Meet the Olympians!
Front row: Marcus McElhenney
The U.S. men's eight rowers were the defending Olympic champions after winning gold in Athens. At the 2008 Olympic Games, they added more medals to their résumés when they edged out the Netherlands and took home the bronze. The win marked the first time Team USA™ has won consecutive rowing medals in more than 50 years!
The U.S. sailing team took Beijing by storm, sailing its way to Olympic victory! After a fight to the finish, Anna Tunnicliffe became the first American woman to win a sailing gold medal since the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Despite rough seas, it was smooth sailing for Zach Railey. His Olympic Games debut performance earned him a silver medal in the men's finn.
The U.S. shooting team was right on target in the 2008 Olympic Games, winning a grand total of six medals. Walton G. Eller and Vincent Hancock each gunned for gold while Jason Turner brought home the bronze. And don't underestimate a woman with a rifle! Kim Rhode won the silver medal in skeet shooting, and Corey Cogdell brought home the bronze in trap shooting.
Front row, from left: Stephanie Cox, Angela Hucles, Rachel Buehler, Lindsay Tarpley, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly, Nicole Barnhart, Aly Wagner
The U.S. women's soccer team headed to Beijing determined to defend the gold medal they won in the 2004 Olympic Games. With nine returning players, these golden girls beat out Brazil 1-0 in overtime to claim the 100th gold medal in U.S. Olympic history! With the first-place finish, Team USA™ became the only women's soccer team to repeat gold medals.
Middle row from left: Jessica Mendoza, Victoria Galindo, Tairia Flowers, Crystl Bustos
Front row from left: Kelly Kretschman, Lovie Jung, Laura Berg, Andrea Duran
The U.S softball team took the field in the 2008 Olympic Games hoping to do double duty—win another medal and give the Olympic sport a fond farewell. They certainly hit it out of the park! Team USA™ had won 22 consecutive games before losing to Japan 3-1 in the gold medal matchup, but they've added silver to their heavy metal load.
Though softball won't be included in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, the team hasn't counted it out for 2016. "We had a heavy heart going in, but there's no better place to bring it back than Chicago," pitcher Jennie Finch says.
Front row, from left: Lacey Nymeyer, Rebecca Soni, Megan Jendrick
Not pictured: Natalie Coughlin, Elaine Breeden, Christine Marshall
Not to be outdone, the U.S. women's swim team took home its own piece of history from the Beijing Summer Olympic Games. Dara Torres earned the distinction of being the oldest U.S. woman to win gold eight years ago when she took home top honors in Sydney. Looking to add to her hardware, the 41-year-old walked away from Beijing with three silver medals. Superstar Natalie Coughlin won six medals—more than any other female swimmer in history—and brought the U.S. women's swimming medal count to a grand total of 14.
Front row, from left: Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Garrett Weber-Gale, Mark Gangloff, Ryan Lochte
All eyes were on the U.S. men's swim team in Beijing's water cube, as Michael Phelps chased a record eight gold medals in a single Olympic Games. But race after race, including some of the narrowest victories and most incredible come-from-behind finishes, Michael made Olympic history, eventually becoming the most decorated Olympian ever. He couldn't have done it without his team. In one of the greatest comebacks of these Olympic Games, Jason Lezak willed the team to victory in the 4x100 relay. Teammate Cullen Jones secured his own spot in Olympic greatness when he became only the second African-American to win a gold medal in swimming.
Clearly the extra attention only fueled these water boys, and Team USA™ brought home an incredible 17 medals in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games!
You could say that Mark, Diana and Steven Lopez have tae kwon do in their blood—the siblings each won a medal in the 2008 Olympic Games! Steven won gold in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, but Beijing was a family affair. Mark won the silver medal, while Steven and Diana earned bronze. They are the first set of three U.S. siblings to compete in a Summer Olympic Games since 1904.
Americans held their breath as they watched Team USA™ fall behind the Russians in the popular 4x400 relay, but in one golden moment Sanya Richards pulled ahead and brought her relay teammates to victory. It was the highlight of an incredible run for Team USA, which won nine women's track and field medals, including three golds.
The men's track and field team made a run for it in Beijing, and they finished strong with 14 medals. There was no obstacle too high for Bershawn Jackson, who captured the bronze for the 400-meter hurdles in his first Olympic Games.
Front row, from left: Lindsey Berg, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, Stacy Sykora, Danielle Scott-Arruda, Kim Willoughby
The U.S women's volleyball team bumped, set and spiked its way into history in Beijing. The 2008 Olympic Games marked the first time the U.S. men's and women's volleyball teams each played in the finals since 1984. They beat second-ranked Italy and powerhouse Cuba to advance to the championship game, where they secured their silver medals.
Not pictured: Tom Hoff, Riley Salmon
The 2008 Olympics Games got off to a tragic start for the U.S. men's volleyball team when head coach Hugh McCutcheon's father-in-law was stabbed to death while sightseeing in Beijing. Coach McCutcheon took time off to care for his wife, who witnessed the brutal attack, but the team had to go on. Fueled by emotion, Team USA™ took the court vowing to play the game Coach McCutcheon had taught them, and they won every match in his absence. Coach McCutcheon eventually returned and, turning tragedy into triumph, led his team to beat Brazil and take home the gold.
Front row, from left: Brenda Villa, Patricia Cardenas, Heather Petri, Natalie Golda, Brittany Hayes
The members of the U.S. women's water polo team saw the silver lining when they met the Netherlands in the championship match. They came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game at halftime and stood tall on the medal stand, making it a silver sweep for Team USA™!
Not pictured: Layne Beaubien
Three-time Olympian Tony Azevedo led the U.S. men's water polo team on an unexpected run in Beijing. Ranked ninth in the world, Team USA™ upset Italy, Croatia, Germany and Serbia before facing Hungary in the championship match. Though they lost the game 14-10, their silver medal was unquestionably a victory, and it put them on the medal stand for the first time in 20 years.
The American dream came alive for the U.S. wrestlers in Beijing. Twenty-one-year-old Henry Cejudo was ranked 31st in the world going into the Olympic Games. One of six children born to Mexican immigrants, he made a meteoric rise to gold and became the youngest men's wrestling champion in U.S. history! Randi Miller brought home the only medal for the U.S. women, rounding out an unforgettable performance for Team USA™.
Meet the rest of Team USA™!