It didn’t matter what event it was; track & field, judo, swimming, basketball, boxing, golf, field hockey, weightlifting, softball, cycling or water polo our US Women represented America very well during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Going into the Rio Games we all had high expectations for Simone Biles and the US Women’s Gymnastics team, but who would have thought that the US Women would be the major contributors to the US gold medals and to the US bringing home a total medal count of over 100 medals. The US Women wore out the carpet as they were constantly walking to the medal podium and climbing to the sounds of The Star Spangled Banner cued up and ready to go.
Once the opening ceremony ended we could hardly settle on the couch with a bag of popcorn before Simone Biles was receiving her first gold medal-winning the all-around on the way to winning 4 gold medals and 1 bronze. Her teammate Aly Raisman finished with the silver in the all-around.
Overall the US gymnastic team, called the “Final Five” of Aly Raisman (1 gold/2 silver), Madison Kocian (1 gold/1 silver), Laurie Hernandez (1 gold/1 silver), Simone Biles (4 gold/1 bronze) and Gabby Douglas (1 gold) accounted for 13 US medals.
If Michael Phelps hadn’t participated in Rio and won his swimming medals than Katie Ledecky who have owned the pool. Katie won gold in the Women’s 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 4 x 200m freestyle relay, and a silver medal in the 4 x100m freestyle relay.
Ledecky had to share the pool with first-time Olympian Simone Manuel who became the first African-American to win a gold individual medal in swimming by winning the gold in the 100m freestyle. She also brought home another gold as part of the 4 x100m medley relay and two silver medals in the 50m freestyle and the 4 x100m freestyle relay.
In a sport that US Women haven’t historically reached the podium was boxing. Claressa Shields won the gold medal in the 75kg middleweight boxing. Shields is self-proclaimed as one of the greatest boxers to live. In the 2012 Olympics in London Shields won gold and was determined to win back-to-back gold medals for the US. She became the first US male or female to win two gold medals in boxing.
Kayla Harrison repeated gold from the 2012 London Games and made history as she won the gold in Judo. After winning Harrison stated she is retiring from Olympic Judo that is. She is planning a career in acting, mixed martial arts or whatever she puts her mind to. Harrison annihilated the field, winning all four of her matches by ippon, which is essentially the judo version of a knockout. Three of her bouts lasted fewer than two minutes and she finished the championship by getting her opponent in an armlock flipping her over and forcing her to tap out with six seconds left.
Allyson Felix was disappointed that she didn’t qualify for the team in the US trials in the 200 meters, but she was determined to still make her make in Rio. She took a silver medal in the 400 meters and then led the US women to gold in the 4 x 100 relay and the 4 x 400 relay. With those wins, Felix passed Jackie Joyner-Kersee for the most career medals by an American female track and field athlete.
In other Track and Field events, Michelle Carter set a national record and won the women’s shot put, the first gold ever for a US women in the event. Emma Coburn became the first American to medal in the 1,000-meter steeplechase winning a silver. Jenny Simpson was the first American to medal in the Women’s 1500.
The US Women’s basketball team continued to cruise to consecutive wins and consecutive gold medals. Their superiority was on full court display as even their first time Olympians contributed to their drive for the gold. Breanna Stewart who is a rookie with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm made her presence felt. Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner had their first exposure to the Summer Olympics, but it was Olympic veterans and former gold medalist Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi who savored the golden ride. This is most likely their final Olympic run and it showed on the court as they dominated all comers. The US team won their sixth consecutive gold medal.
Ibtihaj Muhammad is an American sabre fencer, and a member of the United States fencing team. She is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won her first qualifying round bout and was defeated in the second round by Cécilia Berder of France. She earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics.
Just as they did in London, women led the way for the USA. Four years ago they made up more of the US team than men did. The USA announced a 555 member team of which 292 were women. That’s a record for any country. The American women won 61 of the total 121 total medals which 27 of them gold. The USA had 46 gold medals as a team. Four years ago in London, the US women won 58 medals-29 of them gold-to the men’s 45, of which 17 were gold.
Can you say GIRL POWER! Way to represent USA Women! See you in Tokyo for 2020!