The 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which were actually held in 2021 because the world is still a weird place these days, have drawn to a close from Tokyo, Japan after 16 days of highly competitive events, zero crowds, cardboard beds, and apparently no alcohol or high fives.
In the 2016 Olympics, team USA just absolutely boat raced the competition and left no doubt about what country boasts the most athletic prowess in the summertime.
Although this year, the U.S. edged out the second place finisher, China, in terms of overall medals, the all-important gold medal count was closer, with China knocking on the door until the very end. However, once again, ‘Merica triumphed.
A total of 626 athletes competed for Team USA during the Olympics, and they wrapped up this years games with 113 total medals. The next closest nation was China with 88 medals, followed by Russia (71), Great Britain (65), and Japan (58).
Team USA has now won the most overall medals at the summer games for 7 straight Olympics, dating back to 1996.
The gold medal race was much closer, with team USA only beating China by a single medal, by a tally of 39 to 38. China was leading the gold medal count by 2 heading into the last day of competition, but the U.S. pulled ahead for good by winning 3 medals on Sunday.
Japan finished next with 27 gold medals followed by Great Britain with 22 and Russia with 20. Keep in mind that medals are scored by events, not individuals. So for example, Team USA Basketball winning only counts as 1 gold medal even though 12 individual players were awarded medals.
The U.S. also finished with the most silver medals (41), followed again by China (32), Russia (28), Great Britain (21) and Japan (14).
Just to be safe, the U.S. also took home the most bronze medals with 33. Rounding out the top 5 in that category was Russia (23) Great Britain (22), Australia (22) and Italy (20).
Some of the best highlights from team USA include some incredible storylines that should make anyone proud to be an American. What it means to compete for your country on the national stage, and to win gold as an entire nation roots you on was best summed up by Tamyra Mensah-Stock, who won gold in women’s freestyle wrestling for her weight class. She is the first black woman to win an Olympic medal in wrestling.
“I love representing the US, I freaking love living there. I love it, and I’m so happy I get to represent USA!”
American Olympic wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock: "I love representing the US, I freaking love living there. I love it, and I'm so happy I get to represent USA!" pic.twitter.com/4yw9p871Nz
For the first time ever, the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team was able to capture the gold medal by taking down Brazil in a hard-fought match.
U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel etched his name into history when he joined Mark Spitz, Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps as the only men to win five gold medals in the same Olympics. He broke several world records while doing it, too.
Several members of the U.S. Women’s Track Team also turned into incredible performances.
Allyson Felix upped her all time medal count to 11 and became the most decorated U.S. Olympic track star ever. Sifan Hasaan won three gold medals in three of the longest track races of the games and Sydney McLaughlin won two gold medals and broke her own world record for the 400 meter hurdles. The Women’s relay team also put on a performance to remember.
Both U.S. men and women swept the Olympic golf events, with Xander Schauffle giving the U.S. it’s first Olympic gold in golf since 1900. Nelly Korda took home the gold for the women. A fitting prize for the world’s top ranked women golfer.
The gold medal-winning putt for Xander Schauffele and the USA 🇺🇸
Other notable accomplishments included swimmer Katy Ledecky becoming a now 10 time Olympic medalist, Simone Biles rebounding to win a bronze medal after her controversial withdraw from the gymnastics team event, and Suni Lee stepping up to win gold in the women’s individual all around gymnastics event.
Also impressive was jam band enthusiast Lydia Jacoby coming out of nowhere to win gold, skateboarder Jagger Eaton shredding his way to a bronze medal while bumping country music, and the U.S men’s basketball team winning their 4th straight gold medal while the women’s hoops team won their 7th.
All-in-all an Olympic record 94 different nations won medals at the 2020 (2021) Olympic Games. Turkemenastan, Burkino Faso, and San Marino all won Olympic medals for the first time ever. Japan, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Turkey all also set new national records for the most number of medals won in a single Olympics.
The next summer Olympics will take place in France in 2024, where the U.S. will surely be aiming to win the medal count yet again as our great nation closes in 3,000 total medals in the summer games all-time.