U.S. tops Tokyo medals table after a late surge

America comes out on top in Tokyo: Team USA beats China with 113 medals – AND most golds – as Allyson Felix becomes most decorated US track and field athlete in Olympics history

  • The Olympics are drawing to an end on Sunday with the closing ceremony 
  • Team USA won 113 medals in total, with 39 golds – beating China’s 38 golds
  • China had 88 medals overall, with Japan coming third, and the UK fourth
  • The result is not as good as Rio 2016, when the US won 121 medals, 46 gold 
  •  The US team won 104 medals in 2012 and 112 in 2008

A late surge put the United States at the top of the medals table on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics.

The US team had more than 100 medals heading into the last day but had to rely on Sunday winners – including their women’s basketball team which grabbed a seventh straight gold – to reach the top of the standings for the third Games in a row.

They won 39 golds – one more than rivals China – and 113 overall, a decline since the Rio Games, where they picked up 46 golds and 121 medals overall.

‘We are thrilled by the performance of Team USA at the Tokyo Games – and couldn’t be more proud of the way they carried themselves,’ said Susanne Lyons, chair of the USOPC. 

‘These Games are one for the history books.’

A late surge put the United States at the top of the medals table on the final day of the Tokyo Olympics. Pictured: Team USA show off their medals during the closing ceremony on Sunday 

Team USA athletes parade through the closing ceremony with their medals – the most of any country at this year’s Games

Basketball players Brittney Griner (right) and A’ja Wilson pose with their gold medals on Sunday

The women’s volleyball team celebrate winning gold in Tokyo on Saturday 

From left: Allyson Felix, Athing Mu, Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin of Team USA celebrate winning the gold medal in the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Final

Team USA celebrate after their basketball game against France on Saturday

The women’s basketball team take a selfie on Sunday after their gold-winning performance

Allyson Felix and her team mates win the 4x400m relay race, in Felix’s fifth and final Olympics

Team USA’s gold medal-winning basketball team are pictured on Saturday. From left: Breanna Stewart, Napheesa Collier, and Diana Taurasi

Katie Ledecky of Team USA poses with her two gold and two silver medals for swimming

For some, the pursuit of Olympic glory took on greater complexity and meaning, as the Games carried on without fans under restrictive conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simone Biles entered Tokyo eyeing a record haul of six gymnastics golds but instead changed the narrative away from winning medals to championing mental health, leaving an indelible mark on the Games and prompting conversation about the costly pressure to succeed.

Allyson Felix, who competed in her fifth and final Games after giving birth to a daughter via emergency C-section in 2018, got the sendoff worthy of her glittering career, picking up a record 11th medal as the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history.

The American men struggled far more, getting just one individual athletics gold in the shot put and ending their drought on the track with a gold medal in the 4×400 metres relay on Saturday.

For some American fans, the competition was memorable because of who was absent – 100m sprinting star-on-the-rise Sha’Carri Richardson, who was suspended for cannabis use, prompting the White House to call for a review of the rules.

Sha’Carri Richardson celebrates winning the Women’s 100 Meter final during the track & field team trials in Oregon on June 19. She was suspended from the sport on June 28 after testing positive for marijuana, and so missed the Games

Simone Biles is seen competing in the balance beam event on August 3, after pulling out from her earlier events 

Biles won bronze in her event, and now ties the record for the most Olympic medals won by a U.S. gymnast

With the hugely successful Michael Phelps out of the pool and into the commentary booth, rising star Caeleb Dressel won three individual golds as the U.S. swimmers faced a fierce challenge from the Australians, who more than doubled their medal count in the sport since Rio.

The ‘Duel in the Pool’ between Katie Ledecky and Australian Ariarne Titmus generated thrills, as the American ceded her crown in the 200m and 400m. 

She proved untouchable in longer distances, however, winning the 800m and 1,500m.

On Sunday the Olympics was drawing to an end with the closing ceremony underway in Tokyo.

Crowds were absent from the event due to COVID restrictions – as they were at the opening ceremony – with light shows and made-for TV special effects largely replacing large choreographed routines that have become the hallmark of Olympic ceremonies. 

Japan has plenty to celebrate following the Games, with athletes bringing home a record medal haul and finishing third in the table, while a COVID-secure bubble meant to protect competitors and their coaches largely holding within the Games venues.  

But elsewhere protections fell apart, with crowds who gathered outside to catch a sneak peek of events helping to drive cases in the country to all-time highs.

The government has also been left facing a $15 billion bill – double what was originally budgeted – with no tourist bounce to help offset it.  

The event has also deeply divided Japanese into pro and anti-Games camps, with that division expected to be visible at the closing ceremony – as athletes celebrate as guests of honor while the stands sit empty due to COVID restrictions on crowds.

Closing ceremony of the Covid-delayed Tokyo Olympics is underway, with fireworks lighting up the sky over the Japanese capital as sporting showpiece reaches the finish line

 Japan’s athletes have shone at the sporting showpiece, bringing home a record medal haul with the country finishing third in the medal table in its best-ever showing

 But the Games have also been fraught with difficulty, with infections in Japan soaring and the initial bill doubling to some $15billion leaving behind a mixed legacy

Fireworks erupt above the stadium during the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fireworks go off around the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Japanese flag-bearers carry their country’s emblem into the closing ceremony in Tokyo

Team USA’s flag-bearer arrives in the main Olympic stadium to join the ceremony with plenty to celebrate as the country topped the medal table with 39 golds and 113 overall 

Team GB’s flag-carrier arrives at the closing ceremony, with Britain finishing fourth with 22 golds and 65 medals overall

Australia’s flag is carried into the main stadium with the country having performed well at the Games, finishing 6th in the table in a much-improved performance compared to previous years

Britain’s delegation arrive during the closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

Athletes from the United States take a selfie during the closing ceremony as country celebrates topping the medal table

Members of the Polish delegation take pictures as they attend the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo

Flagbearers of the competing nations gather in Tokyo’s main Olympic stadium as the closing ceremony gets started

Made-for-TV graphics and light shows largely replaced large choreographed routines that have become the hallmark of Olympic ceremonies in the past

Fireworks explode over the Olympic stadium in Tokyo as the Covid-delayed Games come to a close on Sunday

Athletes gather by the The Olympic Cauldron and the Olympic flame to celebrate during the closing ceremony of the Games

Japan’s emperor Naruhito was among just a handful of VIPs allowed into the main stadium to watch the closing ceremony

Just a few dozen VIPs and members of the media were present to watch the proceedings in person with the rest of the country forced to watch at home, as happened with the somewhat sombre opening ceremony.  

A sign of those divisions was evident near the stadium as protesters gathered ahead of the ceremony, with police holing them back. 

For the host nation, the Olympics fell short of the global triumph and financial blockbuster it once sought – aiming to showcase the country’s recovery from the devastating 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Instead it was forced to delay and radically alter plans in the wake of COVID, which more than doubled the initial estimate of the bill.  

Still, organizers appear to have prevented the Games from spiraling into a COVID-19 super-spreader event, an undeniable achievement given that some 50,000 people came together amid the pandemic. 

Normally one of the world’s most electric cities, Tokyo is under a state of emergency, depriving it of the manic buzz of an Olympic host or the fervent crowds of its last Olympics in 1964.

Public anger over the pandemic response and a slow-to-start vaccine roll-out have badly damaged Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s standing. 

Public opinion polls showed most Japanese opposed holding the Games during the pandemic.

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