How can I place the greatness of Team USA in a historical context?
This is quite impossible, because the absolute wonder of the American women’s basketball team in the Olympic competition has surpassed all priority.
Yes, the American men’s national basketball team won seven straight gold medals from 1936 to 1968. This achievement, however, took place when the Olympic movement first began to open up to the non-white, non-Western world. Similarly, the American men’s basketball team did not choose the most talented players to represent the country, as unofficial racial boundaries and unspoken racial quotas prevented the full participation of black players.
During their seven gold medals, the women who wore the United States jersey to the courts of Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, Rio and Tokyo better represented the diversity of the United States, with women of color and LGBTQ women to fill the grids. Head coach Dawn Staley is also the first color coach to lead and then win gold with Team USA.
Dawn Staley, the first black head coach of the American Olympic basketball team, led Team USA to its seventh consecutive gold medal
Team USA’s seven gold medals are the longest gold medal for any Olympic team sport pic.twitter.com/GH0nQmYEd2
– The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) 8 August 2021
All the more so, the extent of Team USA’s dominance extends beyond seven straight gold medals. They won 55 games in a row. Or to capture their absurd excellence even better, they have not lost a match in Olympic competition in almost thirty years. The last time Team USA lost on the Olympic stage, six members of the Olympic team were not born in 2020: Chelsea Gray, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Ariel Atkins and Napheesa Collier.
The five gold medals won by Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi – the only athletes in the world, female or male, to win five basketball golds – further highlight the unmatched achievements of the American women’s basketball team. Just as impressively, Staley won her sixth gold medal – three as a player, two as an assistant coach and one as head coach.
The three games of American women’s basketball will not be in Paris in 2024 (or so we think now). Outdated announced her retirement as head coach, while Bird confirmed it was her last Olympics. As a joke or not, Taurasi has left the door open for 2024.
Nevertheless, the performance of Team USA in Tokyo, despite some uneven early game, did nothing to disprove the expectation that they would win an eighth consecutive gold in Paris. Breanna Stewart, the MVP of the 2020 Olympic Basketball Tournament for Women, and A’ja Wilson, who was a force in her first Olympics, emerged as the torchbearers of the next generation. Brittney Griner, who achieved an American record of 30 points in the gold medal match, it also seems likely to serve as a stalwart for Team USA.
For all the focus on Bird and Taurasi’s “drive for five”, the increasingly legendary legacy of Team USA is about more than the two players. Bird made this clear in her post-match interview, making sure to highlight the gold medal winners who started this unprecedented series in 1996 and 2000.
Even the ’96 team. Although we did not play with them, the same with the 2000 team … if you’re part of USA Basketball, you’re all family, you’re all teammates. I think this one, it’s seven in a row, it’s not just about us. It’s about all the players who have either set the stage or those who are at the moment.
The women who played for Team USA before 1996 also deserve credit.
In 1992 he fell by a bronze medal and was planning to win gold with the Olympic Games on American soil in 1996, USA Basketball, eventually, has invested significant resources in the U.S. women’s basketball team, and paid some of the best women’s hoops in the U.S. to begin a year-long preparation for gold. Before that, the women of Team USA did not receive much material support.
Nevertheless, Team USA still won medals in every Olympic Games in which he participated, silver in 1976 in Montreal and gold in 1984 and 1988 in Los Angeles and Seoul, respectively, before the bronze in Barcelona in 1992.
For the silver in 1976, Team USA is led by Billie Moore of UCLA, with Lusia Harris and Ann Meyers leading the U.S. to court. In 1984, Tennessee’s Pat Summit, a ’76 player, was the head coach when Cheryl Miller and Lynette Woodard carried Team USA to their first gold medal. A second gold was secured in 1988 by a team coached by Kay Yow of NC State and with Katrina McClain and Teresa Edwards. With the combination of McClain and Edwards leading the team again in 1992, the USA won bronze, coached by Theresa Grentz of Rutgers. Names known to female fans – Nancy Lieberman, Kim Mulkey, Pam McGee, Cynthia Cooper and Teresa Weatherspoon – were also suitable for the red, white and blue in Games before 1996.
While the American women’s basketball team began to flourish in ’96 – when this epic series of seven rows of gold and 55 consecutive victories began – its grandeur on the Olympic stage has been cultivated by players and coaches for 45 years. Three years from now we will see how this legacy continues to grow.