Even though the current Summer Olympic Games are occurring in 2021, they’re still being called the 2020 Olympics. That’s just one of several things that make these current Games very different from any of their predecessors. For one, they’re being conducted in a city where a large segment of the population doesn’t feel they should be happening with Japan in general and Tokyo in particular still under emergency COVID-19 precautions. Those precautions have prevented friends, family and fans from attending, turning these Games into strictly a television show.
But more importantly, these games are another indicator that athletic talent exists all over the world, and no nation, be it the USA, China, whatever’s left of the Russian team (supposedly banned due to drug violations but allowed to have individual Russian athletes competing), has a monopoly on talent. It’s also been a Games where surprises continue to happen.
A big one came over the weekend in one of the Games’ most glamorous and heralded events, the 100-meter dash. The winner of this event gets to call themselves the fastest man and woman in the world. Two days ago Elaine Thompson-Herah broke the Olympic record for women in the event with a 10.61 time. But that wasn’t so much a surprise as Jamaican women have won four consecutive goal medals in that event. The bigger news was that Jamaica took silver and bronze as well. Thompson repeated as champion, having won the gold in Rio in 2016. Teahna Daniels was the fastest American woman, finishing seventh.
But that didn’t come close to the blockbuster Sunday. Lamont Marcell Jacobs, born in Texas but now running for Italy, won the gold medal with a time of 9.80 seconds. Fred Kerley of the United States finished second in 9.84 seconds, and Andre De Grasse of Canada was third (9.89). It was the crowning of a new champion following the retirement of Usain Bolt, who’d won this event and the 200 meters in three straight Olympics from 2008-2016. However no one anticipated that the new champion would be coming from Italy.The USA’s  Trayvon Bromell had a disappointing run in the semifinal and got knocked out in that round. Bromell had the fastest lifetime best among the semifinalists: 9.77 seconds, which he had run in June. The other great American runner, Christian Coleman, the reigning world champion, is serving a suspension due to failed drug tests.
Meanwhile, both the USA’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have encountered some challenges in the early rounds, though both are still expected to win the gold medal. The same holds true for the women’s soccer team, which has long been the world’s best. They were shocked in their first game by Sweden, later had a 0-0 tie, and had to go to penalty kicks to reach the medal round. They’re still the favorites, but they’re not going to coast to another gold medal.
Americans have done well in swimming, but are not the favorites in baseball. The USA women didn’t win the gold medal in softball. Even such field events as the discus, which used to be totally dominated by Americans, was dominated by Swedes Daniel Stahl (gold) and Simon Pettersson (silver), while Austrian Lukas Weisshaidinger took bronze. 
The Games will continue until Sunday, and there are a lot of events still to come. But the best thing about the Games has always been seeing athletes from around the world excel in top competition against their equals. In many instances these are people who’ve spent years perfecting their skills and for far less money than professional team athletes make either in America or for international soccer and baseball teams. 
Hopefully folks will not get bogged down in a xenophobic approach and not be happy for any winners that aren’t American. Also, it seems that the Games will be able to conclude without any finals being cancelled due to COVID-19. While ultimately the 2020/2021 Olympics may not go down as the most memorable, but at least there will be plenty of excellent performances to savor and remember in the years to come.