Watch The First Ever 'Space Olympics' As Astronauts Compete in Zero Gravity

The first "space Olympics" have taken place aboard the International Space Station, with seven astronauts competing in zero gravity.

Inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Games, the astronauts divided themselves into two squads—Team Dragon and Team Soyuz—based on which spacecraft carried them to the ISS.

Sharing footage of the friendly contest, the European Space Agency (ESA) said: "The International Space Station Expedition 65 crew recorded themselves on a day off after a long week of work having some weightless fun. From Earth orbit, 400km above our planet, the crew present the very first Space Olympics."

The crew took part in four disciplines—lack-of-floor-routine, no-handball, synchronised space swimming and weightless sharpshooting—with the public asked to judge who won.

Team Dragon was made up of two NASA astronauts, Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, Aki Hoshide from Japan and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Their opponents in Team Soyuz were two Russian cosmonauts, Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitsky, and NASA's Mark Vande Hei.

The first of the four disciplines to "go down in history" saw the teams play no-handball, which involved trying to get a ping-pong ball through their opponents' open hatch.

The astronauts were initially only meant to use their breath but, after a change in the rules halfway through the game, body parts above the knee and elbow were allowed— and Team Soyuz scored a goal.

"Penalties, rule changes, friendship and commentary by Megan made the first space Olympics discipline a great success," said the ESA.

Photo of the ISS astronauts.
Seven ISS astronauts competed in zero gravity to present the "very first space Olympics." ESA

Next came the lack-of-floor event, in which each astronaut performed a solo "weightless routine."

The third discipline was synchronised space swimming, with the two teams presenting choreographed routines and commentary by Vande Hei. Finally, the teams fired elastic bands at a target for weightless sharpshooting.

Pesquet told the ESA: "The events ranged from synchronised floating or lack-of-floor routine to (very) long jumps and no-hand ball. We had all flags of the world (yes, every single country) hung up on the ceiling of the lab which gave an inspiring (and colorful) backdrop to our athletic prowess (or lack of)."

The full video was shared by the space agency on Tuesday, while some of the astronauts also shared snippets on social media.

Pesquet was quoted by the ESA saying: "The first ever Space Olympics! A Saturday afternoon on the International Space Station. Four disciplines. Rules that evolved as we played. Seven athletes. Four nations. Two teams. Crew cohesion and morale boosted like never before."

The ISS astronauts also organized their own closing ceremony to mark the end of Tokyo 2020, with Japanese astronaut Hoshide handing an Olympic flag to his French counterpart Pesquet.

The Frenchman posted a clip on Twitter on August 8, with the caption: "With the @Tokyo2020 @Olympics ending today and the next #Olympics to be @Paris2024, @Aki_Hoshide and I held a ceremony."

Are you ready @Paris2024 ?

— Olympics (@Olympics) August 8, 2021

The clip, shared by the @Paris2024 and @Olympics Twitter accounts, has been watched 1.9 million times.

Pesquet also took a role in Sunday's official Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony and handover to Paris. The presentation from the next host city included a rendition of the Marseillaise, France's national anthem, played by musicians at famous sporting and cultural venues across the city. It ended with a special cameo: Pesquet playing the final bars on his saxophone from the ISS.

Musical Trip in Paris
Voyage musical dans Paris

Merci pour cette Marseillaise revisitée : Victor Le Masne, @nationaldefce @radiofrance et @Thom_astro pour ces quelques aériennes notes de saxo ! pic.twitter.com/BlQPh9shfj

— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) August 9, 2021

The Tokyo 2020 Games ended with Team USA top of the medals table, after clinching 113 medals in total, including 39 golds.