Editorial Contribution: Kobe Johnson – Fan Go Sports
The African American community was well represented at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo. The list below highlights five of the best athletes who traveled to the aforementioned nation to put their talent on display for the USA.
The 35-year-old, born in Los Angeles, California, was part of the American contingent that headed to Tokyo for the games this year. The track and field sprinter ran the 200-meter sprint from 2003 to 2013 before shifting her focus on the 400 meters.
She also runs the 100 meters, 4X100-meter relay, and the 4×400-meter relay. Felix became Olympic Champion at 200 meters in 2012 and is also a three-time world champion and a two-time Olympic silver medalist. She’s a world bronze medalist and left Tokyo as the 2020 Olympic bronze medalist.
Felix is now the most decorated American Women’s track and field athlete ever after claiming an 11th medal in what was her fifth Olympic endeavor at the Tokyo Olympic Games this year.
Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020, Felix was one of the athletes credited with prompting public outrage at Nike refusing to guarantee salary protection for pregnant athletes. The controversy resulted in the brand expanding its maternal policy in 2019. She launched her own footwear company called Saysh in June this year, two years after leaving Nike.
Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast of her generation, having won 32 Olympic and World Championship medals combined. Her seven Olympic medals sees her tie Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by an American female gymnast. Considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time by many, Biles executed a 14.000 in the Women’s balance in Tokyo to earn her second consecutive bronze medal in the event.
Biles boasts the most World medals with 25 and the most World gold medals with 19, having passed Vitaly Scherbo’s record of 23 by winning her 24th and 25th (both gold) at the 2019 iteration in Stuttgart, Germany. She’s only the sixth woman to win an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and Olympics, as well as the first female gymnast and first American female gymnast to win a World medal in every event. She’s also the first female gymnast since Daniela Silivas (1998) to win a medal in every event at a single Olympic Games or World Championships, achieving the feat at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2018.
The 24-year-old won silver in the team competition this year too, which helped her become a seven-time Olympic medalist with four gold, one silver, and two bronze.
Kevin Durant got past the disappointment of missing out on the NBA Final by winning Olympic Gold. The Brooklyn Nets superstar is a two-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors and is now a three-time gold medalist at the Olympics. Durant is thought to be the best player in the current basketball era given his length and ability to shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. He is also a FIBA gold medalist, having claimed the honor with Team USA in 2010.
The team faced lots of criticism from Americans after losing games against Nigeria and Australia ahead of the actual start of the tournament and did not fare better after an opening loss against France. They picked it up thereafter, with Durant playing his best game in the final against the French squad, scoring 29 points in an 87-82 win to give the USA their fourth straight gold medal.
Durant’s Nets are the favorites to win the NBA Championship next year and a well detailed BetMGM review would be of tremendous help to folks looking to get their bets in ahead of the campaign.
American swimmer Simone Manuel had a disappointing Olympic period in Tokyo. The 25-year-old from Texas specializes in sprint freestyle – she earned two gold medals and two silver medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016. This year wasn’t as great as she won Bronze in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. She failed to advance to the 50-meter freestyle final as she finished at 11th, with the top eight making the final.
“It’s hard to work so hard for something and not see the results pay off,” she said. “The swim I had was my best today, but it’s not representative of my potential.”
Despite the setback, she remains one of the top swimmers in the United States and has the feat of becoming the first black woman to win individual gold in swimming when she did so in Rio.
Manuel became the first Black woman to win an individual gold in swimming in 2016. She also claimed silver in the 50 free, one of her four medals from Rio.
The 28-year-old freestyle wrestler left quite the impression in her first Olympic showing as she would win gold in the women’s 68-kilogram freestyle final. Mensah-Stock is just the second woman to win Olympic gold for the U.S in wrestling and the first black woman to do so.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at us representing,’ ” she told the press after her accomplishment. “It’s so freaking awesome. You’re making history, I’m making history. We’re making history. So it meant a lot.”