As the United States sweeps Japan, Sue Bird and Diana Taurausi win their fifth gold medal.

Sue Bird’s immaculate 17-year Olympic streak came to an end with a record-tying fifth gold medal.

After a 90-75 win over Japan on Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics, she and longtime US teammate Diana Taurasi won five gold medals, making them the first basketball players to do so.

“I couldn’t have wished for a more fitting conclusion.” There isn’t much else to say, “Bird said. “I feel so proud to have been able to wear this uniform for as long as I have, to play alongside this one for as long as I have. We’ve won, and that’s obviously the story, but I don’t think there’s anyone else I’d rather do it with because we just have so much fun and I love you homie. ” From 1936 through 1968, males did it.

They have been a continuous force for the United States, providing consistency for the women’s program since the 2004 Athens Games, with Bird controlling the flow of games and Taurasi scoring. They’ve won all 38 games they’ve competed in at the Olympics.

The two went off the floor for the final time Sunday, arm-in-arm, knowing their work was done. While Bird has retired, Taurasi has stated that she will return to the Olympics for a sixth time.

“Hope to see you in Paris!”

Taurasi stated.

The names of the greats Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson, Tamika Catchings, and Sylvia Fowles have changed around the pair, but the results haven’t.

The Americans have won 55 consecutive Olympic games, dating back to the 1992 Barcelona Games bronze medal game.

On Sunday, the US informed Japan that this would not change.

Brittney Griner’s strong first quarter propelled the Americans to an 18-5 advantage. After one quarter, the squad was up 23-14, with Griner scoring 10 points and taking advantage of the Japanese side’s height disadvantage. Japan closed to within six points in the second quarter before the Americans took an 11-point lead into halftime and never looked back.

Bird and Taurasi embraced as the final buzzer rang, then proceeded to hug all of their teammates and the coaching staff.

Griner had a 30-point performance, hitting 14 of her 18 attempts.

While Bird has announced her retirement, the United States has a bright future thanks to Griner, Breanna Stewart, and the six rookies on this year’s team. This included A’ja Wilson, who will be expected to continue the streak three years from now at the Paris Games in 2024. Wilson, who turned 25 on Sunday, made a strong impression in her Olympic debut, scoring 19 points in the gold medal game.

Aside from Bird’s goodbye, there were other notable events on Sunday.

Dawn Staley, the first black woman to coach women’s basketball for the United States, became the second woman to win a gold medal as a player, assistant, and head coach, joining Anne Donovan.

Carol Callan’s tenure as national team director came to an end with this game. She began just before the Americans won their first gold of the streak in 1996, and she has been the driving force behind this incredible run.

For the first time in Japan’s history, the country’s only other team to ever defeat the United States in an Olympic competition won a medal. Prior to Sunday, the team’s best finish was seventh.

Since hiring coach Tom Hovasse, the host nation has been on the upswing. When he took the position four and a half years ago, he predicted that his team would compete for gold at the Tokyo Olympics against the United States — and that they would win.

He was partially correct.

After trailing by two points after the first quarter, the United States prevailed by 17 points in preliminary pool play. The Americans exploited their strong post advantage to dictate the title game, much like they did in that contest. The tallest player for Japan was 6-foot-1, which was no match for Griner’s 6-foot-9 front line.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the general public and family members were unable to attend the games, although Bird’s fiancee, Megan Rapinoe, was in the stands cheering her on. After the game, Bird came over and hugged Rapinoe. She scored two goals in that game to help the US women’s soccer team earn a bronze medal earlier this week.

A strong presence of Japanese volunteers who had sat and applauded their team throughout the tournament sat in the Saitama Super Arena. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, no actual cheering was permitted.

Team USA leads by as much as 27 points in the gold medal game and is one win away from a record-setting seventh consecutive gold medal.

Sue Bird has been chosen to carry the American flag in Tokyo. She is only the second woman in Olympic history to do so.

Diana Taurasi sets a new WNBA lifetime scoring record. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant congratulate Diana Taurasi on becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.


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