Moments of gold medal delight shared online

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese wrestler Yukako Kawai celebrates after receiving her gold medal while her parents watch on via a live video link on the screen behind her on Aug. 4.

This article is the third installment of a series in which The Yomiuri Shimbun looks back at the Tokyo Olympics to determine the legacy the Games could leave behind.

Wrestler Yukako Kawai smiled as she held up her gold medal to show her parents and bowed after winning the Olympic women’s 62-kilogram freestyle final on Aug. 4 at Makuhari Messe.

But her parents were not actually at the venue, as spectators were banned from most events at the Tokyo Olympics. The Kawais were able to see their daughter’s special moment via a live video link displayed on a screen at the venue.

“I could show my gold medal to my family at last,” Yukako said. “I bowed to express my thanks for all the support they have given me.”

Many Olympic venues had these video links so that athletes could share the special moment with loved ones in up to five locations around the world, after events or award ceremonies.

The system was devised following the decision in March to ban spectators from abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Seeing overseas athletes celebrating with and expressing gratitude to their families and friends in different time zones was one of the most moving aspects of the Tokyo Olympics.

Universities, companies, local governments and TV stations brought people together online to watch live broadcasts of Olympic events, an activity made easier perhaps as a result of the widespread adoption of teleworking and remote conferencing amid the pandemic.

Having spectators in the stands is, without a doubt, far better than athletes competing in empty stadiums. One cannot help but imagine what it would have been like if the Tokyo Olympics had been held with packed stadiums.

Even though spectators were not allowed at most Olympic venues, people were able to share the excitement and the drama of the events in new ways.

Many cutting-edge technologies were behind the images delivered to viewers on TV and online. In that sense, these Olympics opened up a variety of possibilities for the way fans can experience sports events.