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Looking back at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and forward to the upcoming Paralympic Games

After a year filled with anticipation, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rewarded us with thrilling competitions, hospitality, and plenty of social media posts from the participating athletes. The Olympic Games might be over, but now it is time to look towards the upcoming competitions in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games starting on August 24.

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©Takeru – stock.adobe.com

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics wrapped up on August 8 in a closing ceremony held without spectators. The ceremony continued to showcase the richness of both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, with a touch of high-tech creativity in the form of a floating augmented reality light display of the Olympic rings. Several athletes, such as the members of the Team GB who sported jackets with the words “Arigato Tokyo” (thank you Tokyo), took the opportunity to show their gratitude to the organizers and people who made the Tokyo 2020 Olympics possible. Finally, with a fireworks show and the word “Arigato” (thank you), the Tokyo 2020 Olympics officially came to a close and passed the baton to Paris, the host of the 2024 summer Olympics.

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During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic closing ceremony, the iconic Tokyo SKYTREE lit up in the colors of the French tricolor flag since the next summer Olympics will be held in Paris, France. ©TOKYO-SKYTREE

Looking back, Tokyo 2020 had, just like past Olympics, its fair share of nail-biting moments, euphoria, and tears. The five new sports making an Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 were also a hit, with skateboarding gaining a lot of attention online for the spectacular skills showcased by some of the youngest medalists in Olympic history.

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The Olympic and Paralympic Village in Tokyo’s Harumi waterfront district, where the athletes spent their time in between competitions.

This year, without an international audience in place in Tokyo, the internet and social media played an unprecedented role. After all, what better way to get a feel for what it’s like at the event than to see and hear straight from the source―the Olympic athletes. Whether it was reactions to and emotions from the competitions, or the spectacular sunsets over Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge seen from the balconies in the Olympic and Paralympic Village, online fans could follow along the Olympic experience in near real-time.

A recurring theme on many athletes’ social media was a shared love for the food served at the Olympic Village’s dining halls. Gyoza, a type of Japanese dumpling, was one of the favorites often seen reviewed in short videos shared online. If you are curious and want to try some delicious gyoza yourself on your next trip to Japan, visit Utsunomiya, the self-proclaimed gyoza capital of Japan.

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The Olympic and Paralympic Village main dining hall served food from all around the world and was a hit amongst athletes and their social media followers.

For the press, who didn’t have access to the Olympic and Paralympic Village and its amazing food, many instead relied heavily on the trusty Japanese convenience store. The impressive line-up of meals and snacks not only kept the journalists from going hungry, but they also kept them, and thousands of others, entertained as they shared their “konbini” adventures online.

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Food from the nearby convenience store was the go-to meal for many journalists, for its convenience, variety and taste.

The volunteers throughout the Tokyo 2020 Games demonstrated why Japan is famous for its hospitality. They were showered with praise from athletes and viewers online for their hard work during the event. Even though most events were held without an audience, local fans impressed many online with their distanced cheering and encouraging messages for the athletes. One such example was a gentleman holding up a sign outside the Olympic and Paralympic Village every day that said, “Even if you don’t get a medal, you are still the best!”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may have come to an end, but the Tokyo 2020 Games are far from over. On August 24 is the Opening Ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which promises even more days packed with exciting competitions. The very first Paralympic Games were held in Tokyo back in 1964, making Tokyo the first city to host the Paralympic Games twice. This time, over 4,000 athletes will arrive in Tokyo for the Games, which are slated to last for almost two weeks. The torch relay leading up to the opening ceremony started in Hokkaido on August 12.

While waiting for the start of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, learn more about Japan and get inspired by the fascinating places awaiting your future visit with these Trip Ideas articles.

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