USA Gold Medalists

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Sofi Zeman, Reporter

      Every four years, many of the greatest athletes from across the globe participate in the world’s largest sporting event, the Olympic Games. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro ended on Aug. 21 with the United States having the highest amount of medals overall at 121. Out of that amount, 47 are gold medals. Great Britain finished in second place with 27 gold and 67 total.  China fell closely behind with 26 out of their 70 medals being gold.

     This is the highest amount of gold medals the United States has gotten since the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. That year’s team earned 83. Now 33 years later, Team USA medaled in cycling, water polo, wrestling, shooting, tennis and judo, along with various others. But, the events that earned the most gold were Track and Field and Swimming.

      Swimming took 33 medals overall with 16 gold and Track and Field obtained 32 medals, 13 of which are gold. Combined, the two events make up more than 50% of the country’s total medals. They also make up 74% of the gold medal count.

      In the last year of his swimming career, Michael Phelps earned five gold medals after placing first in the Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, 200m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay, 4x100m freestyle relay and the 200m individual relay. Phelps won silver after being beat by 0.75 seconds in the Men’s 100m butterfly by Joseph Schooling from Singapore.

      “Where I am now is exactly how I want to finish my career. I was able to come back and do things that I wanted to accomplish,” said Phelps in an interview with Bob Costas, shortly after his final race.

      Many other athletes took home multiple gold medals from Rio. Swimmer Katie Ledecky took first in four events. On the gymnastics side of the games, Simone Biles earned five gold medals, one of which being in the Team All Around with gymnasts Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian.

     “I’m not the next Usain Bolt, I’m the first Simone Biles,” said Biles.

     Also, for the sixth consecutive time, the United States won gold in the Women’s 4×400 Meter Relay with a time of 3:19:06. The 4×4 team consisted of Allyson Felix, Natasha Hastings, Courtney Okolo and Phyllis Francis.

     After this year, Team USA has earned over 1000 total gold medals in their time participating at the Olympic Games. The next summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo in the year 2020 and high expectations are set for Team USA by the Olympic officials.