8th August, 2021
The United States was at the top of the medals table at the Tokyo Olympics as the host city drew the curtains on the 2020 Games
The U.S. led with 39 gold medals as of Sunday afternoon, with China at 38 and Japan at 27.
Thirteen golds were up for grabs on Sunday before the closing ceremony, including in the men’s marathon, won by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, and women’s basketball, which went to the United States.
At the closing ceremony of the Games upended by the pandemic, Japan will hand over the Olympic baton to the next host city, Paris, at a ceremony that starts at 8:00 p.m. JST (1100 GMT).
Paris will host the 2024 Games.
For Japan, the Tokyo Olympics fell short of the global triumph and financial blockbuster it once sought.
Instead, it is now saddled with a $15 billion bill, double what it originally expected, and no tourist boom to offset it.
Still, organisers appear to have prevented the Games from spiralling into a COVID-19 superspreader event, an undeniable achievement given that some 50,000 people came together amid the pandemic.
While the bubble – the set of venues and hotels to which Olympic visitors were largely confined – appeared to hold, elsewhere some things fell apart.
Fuelled by the Delta variant of the virus, daily infections spiked to more than 5,000 for the first time in Tokyo, threatening to overwhelm its hospitals.
Normally one of the world’s most electric cities, Tokyo is under a state of emergency, depriving it of the manic buzz of an Olympic host or the fervent crowds of its last Olympics in 1964.
Public anger over the pandemic response and a slow-to-start vaccine roll-out have badly damaged Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s standing. Public opinion polls showed most Japanese opposed holding the Games during the pandemic.
Would-be spectators still came out in force, defying authorities and blistering heat to peek in from overpasses as they tried to catch a glimpse of outdoor events such as the triathlon or new sports such as skateboarding.
“We can already now say with confidence that we have experienced a very successful Olympic Games considering all the uncertainties we had the last two years,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said before the ceremony.
Japan’s record medal haul also helped take out some of the sting for organisers.