Top 10 U.S. Olympic athletes
1. Michael Phelps, swimmer
While he couldn’t match his eight-gold-medal performance from Beijing in 2008, swimmer Michael Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, more than any other contestant in London—winning the men’s 200 meter individual medley and 100 meter backstroke as well as two team relay gold medals. Phelps now has a total of 22 medals—18 gold, two silver and two bronze—over three Olympics, more than any athlete in history.
2. Ashton Eaton, decathlon
The Olympic decathlon gold medalist is often called the world’s greatest athlete. Ashton Eaton took it a step further by dominating nearly every event in the grueling 10 contests over two days in winning the Olympic gold. He handily trounced the field, beating fellow American, silver medalist Trey Hardee, by 198 points and came within 170 points of beating his own world record.
3. Gabrielle Douglas, gymnast
Gymnast Gabby Douglas made U.S. Olympic history, becoming the first American to win the all-around gold and the team gold in the same games. With a compelling life story, an Olympic smile, and a catchy nickname (The Flying Squirrel), expect the 16-year-old to be a marketing sensation as well.
4. Women’s track 4×100 relay team
The U.S. women’s track team had a stellar Olympics, winning six gold, four silver and four bronze medals. But none shined brighter than the 4×100 relay team. Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, Tianna Madison and Bianca Knight set a world record 40.82 seconds in the race, the first U.S. gold in the event since 1996, and erasing memories of 2008 in Beijing when a dropped baton lost a chance at a medal.
The women’s soccer team rebounded from a disappointing second place in last year’s World Cup and took the gold with a 2-1 revenge victory over Japan, with goalkeeper Hope Solo making an incredible late save to secure the victory. Their march to victory included what will be forever viewed as an Olympic classic—a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over Canada in the semi-finals.
The U.S. beach volleyball tandem of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings completed the amazing Olympic feat of winning gold medals in their third consecutive games, adding a gold medal from London to those won in Athens and Beijing. Their victory over American silver medalists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross extended their Olympic unbeaten streak to 21 games in a row.
7. Missy Franklin, swimmer
Swimmer Missy Franklin matched Phelps for the most gold medals won in the games with four and also added a bronze to her total. Two of her gold medals were in world record times, including the 200 meter backstroke and 4×100 team medley, and another, in the team 4×200 team medley, was an Olympic record. Still deciding whether to swim professionally or collegiately, the 17-year-old Franklin likely has additional Olympics to add to her medal haul.
8. Allison Schmitt, swimmer
Another member of the U.S. women’s swim team, Allison Schmitt, won five medals—three gold, one silver and one bronze. Her gold in the 200 meter freestyle was in world record time and in the two medley relays where she anchored the U.S. women record-setting teams. She also won a bronze medal in Beijing in her Olympic debut.
9. Aly Raisman, gymnast
Aly Raisman was not only captain of the U.S. women gymnastics team that won the all-around gold, she was also the most-decorated member of the “Fierce Five.” In addition to the team medal, Raisman won the gold medal in the floor exercise and a bronze medal on the balance beam.
10. David Boudia,
U.S. diver David Boudia wasn’t expected to compete for a gold medal but his performance in the 10-meter platform upended the favorite, world champion Qiu Bo from China. For the U.S. team it was the first gold medal in men’s diving since Greg Louganis won in 1988 and was Boudia’s second medal in London, after he and Nick McCrory won a bronze in the men’s 10-meter synchronized diving event.