WORLD ATHLETICS President Sebastian Coe has hailed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the people of Japan for allowing the dreams of the world’s athletes to come to life at what has proven to be the most globally successful edition of the Games for athletics.
A record 83 teams reached finals in Tokyo, highlighting the global reach of the sport, with 43 teams featuring on the medal podium and 23 of those winning gold.
Some 70 per cent of athletes only get one chance to compete at the Olympic Games and in Tokyo athletes made the most of the opportunity under the most challenging circumstances.
Coe thanked Japan and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for providing the best possible platform on which the sport’s stars could shine. Over ten days of competition, three world records, 12 Olympic records, 28 area records and 151 national records were set in these history-making Games.
“To the people of Japan, we know the hardship you have endured and continue to endure in the face of this global pandemic,” Coe said.
“We owe you a massive debt of gratitude for your gracious hospitality, your professionalism and your friendship. You really have been simply the best and we thank you unreservedly.”
The tally of 43 countries on the medal table is the biggest in athletics for more than 20 years, underlining the diversity and depth of talent in the sport. Across all Olympic sports at the Tokyo Games, 93 teams earned medals, so almost 50 percent of those achieved their dreams in athletics.
For 12 teams – Bahamas, Bahrain, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Puerto Rico and Uganda – athletics was their pathway to the Olympic podium.
In total, athletes at the Games covered a combined distance of 2,045,750 metres in track events and 10,737km in road events. Field eventers threw a combined distance of 1508 metres and jumped a combined distance of 2490 metres.
While the platform was set for many record-breaking performances, the Tokyo 2020 Games will also be remembered for its surprise results, close contests, next generation breakthroughs and moments of fair play.
Among the new stars who shone on the global stage were teenagers Athing Mu and Keely Hodgkinson, who claimed respective gold and silver in the women’s 800m at the age of just 19.
Fourteen athletes under the age of 23 won medals, six of them gold, to underline the exceptional talent coming through the sport.
Meanwhile, one of the most heart-warming moments of the Games came in the men’s high jump when Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi – friends and rivals who battled the same career-threatening injury to make it to Tokyo – decided to share the gold.
All of these moments helped to engage and inspire fans around the globe. World Athletics’ social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) received 14 million engagements during the duration of the Games, and content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube receiving 155 million impressions.
For the first time, World Athletics also provided a second screen experience – Inside Track Tokyo 2020 – which enabled fans to join celebrities, experts and families online as they shared their reactions live while following the excitement of the Games.