He went a perfect three-for-three in Rio, his third Olympics, to become one of three men to win nine Olympic gold medals in track and field.
His win capped off what proved to be an eventful night on the track — at least for Team USA.
In that same 4×100-meter final the U.S. squad of Mike Rodgers, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Trayvon Bromell finished third before being disqualified for a handoff violation on the first exchange of the race. U.S. track and field’s governing body appealed the decision, but an answer isn’t expected until Saturday morning.
Allyson Felix became the first woman to win five Olympic gold medals in track and field when she led English Gardner, Tori Bowie and Tianna Bartoletta to a first-place finish in what’s being called one of the best 4×100 sprints of all time. The quartet’s 41.01 made the U.S. back-to-back Olympic champions in the event and erased any lingering bad taste after their an unusual qualifying time trial, which the Americans dominated after a botched exchange in its preliminary heat Thursday.
Team USA did pretty well in its middle-distance relays, too, with both the men and women’s squads advancing to finals in their respective 4×400-meter relays. The women made things look easy, winning their heat by more than three seconds and qualifying first for Saturday’s final. The men came in just behind Jamaica in their preliminary heat and will run for the U.S.’s 18th gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay Saturday. Easy peasy.
In the pool, the U.S. women’s water polo team made history and gave viewers another heartfelt Olympic moment.
The Americans cruised to an Olympic title, beating Italy 12-5 to become the first ever women’s water polo team to win back-to-back gold medals. After their win — their sixth of six games in Rio — the team draped their medals around Coach Adam Krikorian’s neck one by one. Krikorian’s brother unexpectedly died two days before Rio’s Opening Ceremonies.
Boxer Claressa Shields stayed on track to make her own history Friday. The defending Olympic gold medalist earned a unanimous-decision victory against Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova in her semifinal bout.
Shields boxes in the finals Sunday to become the first woman to repeat as Olympic middleweight champion.
The U.S. defeated a Pau Gasol-led Spanish team, 82-76, in the semifinals behind standout performances from Klay Thompson and DeAndre Jordan, who tied a Team USA single-game record with 16 rebounds. The heavy gold-medal favorites move on to play a Serbian team that gave the U.S. some trouble during pool play.
Despite that sigh of relief, Team USA suffered its fair share of loss on Day 14, none of which was more heartbreaking — and surprising — than Jordan Burroughs’.
The wrestler, far and away the most dominant American in his sport the past few years, came to Rio a heavy favorite to defend his gold in the 74-kilogram weight class with a 130-2 record in international competition. On Friday he lost twice, didn’t even make it onto the podium and wept through anguished post-match interviews.
The U.S. men’s volleyball team also lost, in their semifinal matchup against Italy. The Americans were three points away from advancing to the finals when Italy came back to force a fifth set and ultimately won, 30-28, 26-28, 9-25, 25-22, 15-9. The U.S. will play for bronze on Sunday morning.
The women’s soccer tournament wrapped up Friday — Canada claimed bronze in defeating Brazil, 2-1, in an emotional loss for the host country and Germany beat Sweden, 2-1, for the gold medal.
Five days after claiming he and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint, Lochte posted an apology on his Instagram account for “not being more careful and candid” about the situation, which Brazilian police said Thursday was a lie.
The story snowballed from there, until Friday morning the final American swimmer involved in the incident was allowed to leave Brazil after paying a fine equal to $10,800 to a Brazilian nonprofit sporting organization in exchange for his passport. The swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, had faced the equivalent of a misdemeanor charge.