Meet Team USA™
After winning the gold in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games, the U.S. baseball team suffered a tough blow when it failed to qualify for the 2004 games. Securing a spot on the Beijing roster was sweet redemption for the 2008 team, which represented the United States during baseball's final appearance at the Olympic Games.
The U.S. team battled Japan in the bronze-medal matchup and fought back from a 4-1 deficit to earn a spot on the medal stand. It was a home-run performance and a grand-slam farewell for USA baseball!
Not pictured: Tamika Catchings
Talk about a slam dunk! The 2008 U.S. women's basketball team struck gold in its fourth consecutive Olympic Games with a 92-65 win over Australia. It was the 33rd straight Olympic win for Team USA™—they last lost in Barcelona in 1992. With the victory, team captain Lisa Leslie became the second basketball player to win four gold medals.
Middle row, from left: Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer
Front row, from left: Michael Redd, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade
The U.S. men's basketball team showed up in Beijing determined to earn back the gold medals that the "Dream Teams" won in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. A bronze-medal finish at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games was a disappointment, especially since the team lost more matchups at those Games than it had in all other Olympic competitions combined.
But these guys weren't nicknamed "The Redeem Team" for nothing! Led by Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant, the team beat Spain 118-107 in the finals to reclaim top honors and prove that the United States is still basketball royalty.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh made history in Beijing, becoming the first beach volleyball team to win gold in two consecutive Olympic Games. The duo didn't lose a single set in their seven 2008 Olympic Games matches, and they beat the Chinese hometown favorites in the finals despite having to play in a downpour. Together, the California girls have won 108 matches in a row, securing their spot as the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.
Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers proved that beach volleyball belongs to the Americans with a gold-medal finish that marked the first Olympic Games sweep in the sport. Nicknamed "The Thin Beast" and "The Professor," Phil and Todd got off to a rocky start, losing the first match of their Olympic Games debut. They were saved by double elimination and fought their way back to the finals where they faced off against the Brazilian team of Fabio Magalhaes and Marcio Araujo. The match was a nail-biter, but at 6'9" and the tallest player in the tournament, Phil sealed the deal when he blocked four shots in a row in the third set.
What a knockout! Deontay Wilder started boxing less than three years before the Olympic Games, but inexperience didn't stop him from fighting his way to a bronze medal in Beijing. Deontay beat Moroccan boxer Mohammed Arjaoui to earn the U.S boxing team's only medal.
Not pictured: Donny Robinson
BMX racing made its debut in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games, and the U.S. team proved its power player status, taking home half of the medals awarded. In the final race, Mike Day and Donny Robinson stayed in control, biking their way to silver and bronze medals respectively. Jill Kintner was at the bottom of the pack for most of the final but raced her way to the head of the class in the end, clinching a bronze.
Kristin Armstrong dominated the individual time trial in Beijing, becoming only the second American woman to win a cycling gold medal in the Olympic Games. Kristin rode 14.6 miles in just under 35 minutes, beating the second-place finisher by nearly 30 seconds.
The decathlon is comprised of 10 events in two days: 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run on the first day; 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run on the second. In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, Bryan Clay won the gold medal, earning him the title of world's greatest athlete. His discus throw, at 53.79 meters, was the best in decathlon history. All in all, a perfect 10!
There was no horsing around in this Olympic Games—these U.S. equestrians were in it to win it, and they did! Will Simpson and Laura Kraut were two members of the gold-medal winning show jumping team, which secured victory in a timed jumpoff against Canada. First-time Olympian Gina Miles won the silver medal in eventing, coming back from fifth place on the final day of competition.
The 2008 Olympic Games marked the best performance ever by a U.S. fencing team. Team USA™ won six medals, which included a clean sweep in women's sabre fencing and the silver in men's team sabre. Mariel Zagunis got the United States off to a great start when she won one of the first medals—and the very first gold—of the Games. Erinn Smart, Hanna Thompson and Emily Cross also made history when they became the first American women's foil team to medal.
America was beaming with pride for the U.S. women's gymnastics team, which brought home eight medals from the 2008 Olympic Games. Captain Alicia Sacramone led Team USA™ to silver in the team competition, where Chellsie Memmel performed a stellar uneven bars routine despite a broken ankle. Once the team competition was behind them, Olympic Village roommates Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson were each other's toughest competition in the individual events. Nastia closed her 2008 Olympic Games experience with five medals—a gold in the all-around, two more silvers in uneven bars and beam and a bronze for floor. Shawn was right behind her with four medals. She added two silvers for floor and individual all-around and a gold for beam.
After losing high-profile gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm to injuries, the deck seemed stacked against the U.S. men's gymnastics team. But nothing could stop this gang as they defied the odds and silenced the naysayers by nailing the floor exercise, pommel horse, vault, still rings, high bar and parallel bars to win the bronze. Let's just say these gymnasts had us flipping out!
After an incredible run at the 2008 Olympic Games, Ronda Rousey has not only a third place finish to brag about, but a title no other American woman can claim—Judo medalist. Ronda must have the sport in her genes, her mother was a world champion judoka in 1984. But Judo didn't become an official Olympic Games sport until 1992, and no U.S. woman had ever found a place on the medal stand—until now! Ronda's bronze has earned her a spot in U.S. Olympic Games history.
Front row, from left: Susan Francia, Mary Whipple, Erin Cafaro, Michelle Guerette
The Romanian rowing team was gunning for a fourth straight gold medal in the women's eight, but this time, Team USA™ had something else in mind. After winning a silver medal in Athens in 2004, these women were gunning for gold. They clinched it when they beat out the Netherlands by about two seconds with a time of 6 minutes, 5.34 seconds.
Meet the rest of the U.S. Olympians!