If the Paralympic athletes sponsored by Össur and Ottobock were regarded as independent nations, both teams would have ranked among the top 20 in the overall medal count among the 162 countries that attended the 2021 Tokyo Games. Put the two together, and they piled up more gold medals than all but eight other entrants.
That gives you some idea of the deep impression these two prosthetic powerhouses made on this year’s Paralympics. Their competitors climbed onto podiums all over the city, from the track to the pool, velodrome, triathlon course, fencing piste, and beyond. They also set some new World Records and Paralympic Records in the process, while sweeping all three medals in a number of events.
In short, both teams kicked some serious butt. But which one kicked more?
Let’s draw out the suspense by first identifying the Americans who contributed to this prodigious haul. Ottobock’s Jeremy Campbell brought home a gold in the discus (T64) for Team Ottobock, while Hunter Woodhall and Trenten Merrill scored bronzes in track and field for Team Össur and Grace Norman racked up a silver in the women’s triathlon (PTS5). We should also recognize the most prolific medalists, Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias (Team Otto) and Dutch sprinter Marlene van Gansewinkel (Össur), who won three apiece. The two companies also sponsored several double gold-medal winners: van Gansewinkel, South African sprinter Ntando Mahlangu (Össur), and Chinese table tennis player Panfeng Feng (Ottobock).
So much for the preliminaries. The moment of truth is at hand. The final medal scoreboard reads:
To put this back into context: The two companies combined for more medals than Germany, Spain, and Canada. They fell just three medals short of host nation Japan, while beating the hosts in gold medals.
Team Össur finished with two more medals than it won at the 2016 Rio Games. “We congratulate all of the athletes who competed at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, and we are beaming with pride for our amazing team of Össur athletes,” said the company’s president and CEO, Jon Sigurdsson, in a press release. “The athletes who participated not only overcame the postponement of the Games, but also the considerable challenges of competing during a global pandemic.”