Team USA Concludes Successful Showing at Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Following Year Postponement
-- After 13 days of competition across 22 sports, the Closing Ceremony on Sunday marked the end to a safe Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. After the one-year delay, the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team comprised of 242 athletes out of 4,403 total athletes from 164 countries, returned home with 104 total medals (37 gold, 36 silver, 31 bronze). The performance placed the U.S. the third ranked country for golds on the medal table and fourth for total medals.
“Tokyo has given us one of the most extraordinary Paralympic Games in history,” said Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. “The perseverance, strength and determination of our Team USA athletes made us proud beyond belief. Thank you, Japan, and thank you Team USA for showing us the incredible power of sport and sportsmanship.”
Team USA competed in 19 sports, earning podium finishes in 15. A total of 129 U.S. medalists contributed to the country’s haul - featuring 62 first-time medalists in Tokyo and 26 athletes claiming multiple medals at the Games including five Paralympians earning at least three podium appearances each. U.S. teams dominated, earning gold in women’s sitting volleyball and men’s wheelchair basketball, silver in wheelchair rugby and women’s goalball and bronze in women’s wheelchair basketball. Of the 129 Americans who earned medals, 50 percent competed in collegiate athletics.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to serve as the chef de mission in Tokyo,” said Julie Dussliere, USOPC chief of Paralympic sport. “In addition to the incredible performances of our athletes, the Tokyo Games also shine a spotlight on the world’s ability to come together through sport in the most difficult of times. Our athletes, coaches, staff and National Governing Bodies’ relentless dedication and hard work is something I’ll forever remember.”
Team USA’s showing in Tokyo featured record-breaking and historic performances, highlighted by an 18-haul medal day across seven sports - a Tokyo Games single-day record. Team USA athletes rewrote nine world records in swimming and track and field. Five-time Paralympian Jessica Long furthered her legacy by earning her 29th Paralympic medal, and Brad Snyder became the first U.S. male triathlete to win Olympic or Paralympic gold.
Off the field of play, Team USA kept focused to maintain a safe environment, including following rigorous pre-travel and on-the-ground testing and protocol. The COVID-19 countermeasures developed by the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, International Paralympic Committee and government of Japan allowed for the Games to be executed in a safe manner. All of Team USA’s approximately 560 delegation members completed daily COVID-19 testing, and between the Opening and Closing ceremonies, only one U.S. delegate tested positive.
“There’s no doubt that this Games brought unprecedented challenges, but because of the commitment, dedication and processes in place, Team USA was able to keep the athletes’ health and well-being at the forefront of our mission, while ensuring the safety of the community around us,” said Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, USOPC chief medical officer. “With a heightened emphasis on COVID-19 countermeasures and the introduction of mental health support staff on the ground, we were able to foster a safe environment for our athletes, aiding in the passion and success we saw on the field of play.”
As the third-largest sporting event in the world, unprecedented broadcast hours allowed more fans to watch the Paralympic Games than ever before. NBC recorded more than 1,200 hours of coverage, the most in history, including the first-ever primetime broadcasts.
Additional Team USA Highlights:
- Team USA athletes broke nine world records in swimming and track and field.
- An 18-haul medal day across seven sports set a single-day record for Team USA.
- In his crossover to paratriathlon, Brad Snyder became the first U.S. male triathlete to win Olympic or Paralympic gold.
- Equestrian Roxanne Trunnell became the first American rider to win individual gold at an Olympic or Paralympic Games since 2000.
- Ian Seidenfeld became the first U.S. Para table tennis champion in 25 years coached by father and Atlanta 1996 Paralympic medalist Mitchell Seidenfeld.
- Multi-medalists shined in Tokyo, with veteran Paralympic athletes adding to their impressive career medal hauls: Jessica Long - 29 (six in Tokyo); Tatyana McFadden - 20 (three in Tokyo), Raymond Martin - 10 (three in Tokyo); Cheri Madsen - 10 (two in Tokyo); Oksana Masters - 10 (two in Tokyo).
- U.S. rowers added to their silver streak in the PR3 mixed coxed four event, earning their seventh.
- Oksana Masters featured two gold medal podium-topping performances, cementing her legacy as a 10-time Paralympic medalist in four sports.
- Team USA swam to its first gold in the women’s 4x100-meter medley relay since 2004.
- Team USA debuted with a gold, record breaking performance in the 4x100 universal mixed relay.
- Evan Medell made history as the first U.S. medalist in Parataekwondo during the sport’s debut in Tokyo.
- First-time Paralympians shined with 62 athletes winning at least one Paralympic medal. Sprinter Nick Mayhugh grabbed the most medals in his Paralympic debut taking home three golds and one silver.
- Team USA came to Tokyo as reigning Paralympic champions in women’s sitting volleyball and men’s wheelchair basketball, winning back-to-back gold on the final day of competition.
- Men’s wheelchair basketball has recorded a Paralympic medal in 10 out of 13 possible Games since the sport was inducted into the program in 1968.
- The silver in wheelchair rugby marks the team taking a podium appearance in every Paralympic Games since the sport was added to the Paralympic program as an exhibition sport at Atlanta 1996.
- The dressage team earned bronze for the first Para-equestrian team medal in history.
- Steven Haxton won a silver medal in the men's va'a single 200m VL2. He wais the only dual sport athlete for Team USA competing at Tokyo 2020.
- Between individual and team sports, Team USA women accounted for 58 podium appearances, ranking 10th among countries total medal count.