U.S. women win sixth consecutive basketball gold
Sports | Brazil soccer team redeems World Cup loss to Germany with gold-medal win
by Jae Wasson
Posted 8/20/16, 07:30 pm
The U.S. women’s basketball team crushed Spain this afternoon, 101-72, to win their sixth consecutive Olympic gold.
Forty years ago, the U.S. Olympic Committee didn’t even expect the women’s basketball team to qualify for the games. Today, the Americans are one of the greatest teams in the world, on a winning streak of 49 Olympic games.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said guard Diana Taurasi, here for her fourth Olympic gold. “We had the goal to win the gold medal, but there is something more to it than that. … It’s not about one person, one coach. It’s about how can we make this the best basketball team ever.”
Taurasi had a team high of 17 points in today’s game. Spain led through the first quarter of the final as Team USA worked to find its offensive rhythm. Taurasi’s back-to-back 3-pointers helped power the team into the beginning of the third quarter 17 points up. After that, it was a U.S. exhibition, right down to the celebration after the final whistle.
Fifteen minutes after their game ended, one of the most anticipated Olympic events kicked off as Brazil and Germany met for the men’s soccer gold-medal match. The host nation team, led by superstar Neymar, played before an ocean of about 200,000 fans. They roared his name as he sent a free kick home at the half-hour mark.
Brazil was looking for redemption from its 7-1 defeat by Germany in the World Cup. They booed after halftime when the German captain scored to tie the game, 1-1. The draw held on a knife’s edge until the end of regulation time. They were forced to drag their tired legs into another 30 minutes of play, crowd still screaming.
German discipline kept out the Brazil attack, driving the game to penalties. That was where Brazil might have fallen apart, under the pressure of expectations from the millions watching. But the Brazilians played as calmly as if it were a neighborhood shootout, putting away penalty after penalty as the crowd booed the German players. It came down to one last goal; if Neymar scored then Brazil won. The young captain smashed the ball into the back of the net, and Brazil took soccer Olympic gold for the first time ever as Neymar dropped to his knees, crying.
Jae is a Zenger House fellow