The United States women won 58 medals in all, better than all but three lead countries (China, Russia, Great Britain).
By conventional definition, there are six team sports in the Olympic Games—basketball, soccer, handball, field hockey, volleyball and water polo. In all of those sports the U.S. women’s team was more successful relative to its peers than the U.S. men’s team.
Basketball: Women’s team dominated en route to gold. Men’s team won gold, too, but did not outshine its peers to nearly the same extent.
Soccer: Women’s team won third consecutive gold. Men’s team didn’t qualify.
Field Hockey: Women qualified. Men did not.
Volleyball: Women made second consecutive title game. Men eliminated in quarterfinals.
Water Polo: Women won first ever gold. Men eliminated in quarterfinals.
Rowing: The women’s 8 won gold. The five-time world champions, unbeaten since 2006, finished ahead of Canada, with the Netherlands taking bronze.
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The team sports were just one sampling. The first ever women’s boxing match yielded gold medalist Claressa Shields win while the mens boxing team failed to medal. Allyson Felix took home three gold medals, Sonya Richards-Ross won two and the 4×100 relay set a world record. Speaking of relays, the U.S. women won both teams took relay in relative ease.
The U.S. women owned the pool, with Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt winning five medals and Dana Vollmer and Rebecca Soni each taking home three. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh made it three gold medals in a row in beach volleyball.American team, Jen Kessy and April Ross won silver playing against Treanor and Walsh.
How will this play for the future of sports? More young women will begin to participate. We will see more Gabby’s, Missy’s, Carmelita’s in the game.