• Several athletes paid tribute to their favorite anime during Tokyo Olympics
  • Most of these athletes won gold in their respective categories
  • Many of the poses athletes did were from "One Piece"

Japan is home to video games, manga and anime. It was also the host country for the recently concluded Olympic Games which, not surprisingly, was packed with pop culture references and nerdy moments.

During the closing ceremony at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, Japan's former Prime Minister Shizo Abe stole the show by emerging from a Super Mario warp pipe. Since then, fans began to anticipate that the Tokyo Olympics would offer a lot of surprises, and they were never wrong.

The Tokyo Olympics featured songs from big names in the anime and video games industry. During the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony, a rousing orchestral medley of songs from hit video games like "Hero's Fanfare" from "Final Fantasy" and music from hit series like "Dragon Quest," "Monster Hunter" and "Kingdom Hearts."

A gigantic Gundam also appeared at some sporting events. During the cycling portion of the triathlon, for instance, athletes raced under the watchful gaze of a 19.7-meter tall RX-0 Unicorn Gundam.

A Gundam was also present during the climbing event.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC

Athletes did not miss the chance to show their love for anime and video games all throughout the Tokyo Olympics. During his introduction, Greek long jumper Miltiadis Tentoglou, who won gold, made the "Gear Second" pose of the iconic "One Piece" protagonist Luffy.

American shot-putter Payton Ottherdal, who also won gold, struck the signature "Super" pose of the Straw Hats' shipwright Franky.

Meanwhile, Italian athlete Massimo Stano, who bagged the gold medal for men's 20-kilometer race walk, seemingly did Luffy's "Gear Third" pose.

As for American sprinter Noah Lyles, he made a tribute to the iconic anime character Son Goku of "Dragon Ball." The athlete did Goku's signature "Kamehameha."

It's quite noticeable that most of the anime-related tributes performed by athletes during the Tokyo Olympics were poses from "One Piece." It was not surprising at all, considering that the manga and the series have been around for more than a couple of decades.

Meanwhile, "One Piece" showed appreciation for the Olympians who had given their Straw Hat shout-outs by sending them congratulatory messages in their respective languages.