Beginning with Michael Phelps, which seems a little anti-climatic, he grabbed medal No. 20, extending his lead for the all-time Olympian. Third time appeared to be the charm for the swimmer as he’s also won the award in the 200-meter individual medley previously in Athens and Beijing.
Limping in behind Phelps was teammate and heir apparent Ryan Lochte for the silver.
Another swimmer looking to claim some Olympic glory was Tyler Clary who got his first gold in the 200-meter backstroke. He also shattered Lochte’s record. Never at a loss for words, Clary took advantage of social media and described the experience on Twitter via USA Today:
“Right now I am completely in the zone, I have never felt so relaxed and prepared to fly!!!”
“I see that I’m behind Ryan at the 100 but I am only thinking about building into the last 75″
“All I could think about after I saw that result was my high school coach Kevin Perry who passed away during my freshman year of college”
“It still hasn’t even processed in my head what happened today, so thankful for everyone in my life. I love you all!!!”
Look for both Clary and Lochte in the 2016 games.
On the women’s side, Rebecca Soni won the 200 breaststroke, besting her own record with two minutes and 19.59 seconds. She is the first swimmer to defend an Olympic title, reported the BBC, and the first woman to come in under 2:20.00.
Soni commented on her record-breaking performance via BBC, “I kept it to myself as a secret goal, but that was for Tom. He believed in me more than any coach I’ve known, but as a young kid he was someone I looked up to and he kept pushing me.”
Perhaps one of the more heart-warming firsts came from Individual All-Around Women’s Gymnastics winner Gabby Douglas. The 16-year-old remained cool, calm and collected in her performance to grab the gold. With her win, she represents the first African American woman to do so.
Yes, it is 2012 and it took until now to do so.
But hidden behind all of Thursday’s headlines was the first American woman to win a gold medal in Judo’s under 78 kilogram competition, Kayla Harrison. She beat the home crowd favorite, Britain’s Gemma Gibbons. The 22-year-old overcame a lot of obstacles including sexual abuse by a former coach.
She said of the win via the Associated Press, “Kind of just reflecting back on my life. Everything it’s taken to get here, and everything that I’ve gone through. I’m America’s first gold medalist in judo—and always will be.”
At the start of the Olympic games, it was noted that for the first time–yes another first–there were more women on the U.S. Olympic team than men: 268 to 261. Why? One reason is an evolving Olympic landscape and the collapse of the Men’s U.S. soccer team.
It also comes as Title IX celebrates its 40th anniversary. Yes ladies you’ve come a long way and there’s still more to come!