With ten golds, ten silvers and 20 bronzes, the Azzurri representing Italy in Tokyo were tenth on the medal table overall and top in Italian sporting history.
Previously the most medals Italy had ever won at a single Olympics was 36, which the country hadn’t equalled since the Rome Games in 1960.
As well as a ceremony at the presidential palace in September, Italy’s Olympic champions will be welcomed back with prize money from the Italian National Olympic Committee: gold medalists are awarded €180,000 each, while silver medallists get €90,000 and bronze medallists get €60,000.
And then there’s the glory: after an exceptionally successful summer of Italian sport and music, Italy’s Olympic team dubbed their athletes “stupor mundi” – Latin for ‘the wonder of the world’.
— ItaliaTeam (@ItaliaTeam_it) August 8, 2021
Italy’s gold medals at the 2020 Olympics
- Men’s high jump: Gianmarco Tamberi
Italian high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi couldn’t have been happier to share the gold with his fellow competitor Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, in what was hailed as one of the most touching moments of the Games.
- Men’s 100m: Lamont Marcell Jacobs
Relatively unknown long jumper-turned-sprinter Lamont Marcell Jacobs was in the form of his life when he outran the favourites and hurtled to first place in the biggest race in men’s athletics. He’s the first Italian ever to qualify for the Olympic final of the event, let alone win it.
- Men’s 4 x 100m relay
Lorenzo Patta, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu pulled off an astonishing victory by the smallest of margins, with Tortu flinging himself over the finish line to snatch gold from the favourites, Great Britain, by just a hundredth of a second. It was another historic first for Italy: the country has never before won the event, and the last time an Italian team got onto the podium was at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (silver).
- Men’s 20km race walk: Massimo Stano
- Women’s 20km race walk: Antonella Palmisano
Antonella Palmisano cemented Italy’s domination of the walking competition when she followed up her teammate Massimo Stano’s gold with her own victory a day later. She actually performed slightly faster at the Rio Olympics in 2016, but that time only earned her fourth last time round.
- Track cycling, men’s team pursuit
Italy’s four-man team set a new track cycling world record by completing 16 laps (4km) in just 3:42.032. While Great Britain had long dominated the event and Denmark were reigning World Champions, no Italian team had won it since the Rome Olympics of 1960.
- Karate, men’s kumite -75kg: Luigi Busa
- Rowing, lightweight women’s double sculls
- Sailing, mixed multihull – Nacra 17 foiling
- Taekwondo, Men’s -58kg: Vito Dell’Aquila
Vito Dell’Aquila won Italy its first gold of the Games, at the age of just 20. It was his first Olympics but at this rate, it won’t be his last.
Italy’s silver medals at the 2020 Olympics
- Artistic gymnastics, women’s floor exercise: Vanessa Ferrari
Arguably Italy’s greatest competing gymnast, 30-year-old Vanessa Ferrari proved the value of experience when she became the first Italian to win an individual Olympic medal for women’s artistic gymnastics.
- Men’s individual archery: Mauro Nespoli
- Men’s kayak single 200m: Manfredi Rizza
- Fencing, men’s foil individual: Daniele Garrozo
- Fencing, men’s sabre individual: Luigi Samele
- Fencing, men’s sabre team
Fencing has long been one of Italy’s strongest sports, and these Games were no exception. Altogether Italian fencers took three silvers and two bronzes in both team and individual events.
- Women’s skeet shooting: Diana Bacosi
- Swimming, men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay
- Swimming, men’s 800m freestyle: Gregorio Paltrinieri
- Weightlifting, women’s 64kg: Giorgia Bordignon
Italy’s bronze medals at the 2020 Olympics
- Women’s individual archery: Lucilla Boari
- Women’s featherweight boxing: Irma Testa
Irma “Butterfly” Testa made history as the first Italian woman to win an Olympic medal for boxing, a victory she dedicated to all of Italy’s female boxers.
- Women’s cycling road race: Elisa Longo Borghini
- Track cycling, men’s omnium: Elia Viviani
- Men’s 10km marathon swimming: Gregorio Paltrinieri
Gregorio Paltrinieri is one of the best long-distance swimmers there is, holding the men’s world record for the 1500m freestyle. He comes home from Tokyo with two medals: silver in the 800m freestyle, and bronze in the gruelling 10km swim.
- Swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke: Nicolo Martinenghi
- Swimming, men’s 100m butterfly: Federico Burdisso
- Swimming, men’s 4 x 100m medley relay
- Swimming, women’s 800m freestyle: Simona Quadarella
- Judo, women’s -52kg: Odette Giuffrida
- Judo, women’s -63kg: Maria Centracchio
- Fencing, women’s épée team
- Fencing, women’s foil team
- Karate, women’s kata: Viviana Bottaro
Accomplished karateka Viviana Bottaro won Italy its first Olympic medal in karate, which made its debut at the Tokyo Games.
- Rowing, lightweight men’s double sculls
- Rowing, men’s four
- Rhythmic gymnastics, group all-around
Nicknamed le Farfalle (‘the Butterflies’), Italy’s five-woman rhythmic gymnastic team provided one of Italy’s last medal-winning performances on the final day of the Games, and one of the most spectacular.
- Weightlifting, men’s 67kg: Mirko Zanni
- Weightlifting, men’s 81kg: Antonino Pizzolato
- Wrestling, men’s freestyle 97kg: Abraham de Jesus Conyedo Ruano