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The 12 Best Black Moments From The 2020 Olympics: Global Black Excellence

From Allyson Felix to Simone Biles to the USA Men’s 4x400 team, Black athletes continued to set standards.

The 2020 Olympic Games are now in the books after a year’s delay, controversies with several athletes, record breaking performances, and for some, disappointing results. America earned the most medals in all three categories: 113 total medals, 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze. Black athletes from around the world put it all on the line with some prolific appearances and made memories to last a lifetime. Here’s a list of some of the biggest standouts. 

1. Allyson Felix (USA Women’s Track and Field):

Allyson Felix on Saturday (Aug 7) became the most decorated American women’s track-and field-athlete in history thanks to earning her 11th medal in her five career Olympic Games, breaking American icon Carl Lewis’ record. Along with Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad, and Athing Mu in the 4x100m, she ran the second leg to finish in 3 minutes, 16.85 seconds, winning by nearly 4 seconds over Poland (3:20.53), while Jamaica (3:21.24) took bronze. Felix, who is also a mother, also made history on Friday, winning bronze in the 400 meters with a time of 49.46.
RELATED: Allyson Felix Makes History As Most Decorated U.S. Track Athlete In Olympic History

2. Simone Biles (USA Women’s Gymnastics):

A case of what is called the "twisties" forced Simone Biles to withdraw from four Olympics finals, but in indomitable fashion on Tuesday, the greatest gymnast of all time executed a 14.000 in the women’s balance beam to claim bronze — her second consecutive bronze medal in the event; she finished behind Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing. The two-time Olympian was also able to claim silver in the team competition, which helped her become a seven-time Olympic medalist — four gold, one silver, and two Bronze.

RELATED: Simone Biles Overcomes Challenges, Finishes Olympics Taking Bronze in Balance Beam

3. Kevin Durant (USA Men’s Basketball):

Kevin Durant saved his best for last thanks to a 29-point performance in a gold medal game versus France — an 87-82 win on Friday (Aug. 6) — that marks the USA’s fourth straight gold medal. Durant, who broke Carmelo Anthony’s Olympic record (336 points) for most overall Olympics points scored in a game versus the Czech Republic on July 31, hunted for shots versus a bigger team and fellow NBA counterpart and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (France), who drew three fouls for France against the now three-time Olympian and two-time NBA champion. The Brooklyn Nets forward currently has a total of 354 points in the Olympics.

4. Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela Women’s Track and Field):

Venezuela’s two-time reigning world champion Yulimar Rojas finally accomplished her goal of breaking the triple jump world record thanks to a 15.67m on Aug 1. The result bests a 26-year-old record (15.50) set by Ukrainian Inessa Kravets in 1995. 

5. Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jamaica Women’s 100 Meters):

Dealing with a nagging Achilles injury all the way through the Jamaican trials, Elaine Thompson-Herah still defended her Olympic title (she won gold in Rio de Janeiro) July 31 after a blistering 10.61 in the 100 meters in the Tokyo Games. Thompson-Herah’s time is a new personal record and an Olympic record, which was previously held by Florence Griffith-Joyner, who set the record in 1988 with a 10.62. Griffith-Joyner, though, still holds the world record with a 10.49 — a record also set in 1988.
RELATED: Jamaican Breaks Flo-Jo’s Record in Women’s Track Sweep, Durant Makes History: 2020 Tokyo Olympics Roundup 

6. Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson (Jamaica 100 Meters):

The Jamaican women’s trio placed first, second and third in the 100 meters for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics — the same time that Fraser-Pryce won gold — and the second time in history. Fraser-Pryce, who was favored to win the race, culminated second with 10.71, while Jackson finished with a 10.76. 

7. Lamont Marcell Jacobs (Italy Men’s 100 Meters):

In one of the more stunning finishes in the history of the sport, Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs, a 30-1 underdog, won the 100 meters on Aug. 1 with a time of 9.80 — a European record. In Italy’s first global final, the long jumper turned sprinter, powered past America’s Fred Kerley, who claimed silver, to become the first Italian to win gold in 100 meters. Although overall it was a stunner, Jacobs previously set an Italian record in the semifinals with a time of 9.84 to become the first Italian to make the finals. 

8. Sydney McLaughlin (USA Women’s 400 Meter hurdles):

The United States' Sydney McLaughlin broke her own world record on Wednesday. McLaughlin posted a time of 51.46, which helped her execute two of the three fastest times in the event. The gold medalist was also on the 4x400m team that won gold on Saturday.

9. Tamyrah Mensah-Stock (USA Women’s Wrestling):

Making history in women’s wrestling, Tamyrah Mensah-Stock became the first Black woman to win gold when she defeated Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu 4-1 in the women's 68-kilogram freestyle wrestling final. She also became the second American woman to win a gold medal in the event. Oborududu became the first Nigerian -- either male or female -- to medal at the Olympics
RELATED: First Black Woman To Win Gold Medal In Wrestling To Use Prize Money To By A Food Truck For Her Mom

10. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya Men’s Marathon):

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge was able to secure his legacy with his second consecutive gold medal thanks to a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, and 36 seconds on Sunday. Showing unprecedented vigor and proving once more that he is the greatest runner in history at a distance of 26.2 miles, Kipchoge finished a whopping 80 seconds ahead of Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, who was able to run 2:09:58. Kipchoge is only the third man to win the marathon twice. 

11. Rai Benjamin, Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon (USA Men’s 4x400 Meters:

The USA’s men’s 4x400m anchor Rai Benjamin, who was dominant as the final leg, ensured another gold medal on Saturday thanks to a time of 2:55.70. With the win, Benjamin, Cherry, Norman, and Deadmon secured a second straight title for Team USA.

12. Hansle Parchment (Jamaica 110 Meter Hurdles):

In another upset at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment in the 110 meter hurdles won gold with a time of 13:04 — an improvement from 13:16 in 2012— winning over USA’s favorite in Grant Holloway on Thursday. Parchment was able to beat an eight-time NCAA champion, the 2019 world champion, and the 60m world-record holder.

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