Chicago sports in 2021: A look back at the biggest stories of the year

The Tokyo Olympics closed as they began — in an empty stadium with masked athletes celebrating an event many of them feared would never happen. For the more than 60 athletes with Illinois ties, these Olympics will be the one where they set personal records, fell short of their own expectations, made their debut, suffered a controversial disqualification, won a medal after beating cancer, fought for their sport’s survival, missed their families, advocated for mental health issues, helped a teammate achieve a dream and had historic gold medals hung around their necks.

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