2016 Rio Olympics

Rio 2016 Review: U.S. Women Rocked Rio’s Medal Podium

Rio 2016 Review: U.S. Women Rocked Rio’s Medal Podium

Rio De Janeiro – Team USA’s had one of the most dominant Olympic Games in team history at the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. The 121 total medals are the most ever for a U.S. team in a non-boycotted Games, topping the previous high of 110 from Beijing in 2008. In Rio, the U.S. women shined with 61 of 121 medals, including 27 out of 46 golds (59 percent). The U.S. Women won 61 of those U.S. medals (plus five in mixed gender events). If the U.S. Women were a separate country, they would rank fourth in total medals and tied for second in golds. Of the 121 medals, 46 were golds, U.S. Women won 27 of those gold medals.

US Women 27 Gold medals



Katie Ledecky

Simone Biles

Simone Biles

Katie Ledecky (l)won four gold medals and a silver and set two world records.
Simone Biles (r) won four golds, a bronze and the acclaim of venerable coach Martha Karolyi as the greatest gymnast of all time. Biles is the first U.S. Woman to win Olympic vault title, and the first to win four Olympic golds in a single games.
~The U.S. Swimmers won the historic 1,000th Olympic Gold medal for Team USA.

There are the history makers (Individual):

Simone Manuel

Simone Manuel

~Simone Manuel, first African-American Woman to win an individual swimming gold medal.

~Maya DiRado used a strong last 50m to out-touch Katinka Hosszu for the gold medal in the women’s 200m backstroke final. (watch race here)

Sharing the spotlight in the pool was teenage phenom Katie Ledecky, who set two world records en route to winning four golds and one silver and became only the second swimmer to sweep the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle titles at a single Games.

~Gwen Jorgensen, first to win a triathlon title for Team USA.

~Judo’s Kayla Harrison, four years ago the first U.S. Olympic judo champion in 2012 and repeats in Rio.

~Michelle Carter, became the first U.S. woman to win the shot put (20.63m in her final throw, an American record.


How ‘sweep’ it is. U.S. Women go 1, 2, 3 in the 100m Hurdles.

~100m Hurdler Brianna Rollins, led the first-ever U.S. sweep of an Olympic women’s track event.  Rollins, along with teammates Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin completed the first U.S. sweep of women’s 100m hurdles in Olympic history.  (watch race here)

~Claressa Shields, winning a second straight  middleweight boxing gold (watch Shields golden moment here).

Wrestler Helen Maroulis

 ~Freestyle Wrestler Helen Maroulis, first U.S. woman to win gold in her   sport while beating a legendary three-time champion to do it

Cyclist Kristin Armstrong

~Kristin Armstrong became the first cyclist to win a third straight title in the same event, the time trial, and, at 43, the oldest woman to win gold since a British archer 108 years ago.

~Delilah Muhammad became the first U.S. Woman to win the Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles.
~Emma Coburn’s golden moment came when she won the 3000m Steeplechase bronze, the first American Woman to medal in the event, and she set an American record in doing so.

Then there are the teams who made history:
U.S. Women’s water polo team
U.S. Women’s basketball teams
Gymnastics Final Five
The Women’s eight crew.

Shooter GInny Thrasher

Ginny Thrasher – Team USA Shooting

~Shooter Ginny Thrasher helped the U.S. to a strong start on day one, setting an Olympic record to claim the first gold medal awarded in Rio.

~Tianna Bartoletta launched a banner night Olympic Stadium for American Women on the track — and in the field — when she leaped a personal-best 7.17 meters (23 feet, 6 1/4 inches) to capture gold in the women’s long jump. In the process she upset the reigning champion and fellow American Brittney Reese.

~Allyson Felix anchored the team of Courtney Okolo, Natasha Hastings and Phyllis Francis to the gold-medal six-peat in 3:19.06. (watch race here)

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.08.38 PM

U.S. Women’s 4×400 (l-r) Allyson Felix, Phyllis Francis, Natasha Hastings and Courtney Okolo.

~Allyson Felix, Tianna Bartoletta, English Gardner, and Tori Bowie cruised by the field en route to an impressive victory in the women’s 4X100m relay. (watch race here)

4x100 Rio 2016

U.S. Women blazed to gold in the 4×100 in Rio.

Taking their place in history, Allyson Felix took home three medals to become the all-time winningest woman in Olympic track and field with six golds and nine overall.

Allyson Felix:WSEN Flag-Todd Warshaw:Getty Images North America

Track & Field great Allyson Felix at the 2016 Team USA’s Media Summitt, Los Angeles.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team was equally spectacular, winning nine medals and surpassing the team’s previous high of eight from the 2008 Games in Beijing and 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Propelled by four medals from individual all-around champion Simone Biles, the nine medals are the most won by any nation since 1972 (Soviet Union, 10). Widely considered the best gymnast of her generation, Biles became the first American gymnast to win four golds at a single Games, helping Team USA medal in every event for the first time since 1984.

“This experience has been the dream of a lifetime for me and my team, and I consider it a privilege to represent my country, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics,” said Biles, who was selected by her peers to lead the U.S. delegation into the Closing Ceremony. “My first Olympic experience just keeps getting better and I want to thank Brazil for hosting an incredible Games.”

Multi-medalists Biles, Felix and Ledecky were among a strong contingent of American women, who for the second straight Olympics, set a record with 61 medals, exceeding its previous high of 58 from London in 2012. Had American women competed as their own country, they would have ranked fourth among all nations in the overall medal chart and tied for second in the gold-medal count with 27. Highlighting the list of firsts by American women, Gwen Jorgensen and Helen Maroulis gave the U.S its first gold medals in triathlon and women’s wrestling, while Kim Rhode (shooting) became the first woman from any nation to win a medal at six straight Olympic Games. Kayla Harrison (judo) and Claressa Shields (boxing) became the first Americans in their respective sports to successfully defend their Olympic titles, while Kerri Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball) and Venus Williams (tennis) became the most decorated Olympic female athletes in their sport with four and five medals apiece.

“Title IX paved the way and created so many opportunities for women in sport,” said Felix. “I feel so proud and so inspired by the strong women on our team. It’s such an amazing group to be a part of and I think about all the images of successful women reaching young girls back at home – those are the things that last. These performances will inspire future Olympians, and I am just so humbled and honored to be a part of these amazing women.”

American women also delivered some of the most memorable moments of the Rio Games. On the same night of Phelps’ last career race, the U.S. women’s 400-meter medley relay team of Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Simone Manuel and Dana Vollmer made history by securing the 1,000th gold medal for Team USA at the Olympic Games in summer competition. The milestone highlighted Team USA’s sustained competitive excellence, dating back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Additionally, Manuel made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win Olympic gold in swimming, while fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympic Games in a hijab. Also proving mettle without a color, American 5,000-meter runner Abbey D’Agostino received the Rio 2016 Fair Play Award, along with fellow runner Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) and the Norwegian men’s handball team.

Highlighting the list of team accomplishments, the U.S. women’s eight extended its gold-medal reign to 11 straight Olympic and world championship titles, winning its third straight Olympic gold medal in Rio. The U.S. also continued its winning traditions in basketball and water polo. Led by tournament MVP Maggie Steffens, the U.S. women’s water polo team became the first to successfully defend its Olympic title and the only nation to medal at each of the five Olympic Games since the sport debuted in 2000. A day later, the U.S. women’s basketball team extended its Olympic women’s record to six straight Olympics titles and eight overall.

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2016 Rio Olympics

Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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