A Look Back At Team USA Stars Retiring From Olympic Competition After The Tokyo Games

by Bob Reinert

In addition to the medals, record-setting performances and debuts, the Olympic Games can be notable for endings, as athletes often use them as capstones for their Olympic careers.

Here's a look at some of the outstanding U.S. athletes who took their final bows in Tokyo.



Sue Bird competes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 8, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.


The 40-year-old Bird walks off the world stage with five Olympic gold medals, dating back to Athens in 2004. The Tokyo gold was the seventh straight for the U.S. women. Her combined nine Olympic and World Cup gold medals is more than any other basketball player, male or female, in the world. She has been a part of WNBA and NCAA title clubs. It was her last Olympics with longtime running mate Diana Taurasi, who has yet to decide her own future.

Colton Brown prepares for his bout at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo.


Brown, 29, appeared in a pair of Olympic Games, five world championships and six Pan American Championships. He was a two-time International Judo Federation Grand Prix medalist and took home a total of three Pan Am medals. Brown reached the round of 16 in Tokyo.

Phil Dalhausser looks on at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo.


The 41-year-old Dalhausser brushed the sand off his feet after a career that saw him win an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and world championship gold and bronze medals in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He and Nick Lucena placed ninth this year in Tokyo. Dalhausser took part in four Olympic Games.  

Allyson Felix reacts at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Tokyo.


Felix became the most decorated women’s track and field athlete in Olympic history at these Games. The 35-year-old sprinter won a gold in the 4x400-meter relay and a bronze in the 400-meter to run her total to 11 medals, surpassing Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey, who owns nine. Felix passed Carl Lewis as the top U.S. athlete — female or male — in the sport. She did this all less than three years after giving birth to her daughter, Cammy.

Sylvia Fowles during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 8, 2021 in Tokyo.


Fowles, 35, departs after playing for four gold-medal-winning American teams. The 6-foot-6-inch Fowles also won a gold medal at the 2010 World Cup. In this year’s 90-75 win against Japan in the Olympic final, Fowles contributed two points and a pair of rebounds. Three times she has been named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and she has played on a pair of WNBA championship teams.

Jake Gibb competes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.


At age 45, Gibb became the oldest beach volleyball player in Olympic history. He and teammate Tri Bourne were ninth in Tokyo. Gibb played in four Olympic Games and eight world championships. His best Olympic finishes were fifth places at London in 2012 and Beijing in 2008, both with Sean Rosenthal. He also had a pair of fifth-place finishes at world championships. Gibb is a two-time cancer survivor. 

Sam Mikulak competes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 3, 2021 in Tokyo.


In his third and final Olympics, Mikulak helped the U.S. post its third straight fifth-place finish as a team. The 28-year-old has also competed in five world championships. He won world bronze medal in the high bar in 2018 and another in the team competition in 2014. In addition to claiming six U.S. all-around titles, Mikulak won back-to-back NCAA all-around titles in 2013-14 while leading the University of Michigan to a pair of team championships.

Cat Osterman pitches at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 27, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan.


Osterman, 38, came out of retirement for the chance to win a third Olympic medal. The southpaw pitcher didn’t disappoint, helping the U.S. to a team silver medal. Osterman certainly didn’t act her age. She went 2-0 and allowed no earned runs in four games, including three starts. In 14.2 innings pitched, she allowed just four hits and a pair of walks while striking out 15 batters. She was also part of two world championship U.S. teams.

Brittney Reese celebrates at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 3, 2021 in Tokyo.


Reese, 34, capped a brilliant long jumping career with a silver medal in Tokyo. The four-time Olympian won a total of three medals, including gold in London in 2012. Reese took part in 11 outdoor and indoor world championships, bringing home seven gold medals and one silver medal. Only two American women in history have jumped farther.
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.