Let’s keep it realer than real. All of Team USA fully represented for our homeland, but #BlackGirlMagic kept the Olympics extra lit! From the Simones to USA Track & Field taking all of the medals, Black women owned the Olympic spotlight. Overall, women won 61 of Team USA’s 121 medals. And when we break that down even further, 120 American women medaled in Rio, and 36 of them were Black. It’s almost as if Auntie Oprah was running the Olympics and blessing all of the brown girls who came thru to Brazil — you get a medal! you get a medal! you get a medal!
Here are 12 of the most historic Olympic moments to rock Rio!
Ashleigh Johnson. The first Black women to win a gold medal, or medal period, in water polo!
Flint, Michigan’s pride, Claressa Shields aka T-Rex, is nice with those hands and has not one, but TWO gold medals to prove it. And if that weren’t enough, with her second win, she became the first American boxer to win back-to-back golds in the Olympics. The scariest part, though? She’s only 21-years-old. We haven’t even seen the depths of her greatness. Watch out world!
Please allow me to celebrate the beauty that is 2x Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings. With skin that’s been kissed by the sun 10,000 times, a fresh blonde kinky curly cropped cut, and fearless bold lip, this Brooklyn baddie knows what it means to never stop wearing your invisible crown even when you have a 4x400m relay to crush with teammates Phyllis Francis, Allyson Felix, and Courtney Okolo. Bless up, queen.
When your nickname is the Shotput Diva manifesting destiny is a given. Michelle Carter, ladies and gentleman, shot put gold medal winner.
But of course a queen from Queens would win gold. It was written. Dalilah Muhammad became the first US woman to place first in the 400 meter hurdles. And while untouchable, her teammate Ashley Spencer put in enough work to grab the bronze. She also earned the distinct honor of recording Team USA’s 100th medal. #dopeness
Can’t nobody take my pride. Can’t nobody hold me down. Oh no…I got to keep on movin. The theme music as Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, and Tori Bowie snatched gold from Lane 1, after being DQ’d during qualifiers. They would not lose.
SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, and Kristi Castlin brought us all Black girl joy as they swept the 100m hurdles and captured gold, silver and bronze. And when Rollins proclaimed, Black Girls Rock (!) on the podium? Everything. Another historic moment for our women as they became the first trio to sweep an event for U.S. track & field. Get it, girls!
What is world domination? The USA women’s basketball team. Six straight Olympic games have resulted in a gold medal. Not one…two…three…SIX!
Allyson Felix, THE most decorated US women track & field athlete in Olympic history. She came to Rio with six medals, and she returned home with nine. Hot damn!
Ibtihaj Muhammad put on for her religion, race, gender, and country by becoming the first Muslim American to not only compete in the Olympics wearing a jihad, but to also win a medal! The fencer returns to New Jersey with extra hardware, a bronze, for the women’s team sabre event.
Pressure. What pressure? Simone Biles flipped, soared, twirled and stunted on the world in Rio, as expected. The 4’8 G.O.A.T. medaled in all five of her events and narrowly missed a gold medal sweep by snagging bronze on the beam.
black girls swim. Black Girls Swim. BLACK! GILRS! SWIM! Simone Manuel’s historic 100m freestyle gold medal win, her reaction to her win, and her post-race interview are golden moments that Black Americans will want to relive over and over again. The symbolism behind Manuel’s win is deep, and while it doesn’t eradicate the hurtful past relationship of Black people and swim, it does help us reimagine the future. Thank you, Simone.
And thank you to all of the Black women across the entire African Diaspora for radiating light, exuding strength, and sharing your gifts with the world. You are love.