7NEWS Spotlight on the heroes of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

With a total of medals including 17 gold, 7 silver and 22 bronze, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are among Australia’s best performances at the Olympics.

Amid a global pandemic and in the shadow of the awarding of the 2032 Games in Brisbane, Australian athletes shone with incredible performances and inspiring moments, many of which have gone viral around the world.

As the sun sets over Tokyo 2020, Spotlight on 7NEWS looks back on the moments that moved Australia and the world.

Journalist Denham Hitchcock also spoke to some of our inspiring athletes in quarantine, to get inside word on the medal celebrations, the return to Australia and plans for Paris 2024.

You can watch these extended interviews below.

Ariarne Titmus

Ariarne Titmus, 20, entered Tokyo as the overwhelming favorite for the medal after outstanding performances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the 2019 FINA World Championships and the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials.

Then there was the ongoing professional rivalry with American swimmer Katie Ledecky, which fueled her nickname “The Terminator,” a nickname Ariarne says only the media uses.

Tokyo saw her walk away with five medals – three gold, one silver and one bronze.

She opened up to Denham Hitchcock about this epic performance in the 400m freestyle, facing world champion Katie Ledecky and coach Dean Boxall’s viral celebration.

Spotlight on the extended interview: Ariarne Titmus

Logan martin

Queenslander Logan Martin, 27, was already an X Games gold medalist and world champion as freestyle BMX made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

To prepare for Olympic gold, Logan even built a bike park in the backyard of his Gold Coast backcountry home.

Things were going well for Logan, who entered the final as a seed, essentially getting gold with his first run.

In this lengthy interview, Logan explains to Denham why his home bike park is an investment and admits that there were some bigger tips we didn’t see in his Olympic campaign.

Spotlight on Extended Interview: Logan Martin

Bronte Campbell

Tokyo 2020 could very well be the last Olympic outing for 27-year-old Bronte Campbell.

If so, Brontë is doing well, winning a gold medal and a bronze medal at these Games.

A media career could be in Bronte’s future, with the swimmer revealing to Denham Hitchcock that she had previously been interned with 7NEWS.

Spotlight on Extended Interview: Bronte Campbell

Keegan Palmer

Born in the United States, Keegan Palmer made history as the very first Olympic skateboard gold medalist.

The 18-year-old dominated the event, winning first prize in two sets, a long way from his rivals.

Spotlight on Extended Interview: Keegan Palmer

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan

Mat Belcher’s Olympic history dates back to Sydney 2000, where he carried the Olympic flag at the closing ceremony.

But it will take 12 years for him to represent Australia at the Games, winning gold in London.

Alongside teammate Will Ryan, Mat won silver in Rio and gold again in Tokyo, in addition to being named the Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer.

Extended Spotlight Interview – Mat Belcher & Will Ryan

Alex hill

Rower Alex Hill is no stranger to gold medals, with his debut in 2011 at the World Junior Championships.

After winning silver in the men’s coxless four at the Rio, Alex joined Alex Purnell, Spencer Turrin and Jack Hargreaves to win gold in Tokyo.

Spotlight on Extended Interview: Alex Hill

Rosie Popa

You could say rowing is in the blood of Rosie Popa – both of her parents – Sue Chapman-Popa and Ion Popa – are medal-winning Olympic rowers.

A dual citizen of the United States and Australia, Rosie has already represented the United States, but in 2015, decided to represent her country of birth.

Alongside Lucy Stephan, Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre, Rosie won gold in the women’s four rowing in Tokyo.

Spotlight on Extended Interview: Rosie Popa

Grant hackett

Three-time Olympian Grant Hackett has three Olympic gold medals among his many pool accomplishments.

Grant spoke to Denham Hitchcock about the monumental accomplishments of the 2020 swim team, with unique insights from someone who’s been there before.

Spotlight on Extended Service: Grant Hackett

Watch more Olympic highlights – streaming for free at 7more.

Naomi C. Amerson