If you're not convinced that girls run the world by now, just have a look at this article from Women's Health pointing out the 17 times women from Team USA made history at the Rio Olympics. After all, there were 292 women competing for the U.S. this year — that's the largest amount of women to have ever competed for any nation.
1. Simone Biles: There was so much hype and pressure around this 19-year-old phenom leading up to the Olympics—and she proved why in Rio. The three-time all-around World Champion dominated at her debut Olympics, taking home five medals: gold in the team, individual all-around, vault, and floor competition, and bronze on the beam. She’s the first U.S. woman to win Olympic gold in vault, and joins Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller, and Nastia Liukin in a tie for the most medals won by a U.S. female gymnast in a single Olympics.
2. The Final Five: While they’re not the first American gymnastics team to win Olympic gold—the Magnificent Seven did it first in ’96 and the Fierce Five did it in 2012—they are the first to win by such a record margin (8.209 points, to be exact). Team veterans Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas also became the only two American women to earn two Olympic team all-around gold medals. And the group’s nine total medals (four gold, two silver, two bronze) beat the record of eight for most medals won by a U.S. women’s gymnastics team, which had previously been shared by the 1984 and 2008 teams. When I asked National Team Coordinator Marta Karolyi what she thought about the performance of her last group of ladies, she smiled and succinctly said, “Mission accomplished.”
3. Katie Ledecky: As the youngest (yet most dominant) female swimmer on Team USA, Katie's five medals in Rio put her in pretty good company: She's only the second woman to win three individual freestyle events at a single Olympics, the third American woman to win four gold medals at a single Olympics, and she's tied with Janet Evans and Brooke Bennett as the only U.S. women to win back-to-back 800-meter freestyle Olympic golds. Her 800-meter free time of 8:04.79 marks the fifth time she has lowered the world record in that event. And here’s the craziest part: I’m pretty sure we haven’t even seen the best of Katie Ledecky yet.
4. Women's 4x100m medley relay: On the final night of swimming in Rio, the U.S. women’s 4x100-meter medley relay team of Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Simone Manuel, and Dana Vollmer made history by securing the 1,000th gold medal for Team USA at the Summer Olympic Games.
5. Simone Manuel: Before she clinched gold with the ladies in the medley relay, this 20-year-old took the top spot in the 100-meter freestyle, becoming the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming. She finished her debut Olympics with four medals, including silver in the 50-meter free and the 4x100-meter free relay.
6. Kristin Armstrong: Team USA’s cyclist won her third consecutive gold in the individual road time trial in Rio, making her the first Olympic cyclist—man or woman, from any nation—to win the same event three times. And at 42 years and 364 days, she also became the oldest female Olympic cycling gold medalist.
7. Women's marathon: For the first time ever, three Americans placed in the top 10 in the women’s Olympic marathon. Shalane Flanagan was the top U.S. finisher, placing sixth with a season best time of 2:25:26. Desiree Linden was seventh, also posting a season best time with her 2:26:08. Amy Cragg finished ninth in a time of 2:28:25.
8. Michelle Carter: She gave the United States its first-ever gold medal in women's shot put. (She’s only the second American woman to medal in the event: The other, a bronze, was won—wait for this—at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome!) Another point for her in the history book: She and her dad, 1984 shot put silver medalist Mike Carter, are the first father-daughter duo to both medal in the Olympics!
To see the rest of the history-making women Olympians, click here!