American women dominated the headlines on Day 12 in Tokyo as Sydney McLaughlin etched her name in the history books, Team USA's women's basketball team extended its unbeaten streak in Olympic play to 53 games and the U.S. women's soccer team collected its bronze medal.
Elsewhere, Team USA baseball advanced to the gold-medal game, and Allyson Felix advanced to the finals of the 400 meters.
How did the United States' success Thursday affect its medal count and just how far behind China in gold does the country stand at this point in these Games?
Updated Medal Count
- China: 34 gold, 74 overall
- United States: 29 gold, 91 overall
- Japan: 22 gold, 46 overall
- Australia: 17 gold, 41 overall
- ROC: 16 gold, 58 overall
- Great Britain: 16 gold, 51 overall
- Germany: 9 gold, 34 overall
- France: 7 gold, 27 overall
- Italy: 7 gold, 35 overall
- Netherlands: 7 gold, 26 overall
Complete list available at Olympics.com.
Day 12 Highlights
USWNT Wrap Up Games on Positive Note, Wins Bronze
There was nothing easy about Thursday's bronze medal-winning victory over Australia for the United States women's national team. Originally expected to win gold, the team limped into the match following a humbling defeat to Sweden in the opening match and a stunning upset loss to Canada just two days earlier.
A players-only meeting, a bit of refocusing and contributions from team leaders Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd in what may prove to be their final Olympic competition were enough to outlast an equally determined Australian squad.
Even then, the Aussies fought back from three goals down to bring it within one. They pushed late but it was for naught.
Talk will soon turn to whether Rapinoe, Llloyd or Becky Sauerbrunn will make the multiyear commitment to return to international competition. If they don't, their legacies among the greats are cemented. They are leaders on a team that achieved unprecedented success during their time with it and they would walk legends; Lloyd became the leading scorer in team history following her score on Day 12.
McLaughlin Breaks Record, Earns Gold
Sydney McLaughlin just beat fellow countrywoman Dalilah Muhammad to earn the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles and set a world-record time of 51.46 seconds. It is the latest competition between the two in which a record has been broken, dating back to 2019.
McLaughlin found herself being Muhammad down the stretch, ever-so-slightly hesitating coming off the penultimate hurdle. A lesser racer probably would have seen her dreams of gold unsatisfied. With momentum on her side, she pushed past her rival and earned the win.
"I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought, 'run your race.' The race doesn't really start until hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had," she told Reuters.
Silver medalist Muhammad spoke with pride following the race. "Just like the men's race, all three of our times would have won any Olympics, any other year. I'm so proud to be part of that history and even more proud of my teammate Sydney."
McLaughlin downplayed the idea of a rivalry with Muhammad, also according to Reuters: "I just say iron sharpens iron. It's two people pushing each other to be their best."
Rivalry or not, the iron is indeed sharpened and the U.S. track and field team is better because of it.