“Some parts were extremely enjoyable,” Dressel said of his two weeks in Tokyo. “I would say the majority of them were not.”
Still, smaller, quieter moments glimmered through.
The camaraderie and celebrations of Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy and Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who decided, when offered, to share a gold medal in the high jump, charmed international viewers. So, too, did stories like that of Hidilyn Diaz, a weight lifter who claimed the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines, and Tamyra Mensah-Stock, whose sobbing interview after becoming the second U.S. woman to win gold in wrestling had a moment on social media.
Laurel Hubbard, a weight lifter from New Zealand, became the first transgender woman to compete at the Olympics, while nonbinary athletes whose identity does not fit neatly into longstanding gender categorizations also participated. One, the Canadian soccer player Quinn, won a gold medal.