This year's Olympic games have brought along a certain amount of excitement with them which is more valuable than ever as the whole world has been on pause due to the pandemic.
We always hear stories of grit and hard work that lead athletes to medals and glory. But on the sidelines, there are touching stories of how the very same athletes conquer their sport. These are the ones that warm our hearts and souls, here, take a look.
1. There is a whole team that comprises of stateless athletes which represent the millions of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people across the world.
2. Tokyo 2020 is the first ever gender-balanced Olympic games which has 49% participation by women. In fact, it is now mandatory for all 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to have at least one female and one male athlete in their respective Olympic teams.
3. The Olympics has the youngest skateboarding gold medalist now. Nishiya Momiji from Japan, who is only thirteen, won first place.
4. Hend Zaza, a Syrian table tennis player, is only eleven years old, and has already debuted in the Olympics this year.
5. As you may have noticed, age hasn't been a deterring factor in this year's games. Which is why it probably won't be surprising to hear that Kuwait's seven-time Olympian Abdullah Al-Rashidi returned to the games this year and won a bronze medal in skeet shooting, at 57-years-old.
6. Ahmed Hafnaoui, an 18-year-old from Tunisia won a gold medal in the men's 400-meter freestyle. But only a day before, he'd qualified as the slowest among his peers, in the semifinals.
7. Softball player Amanda Chidester played against her Fiancée Anissa Urtez, as the American and Mexican team competed against one another. And it was so cute how Anissa posted a selfie of them together later saying they still love each other.
8. Above 160 LGBTQ+ athletes who are out are participating in the Tokyo games this time around.
9. New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard is the first-ever out trans athlete to be completing a solo Olympics event. While Canadian footballer Quinn, who had come out as trans last year will also be returning to the game this year.
10. Argentine fencer, Maria Belen Perez Maurice accepted a marriage proposal by her long term partner and coach Lucas Guillermo on camera. That too after she'd denied it 11 years ago!
11. The Olympics now allows breastfeeding athletes to bring their babies along with them!
What a great time to be alive and witnessing all this.