Black excellence was on full display as the Tokyo Olympics winded down to a close this weekend.
The women’s 4x400 relay team–made up of Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad, Sydney McLaughlin and Athing Mu–won gold after beating Poland by nearly four seconds, per ESPN. This win, along with her bronze-earning performance in the 400 meters, gave Felix the distinction of becoming the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time.
*Said in an extreme Kanye West voice* OF ALL TIME!
Felix, who has acknowledged that she’s planning to retire from Olympic competition after the Tokyo Games, said this to NPR after the relay victory:
“For me, I just came out really at peace and wanting to soak it all in,” Felix said. “I think this is a really special team because we’re not 400-meter runners — I don’t consider myself a 400-meter specialist. We all do different things, and it was really cool to come together to get to close out the Olympic Games and for me, my Olympic career in this way.”
ESPN reports that Felix’s 11 Olympic medals broke a tie with Carl Lewis for the record among U.S. track and field athletes. The world record still belongs to Paavo Nurmi of Finland, who won 12 medals from 1920 to 1928.
Meanwhile, Team USA’s women’s basketball team earned their seventh-straight gold medal after giving Japan the work in a 90-75 victory.
Brittney Griner and A’ja Wilson are trouble any time they step onto a court. This game was no different. According to CBS Sports, Griner was the lead scorer with 30 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Wilson had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
USA Basketball tweeted that Griner’s performance set a new scoring record for a gold medal game.
In addition to all of the squad’s players, we also need to give coach Dawn Staley her flowers. Staley, the first Black head coach in the history of the U.S. women’s national team, announced that she won’t return as its coach for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She was a long-time assistant for the team before taking over as coach in 2017.
Staley said this to USA Today’s Dan Wolken:
“Our country has a lot of great coaches that can get the job done. Me, being part of I believe six [Olympics], that’s enough. I’m full, I’m full.”
There was a lot of uncertainty going into this year’s Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the end, we know this for sure: to say that these women have done an amazing job representing our country is an understatement. Their efforts deserve every superlative known to the English language.