With the Rio Games set to begin in less than two weeks, the United States Olympic Committee announced its 2016 Olympic Team on Saturday in Los Angeles. The USOC rolled out plenty of numbers attached to its 555-member roster, but one figure particularly stood out.
This year’s American contingent boasts 292 women, marking the most women to compete for any nation in Olympic history. The record tops the previous mark of 289 by China in 2008.
“I am especially excited for the historic achievement of our women’s delegation, which is a true testament to the strength and growing number of women’s sport opportunities in the United States,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
This is the second time the U.S. roster has featured more females than males. Making her fourth Olympic appearance, track and field standout Allyson Felix will travel to Brazil as the team’s most decorated female athlete with four gold medals and six overall. Serena and Venus Williams, aiming to match the Olympic record for overall medals in tennis (five), will also be experiencing their fourth Olympic Games. Prior to these games, only three other American women have captured five or more Olympic gold medals.
On the team sports side, the U.S. women’s basketball team seeks a record sixth consecutive gold medal, while the men’s squad will vie for its third straight title and 15th overall. The women’s soccer team, fresh off last year’s World Cup triumph, is aiming for its fourth consecutive gold medal. If it prevails, it will be the first FIFA women’s World Cup champion to win the following year’s Olympic title.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, will look to increase his 22-medal haul as the first American male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic teams. Equestrian rider Phillip Dutton and shooters Emil Milev and Kim Rhode are heading to their sixth Games. Dutton, 52, will be the oldest team member, while 16-year-old table tennis player Kanak Jha checks in as the youngest.
The U.S. will contest 244 of 306 medal events in Rio. Its roster spans 27 sports and includes 191 returning Olympians.
The Americans topped the gold medal (46) and overall medal (104) count at the 2012 London Games. Several outlets project they’ll own the podium again, especially with the possible absence of many Russians in the wake of their punishment relating to state-sponsored doping.
The Games kick off August 5 with the opening ceremony at Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium. Ready or not, Brazil, here we come.