Meet Team USA’s Golden Stars Of Tokyo

by Bob Reinert


That was the magic number when it came to leading the gold medal count at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the U.S. reached it. That gave the Americans a one-medal edge over China, which finished with 38. Host Japan had an outstanding Games, placing third with 27 gold medals.

The U.S. also led in total medals with 113. China was next with 88.

The Americans had 46 gold medals at each of the two previous Summer Games in Rio (2016) and London (2012). The U.S. record is 83 at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, a number inflated by the absence of 14 Eastern Bloc countries, including the powerhouse squads from the Soviet Union and East Germany. 

No one took on more of a golden glow at the Tokyo Games than U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel. He collected a total of five gold medals: 100-meter butterfly, 50- and 100-meter freestyle, 4x100-meter medley relay and 4x100-meter freestyle relay.

Fellow swimmers Katie Ledecky and Bobby Finke each won a pair of gold medals, as did track and field stars Sydney McLaughlin and Athing Mu.

Ledecky now has seven gold medals stretching back to the London Games in 2012. That’s one less than Jenny Thompson on the all-time U.S. women’s swimming list. Dressel also has seven, which puts him fourth among American men. 

The women’s and men’s basketball teams and the women’s water polo squad continued their dominance by collecting gold at Tokyo. Meanwhile, the women’s volleyball team made history by claiming its first Olympic gold medal.

Here’s the total breakdown of all the U.S. gold medal recipients.

Kelsey Plum, Jacquelyn Young, Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Gray on the podium during the medal ceremony for in the 3x3 Basketball competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


The U.S. team of Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, Stefanie Dolson and Jackie Young won in the sport’s Olympic debut.

Led by Kevin Durant, the Americans took their fourth straight gold and 16th in Olympic history.

The women captured their seventh straight gold medal, and in the process Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi became the sport’s first five-time gold medalists.


April Ross and Alix Klineman pose during the medal ceremony for the Women's Beach Volleyball at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 6, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


The “A Team” of April Ross and Alix Klineman won the first Olympic gold medal for the U.S. since 2012 in London.

Nevin Harrison – C-1 200-meter
The 19-year-old became the first gold medalist in the event’s Olympic debut.

Jennifer Valente – Omnium
This was the first gold medal for a U.S. woman in track cycling, and the first gold for an American in the sport since 2000.

Lee Kiefer poses on the podium for the Women's Foil Individual Fencing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 25, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.


Lee Kiefer – Individual Foil
The medical student is the first American woman to win the event.

Xander Schauffele
Schauffele became the first U.S. man to win since Charles Sands in 1900.

Nelly Korda
The last American to win was Margaret Abbott in 1900.

Sunisa Lee poses after winning the Women's All-Around Final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


Suni Lee – All-Around
With teammate Simone Biles out, Lee shined across all four events to win Team USA’s fifth consecutive gold medal in the event.

Jade Carey – Floor Exercise
Carey recovered nicely after tripping in the vault finals to win floor the next night.

Will Shaner – 10-Meter Air Rifle
Shaner broke the Olympic record while claiming gold.

Vincent Hancock – Skeet
Already the first man to win two gold medals in men’s skeet, Hancock made it three in Tokyo, and was one target short of perfect in the competition.

Amber English – Skeet
English, part of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, became the second American to win gold in the event.

Carissa Moore
Moore became the first person to win a surfing gold medal at the Olympics.


Caeleb Dressel poses with the gold medal for the Men's 100m Freestyle Final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


Caeleb Dressel – 50-meter Freestyle
Dressel posted an Olympic record time.

Caeleb Dressel – 100-meter Butterfly
Dressel broke his own world record.

Caeleb Dressel – 100-meter Freestyle
This one was an Olympic record.

Chase Kalisz – 400-meter Individual Medley
Kalisz was the first U.S. medal winner of the Games.

Bobby Finke – 800-meter Freestyle
Finke’s last-lap sprint gave him gold in the first Olympic men’s 800.

Bobby Finke – 1,500-meter Freestyle
Finke became the first U.S. man to win the 1,500 since 1984.

4x100-meter Freestyle Relay
The team of Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Bowen Becker and Zach Apple swam to a time of 3:08.97, the third fastest in history.

4x100-meter Medley Relay
The team of Michael Andrew, Zach Apple, Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Murphy broke the 12-year-old world mark by a half-second.

Lydia Jacoby – 100-meter Breaststroke
Jacoby became the first swimming gold medalist from Alaska.

Katie Ledecky – 800-meter Freestyle
This was her third 800 Olympic gold in as many Games.

Katie Ledecky – 1,500-meter Freestyle
In the event’s Olympic debut, Ledecky won the first gold.

Anastasija Zolotic – 57 kg.
The 17-year-old became the first U.S. woman to win gold in the sport.

Rai Benjamin, Bryce Deadmon, Michael Norman and Michael Cherry stand on the podium for the Men's 4 x 400m Relay at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.


Ryan Crouser – Men’s Shot Put
Crouser broke his own Olympic record in winning a second consecutive gold medal.

4x400-meter Relay
The U.S. men’s team of Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin won the 4x4 for the fifth time in a row, a streak dating back to 2004.

Sydney McLaughlin – 400-Meter Hurdles
McLaughlin set the world record in an epic race, holding off fellow American Dalilah Muhammad.

Athing Mu – 800 Meters
The 19-year-old broke the American record by running out front the entire race.

4x400-meter Relay
Allyson Felix won her record 11th medal as part of this golden team, which also included Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu.

Valarie Allman – Discus Throw
She became just the third American woman to win the discus gold. 

Katie Nageotte – Pole Vault
Nageotte overcame COVID-19 and then a slow start in the final to win.

Captain and three-time Olympian Jordan Larson fittingly scored the final point as the U.S. women won their first Olympic gold medal.


Team USA poses with their gold medals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.


Behind offensive stars Maddie Musselman and Maggie Steffens, the American women have won three straight Olympic gold medals.

Gable Steveson – 125 kg. Freestyle
The gold medal match was a come-from-behind victory for the ages.

David Taylor III – 86 kg. Freestyle
Taylor defeated defending Olympic champion Hassan Yazdani of Iran for the gold.

Tamyra Mensah-Stock – 68 kg. Freestyle
Mensah-Stock became the first Black woman to win a wrestling gold.


Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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