The Olympics are the culmination of years if not decades of effort for the athletes involved, mentally and physically hard work done with the support of friends and family.
So when an Olympian wins a medal, their supporters back home can often react with just as much if not more elation and excitement as the athlete themself. During the Tokyo games, with family members not allowed to attend due to strict COVID-19 protocols, these celebrations have taken place remotely.
It’s a shame for those directly involved, but it’s for the best in terms of public health. And this peculiar reality has spawned a new genre of feel-good viral video that captures the joy of family and friends celebrating an Olympian’s performance at a watch party back home. Here are seven of the best examples we’ve seen so far.
There was pure chaos when dark horse swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia won the 400-meter freestyle.
Suni Lee’s family and friends in Minnesota filled a large room to watch the women’s all-around gymnastics competition. When she took gold, there were equal parts screaming and hugging.
The video of British swimmer Tom Dean’s friends and family watching him win the 200-meter freestyle really builds, and you can see the reality that he was contending for and then winning the race crescendo.
American Caeleb Dressel didn’t just win the men’s 100-m freestyle—he set a new Olympic record. Alongside a cardboard cutout of the man himself, his dad was stoic and mom could barely watch until he touched the end of the pool first.
And lest you think that only gold medals are getting these kinds of reactions, check out this video of the family of Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu react as she wins a silver medal.
In Baía Formosa, a small fishing town on the eastern tip of Brazil, revelers took to the streets when native surfer Ítalo Ferreira won the first-ever gold medal in the sport.
And last but not least, a contender for most raucous celebration is this video featuring friends and supporters of Brazilian swimmer Fernando Scheffer, who took bronze in the 200-meter freestyle.