The United States surged past China for the lead in gold medals on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
The U.S. women’s volleyball team defeated Brazil and secured the American’s 39th gold medal, one more than the Chinese delegation.
The U.S. won 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 against a team that had defeated them in the gold medal matches in both 2008 and 2012. It was the United States’ first ever gold medal in women’s volleyball.
The victory was especially sweet for several members of the team, including Jordan Larson and Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, who were part the team that lost to Brazil in 2012.
“I’m just still in a state of shock,” Larson said. “I cried more in the last 24 hours than I think I have in my career. I’m not an emotional player, an emotional person. But I think just the emotions got the best of me. I’m now in kind of this euphoria, a state of shock.”
The U.S. also won the overall medal count for the seventh consecutive Olympics with 113, including 41 silver and 33 bronze. China finished a distant second with 88.
Japan, the host country for the pandemic-delayed Summer Games, set a national record with 27 gold medals and won 58 medals overall.
In other action Sunday:
–The U.S. women’s basketball team won gold with its 90-75 victory over Japan. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi became the first basketball players (male or female) to win five gold medals at the Olympics. Brittney Griner scored 30 points, while Breanna Stewart totaled 14 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. It was the seventh consecutive gold for the women’s basketball team.
–Jennifer Valente won gold in omnium cycling with a total of 124 points Sunday, her second medal in Tokyo. Valente won bronze Tuesday in team pursuit after previously winning a silver in that event in Brazil. It was the United States’ first ever gold in omnium cycling. Valente finished 14 points ahead of second-place Yumi Kajihara of Japan.
–U.S. women won more medals than the men, 66 to 47, continuing a trend at recent Summer Olympics. The women also won more medals in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
–American boxer Richard Torrez Jr. made no secret of his desire to avenge his viral knockout loss to Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan. Torrez was knocked unconscious in a bout in 2019 and video of that knockout has generated hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and elsewhere on the web. But Torrez came up short in the gold medal super heavyweight match, dropping a unanimous decision.
Lightweight Keyshawn Davis also lost a revenge match to claim silver, dropping a split decision to Andy Cruz of Cuba. Despite the two silvers, it was Team USA’s best finish in boxing since 2000. Adding in Duke Ragan (featherweight), three Americans claimed silver, and Oshae Jones grabbed a bronze in the women’s welterweight, giving the U.S. four medals overall.
–Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya became the first repeat winner in the men’s marathon in 40 years, taking first with a time of 2:08:38 Sunday, more than a minute ahead of the field. Galen Rupp was the top U.S. finisher with a time of 2:11:41, good for eighth. The other American runners were Jacob Riley (29th, 2:16:26) and Abdi Abdirahman (41st, 2:18:27). Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands won silver and Abdir Bashar of Belgium took bronze.
–The final gold medal of the competition went to the Serbian men’s water polo team, who defeated Greece 13-10 Sunday. Hungary won bronze by defeating Spain 9-5. The U.S. finished sixth after losing to Croatia 14-11.
–The closing ceremony wrapped up the Tokyo Olympics in fitting fashion Sunday, with a spectacle performed in front of thousands of empty seats, continuing the theme of this entire Olympics. But while many criticized the event for being held at all, the decision to go crowd-less mostly came off without incident and provided millions around the world with entertainment and “hope,” per comments from IOC president Thomas Bach. The normal theatrics were present with a variety of performers doing what they’re best at. Specific to this particular ceremony were a couple of unique additions, a taiko drum and a ska band. And the usual handoff to the next games occurred, with a preview of Paris 2024.
–Field Level Media