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LONDON, ENGLAND – Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny speak on stage during The National Lottery’s Team GB homecoming event at the SSE Arena Wembley on August 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo : Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for The National Lottery)
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics became a family affair for some athletes, with two pairs of Japanese siblings and a British power couple winning gold medals in Japan. Here are the stories of these history-making athletes who gave honor and recognition to their countries and their respective families.
Abe siblings win gold medals in judo
Hifumi Abe and Uta Abe made history on the second day of the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first siblings in Olympic history to win gold medals on the same day in an individual sport. The youngest Abe sibling, Uta, grabbed the first gold when she won the women’s -52-kilogram competition.
Hifumi completed the historic feat for the Abe family when he captured the gold medal minutes later in the men’s -66-kilogram category. Hifumi was ecstatic after the double victory, saying, “This has turned out to be the greatest day ever. I don’t think we, as brother and sister, couldn’t shine any brighter on this stage known as the Tokyo Olympics.”
Hifumi and Uta added another medal on the final day of the judo competition in the team event. However, this time, the Abe siblings only managed to take home the silver medal as Japan was upset in the final by France.
Kawai siblings win golds in wrestling
Hifumi and Uta weren’t the only siblings to win gold for Japan in the Tokyo Olympics. Risako Kawai and Yukako Kawai won their respective categories in women’s freestyle wrestling, taking home gold medals on back-to-back days.
Yukako won Japan’s first gold medal in wrestling in this year’s Summer Games when she outpointed Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova, 4-3, in a tightly contested women’s 62-kilogram final. Risako followed suit a day later, destroying Belarus’ Iryna Kurachkina in the women’s freestyle 57-kilogram final to take home her second consecutive Olympic gold medal.
Risako made history with her second gold as she joined Japanese compatriots Kaori Icho and Saori Yoshida as the only multiple Olympic champions in women’s wrestling. The Kawai sisters said they feed on each other’s momentum and will be targeting to clinch another double gold in Paris in 2024.
Laura and Jason Kenny continue dominance in Tokyo
Great Britain took home 22 gold medals at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, two of which came from their cycling power couple. Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny won yet again in Tokyo, stretching their career gold medal tally in the Olympics to a whopping 12 gold medals.
Laura Kenny opened the gold medal account for the couple in Tokyo with victory in the women’s madison, teaming up with Katie Archibald to produce an emphatic win. They blew away the competition, winning 10 of the 12 sprints on offer, including the final sprint to finish with a whopping 78 points, more than double the score of the nearest team.
Jason Kenny’s gold medal prospects in Tokyo looked dim after sub-par performances in the individual and team sprint events. Jason had one last trick up his sleeve, though, pulling away from the field with a surprise attack in the men’s keirin final to win his seventh Olympic gold medal, the most in British Olympic history.
He has now won gold medals in each of the last four Summer Games, while Laura has won golds in the last three Olympics. No one is betting against them, adding to that total in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
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