Martin Meissner/Associated Press
The gold medal in men’s basketball once again resides with Team USA after the 87-82 victory over France Saturday.
The Kevin Durant-led squad had a tougher road to gold than in years past but shook off early inconsistencies to prove themselves the very best in international competition once again.
Their was just one highlight in a day that saw Allyson Felix become the most decorated American track and field athlete in Olympic history. Host country Japan also won gold in baseball, its most beloved sport.
- China: 38 gold, 87 overall
- United States: 36 gold, 108 overall
- Japan: 27 gold, 56 overall
- ROC: 20 gold, 69 overall
- Great Britain: 20 gold, 63 overall
- Australia: 17 gold, 46 overall
- Germany: 10 gold, 37 overall
- Netherlands: 10 gold, 33 overall
- Italy: 10 gold, 39 overall
- France: 9 gold, 32 overall
Full list at Olympics.com.
Durant Establishes Legacy, Leads Team USA to Gold
There was nothing flashy or pretty about this Games’ U.S. men’s basketball team.
There was no dazzling offense, and jaw-dropping feats of athleticism were few and far between. Instead, the Tokyo gold medalists will be remembered as a team of grit, determination and resiliency, and as the group alongside whom Durant firmly established himself as the best men’s basketball player in Olympic competition.
He already has the points record, but these games showcased his leadership. He took over games, scoring no fewer than 23 points in each outing beginning with the final group stage victory over the Czech Republic. In doing so, he obliterated Carmelo Anthony’s record of 336 points in 31 games, leaving Tokyo with a total of 435 in nine fewer contests.
“KD is not special because he’s so talented. The way he works on his game is more impressive. The relationship he builds with teammates, the respect he garners, the joy he has in playing, it’s like osmosis. It goes into all the players,” head coach Gregg Popovich glowed about his star player, per ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst.
Durant’s third gold medal will sit in his trophy room alongside two NBA championships, both won with Golden State. Prior to Saturday’s game, he also inked a new deal with the Brooklyn Nets for four years and $198 million, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday joined Durant in scoring double digits. Holiday and Milwaukee Bucks teammate Khris Middleton also became just the fifth and sixth players, respectively, to add gold medals to an NBA Championship in the same summer.
JaVale McGee joined his mom, Pamela, as a gold medalist by way of his team’s victory. She was part of the victorious women’s team from the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
Allyson Felix Wins 11th Medal
Carl Lewis, please step aside.
Allyson Felix is America’s most decorated track and field athlete in Olympic history after scoring gold in the women’s 400-meter relay Saturday. Only one athlete, Paavo Nurmi of Finland, has more medals in Olympic track and field competition than her with 12.
Felix and teammates Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu obliterated the competition with a time of 3:16.85. Poland finished second, almost four seconds slower, and Jamaica followed for the bronze.
“The first [medal] was a very, very long time ago [in Athens 2004] when everything was new,” Felix told reporters. “And this one everything is different but in a good way. I am so pleased it was running with these amazing women.”
Felix tied Lewis’ record just 24 hours earlier with bronze in the individual 400-meter race.
Japan Blanks Team USA to Win Gold
Baseball is immensely popular in Japan, and on Saturday, the nation celebrated its first Olympic gold medal in the sport with a 2-0 shutout of Team USA. It is the second time the country knocked off the Americans in this competition, with the first win coming Monday.
Japan relied on five different pitchers, and the United States to leave runners stranded in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, to deliver the shutout.
A youth movement within the Japanese baseball team, especially within the pitching rotation, can directly be credited for the performance Saturday.
American Eddy Alvarez, a silver medalist in speed skating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, earned a second silver as a second baseman with Team USA.