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The Tokyo Olympics Moments That Had Anime Fans Buzzing

It almost seemed like it would never happen. But like a glorious phoenix rising from the ashes, the Tokyo Olympics came back in a resilient fashion after being delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After training for years, athletes around the globe had the opportunity to test the rigors of the human condition. For the last couple of weeks, people have tuned into their television sets to watch people row, run, swim, jump, climb, and skateboard (yes, it's now an official Olympic event) to see who would return to their homelands with gold medals. As always, it was an exhilarating affair, even if the stadiums couldn't contain as many people cheering the competitors on. 

There were numerous moments to get sports fans out of their seats cheering. You may not inherently think sports and anime go hand-in-hand, but as anyone who watched a good portion of the events can attest, plenty of athletes seem to love the art form. Throughout the games, many athletes referenced anime through various poses across events. If anyone could do a Kamehameha in real life, it would be these people.

Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon references flew high at the Tokyo Olympics

The anime homages were appropriate enough, seeing how this year's games took place in Tokyo, Japan. Of course, athletes posing like their favorite anime characters are nothing new in sporting events, and anime music has also been incorporated into various routines in the past. But it was another level this year.

One of the most noteworthy examples comes from American shot putter Payton Otterdahl, who went into Franky's Super pose from "One Piece." The stunt even caught the attention of the official "One Piece" account on Twitter, which wrote, "Dear USA shot putter; Payton Otterdahl. We sincerely celebrate the activities of our 'NAKAMA' around the world with the utmost respect for your efforts and achievements." It was far from the only anime reference, as Team Italy did "Dragon Ball" poses in some behind-the-scenes pictures, and the Uzbekistani gymnastic team did "Sailor Moon" before taking the stage. 

One of the most emotional anime beats to come out of the ceremonies was when Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno performed a routine set to music from "Demon Slayer." Plenty of anime fans took to Twitter to voice their support for all the love going toward the medium, such as @StrawHatOwusu writing, "All the anime prop in the olympics made me happy made me smile." @Purilly chimes in, "I love the anime references in the Olympics thank you powerful weebs of the world for making me so happy."

The next summer games will occur in France, so maybe we'll see athletes reference their favorite French New Wave characters in three years. It's unlikely, but there's a shot.