Which countries won gold at the Tokyo Games?

For the first time since 1984, both sets of handball gold medals took the same trip back home from Tokyo.

France finished on the top step of the podium in both the men's and women's handball tournaments at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but that's about all that the two teams had in common. The men's team, who had played in three-straight gold-medal matches prior to the Tokyo Games, played their way back to the top. The women's team, on the other hand, did it for the first time in its history.

The gold medal match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for the men's tournament was a rematch of the 2016 Rio Games between France and Denmark. It was a close contest between the two sides, but France was able to defeat Denmark 25-23 and win gold. In the bronze-medal match, Spain defeated Egypt 33-31.

The French women's team won gold after beating Russia 30-25 in the final. Norway comfortably claimed bronze when the team dominated Sweden in a 36-19 win. 

Which countries are the favorites heading into the Olympic handball tournament?

The French men's and women’s teams are expected to earn medals, but there are some contenders who could prevent them from winning gold. 

On the men’s side, Denmark poses a threat after winning the 2023 World Championships, its third consecutive world title with help from players like rising star Simon Pytlick. The Danes also won gold in Rio and silver in Tokyo, playing against France both times, setting up a possible third consecutive final between the two teams in 2024. 

On the women’s side, Norway stands to be France’s biggest competitor at the Paris Games, led by veterans like Stine Skogrand. Both sides met in the finals of the 2023 World Championships, with France winning the title. It was a repeat of the 2021 World Championships, in which Norway beat France. Norway also won a second consecutive bronze medal in Tokyo after winning gold in 2008 and 2012. 

What’s the outlook for the U.S. men and women at the Paris Olympics?

The U.S. men's and women's handball teams failed to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, therefore ruling out any possibility of winning a medal in France. With the next edition of the Olympics set to take place in Los Angeles in 2028, the U.S. handball teams will earn an automatic birth at the Games.