Men’s basketball, women’s water polo keep golden streaks alive

As the Tokyo Olympics come to a close, U.S. athletes are certainly keeping the Games interesting. The United States will compete in the women’s basketball and women’s volleyball gold-medal games Saturday night — two of the final events in Tokyo.

But plenty of other American athletes are ensuring they have their golden moment before the these Summer Olympics end. Both the women’s and men’s 4×400 relay teams won gold, and the women’s win helped Allyson Felix surpass Carl Lewis as the most decorated American track and field Olympian of all time.

Some teams had to settle for silver – like baseball and equestrian – but, hey, a medal is a medal. Just ask Summer-Winter Olympian Eddy Alvarez. Others, like wrestling, collected medals in every color, with U.S. wrestlers winning nine medals in the Games’ final days.

American Gable Steveson, left, competes against Geno Petriashvili of Georgia during the gold-medal match in men’s freestyle wrestling 125kg at the Tokyo Olympics.

Let’s go streaking: Well not really, please keep your clothes on! We’re talking about men’s basketball and women’s water polo. Both won gold overnight, but it’s not like these two teams aren’t used to the top of the podium.

USA men’s basketball, led by Olympic veteran Kevin Durant, won its fourth consecutive gold medal after beating France, 87-82. Some are questioning how Team USA will hold up without Durant in the future, but for now, players like Jrue Holiday are relishing in the moment of winning an NBA Championship and a gold medal back-to-back.

Damian Lillard, left, presents teammate Kevin Durant with his gold medal following Team USA’s win over France at the Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S women were also victorious — in the pool — as USA women’s water polo won its third straight gold medal, dominating Spain, 14-5, thanks to goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson’s performance in net. But what does the future hold for a very niche female sport?

Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, center, is congratulated by teammates Alys Williams (12) and Paige Hauschild (5) after Johnson left the gold-medal match in women’s water polo with the Americans holding a big lead over Spain.

Homeward bound: Ever wonder what athletes do after the Olympics? Well, this year is going to be a little different than in years past. Despite representing their country on the world’s biggest athletic stage, athletes may first need to quarantine before celebrating. Some Olympians will be luckier than others, with countries like Latvia only requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test.

What comes next: You won’t have to wait the usual four years for the next Summer Games because Paris 2024 will be here before you know it. In three years’ time, the Olympics will find themselves amid some of the most iconic Parisian landmarks — beach volleyball at the Eiffel Tower, skateboarding at the Place de la Concorde, equestrian at the Château de Versailles. Tokyo organizers will pass the torch to Paris 2024 at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chasing Gold: Basketball, water polo keep golden streaks alive


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