The first, but not the last, list of firsts at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jul 26, 2021

“If you ain’t first, you’re last,” the movie quote goes. It’s a philosophy embraced by fictional stock car drivers, overzealous football coaches and power-hungry political candidates. You know, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

At the Olympic Games, winning isn’t always about being first and being first isn’t always about winning. Sure, we remember McKayla Maroney being unimpressed with her silver medal in the vault at the London Games. But for many athletes, winning at the Games—as it is in life—is about just showing up.

Besides, firsts are often overrated. Sometimes being the first at something is not want you want to be remembered for.

But at the Olympic Games, being first is usually a pretty big deal—win or lose. So, with that said, here is a running list of firsts from the Tokyo Games:

  • Philippines' weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became her country's first Olympic gold medalist, winning the women's 55kg.
  • Anastasija Zolotic became the first American woman to win Olympic gold in Taekwondo

SEE MORE: Anastasija Zolotic, 18, wins taekwondo gold for United States

  • American fencer Lee Kiefer took home America’s first gold medal in foil.

SEE MORE: Lee Kiefer becomes first American woman to win gold in individual foil

  • Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria won the women's road race to capture her nation's first Olympic cycling gold medal in 125 years.

SEE MORE: Kiesenhofer stuns with gold, Austria's 1st cycling medal since 1896

  • The U.S. men’s basketball team lost to France on Sunday, it’s first loss since 2004.

SEE MORE: Rudy Gobert leads France Olympic men’s basketball roster with 5 NBA players

  • The Olympic Games welcomed three new sports: Skateboarding, surfing and 3x3 basketball.
  • Japan’s Abe Uta and older brother Abe Hifumi won gold medals in judo to become the first brother and sister to both win golds at the same Games.
  • This is the first Olympic Games since 1972 in which the U.S. did not win a medal on the first day of competition.
  • South Korea won the first medal in mixed team archery, another new event at the Games.
  • When Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito defeated China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen in table tennis on Monday, they became the first non-Chinese players to win gold in the sport since 2004.

Information from Reuters was used in this report