in three years. Organizers are planning to put the competitions in the center of the city, with the opening ceremony slated to take place along the Seine River in the middle of Paris, rather than a stadium.

French president Emmanuel Macron delivered short remarks, saying the updated Olympic motto: "Faster, Higher, Stronger. Together." On stage near the Eiffel Tower were also French Olympic athletes who had returned from the Tokyo games.

The handover even took viewers out of this world — literally. Aboard the International Space Station, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted that he and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide held their own Olympic handover and displayed the Olympic flag together.

Paris has not hosted the Olympic games in almost 100 years; the last time was in 1924.

Team USA topped the medals list at the Tokyo Games, narrowly edging China in golds. Here, track stars Sydney McLaughlin (left) and Dalilah Muhammad celebrate winning gold and silver respectively in the women's 400-meter hurdles in Tokyo. Andrej Isakovic /Pool / Getty Images hide caption

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Andrej Isakovic /Pool / Getty Images

Team USA topped the medals list at the Tokyo Games, narrowly edging China in golds. Here, track stars Sydney McLaughlin (left) and Dalilah Muhammad celebrate winning gold and silver respectively in the women's 400-meter hurdles in Tokyo.

Andrej Isakovic /Pool / Getty Images

After 17 days of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, the United States finished with the most medals won overall and the most gold medals, with its 39 golds just barely beating out China, which won 38.

On the last day of the Games, the U.S. women's volleyball team secured the 39th gold medal, beating out Brazil to win the country's first gold in the sport.

Team USA is taking home 113 medals. In addition to their gold medals, U.S. athletes won 41 silver and 33 bronze medals. China, which was also second in total medals won, is bringing home 88 medals, including 32 silver and 18 bronze.

U.S. women won 66 medals — more than half of the U.S. team's tally. According to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, if the American women were a separate country, they would have ranked fourth in the world in terms of how many Olympic medals they won.

The United States has won the most overall medals for seven consecutive Olympic games. But China won the most gold medals in 2008, when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics.

According to FiveThirtyEight's Olympic medal tracker, this year the U.S. finished with 16 fewer medals than the website's analysts had predicted. Chinese and Russian athletes over-achieved, according to FiveThirtyEight, winning 5 and 18 more medals, respectively, than expected.

Russian athletes, officially known as participants from the Russian Olympic Committee due to doping sanctions, had the third-highest medal count at 70. And Japan, the host country, won a record number of gold medals at this year's games with 27 golds.

Japan's greater success at the games was somewhat expected. Data shows athletes from the host country who are competing on their own turf win more medals and more gold medals compared to when they compete in Olympics away from home.

The Japan and Olympic flags fly as country flags are carried in during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics on Sunday in Tokyo. Vincent Thian/AP hide caption

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Vincent Thian/AP

The Japan and Olympic flags fly as country flags are carried in during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics on Sunday in Tokyo.

Vincent Thian/AP

TOKYO – The Olympic flame is officially out in Tokyo.

The closing ceremony in Olympic Stadium was fairly relaxed, and perhaps most poignantly, it aimed to show the athletes a small taste of ordinary life in Japan --something they haven't been exposed to due to pandemic restrictions.

It wrapped up more than two weeks of athletic competition and the largest international gathering to take place during the pandemic.

The ceremony celebrated the athletes, the volunteers and the organizers of the postponed Tokyo Games, which involved about 230,000 people, including more than 41,000 people who traveled from abroad.

"You inspired us with this unifying power of sport. This was even more remarkable given the many challenges you had to face because of the pandemic," Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, told the athletes. "You give the world the most precious of gifts – hope."

And the Japanese organizers have now passed the torch to the next city hosting a Summer Games – Paris.

A moment to relax, and move forward

After the heated competition of the Games, the ceremony organizers tried to create an atmosphere of relaxation for the athletes and spectators, acknowledging that the "atmosphere was far tenser than usual."

And the athletes did appear relaxed, freely mixing with each other and dancing on the field as music played. Some even lay down on the field.

Athletes of Australia pose during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Dan Mullen/AP hide caption

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Dan Mullen/AP

Of course, this event is happening in a stadium with only dignitaries and a small group of press in the seats. And the actual group of competitors present for the Parade of Athletes is much smaller that usual, because they were required to depart shortly after their competition wrapped up.

The organizers said the closing ceremony is celebrating the world coming together to make these Games happen, despite the enormous challenges.

Celebrating the last 17 days of competition

The ceremony kicked off with a video showing some highlights from the events of the Games, and fireworks lit up the sky. The scenes — across countries and sports — celebrated the efforts of all the athletes, not medals in particular.

A musical theater troupe performed the national anthem of Japan, wearing formal traditional Japanese dress in many colors.

Then, flag bearers from each country walked in together, in a parade of colorful flags. The U.S. flag bearer is javelin thrower Kara Winger who was selected by fellow athletes. Japan's flag bearer was karate gold medalist Ryo Kiyuna.

When the athletes entered, they streamed in from four corners of the stadium, waving flags and smiling to the cameras. They came in to the sounds of the "Olympic March," written by a Japanese composer and played at the 1964 Games in Tokyo.

Unlike the opening ceremony, when each walked in as a group with their compatriots, the athletes all walked in at the same time. According to the organizers, it's the first closing ceremony where the athletes all came in en masse.

Then, the shape of the Olympic rings formed over the field using lighting effects.

Bringing the athletes into Tokyo

The athletes have not been able to explore Tokyo during their time at the Games due to pandemic restrictions. For nearly 15 minutes, the field transformed into an "imaginary park in Tokyo," to try to give them the impression of being around a stylized version of ordinary life.

Dancers perform during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP

With the athletes walled off from them by cast members, actors did normal things you'd see around Tokyo, like ride bikes, play soccer, throw a ball around, dance or do yoga as a group.

A DJ scratched on turntables as breakdancers spun on stage.

The highly choreographed number was a bittersweet acknowledgement that despite a full competition schedule, the kind of cultural exchange that usually characterizes the Olympics was not possible for these athletes.

The ceremony also took a moment for two final medal ceremonies — the winners of the men's and women's marathon.

Showcasing Japanese culture

The ceremony took a moment to remember and reflect on the difficult past year. A single dancer stood on stage, wearing a green and brown costume meant to evoke a tree. "Even if the outer layer is no longer alive, the trunk continues to live on and strengthen its centuries-old connection to the earth and land in which its roots stretch deep," the organizers said. People surrounded the stage and slowly walked, holding softly lit lanterns.

Artists perform during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP

A video highlighted traditional festivals from around Japan, another way to show the athletes more about the country. Dancers in traditional dress performed four dances from different parts of the country.

The program ended with a handover to the Paris organizers, and a preview of the Games to come there in 2024. A video from the Paris organizers included a bike ride around the rooftops of Paris starring French BMX athletes, and a massive flag with the Paris 2024 logo unfurling over the Eiffel Tower. According to the Paris organizers, it is the largest flag ever flown — nearly the size of a football field.

Finally, the Olympic flame slowly flickered out, officially drawing the Tokyo Games to a close.

The Olympic flame burns prior to the Closing Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics on Sunday in Tokyo. Aaron Favila/AP hide caption

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Aaron Favila/AP

The Olympic flame burns prior to the Closing Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics on Sunday in Tokyo.

Aaron Favila/AP

U.S. track star Allyson Felix smiles after winning the bronze medal in the 400 meter race on Friday. Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images hide caption

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Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

U.S. track star Allyson Felix smiles after winning the bronze medal in the 400 meter race on Friday.

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

TOKYO — They were called the "COVID Olympics." The "pandemic Olympics." The "anger Olympics." Many Japanese people were upset to host such a huge and risky event in the middle of the pandemic, and many outside observers were surprised it happened at all.

But as the Tokyo Games close out inside these quiet and largely fan-less venues, records were set, history was made, and heartwarming moments of underdogs prevailing were streamed onto smartphones and beamed to televisions in homes around the world.

NPR's team in Tokyo put together our favorite moments of the Games, where participants showed their athleticism, sportsmanship, and what motivated them to compete.

You can jump to a moment here:

Allyson Felix becomes the most decorated woman and U.S. athlete in track and field history

The gold medal U.S. track star Allyson Felix earned on Saturday in the 4 x 400 meter relay marked a huge milestone — it made her the most decorated U.S. athlete in track and field history.

Felix has won 10 other Olympic medals and competed in five Olympics.

The night before, she won a bronze medal in the individual 400 meter race, breaking the record for the most Olympic medals for a female track and field athlete.

"This one is very different, and it's very special. And it just took a lot to get here," Felix said after the race.

She said she knew there were people who doubted whether she could make the team this time around, let alone medal. But on Friday, the 35-year-old went out and ran the second-fastest 400 meter race of her career.

Joint gold medalists Mutaz Essa Barshim of Team Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's high jump at the Tokyo Olympics. Patrick Smith/Getty Images hide caption

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Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Joint gold medalists Mutaz Essa Barshim of Team Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Team Italy celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's high jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Two high jumpers decide to share gold

​​It was the moment that melted hearts around the globe. Two high jumpers competed for hours but neither bested the other. Instead of heading into a tie-breaking jump off Qatar's Mutaz Essah Barshim asked "Can we share the Gold?"

When the answer came back yes, Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi jumped into Barshim's arms on the track. Both had suffered through near career ending injuries, both had come back at their best. Through years of competition the two became close friends. On the podium together they clasped hands and raised them in the air.

"I know for a fact that for the performance I did, I deserve that gold. He did the same thing, so I know he deserved that gold," Barshim said afterward. "This is beyond sport. This is the message we deliver to the young generation." A message of sportsmanship and love.

"You can't believe the emotion, the dream, of a gold medal to somebody who sacrificed his entire life for this and it was just amazing and sharing with a friend is even more," Tamberi said.

U.S. shot putter Raven Saunders protests on the podium with her silver medal after competing the women's shot put. Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. shot putter Raven Saunders protests on the podium with her silver medal after competing the women's shot put.

Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. shot putter Raven Saunders defies the ban on podium protests

U.S. shot putter and silver medalist Raven Saunders was a social media sensation at the Tokyo Games with her "Hulk" persona and larger-than-life personality. She used her platform to represent her multi-faceted identity as a Black gay woman who'd struggled with depression so deeply that she contemplated suicide.

She also became the first Olympian to defy Rule 50 at the Tokyo Games. That rule bars competitors from protesting on the podium. When her medal was around her neck and the gold medalist from China's anthem was complete, Saunders briefly crossed her arms above her head in the shape of an X. She said it represented the "intersection where all oppressed people meet." Afterward U.S. fencer Race Imboden accepted his bronze medal with a small "x" drawn on the back of his hand to protest Rule 50.

The International Olympic Committee is under increasing pressure to change the rule, critics call it a violation of competitors' rights to free speech. Olympic organizers at first said they were looking into Saunders' gesture on the podium. But the inquiry was suspended when Saunders got the devastating news that her mother had died days after her medal ceremony.

U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock celebrates after winning the women's freestyle 68-kilogram final at the Tokyo Olympics. Tom Pennington/Getty Images hide caption

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Tom Pennington/Getty Images

U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock celebrates after winning the women's freestyle 68-kilogram final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock cries holding the U.S. flag

U.S. wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock won the women's 68-kilogram freestyle final, becoming the first Black woman — and only the second woman — to take gold in Olympic wrestling for the U.S.

She was competing against Nigerian athlete Blessing Oborududu.

Mensah-Stock said she hopes her boundary-breaking win can help inspire the next generation of wrestlers.

"These young women are going to see themselves in a number of ways and look up and go, 'I can do that, I can see myself'. Look at this natural hair. Come on. Man, I've got my puffballs out, so they can know that they can do it too," Mensah-Stock said. "I know the future for women's wrestling is bright and growing immensely."

After her win, she made a heart-shaped gesture with her hands and hugged her coaches. Then, she held a large U.S. flag over her head.

"I'm feeling very happy and I keep trying not to cry, but it keeps happening," she said, according to a release from Team USA. "I just want to go into a dark room and cry, but I'm crying from joy."

Simone Biles competes in the balance beam final on August 3. Adrian Wyld/AP hide caption

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Adrian Wyld/AP

Simone Biles competes in the balance beam final on August 3.

Adrian Wyld/AP

Simone Biles mounts a comeback after withdrawing to focus on mental health

U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles triumphantly returned to competition on the last day of women's artistic gymnastics, winning a bronze medal after taking time she needed for her mental health.

Earlier in the Games, Biles withdrew after the first vault of the team final, saying she didn't feel confident that she could perform and didn't want to risk an injury or a medal for the team. She said she was dealing with a terrifying phenomenon known as the "twisties," when a gymnast feels lost in the air, and received an outpouring of support from her team, other athletes, and fans.

Biles also withdrew from the individual all-around final, and three of the four individual apparatus finals.

"It wasn't easy pulling out of all those competitions. I physically and mentally wasn't in the right headspace and I didn't want to jeopardize my health or my safety because at the end of the day it's not worth it," Biles said. "My mental and physical health is above all medals that I could ever win."

When she competed on the beam, she was still dealing with the twisties — but altered her routine so they didn't affect her as much.

"I wasn't expecting to walk away with a medal. I was just going out there to do this for me and whatever happens, happens," Biles said after the competition. She added that it "just meant the world to be back out there."

U.S. gymnasts Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles celebrate winning the silver medal during the podium ceremony of the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Martin Bureau /AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Martin Bureau /AFP via Getty Images

U.S. gymnasts Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles celebrate winning the silver medal during the podium ceremony of the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Martin Bureau /AFP via Getty Images

U.S. gymnasts band together and take silver in the team event

When Biles pulled out of the team final, her teammates fully supported her decision.

It also posed a huge challenge for them. Mid-competition, the three first-time Olympians had to come up with a new plan to get through the difficult gauntlet of events, all the while worried about their teammate and friend.

And they stepped up. Jordan Chiles took Biles' place on the uneven bars and balance beam and Sunisa Lee competed on the floor exercise.

At the end of the night, the gymnasts had pulled off a stellar showing without the cornerstone of their team, second only to the group from Russia.

"There was definitely a lot of emotions going through all of our heads, but I'm really proud that we were able to step up to the plate and do what we needed to do," said Lee. "It's very hard to lose a teammate, especially at the Olympic Games, so I was really proud of all of us."

Lee also took home a gold medal in the individual all-around final, where Biles had been a favorite to win before she pulled out.

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel celebrates after winning the gold medal and breaking the world record in the men's 4 x 100m medley relay final at the Tokyo Olympics. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images hide caption

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U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel celebrates after winning the gold medal and breaking the world record in the men's 4 x 100m medley relay final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Caeleb Dressel is taking home five gold medals in swimming

U.S. star swimmer Caeleb Dressel, 24, came into these Olympics with high expectations but no individual Olympic medals. He's leaving with three golds in individual events and two golds in relays.

Dressel broke his own world record in the 100 meter butterfly and was part of a world record-setting team in the 4x100 medley relay.

He set Olympic records in the 100 meter freestyle and the 50 meter freestyle — a mad sprint that is just one length of the pool. And he led off the gold medal-winning men's 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

"I think the U.S. has been so dominant for so long, to put my stamp on the sport is very special," he said on the last day of Olympic swimming.

U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky races in a heat of the women's 400 meter freestyle race in Tokyo. Tom Pennington/Getty Images hide caption

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U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky races in a heat of the women's 400 meter freestyle race in Tokyo.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Katie Ledecky defies doubters early in the Olympics and finishes on top

What Dressel did in Tokyo, Ledecky did at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. She had her breakout Games, winning four golds — three of them individual — and becoming invincible in the eyes of the world. Of course no one is truly that; athletes, as we've learned so well at these Games, are human beings. And so when Ledecky finished second and fifth in her first two Tokyo events, the "what's wrong with Katie?" narrative emerged.

The answer, of course, was nothing. She ended up winning two gold medals and two silvers — a sublime haul for any athlete. But through Ledecky, we were reminded again about the weight of Olympic expectations.

"Every move you make is being watched and judged," she said, "and as much as we say that we try to ignore it, I think some of that is just trying to keep that positive mindset and move forward."

Those are words of wisdom, and good advice for Dressel as he approaches Paris 2024 and the likely expectation that he'll be invincible.

Dutch runner Sifan Hassan gets back up after falling, and finishes first in a heat of the women's 1,500 meter at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. Michael Steele/Getty Images; Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Michael Steele/Getty Images; Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Dutch runner Sifan Hassan gets back up after falling, and finishes first in a heat of the women's 1,500 meter at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Michael Steele/Getty Images; Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

A runner falls in a 1,500 meter race — and still wins

Dutch runner Sifan Hassan had just entered the final lap of her 1,500-meter heat, where she was a medal favorite. Suddenly, the runner in front of her fell, bringing her down too.

With 11 runners in front of her and a huge gap to make up, Hassan stood up and started reeling them in. On the final straightaway, she passed five of the fastest runners in world, winning the heat.

"Believe me, it was horrible, but sometimes I think bad things happen for good. When I fell down I said to myself, OK life doesn't always go the way that you want," she said. "After that I felt like somebody who drank 20 cups of coffee. I couldn't calm myself down."

She went on to win bronze in the final — a medal she wouldn't have without managing to pull off the near-impossible in the qualifying race. She also took gold in the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters.

Quan Hongchan of Team China competes in the women's 10 meter platform final. Tom Pennington/Getty Images hide caption

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Quan Hongchan of Team China competes in the women's 10 meter platform final.

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A 14-year-old Chinese diver scores two perfect 10s

14-year-old diving prodigy Quan Hongchan competed in her first Olympics, and already attained perfection.

And she did it twice, with two dives that received unanimous perfect scores from the judges' panel in the 10-meter platform event.

This was her first international competition. When it became clear she was the winner, her coach lifted her in the air as she laughed and smiled.

"I was a little nervous, but not very, just a little bit," she said, and thanked her parents watching back home in China. "I want to thank them for encouraging me, encouraging me to relax and telling me to just go for my dives freely because it doesn't matter whether I get a medal or not."

In a third dive, she earned six 10s and one 9.5. Since the two highest and two lowest scores are discarded to calculate the final score, it was also effectively a perfect dive.

Yuto Horigome of Japan competes in the men's street skateboarding finals July 25. AP hide caption

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Yuto Horigome of Japan competes in the men's street skateboarding finals July 25.

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Japan makes a statement in skateboarding's Olympic debut

Despite the fact that Japan officials frown on the sport and there are signs around Tokyo warning "No Skateboarding," teen athletes from Japan won three gold medals and a silver medal in the skateboarding competitions that debuted during the Games. They dominated in a sport that originated in Southern California.

During the first ever Olympic street skateboarding contest, 22-year-old Yuto Horigome won gold. In the neighborhood where he had grown up, Horigome expertly flipped his board in the air, sailing over staircases and gliding on rails. He executed a difficult "nollie 270 noseslide," flipping his board, then sliding it down the rail on its nose.

The following day, 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya became Japan's youngest gold medalist ever when she won the women's street skateboarding competition.

In the park skateboarding contest, Sakura Yosozumi, 19, claimed gold, soaring through the valleys and up walls of the curved concrete course. She grinded her board on the lip of the course, and soared over it with mid-air tricks, rotating 540 degrees. Afterwards, she told reporters her family had built a small skatepark for her at home, and that's where she practiced to get good enough to win the gold medal.

Yosozumi scored slightly higher than her teammate, Kokona Hiraki. The 12-year-old earned the silver medal in the park skateboarding competition.

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner celebrates during the gold medal game against Japan on Sunday in Saitama, Japan. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

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Charlie Neibergall/AP

U.S. women's basketball takes its seventh gold medal in a row

There seem to be two certainties about women's basketball at the Olympics: The U.S. won't lose a game and will win gold. Both of those happened again in Tokyo. The U.S. rolled through the tournament winning all six games it played and earning its seventh gold medal in a row. The U.S. has now won a remarkable 55 Olympic straight games dating to the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The team was led by a powerhouse group of WNBA stars including Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird (who won their fifth gold medals — the first basketball players to do so), Brittney Griner (who scored a record 30 points in an Olympic gold medal game), Breanna Stewart, A'ja Wilson, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Dawn Staley won her first gold medal as a coach, having won three golds as a player.

While the lineup will inevitably be different at the Paris Games in 2024, it seems very likely that the U.S. will find a way to win and be golden again.

Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400 meter freestyle final. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images hide caption

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Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400 meter freestyle final.

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A Tunisian swimmer mounts an upset and shocks the swimming world

An 18-year-old Tunisian managed to pull off a surprise upset in the 400 meter freestyle swimming event, winning the fifth gold medal ever for his country.

Ahmed Hafnaoui erupted in jubilation when he realized he won in the extremely tight race, pumping his fists and placing both hands on his brow as he took in the victory.

He seemed genuinely shocked at the result: "I just can't accept that — it is too incredible."

Hafnaoui came into the race with the slowest qualifying time of the eight swimmers — but he touched the wall first, beating out Australia's Jack McLoughlin by just 0.16 seconds. Kieran Smith from the U.S. took bronze, about a half-second behind the winner.

When Hafnaoui was asked by NBC how he kept his lead, he simply said: "I don't know, I just put my hand in the water, that's it." The swimmer seemed at a loss for words. Shaking his head, he said, "it's a dream that became true."

Japan's Ryo Kiyuna holds a portrait of his late mother with his men's kata gold medal at a ceremony in the karate competition. Elif Ozturk Ozgoncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption

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Japan's Ryo Kiyuna holds a portrait of his late mother with his men's kata gold medal at a ceremony in the karate competition.

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Japan wins gold in the sport of Karate as it makes its Olympic debut

After decades of trying for Olympic inclusion, Karate made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. Three-time world champion Ryo Kiyuna rewarded his native country with a gold medal.

Kiyuna won men's kata, one of two martial arts disciplines contested at these Games (the sparring event "kumite" was the other) that's particularly mesmerizing. It involves a lone competitor executing highly stylized and controlled movements and crisp, violent punches against an imaginary opponent. Some of the moves are punctuated by fierce screams.

Kiyuna's victory was memorable for two reasons: he's a native of Okinawa, where karate originated centuries ago; and on the medal stand he held a framed photo of his mother, who died two years ago.

"I felt I wanted to report my triumph to [her]" he said afterwards.

As dramatic as karate's debut was, it's the only one of these Olympics' new sports (climbing, surfing, skateboarding and 3-on-3 basketball are the others) that won't be on the program at the next Summer Games in 2024, in Paris. For Karate fans, it's an unfortunate decision, especially since the martial art is popular in France and throughout the world.

Brazil's Fernanda Rodrigues shoots while playing the United States during the gold medal match in women's volleyball at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday. Manu Fernandez/AP hide caption

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Brazil's Fernanda Rodrigues shoots while playing the United States during the gold medal match in women's volleyball at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday.

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TOKYO — On the final day of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the U.S. women's volleyball team did something it had never done before: win a gold medal. The squad defeated Brazil 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) at Ariake Arena.

It was the sixth volleyball medal for the United States. It had previously won three silver and two bronze and it was the fourth Olympics in a row that the U.S. had medaled. But this was the most complete effort of any previous team. The U.S. lost just one of its eight matches in Tokyo.

"Growth. It's all about growing. No matter what happens, whether you win or whether you lose every game, it's all about growing and getting better," said U.S. player Haleigh Washington. "We did that so well, and by the end, we were executing and I think we did an amazing job of that execution and doing what we do best, which is playing USA volleyball, baby."

Like the U.S., Brazil entered this match undefeated at these Olympics winning its seven previous times. "Unfortunately, today was our moment to feel defeat and it hurts like hell but I'm very proud of everything we've done," said Fernanda Rodrigues who won silver and was playing in her final Olympics for the Brazilian national team.

For the U.S., Annie Drews led the scoring for the team with 15 points. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 14 and Jordan Larson scored 12.

USA's players celebrate their victory in the women's gold medal volleyball match between Brazil and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena. Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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USA's players celebrate their victory in the women's gold medal volleyball match between Brazil and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena.

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USA's players celebrate their victory at the end of the women's final basketball match between USA and Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It was the squad's seventh consecutive Olympic gold. Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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USA's players celebrate their victory at the end of the women's final basketball match between USA and Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It was the squad's seventh consecutive Olympic gold.

Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

TOKYO — The U.S. women's basketball team was simply golden in the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. trounced host Japan 90-75 to win the gold medal and continue a string of unparalleled titles and victories at the Olympics.

The U.S. has not lost at the Olympics since the Barcelona Games in 1992 — a remarkable stretch of 55 straight wins. This victory landed the U.S. its seventh-straight Olympic gold medal.

USA's Brittney Griner takes a shot past Japan's Moeko Nagaoka (L). Griner sparkled in the gold medal game, leading all scorers with 30 points. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

USA's Brittney Griner takes a shot past Japan's Moeko Nagaoka (L). Griner sparkled in the gold medal game, leading all scorers with 30 points.

Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

"Seven in a row, I mean that's just amazing. That just goes to show everything USA basketball's about," said Brittney Griner.

Led by veterans Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who each claimed their fifth gold medals (the first basketball players to do so), the team's players are a who's-who of WNBA stars including Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, A'ja Wilson, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

"What can you say? It's 20 years of sacrifice, of putting everything aside and just wanting to win," said Taurasi. "It's never easy playing on this team (with) the pressure, but this group found a way to win and I'm just happy this group got to enjoy it."

Japan was outmatched, outsized and never really challenged the U.S. in the title game. Maki Takada led the Japanese team with 17 points. Nako Motohashi came off the bench to score 16. The silver medal was the best Olympic finish for Japan in women's basketball.

Griner led all scorers with 30 points (an Olympic record in a gold medal game). Wilson knocked in 19. Stewart finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

It was the first gold medal for Dawn Staley as the U.S. head coach. As a player, she won Olympic gold in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

Team USA poses for photographs with their gold medals during the Women's Basketball medal ceremony on the final day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images hide caption

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Team USA poses for photographs with their gold medals during the Women's Basketball medal ceremony on the final day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Annika Schleu of Germany cries after failing to control her horse while competing in the equestrian portion of the women's modern pentathlon at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday. Hassan Ammar/AP hide caption

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Annika Schleu of Germany cries after failing to control her horse while competing in the equestrian portion of the women's modern pentathlon at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday.

Hassan Ammar/AP

The coach of Germany's modern pentathlon team was disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics because she punched a horse.

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), the sport's governing body, announced Saturday it was giving a black card to Kim Raisner, dismissing her from the remainder of the Games, after reviewing video footage from a Friday event.

The footage "showed Ms Raisner appearing to strike the horse Saint Boy, ridden by Annika Schleu (GER), with her fist," the group said in a statement. That violated UIPM competition rules, they said.

The light punch came after Schleu, who was heading into the show jumping round with a commanding lead, was trying to get Saint Boy to respond to her commands. But the horse was obstinate.

"She looks very, very nervous here," one commentator said as the horse bucked and walked in reverse. "What on earth is going on here? The horse is refusing!"

Raisner was heard on video urging Schleu to hit the horse with her riding crop to get it to comply. This was an unfamiliar horse for Schleu, who — like all competitors in the modern pentathlon — drew the horse at random and only had 20 minutes to bond with it before the event.

"I said hit it," Raisner said, according to the German media outlet DW. "But she didn't torture the horse, in any way," said Raisner.

At one point, Raisner lightly punched the horse once above its back leg. The horse did not seem to notice.

Schleu ended up scoring zero points in the show jumping segment, finishing the competition in 31st place.

Modern pentathlon combines five events: fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting and cross-country running.

In a statement to CNN, the German Olympic Committee said that Friday's showing damaged the image of the sport. "Numerous recognizable excessive demands on the horse, and rider combinations should be an urgent reason for the international association to amend the rules," the committee said. "It needs to be changed so that the horse and the rider are protected."

Japan's Yuto Horigome competes in the men's street final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Sports Park Skateboarding in Tokyo on July 25. Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Japan's Yuto Horigome competes in the men's street final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Sports Park Skateboarding in Tokyo on July 25.

Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images

Home field advantage is known in sports for giving athletes competing on their own turf an edge over their opponents. It seems to still hold true even at the highest levels of competition, including the Olympics.

Japan, who is hosting this year's games, has far surpassed its gold medal count from the previous Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Data shows, almost without exception, that Olympic athletes from the host country end up on the podium more often and take home more gold medals in the summer games than they did when they were competing away from home.

But if all the Olympians are sleeping on the same cardboard beds, eating the same Olympic Village food, training on the same equipment and duking it on the same course or in the same swimming pool, why do some athletes have an edge over others?

It turns out there are lots of reasons home team athletes get a boost. And in the Olympics in particular, the deck is stacked even higher in favor of the host country.

Home field advantage is real, athletes and experts say

One of the biggest pluses to competing at home is the positive energy from a supportive crowd, athletes say. (That is somewhat out the window at this year's Olympics, where fans were banned from entering facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Briana Scurry, a former goalie for the U.S. women's national soccer team, said playing in the U.S. during the 1996 Summer Olympics helped the squad beat China to win gold that year.

"We had 76,000 people at the final in Athens, Georgia, all cheering for us. And China had, literally, a little tiny section of red up high in the nosebleed seats," she said.

Three years later, during the 1999 Women's World Cup in California, Scurry said the home field advantage pushed the team to play better again. During the final, Scurry herself made an iconic save in the game-deciding shootout, deflecting the ball with her fingertips, helping the team win the championship.

"[The] times where I haven't really felt exceptionally energized, if I think about it, are the times usually when we weren't the home-based team. We were overseas and playing," she said.

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Another factor that can hurt athletes from different places, especially other countries, is travel. International competitions such as the Olympics often require long flights across multiple time zones, which can give athletes jet lag and impact their sleep.

Foreign athletes may also be unaccustomed to the food and training equipment available at the competition. Even the weather, such as the oppressive humidity right now in Tokyo, may throw off a competitor used to a different climate.

For some athletes, though, the disadvantage to playing away may be more nebulous. It could simply be the feeling of being off in a new place.

"When we compete at home, we're comfortable. We're familiar with our surroundings, and that gives us some confidence. We know our course. We know the stadium we're performing in. We know the crowds that are there are generally cheering, hopefully, for us to do well," said Tim Baghurst, director of FSU COACH, the athletic coaching center at Florida State University.

"Now flip that, and you go somewhere where maybe the crowd base is more hostile. You haven't prepared the same way. Maybe the equipment to warm up isn't available that you're usually used to warming up with. Now we have that uncertainty of, 'maybe I'm not prepared for this.' And that little bit of doubt creeps in," he added.

"Theoretically it should be no different, but we know that it is."

Olympic host countries get an even bigger boost

The home field advantage is dialed up even higher for the Olympics, where host countries are afforded additional benefits to help their athletes succeed.

Competitors from host countries have to meet lower qualification standards than their foreign peers, according to FiveThirtyEight.

That may contribute to the phenomenon of host countries sending much bigger squads to their Olympics than the previous summer games when they competed abroad.

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Japan got yet another benefit this year thanks to an Olympic rule change. A new policy adopted by the The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2016 allows the organizing committee for the host country to propose several new sporting events for their games.

It meant that baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing — all popular sports in Japan — were Olympic events in Tokyo. And Japanese athletes have already medaled in four of the five sports, at times crushing the competition.

History shows host countries perform better

In every Summer Olympics since 1952, with two exceptions, the host country has won more medals than it did in the previous summer games.

So far this year, Japan nabbed 10 more medals than it did in 2016. In the 2008 games in Beijing, China won 100 medals, 37 more than it took home in 2004. (Finland, in 1952, and the United States, in 1996, saw their medal counts drop at home.)

Host countries not only win more medals; they take home the top prize more often, too. Since 1952 only two countries (including Finland, again) have failed to improve on their previous gold medal counts when they hosted the summer games.

With the Tokyo Olympics still underway, Japan has already bested its 2016 gold medal tally. Brazil took home seven golds in 2016, more than double its previous haul.

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Baghurst, the Florida State University professor, says it pays for host country athletes to do well. It likely means more money for the IOC and the host country through merchandise and other sales. It also makes for a buzzier, more enjoyable competition for that country's citizens, who not only have to put up with the disruptions caused by the Olympics but also may want to take part in what is a rare, even patriotic-feeling, event.

"When there is success in an event at home, more people are talking about it, more people are coming to watch" he said. "It just increases that fervor and interest in what's going on."

USA's Michael Cherry (left) and Rai Benjamin after winning gold in the men's 4 x 400 meter relay at the Olympic Stadium in Japan on Saturday. Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images hide caption

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USA's Michael Cherry (left) and Rai Benjamin after winning gold in the men's 4 x 400 meter relay at the Olympic Stadium in Japan on Saturday.

Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

After failing to win a single gold medal across all track events leading into Saturday, the U.S. men's team dominated in the 4x400 meter relay's final heat to the top spot on the podium.

Saturday's win secured a gold medal for the U.S. men's relay team — an achievement the broader track squad has made in every Olympics the U.S. team has participated in.

The team of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin finished with a time of 2:55:70.

Speaking to reporters following the event, Benjamin acknowledged the slump that the U.S. men's track team had endured throughout the Tokyo Games.

"Track and field — this sport — is very unforgiving. It's just amazing to come out here and win a gold medal, considering what the banter was back home," Benjamin said. "Especially given our team is young and a lot of people don't understand that."

But Benjamin also said the absence of gold for the U.S. men's track team had little influence on the 4x400 relay team's approach to the race.

"There was no pressure to go out there and do anything out of the ordinary — anything we haven't done before," he said. "It was just: go out and execute our own race and bring it home."

Norman insisted the pressure of winning — especially considering the U.S. track team's gold medal drought — was self-inflicted.

"No one comes here with the intention of losing. We all want to win and that's what we are here for," Norman said. "To be able to come out here and win a gold medal for Team USA and ourselves is just amazing."

The team's final time in the Tokyo Games was just shy of the Olympic record of 2:55:39, set by the U.S. team in Beijing in 2008.

Coming into Saturday's final heat, the team had struggled to find its footing despite earlier success and high expectations.

U.S. sprinter Trayvon Bromell came into the Tokyo Games with the No. 1 time in the 100 meters this year, but didn't advance beyond the semifinal round.

And Benjamin — who anchored Saturday's gold-medal-winning 4x400 meter heat — was expected to be a top contender in the men's 400 meter hurdles. However, Benjamin was outmatched in that event by Norway's Karsten Warholm — in a race in which both men broke the previous world record.

Meanwhile, the U.S. women's 4x400 meter relay team won gold on Saturday, with U.S. star Allyson Felix bringing her Olympic medal count up to 11, making her the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete in history.

U.S. runners (from left) Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad, Athing Mu and Allyson Felix celebrate winning the gold medal in the women's 4x400 meter relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games. David Ramos/Getty Images hide caption

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David Ramos/Getty Images

U.S. runners (from left) Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad, Athing Mu and Allyson Felix celebrate winning the gold medal in the women's 4x400 meter relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

David Ramos/Getty Images

TOKYO — It wasn't even close.

The U.S. women's 4x400 meter relay team won gold, beating the closest competition, Poland, by more than three and a half seconds.

The gold medal for U.S. star Allyson Felix brings her Olympic medal total up to 11, making her the most decorated U.S. track and field athlete in history. With this medal, she surpassed the record of U.S. track legend Carl Lewis. Tokyo is her fifth Olympics.

"For me, I just came out really at peace and wanting to soak it all in," Felix said. "I think this is a really special team because we're not 400-meter runners — I don't consider myself a 400-meter specialist. We all do different things, and it was really cool to come together to get to close out the Olympic Games and for me, my Olympic career in this way."

The U.S. was in the lead the entire race, starting out fast with 400-meter hurdles world record holder Sydney McLaughlin. Felix followed, maintaining the lead. Hurdles silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad opened it up, and 800-meter gold medalist Athing Mu closed out the race.

Muhammed said she has been inspired by Felix her entire career. "I'm truly just honored to be part of this team with her, on her last Olympics. We're going to look back at this and think about how special this moment really was."

Poland took silver and Jamaica won bronze.

Felix has been an outspoken advocate for better support for athletes who are moms.

"There have been so many women before me who had to stay silent about their fight, and so for me to be able to step out ... I think my daughter gave me the courage to do that," she said. "This has been going on for far too long, I hope we're really changing things now."

NPR's Leila Fadel contributed to this report.

U.S. water polo player Ashleigh Johnson defends a shot during the gold medal match at the Tokyo Olympics. Marcel ter Bals/Getty Images hide caption

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U.S. water polo player Ashleigh Johnson defends a shot during the gold medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.

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TOKYO — The U.S. women's water polo team has won gold for the third Olympics in a row, handily beating Spain in the gold medal match thanks to aggressive offense and a goalie who made block after block.

Ashleigh Johnson, the first African American woman to make a U.S. Olympic water polo team, blocked 11 out of 15 shots from Spain during her time in goal – a rate of 73%. The main goalie for Spain blocked 19% of the shots, and the final score was 14 to 5.

"I'm so proud of how we performed for each other today and for the people that we represent," Johnson said after the match. "I hope everyone was watching and I hope they find something in our performance today, because we gave everything that we had."

Johnson, who is considered one of the best goalies in the world, repeatedly lunged out of the water and across the goal to block shots, all while treading water.

"That's why she's the best," U.S. Coach Adam Krikorian said of Johnson's performance. "She just gave us a ton of confidence. When she's back there and you see that big smile of hers, it gives you the confidence but it also relaxes you a little bit and it helped to settle us in."

Nine Team USA players scored against Spain, including Madeline Musselman, who had three goals.

After the win, it didn't take long for a Team USA coach to get pushed in the water by the jubilant team. The rest of the coaching staff leapt in after, laughing and hugging with the players in the middle of the pool.

Nelly Korda of Team USA plays her shot from the 18th tee during the final round of the Women's Individual Stroke Play on Saturday at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Chris Trotman/Getty Images hide caption

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Nelly Korda of Team USA plays her shot from the 18th tee during the final round of the Women's Individual Stroke Play on Saturday at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

TOKYO — American Nelly Korda finished with a one-shot victory in the Olympic women's golf competition battling both the rain and her opponents in the final round. With the win, the United States swept the gold medals in golf.

Korda, 23, continued her sparkling season after winning her first major, the Women's PGA Championship in June, as well as two other tournaments, and then snagging the world number one ranking. Now she can add an Olympic gold medal to her collection of firsts this year.

"I've had a pretty good stretch of events, but that doesn't mean necessarily that you're going to play well," she said. "You kind of try to put the expectations to the side and just go out, have a nice fresh week, and enjoy the Olympic experience."

USA's Nelly Korda (L) is congratulated by her sister USA's Jessica Korda (R) after winning the gold medal at the Kasumigaseki Country Club on Saturday. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

USA's Nelly Korda (L) is congratulated by her sister USA's Jessica Korda (R) after winning the gold medal at the Kasumigaseki Country Club on Saturday.

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Her 17 under par was one shot better than Mone Inami of Japan and Lydia Ko of New Zealand who finished at 16 under and had a playoff for the silver. Inami bested her to grab silver and Ko took bronze.

Korda and the rest of the field had to wait out a rain delay of about an hour and also battle through Japan's heat and humidity at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Nelly wasn't the only Korda to celebrate on Saturday. Her 28-year-old sister, Jessica, shot a 64 for the low score of the final round, and finished tied for 15th. After Nelly's winning putt, Jessica rushed out to the 18th green to give her a big celebratory hug.

The last time a U.S. woman won a gold medal in golf was in 1900 when Margaret Abbott won at the Paris Olympics.

Nelly Korda joins fellow American Xander Schauffele who won the gold in the men's competition last Sunday.

United States' players celebrate after their win in the men's basketball gold medal game against France at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Saturday. Luca Bruno/AP hide caption

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Luca Bruno/AP

United States' players celebrate after their win in the men's basketball gold medal game against France at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Saturday.

Luca Bruno/AP

TOKYO — The U.S. men's basketball team continued its run of Olympic dominance on Saturday. The Americans edged France 87-82 in the gold medal game to win their fourth straight title at the Games stretching back to 2008.

Kevin Durant of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets once again led the way offensively for the U.S. He scored 29 points and sealed the win with two last-second free throws. "To fight through this adversity against a great team, to come together so fast it was beautiful to see, it was beautiful to be a part of," Durant said. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Evan Fournier of the Boston Celtics each had 16 to lead a French team that beat the Americans in their first meeting in Tokyo.

For the U.S., the victory ended an Olympic run that began with doubts — the Americans weren't big enough, skeptics said, hadn't played together enough ... and the world was catching up.

"I think it's more joy than relief, but definitely some relief. The expectations that get placed on Team USA, there is some relief because of those, especially with us losing a few games," said USA point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. "It's like we have to get it done, so finally getting there and pulling it off in the gold medal game you can only exhale."

A number of the other Olympic teams had current or former NBA players mixed into their lineups. But the entire U.S. team was made up of top-tier NBA athletes and it now has a fourth straight gold medal, and seventh in the last eight Olympic Games.

Overall, the gold is the 19th medal won by Team USA in men's basketball (16 gold, 1 silver, and two bronze). With the victory, the U.S. record in Olympic competition is 150-6, a .962 winning percentage.

USA's Kevin Durant (C) fights for position in the men's final basketball game between France and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Aris Messinis/POOL/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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USA's Kevin Durant (C) fights for position in the men's final basketball game between France and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Aris Messinis/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ancient Japanese Martial Art Karate Strikes For First Time At Tokyo Olympics

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Azerbaijan's Rafael Aghayev (L) competes against Hungary's Karoly Gabor Harspataki in the men's kumite -75kg semi-final of the karate competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday. Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Azerbaijan's Rafael Aghayev (L) competes against Hungary's Karoly Gabor Harspataki in the men's kumite -75kg semi-final of the karate competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

TOKYO — The ancient martial art of Karate made its debut at the Summer Olympics in Japan this week. The sport was added as a nod to the country where it developed 700 years ago.

There are two types of karate at these Olympics: kata, and kumite.

Kata is performed solo, with an imaginary rival. The hand and leg movements are slow and precise. But Kumite is sparring; kicking and punching at an opponent.

The martial art developed seven centuries ago, on the island of Okinawa At the time, Okinawa was controlled by a clan that outlawed weapons, says Kenshin Iwata. He runs a dojo — a karate academy — in a section of Tokyo known for ancient samurai warriors.

"Without weapons, they wanted to know how to fight against those bad samurai who tried to fight with the swords and other weapons," Iwata says, explaining the origin of karate. "In fact, karate is literally meaning empty hands. No weapons, just hands."

Kenshin Iwata poses inside his dojo in Tokyo. He says in karate, the body is a weapon. "It's what we call the art of killing with one blow," he says. Mandalit del Barco/NPR hide caption

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Kenshin Iwata poses inside his dojo in Tokyo. He says in karate, the body is a weapon. "It's what we call the art of killing with one blow," he says.

Mandalit del Barco/NPR

Iwata runs the International Karate Do Kenshin Kai. He says different forms of karate developed, including one that started with Okinawans using farm tools to fight. Later, they developed sticks and nunchucks.

Iwata says in karate, the body is a weapon. "It's what we call the art of killing with one blow," he says.

He says karate masters have been very secretive about their styles. But one of his instructors moved to California and introduced karate to Hollywood; in fact, he was a stunt double in the 1984 movie Karate Kid.

"Hollywood movies are not actually karate, it's more like a stunt," says Iwata. He says his sensei, his teacher, arranged the karate techniques "to show more exaggerated expressions," to get moviegoers excited. "It's entertainment."

Karate Kid and the recent Netflix series Cobra Kai have helped make karate more popular around the world. But Iwata says the real martial art of karate is about spirit training and discipline.

Jovana Prekovic (L) of Team Serbia competes against Yin Xiaoyan of Team China during the Women's Karate Kumite -61kg Gold Medal Bout on Friday at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Harry How/Getty Images hide caption

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Harry How/Getty Images

Jovana Prekovic (L) of Team Serbia competes against Yin Xiaoyan of Team China during the Women's Karate Kumite -61kg Gold Medal Bout on Friday at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Harry How/Getty Images

"You're not supposed to show off how strong you are. It's more like much more like quiet and static rather than dynamic," he says. "Real martial arts is more like mentally cool, and how you can control yourself, whatever the situation is."

He says in karate, if someone challenges or threatens you, "you change your character and now you ready to fight. You can actually use techniques to protect yourself."

On a mat in his small home dojo in Tokyo that doubles as his home office, Iwata demonstrates his techniques. Wearing his white karategi, his uniform tied with one of the six black belts he earned, he bows. Then he goes through a series of fast-speed kicks and blows that come half an inch from me.

The karate at the Olympics, he says, is more of a sports technique. He's encouraging his students to watch the Games on TV as motivation.

Japan's Ryo Kiyuna won gold in the men's kata final bout of the karate competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Friday. Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Iwata notes that Europeans are now dominating in world competitions. It was actually karate champs from France, Spain, and Bulgaria who claimed the first- ever Olympic gold medals this week.

On the second day of competition, 31-year-old Ryo Kiyuna of Japan also earned a gold medal after performing a kata known as "Ohan Dai." He said he was proud to make history as the first athlete from Okinawa to win gold.

"This tradition of Okinawa has spread around the world and is loved by so many people," he said after his win. "We were able to show what karate is to the world through the Olympics, so in that sense, all of the athletes made history together."

Karate will not be at the Paris Olympics in 2024. But some enthusiasts hope to see it back at the Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir (left) of Kenya, stands with silver medalist and compatriot Brigid Kosgei, (center) and bronze medalist Molly Seidel (right) of the United States, after the women's marathon at the Summer Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. Eugene Hoshiko/AP hide caption

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Gold medalist Peres Jepchirchir (left) of Kenya, stands with silver medalist and compatriot Brigid Kosgei, (center) and bronze medalist Molly Seidel (right) of the United States, after the women's marathon at the Summer Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

TOKYO — Molly Seidel had only run two marathons before competing at the Tokyo Olympics. But the 27-year-old from Wisconsin pulled off an upset and is leaving Japan with a bronze medal around her neck.

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir took gold, and her compatriot and world record holder Brigid Kosgei won the silver in the hot and humid 26.2 mile race in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo.

"I wanted to go and be that person who, when you're racing, they're all saying, 'Who the hell is this girl?'" Seidel said after the race. "I just wanted to stick my nose in where it didn't belong and get after it. The Olympics only happens every four years, you might as well take your shot."

"I did get a bit overcome and start crying a little bit. This is the day you dream of your entire life. This is what it means to be an athlete," she added.

Seidel finished second at U.S. Olympic Trials in February 2020, behind her teammate and friend Aliphine Tuliamuk, who did not finish the Olympic race because of an injury. Seidel's only other race at this distance was the London Marathon in October.

"I was a little bit star struck. I look up to these girls a lot. I'm pretty sure Brigid almost lapped me in London," she added.

Before Olympic Trials, Seidel was working two jobs, as a barista and a babysitter.

The heat made the race especially challenging for the athletes. Seidel trained in Arizona to try to prepare. "It still was incredibly difficult but this is what we train for," she added.

The Kenyan medalists supported each other during the race, running together for most of it and even sharing a water bottle.

"It is just teamwork. We decided to help each other because we wanted to be one and two," Jepchirchir said.

Eddy Alvarez of the United States in action against Venezuela during the World Baseball Softball Confederation's Baseball Americas Qualifier Super Round in June in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Mark Brown/Getty Images hide caption

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Eddy Alvarez of the United States in action against Venezuela during the World Baseball Softball Confederation's Baseball Americas Qualifier Super Round in June in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Mark Brown/Getty Images

Speedskater-turned-baseball infielder Eddie Alvarez is about to do what only two other Americans have ever accomplished — win medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

At the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, the Cuban-American athlete won silver as part of the U.S. 5,000-meter relay team. Following Thursday's U.S. 7-2 victory in baseball over defending Olympic champions South Korea, he'll medal again when the U.S. faces Japan on Saturday. The only question is whether his new medal will be silver or gold.

Alvarez said he cried tears of joy in the dugout after Thursday's win.

"Yeah, I got emotional because it was a lot of sacrifice," he acknowledged, according to The Associated Press.

"I still can't believe it," Alvarez told the AP. "I know the job's not done yet because at the end of the day, one of the only reasons why I came out here is for redemption, to win a gold medal."

Saturday's gold-medal game is slated for 6 a.m. ET. No matter the outcome, Alvarez will join an elite club of American athletes who've pulled off the Summer-Winter feat.

Eddie Eagan won an Olympic gold medal in boxing in 1920, and 12 years later, he won another gold in the four-man bobsled. In 2012, Lauryn Williams won a gold in the 4x100-meter relay in London and then brought home a silver from Sochi in the two-woman bobsled. She earlier won a silver in track in 2004.

Alvarez is relishing his second shot at gold, especially because his runner-up finish in 2014 came to a Russian team that bested the U.S. skaters by just 0.271 seconds. Subsequently, members of Russia's speedskating program were implicated in the country's massive doping scandal — including athletes who were on the team that beat the Americans.

"I won't lie to you. I do feel cheated," Alvarez said, according to the AP. "But, yeah, this feels like a little redemption trip here, giving me a second chance to win gold."

Julia Grosso clinches a penalty shootout victory for Canada in the Tokyo Olympics as the team takes the gold medal over Sweden on Friday at International Stadium Yokohama. Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Julia Grosso clinches a penalty shootout victory for Canada in the Tokyo Olympics as the team takes the gold medal over Sweden on Friday at International Stadium Yokohama.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Canada is celebrating and Sweden is mourning after their women's soccer teams took their gold-medal match past regulation, through extra time and into a wildly nerve-wracking shootout Friday in the Tokyo Olympics.

The shootout had it all: Both teams missed crucial shots, and the goalkeepers made huge saves. And on the final attempt, 20-year-old midfielder Julia Grosso blasted a low shot that Swedish goalie Hedvig Lindahl managed to get a glove on — but could not stop, as the ball settled into the back of the net.

Euphoric Canadian players rushed toward Grosso on the pitch at International Stadium Yokohama as the Swedish team reconciled itself with a second consecutive silver finish. For Canada, it's a long-awaited breakthrough: The team won bronze in both Rio de Janeiro and London.

The shootout had brought each team prime chances to clinch the gold. Canada seized the early momentum, with Jessie Fleming nailing her team's first attempt after Kosovare Asllani's strike hit the post. But then the Swedes notched two straight goals, while Ashley Lawrence's shot was saved and Vanessa Gilles' attempt hit the crossbar.

Canadian goalie Stephanie Labbé made a crucial save — and then Sweden's veteran captain, Caroline Seger, missed badly, skying her shot over the net.

With Canada's hopes on the line, Deanne Rose stepped to the mark and lifted a beautiful goal into the top right corner of the net. Labbé then followed with another clutch save.

Canada celebrates after defeating Sweden to win gold in the women's soccer final at the Tokyo Olympics. Abbie Parr/Getty Images hide caption

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Canada celebrates after defeating Sweden to win gold in the women's soccer final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

That set up Grosso, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, who plays for the University of Texas, to win the shootout 3-2 and secure Canada's first gold medal in women's soccer.

Both Grosso and Rose came into the game after the first half as Canadian coach Bev Priestman adjusted her lineup.

Sweden jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first half. However, Canada was able to equalize on a penalty kick in the second after Christine Sinclair went down on a close call in the penalty area that required video review. The two sides showed flashes of inspired play as they tried to break the tie, but as regulation ended and they played through two periods of extra time, tension and fatigue seemed to set in.

Sweden lost despite having an edge in possession — 54% to Canada's 46% — and taking 24 shots overall. Sweden also took 14 corner kicks, compared with five for Canada.

Canada's midfielder Quinn warms up prior to the Tokyo Olympics women's final soccer match between Sweden and Canada on Aug. 6. Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Canada's midfielder Quinn warms up prior to the Tokyo Olympics women's final soccer match between Sweden and Canada on Aug. 6.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian soccer player Quinn has just made Olympic history.

The Canadian women's soccer team took home the gold on Friday, beating out Sweden and earning the top spot for the first time in its Olympic history. The winner of the final was determined via penalty kicks, yet another Olympic first for women's soccer. And on the heels of that victory, Quinn, a midfielder for Canada, also accomplished something monumental: They became the first-ever openly transgender and nonbinary athlete not only to win gold but to medal at all in the Olympic Games.

It's the latest history-making move for Quinn, who also was one of the first openly trans athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. (While they helped Canada take home the bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, they did not come out as trans and nonbinary until last year.)

But as much of an accomplishment as it is for Quinn to break those barriers, it's also bittersweet, as they noted on Instagram late last month.

"I feel proud seeing ' Quinn' up on the lineup and on my accreditation," they said. "I feel sad knowing there were Olympians before me unable to live their truth because of the world. I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures, and mindsets."

"Mostly, I feel aware of the realities. Trans girls being banned from sports. Trans women facing discrimination and bias while trying to pursue their olympic dreams," they continued. "The fight isn't close to over... and I'll celebrate when we're all here."

That change is already well on its way. In terms of LGBTQ representation, the Tokyo Games have broken new ground. The nonbinary skateboarder Alana Smith competed for the U.S. during the Games. The BMX category saw trans representation via rider Chelsea Wolfe, who also competed for the United States. And Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, became the first transgender woman to compete in an individual event.

Although Hubbard may have left the Games empty-handed and is reportedly heading for retirement, the impact that she and other trans and nonbinary athletes like Quinn have made this year will no doubt be felt for years to come.

"All I've ever wanted to be is myself," Hubbard said, according to NBC New York. "I'm just so grateful that I've had the opportunity to come here and be me."

Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, two coaches from Team Belarus, arrive at the airport on Friday after their Olympic credentials were revoked. Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images hide caption

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Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, two coaches from Team Belarus, arrive at the airport on Friday after their Olympic credentials were revoked.

Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Two coaches from the Belarus team have been dismissed by the International Olympic Committee four days after they ordered sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya back home for publicly criticizing them.

The IOC revoked credentials for Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich. They "were requested to leave the Olympic Village immediately and have done so," the IOC said.

In a tweet, the IOC said the move was "in the interest and wellbeing of the athletes of the [National Olympic Committee] of Belarus who are still in Tokyo."

Timanovskaya, 24, refused to board a flight back to Belarus after the coaches pulled her from Monday's 200-meter event and ordered her home from the Games.

The Belarusian Olympic Committee claimed Timanovskaya was being withdrawn from competition because of her "emotional, psychological state," but she told Reuters that she was being forced to go home because she had criticized the coaches on social media.

In a scene reminiscent of Cold War-era defections, Timanovskaya was subsequently granted a Polish humanitarian visa while seeking political asylum.

At a news conference Thursday in Warsaw, Timanovskaya said she had been angry at her coaches for wanting to run her in the 400-meter relay, a race for which she hadn't trained. She was concerned she would injure herself and jeopardize her chances in the 200-meter — her specialty.

She said she decided not to board the flight back to Belarus after speaking by telephone with her grandmother there, who warned her of critical media reports.

Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya displays an Olympic-related T-shirt with the slogan "I Just Want to Run" after her news conference Thursday in Warsaw, Poland. She arrived in Poland a day earlier fearing reprisals at home after criticizing her coaches at the Tokyo Games. Czarek Sokolowski/AP hide caption

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Czarek Sokolowski/AP

Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya displays an Olympic-related T-shirt with the slogan "I Just Want to Run" after her news conference Thursday in Warsaw, Poland. She arrived in Poland a day earlier fearing reprisals at home after criticizing her coaches at the Tokyo Games.

Czarek Sokolowski/AP

Speaking with NPR's Morning Edition, reporter Charles Maynes said: "Her criticism of her coaches was seen as criticism of the Olympic Committee in Belarus," which is run by the son of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

A year ago, mass protests rocked Belarus after Lukashenko won a sixth term in an election viewed as rigged by many Belarusians as well as the European Union and U.S. State Department.

Timanovskaya is one of 2,000 sports figures in Belarus who signed a letter calling for new elections and the release of political prisoners, according to Voice of America.

Speaking Thursday, Timanovskaya said her husband was joining her in Poland, and that together they would decide whether to seek political asylum there.

Allyson Felix of Team USA celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the women's 400-meter final at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Friday. David Ramos/Getty Images hide caption

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Allyson Felix of Team USA celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the women's 400-meter final at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Friday.

David Ramos/Getty Images

TOKYO – U.S. star Allyson Felix now has the most Olympic medals ever for a female track athlete, after winning a new bronze medal on Friday in the 400 meters at the Tokyo Olympics.

This is Felix's fifth Olympics and her 10th medal. She first competed in Athens in 2004 and has medaled in every Summer Games since then.

"This one is very different, and it's very special. And it just took a lot to get here," Felix said after the race.

Felix's time Friday of 49.46 is the second-fastest of her career, according to USA Track and Field.

Her medal Friday means Felix now exceeds the record set by Jamaican athlete Merlene Ottey.

It also brings Felix even with the record set by Carl Lewis for the most Olympic medals won by a U.S. track athlete. Lewis warmly congratulated her in a post on Twitter. "35 never looked so good," he said. "What an amazing career and inspiration."

"I think people thought I was a long shot for me to even be on the U.S. team. And then, you know, I wasn't a pick for the medals. But, you know, just give me a shot," Felix said with a smile.

Finland's Paavo Nurmi, who competed in the 1920s, has the most all-time Olympic medals for a track athlete, with 12.

Felix may still have a chance to win herself another medal at these Olympics — she's very likely to compete in the 4x400 relay Saturday night.

As Lewis put it: "Now on to the relay."

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