Day 15 of the Rio Olympics featured plenty of upsets and surprises, including the U.S. men losing in heartbreaking fashion to Italy in men’s volleyball and world No. 1 wrestler Jordan Burroughs falling the quarterfinals. But it also featured plenty of fireworks from some usual suspects. Here’s the top five moments from the last Friday in Rio.
U.S. takes gold in women’s 4×100-meter relay
After nearly missing the 4×100 relay final because of a bad exchange in the preliminary heat, the U.S. women rebounded in dominating fashion, running away with the gold in the relay on the penultimate day of track and field competitions. They turned in a final time of 41.01 seconds to repeat as champions in the event, beating out Jamaica and Great Britain, who came in second and third place respectively. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who won both the 100 and 200 sprints, couldn’t overcome the large lead the Americans built up, and Tori Bowie finished it off to wrap up another successful Olympic campaign on the track for Team USA.
Usain Bolt achieves career triple-triple
The world’s fastest man cemented his legacy as the greatest Olympic sprinter of all time, and arguably the greatest Olympian period, by leading Jamaica to a gold medal in the men’s 4×100 meter relay. The gold gives Bolt the rare triple-triple, winning three events at three consecutive Olympics in the same three events – the 100, 200, 4×100 relay. Jamaica came in first with a time of 37. 27, with Bolt anchoring the last leg and running away from Japan and the U.S., who earned silver and bronze respectively. But the U.S. was disqualified, giving Canada the bronze medal, but the Americans have appealed.
Gunnar Bentz clears the air about involvement in alleged robbery incident
One of the four U.S. swimmers involved in the alleged robbery last week that has taken Rio by storm, Gunnar Bentz, issued a statement through the University of Georgia, where he is a student. Bentz wanted to clear the air about what happened on the controversial night, especially after Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about the swimmers being robbed at gunpoint. Bentz absolved himself of the situation, claiming he was never a suspect and that he never lied to authorities about what happened. He distanced himself from the actions of Lochte, whose behavior and subsequent lying has sparked outrage in Rio and prompted apologies from both himself and the USOC.
American women beat Italy for water polo gold medal
In another repeat championship performance, the U.S. women’s water polo team dominated Italy in the gold-medal match to win back-to-back Olympic titles. The U.S. won 12-5, capping off a three-year run of dominance that has seen it win nearly every tournament it has entered. The win was emotional for the team, and its coach Adam Krikorian, whose brother died unexpectedly two days before the team departed for Rio. The team ran through the Olympic tournament in Rio, going undefeated while snagging a second straight gold.
Team USA hoops beats Spain to set up final date with Serbia
Despite concerns about the U.S. team not being as good as it has been in past Olympics, the men’s basketball team took care of business Friday, outlasting Spain 82-76 in the semifinals. Klay Thompson led the Americans with 22 points after getting off to a slow start in group play. Pau Gasol and Spain looked poised to challenge the U.S. for a spot in the gold-medal match after winning silvers in 2008 and 2012, but just didn’t have enough to overcome the U.S. In the other semifinal matchup, Serbia put on a clinic against Australia, handily defeating the Aussies 87-61 in a game that was never close. A win Sunday would give the U.S. its third straight Olympic gold.