USA dominates Olympics

USA dominates Olympics

Matt Grabianski, Sports Editor

Under the hot South American sun, the US dominated the competition during this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ending with a grand total of 121 medals (46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze). The country that came the closest to the United States’s medal count was Great Britain, who totaled 67 medals, a full 54 medals behind.

The now-famous Katie Ledecky started off the games with a bang, setting two world records in the 400m and 800m women’s freestyle swim. In the 800m freestyle, Ledecky beat the second place finisher by twelve full seconds. Ryan Murphy and Lily King both set Olympic records as well. Overall, American swimmers totaled 33 medals (16 gold), more than any other USA sport.

Ledecky became an American hero by destroying the competition.

“Everyone wants to swim their best at the Olympics,” Ledecky said. “I was just trying to set a [personal] record, and for me that just happens to be a world record.”

Michael Phelps, the all-time leader in Olympic medals, dominated again, winning five gold medals and one silver, taking his career total to 23 gold medals and 28 overall.

This was Phelps’s last Olympics, and he expressed his happiness at finishing like he did.

“This is how I wanted to finish my career. I’ve lived a dream come true,” Phelps said. “Being able to cap it off with these Games is just the perfect way to finish.”

Track and Field came in second with 32 medals (13 gold), including the decathlon champion Ashton Eaton. Eaton is only the second person to ever break the 9,000 point marker in the decathlon scoring. Matthew Centrowitz Jr. also made headlines when he became the first American since 1908 to win the gold in the men’s 1500m. Michelle Carter also went down in the record books, becoming the first American woman to win gold in the shot put.

Women’s gymnastics remained one of the most popular sports to watch, with the self-proclaimed “Final Five” of Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, and Aly Raisman hauling in nine medals, including gold in the overall team event.

Biles led the team with five medals (four gold) and commented on her success after winning the individual all-around gold medal.

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

As it is a mainstream sport, both the men’s and the women’s basketball teams were well-followed by the media, and both won gold despite some lackluster performances. It was the end of legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure as part of the USA coaching staff, and he finished by leading the men’s team to their third straight gold medal. “Coach K” has been a part of 20 USA coaching staffs over the course of the past 37-years.

Despite some troubles throughout Rio in preparation and some scandals during the games. The United States won in dominating fashion and new American heroes were created.

The next Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan in 2020.