Allyson Felix, Suni Lee and More Athletes Who Made History at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Athletes from all around the world didn't just win medals; they made history after competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Relive some of the most memorable moments in competition.

By Mike Vulpo Aug 06, 2021 7:24 PMTags

If you miss a minute, you miss history at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

As event organizers prepare for the final days of competition, athletes from around the world are accomplishing their dreams while reaching milestones that have never been seen before.

On Friday, Aug. 6, Allyson Felix earned her spot in Olympics history after winning the bronze in the women's 400-meter dash. The accomplishment resulted in the 35-year-old University of Southern California alum becoming the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history with a total of 10 medals.

"I KNOW MY PLACE," Allyson wrote on Instagram shortly after her race. "(And it's in my own shoes)." 

Ultimately, the track and field star is just one of the many athletes who made history in the past two weeks. From surfer Carissa Moore and swimmer Katie Ledecky to gymnast Suni Lee and wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock, there are plenty of reasons to be proud of the United States team.

Best Reactions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Keep scrolling to see some of our favorite milestones reached in Tokyo. And for a complete look at all of the history-making moments, check out NBC News' breakdown.

Linoy Ashram

On Aug. 7, the 22-year-old Israeli athlete won the gold medal at the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final and became the first Israeli women to win Olympic gold. She beat Russian identical twin sisters Dina Averina, who placed second and her sister, Arina, who placed fourth, and her victory marked the first time that a nation that is not a former Soviet country has won gold in the category, with the exception of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, which the Soviet Union boycotted.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock

On Aug. 3, the 28-year-old United States athlete became the first Black woman in Olympics wrestling history to ever win gold when she defeated Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu in the women's 68-kilogram freestyle wrestling final. 

Katie Ledecky

A true swimming star! The United States Olympian became the first woman swimmer to earn six individual gold medals over her career. "Thank you, Tokyo, and thank YOU ALL for the tremendous support this week and over the years to get to this point," Katie wrote on Instagram. "2 Golds, 2 Silvers, and countless memories coming back to the States!!!" 

Sunisa Lee

The Olympic gymnast was the first Hmong-American to compete for Team USA. During her time in Tokyo, Suni took home several medals including the gold for women's all-around gymnastics. 


The Canadian soccer star became the first openly transgender athlete to ever win an Olympic medal following their team's stunning defeat of Sweden in the women's final on Aug. 6. "I'm so proud of my team. They're my best friends," Quinn told reporters after beating the United States in the semifinals. "I'm so glad we're bringing back a better medal than bronze." 

Hidilyn Diaz

For the first time in Olympic history, an athlete from the Philippines took home a gold medal after 30-year-old weightlifter Hidilyn received the top prize in women's 55kg weightlifting. 

Alana Smith

The United States skateboarder is the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete in the Olympic Games. While Alana didn't walk away with a medal, they expressed gratitude about the experience. "My goal coming into this was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me," Alana wrote on Instagram. "For the first time in my entire life, I'm proud of the person I've worked to become. I chose my happiness over medaling. Out of everything I've done, I wanted to walk out of this knowing I UNAPOLOGETICALLY was myself and was genuinely smiling. The feeling in my heart says I did that."

Laurel Hubbard

On Aug. 2, the New Zealand weightlifter made history as the first openly transgender woman to compete at the Olympics. Although the 43-year-old athlete finished the +87 kg competition early after not being able to register a snatch, her presence at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics comes 18 years after the International Olympic Committee created a policy to allow transgender competitors.

Carissa Moore

The Honolulu resident became the first woman ever to win a gold medal in surfing at the Olympics, a sport that debuted in 2021. "I feel super blessed, super fortunate," Carissa said after her win, per "It's been an incredible experience."

Allyson Felix

The University of Southern California alum won the bronze in the women's 400-meter dash on Aug. 6, making her the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history with a total of 10 medals. The record was previously held by Merlene Ottey