The Tokyo Olympics have been historic for several reasons. From changing guidelines to a slew of record-breaking and history-making moments (and a special focus on mental health and boundary setting from the games' stars like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka), 2021 was definitely an unprecedented year for the event.
To me, this year's games felt meaningful given the year-and-a-half-long delay that has distanced us as a world. But during a trying time, we also saw more peer-to-peer support (like Biles loyally cheering her teammates on from the sidelines) and family support, even though families and significant others were all virtually watching from the sidelines back home.
There were also a handful of couples competing in Tokyo together, making the massive achievement even sweeter for them. So we're rounding up all the adorable couple moments from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games between both fellow athletes and partners cheering their athletes on from the U.S.
Simone Biles and Johnathan Owens
After the gymnastics G.O.A.T. courageously pulled herself out of the team final and all-around individual final due to mental health reasons, it felt like the world collectively stood behind her and her decision to put her wellbeing first. Her boyfriend Houston Texans football player Johnathan Owens was just as proud as the rest of us (okay, probably more). He took to Instagram to support his girlfriend and her admirable decision that is greater than any gold (though she did bring home the bronze on beam).
"Imma ride with you through whatever baby," he wrote alongside a series of photos of the couple. "Your strength and courage is unmatched, and you inspire me more and more every day. You always gone be my champ, baby, and don’t you ever forget that. I love you so much, and I can’t wait until you come home, and I get to see that beautiful smile again. You know I’m always here for you."
Gerek Meinhardt and Lee Kiefer
The fencing husband-and-wife-duo (and Olympics power couple) are both taking home medals at this year's events. Kiefer actually made history as the first woman from the U.S. to medal in fencing in an individual foil. And not just any medal, she won the gold. Meinhardt took home the bronze for the men's team foil. The two celebrated each other's wins, and Meinhardt even praised his wife on the Today Show.
“She made my Olympic dream come true,” Meinhardt said. “Being able to see her go out, fight her nerves and come out with the gold medal was something really special.”
Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird
The U.S. Soccer star and WNBA Star are the definition of couple goals. Bird carried the American flag in the Opening Ceremony events, and Rapinoe commended her fiancée for the achievement. Rapinoe took home the bronze medal with the U.S. Women's team, and Bird will fight for a medal during the final weekend of the games.
"Beyond words," Rapinoe wrote, alongside a photo of Bird carrying the flag. "I am so proud of you, Sue. What an honor it is to have you lead us @teamusa and all of America back home. You are simply the best."
Anissa Urtez and Amanda Chidester
The U.S.A. and Mexico softball stars actually went head to head early on in Tokyo. Chidester's team took the win and moved on to the silver medal. Despite competing against each other, the couple has been nothing but supportive.
"We are competitors who are focused on our own paths with our respective teams," captioned an Instagram post of the two on the field together. "We are going out on the field and giving it all we have. We are beyond proud of each other for living out our dreams and loving every second of getting to experience this together!"
Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson
The Great Britain field hockey teammates took home the bronze medal on Thursday and shared the sweetest couple moment. The two embraced on the field and shared the exciting achievement with each other before celebrating with their team.