Fireworks explode over Tokyo's National Stadium at the end of the Olympics' closing ceremony on Sunday, August 8. The word "arigato," seen at left, means thank you in Japanese.
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The best photos from the Tokyo Olympics

Updated 5:57 PM ET, Sun August 8, 2021

Fireworks explode over Tokyo's National Stadium at the end of the Olympics' closing ceremony on Sunday, August 8. The word "arigato," seen at left, means thank you in Japanese.
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics arrived a year later than expected, and very few fans could attend because of the ongoing pandemic.

But these Games still produced amazing performances and some unforgettable moments.

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won the most gold medals in Tokyo (five), and Australian swimmer Emma McKeon won the most medals in all (seven). Only one other woman in history, Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya, has won seven medals at a single Olympics.

Simone Biles and her struggles with "the twisties" dominated the headlines in gymnastics, but she bounced back to win a bronze on the balance beam. And when she couldn't defend her individual all-around title, teammate Suni Lee stepped up and became the fifth straight American to win the event.

In track and field, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first-ever woman to win the 100 and 200 meters at consecutive Olympics. World records were shattered in the men's and women's 400-meter hurdles. And the United States' Allyson Felix became the most decorated woman — and the most decorated American — in Olympic track-and-field history.

Four sports made their Olympic debut this year: karate, skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing. And transgender athletes Laurel Hubbard and Quinn broke down barriers.