#POCMedalWatch: Athletes of Color Carry USA to Overwhelming Victory

By Sameer Rao Aug 22, 2016

Team USA closed out the Rio Olympics in fine form, winning a total of 121 medals—51 more than China, its closest competitor—before last night’s (August 21) closing ceremonies. Pivotal victories from both individual athletes of color and predominantly-POC teams contributed to that exceptional number. We catalog those victories in this final installment of #POCMedalWatch:

Men’s Basketball Team, Basketball (12 players of color)
The all-Black Olympic men’s basketball team—featuring NBA stars like Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant—won a gold medal after beating Serbia 96-66.

Women’s Basketball Team, Basketball (8 players of color)
The predominantly-Black women’s team, which included WNBA leading lights like Maya Moore and Tina Charles, won their sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 101-72 victory against Spain. 

Tianna Bartoletta, Track & Field
Bartoletta took home her second gold medal in the women’s 4x100m relay race. 

Allyson Felix, Track & Field
Felix added not one, but two gold medals to her previous silver one, winning in the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays. 

Tori Bowie, Track & Field
Bowie added both one gold and one bronze medal to her silver one with victories in the women’s 4x100m relay (gold) and 200m dash (bronze). 

English Gardner, Track & Field
Gardner won a gold medal in the women’s 4x100m relay. 

Morolake Akinosun, Track & Field
Akinosun, who was born in Nigeria, won a gold medal in the women’s 4x100m relay.

Ariana Washington, Track & Field
Washington won a gold medal in the women’s 4x100m relay.

Taylor Ellis-Watson, Track & Field
Ellis-Watson earned a gold medal in the women’s 4x400m relay.

Courtney Okolo, Track & Field
Okolo won a gold medal for the women’s 4x400m relay. 

Natasha Hastings, Track & Field
Hastings, whose family hails from Jamaica and Trinidad, won a gold medal in the women’s 4x400m relay. 

Francena McCorory, Track & Field
McCorory won a gold medal in the women’s 4x400m relay. 

Phyllis Francis, Track & Field
Francis took home a gold medal for her win in the women’s 4x400m relay. 

LaShawn Merritt, Track & Field
Merritt, already a bronze medalist, earned a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m race. 

Kyle Clemons, Track & Field
Clemons won a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay.

Arman Hall, Track & Field
Hall won a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay. 

Gil Roberts, Track & Field
Roberts won a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay.

Tony McQuay, Track & Field
McQuay won a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay. 

David Verburg, Track & Field
Verburg won a gold medal in the men’s 4x400m relay.

Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., Track & Field
Centrowitz, whose mother hails from Guyana, won the gold medal in the men’s 1500m race. 

Claressa Shields, Boxing
Shields won a gold medal in women’s middle 75kg boxing. 

Shakur Stevenson, Boxing
Stevenson took home the silver medal in men’s bantam 56kg boxing. 

Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo, Track & Field
Chelimo, who was born in Kenya, won a silver medal in the men’s 5000m race. 

​Jackie Galloway, Taekwondo
Galloway, of Mexican heritage (she once served as an alternative for Mexico’s team), won a bronze medal in the women’s over 67 kg taekwondo competition.

Micah Christenson, Erik and Kawika Shoji, Volleyball
Christenson and the Shoji brothers, all of partial Asian descent, won a bronze medal with the men’s volleyball team.

Rachael Adams, Foluke Akinradewo and Alisha Glass, Volleyball
Adams, Glass and Nigerian-descended Akinradewo won a bronze medal with the women’s volleyball team. 

#POCMedalWatch diverted from the Olympics’ official medal tallies by counting each member of color from a medal-winning squad or team (i.e. basketball, the various relay teams in swimming and track and field) that won a medal as an individual medalist. With that rubric in mind, #POCMedalCount’s final tally is 78 medals.

View the previous #POCMedalWatch winners here, and tell us your favorite Olympic moments in the comments.