The 2020 Summer Olympics finally got underway this weekend, delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games of the XXXII Olympiad are still officially dubbed the “Tokyo 2020” despite being held in the summer of 2021.
The Opening Ceremonies were held on Friday, July 23 with Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka having the honor of lighting the cauldron. The Closing Ceremonies will be held on Sunday, August 8.
Tokyo’s Olympics include 339 total events across 33 different sports (50 different disciplines).
Five sports have made an appearance at each Summer Games: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, swimming, track and field.
In addition to those traditional sports, five new sports will be contested at the 2020 Games including baseball/softball, karate, skating, sport climbing, and surfing. There are also new disciplines in existing sports, such as 3x3 basketball.
11,326 athletes from 205 national Olympic committees, plus the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, will compete in the games.
Tar Heels in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Amongst the throng of athletes from around the globe will be a contingent of Tar Heels. A release by the University of North Carolina listed 12 athletes from Chapel Hill who are set to compete in Japan.
Three of the 12 are current Carolina students. Here’s a list of those athletes, their year in school, their countries, and their sport:
- Anton Down-Jenkins | Senior | New Zealand | Diving
- Camilla Feeley | Sophomore | Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Aranza Vazquez | Sophomore | Mexico | Diving
The nine former Carolina student-athletes include:
- Katie Bowen | New Zealand | Soccer
- Lucy Bronze | Great Britain | Soccer
- Crystal Dunn | USA | Soccer
- Tim Federowicz | USA | Baseball
- Tobin Heath | USA | Soccer
- Ryder Ryan | USA | Baseball
- Kenny Selmon | USA | Track and Field (400m hurdles)
- Naya Tapper | USA | Women’s Rugby
- Lotte Wubben-Moy | Great Britain | Soccer
Previous Olympics in Japan
Japan has hosted the Olympics on three previous occasions, twice in the winter and once in the summer. The lone prior Summer Olympics in Japan were also held in Tokyo, in 1964. Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 and Nagano did the same in 1998.
A recent re-emergence of COVID-19 in the Tokyo metroplex led government officials to declare a state of emergency in Japan. Olympic organizers subsequently made the difficult decision to ban spectators from attending the games.
The state of emergency is slated to last through August 22 which extends beyond the end of the Olympics on August 8.
Thankfully, some of the events held outside of Tokyo proper have allowed spectators, such as the cycling road races.
Stay tuned to All Tar Heels for all your updates on Tar Heels in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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