Girls rule, boys…well whatever, the first part is all that matters. The 2016 Olympics undoubtedly belonged to the women from the United States of America as they dominated the proceedings and sent a clear message: women from the United States run the sports world.
American women grabbed headlines with their dominance and brought home a staggering numbers of medals. Women from the U.S. won 61 of the country’s 121 Olympic medals and 27 of its 46 golds. If they were their own country, Team USA’s women would rank third in total medals and would be tied for second in golds.
The United States’ contingent of female competitors boasts the two most dominant athletes in the world in Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, and the two most dominant teams with the women’s basketball squad and the incredible U.S. women’s eight rowing team. Not to mention, the U.S. has the most decorated female track athlete of all-time thanks to Allyson Felix’s golds in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays, and her silver in the 400 meters.
Yes, Michael Phelps and Ashton Eaton were impressive. Those two men earned their headlines, while Ryan Lochte stole others, but the story of these games was the complete dominance by the female members of Team USA.
While the U.S. women’s soccer team – arguably the most famous group of female athletes in America – bowed out shockingly early, the rest of Team America’s female contingent picked up the slack in a big way.
The first sign that American women were poised to own Rio came when Ledecky broke her own world record and won the 400-meter freestyle on Day 2. She took the gold by nearly five seconds over he closest competition. The girl was already fist-pumping in celebration while the silver-medalist was still racing to the wall. Ledecky never looked back, snagging four gold medals and a silver, including a world-record performance in the 800-meter freestyle, which she won by nearly 12 seconds. Twelve seconds! In swimming! She also became the first woman to win the 200, 400 and 800-meter freestyle events in a single Olympics since 1968.
Other American women dominated the pool as well, as Simone Manuel and Maya DiRado were fantastic in their first Olympic showings. Manuel won two golds and two silvers, while DiRado had two golds, a silver and a bronze.
While the swimmers were great, the girl who stole the show in Rio was gymnast Simone Biles. The pint-sized tumbler couldn’t be touched, as she led Team USA to a dominant win in the team competition, crushed her rivals in the individual all-around, then won gold in the vault and floor exercise while adding a bronze on the balance beam. After her five medal performance (with four golds), the 19 year old is now widely considered the greatest gymnast of all-time. The thing is, no one was even in her neighborhood in any of the events, and without a major slip-up on the balance beam she would have almost surely secured five golds.
If that’s not enough proof, look no further than the U.S. women’s basketball team, which was never challenged while sprinting to a sixth straight gold medal. The Americans won by an average of 38.4 points during what amounted to a seven game Rio victory lap. Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s eight rowing team extended its unbeaten streak to 11 years by winning its third straight Olympic gold. Oh, and then there’s the women’s water polo team which won its second straight gold and bested its opposition by an average of 6.8 goals per match.
American women dominated on the track as well. There was the unprecedented sweep of the 100-meter hurdles where Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin blew away the field. Dalilah Muhammad’s inspirational 400-meter hurdle win was also a scene-stealer, and the U.S. dominated the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay. Tianna Bartoletta and Britney Reese went 1-2 in the long jump, and Michelle Carter became the first American woman to ever win Olympic gold in the shot put.
I could keep going, but you get the point. The women of this country are star-spangled awesome. Seriously, take time to appreciate what they just accomplished. They went out and whooped the rest of the world for a fortnight.
Women’s issues continue to come to the fore in the United States, and a major party has a female atop its presidential ticket for the first time. We didn’t need a reminder of how important the fairer sex is to our country, but we got one over the last two weeks. In the process, the world was put on notice: American women kick ass.