It was a moment 57 years in the making. On the final day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics, the US women’s volleyball team – the most decorated volleyball squad never to win Olympic gold – finally made the top of the podium after defeating Brazil in three straight sets.
The final point came courtesy of three-time Olympian and team captain Jordan Larson, who spiked the ball just behind Brazil’s front row to close out the third set 25-14. The celebration that followed was one for the ages, as the American athletes piled up at center court, having written a new chapter for a program that had won three silver medals and two bronze – in addition to other major international tournaments – but never quite captured that elusive gold.
Asked on the sidelines if this moment was everything the team imagined it would be, middle blocker Haleigh Washington wiped away tears. “It’s a lot more wet than I had anticipated, but it’s everything we wanted it to be,” Washington said. “The hard work that we put in, the sweat, the tears, the blood. It’s been worth it, and I am so proud to have done it with this group of women. I’m so honored.”
The gold medal in women’s volleyball was Team USA’s last of the Tokyo Games and put the US at the top of the medal table with 39 gold medals (just ahead of China’s 38), and 113 medals overall. Keep scrolling to watch the stunning finale of the women’s volleyball tournament and see more photos from Team USA’s gold medal celebration.
After Tokyo, Simone Biles Wears the Same Olympic Rings Necklace She Gave Jordan Chiles
Simone Biles is keeping the Olympics close to her heart post-Tokyo. After the Games closed on August 8, the pro gymnast sported an understated necklace featuring the Olympic rings on Instagram. Clearly, the competition (and her bronze medal) aren’t far from her mind, but the accessory is even more meaningful once you know who Simone shares it with.
Back in June, Simone gifted her friend and fellow Team USA member Jordan Chiles with a matching necklace. Jordan said Simone was “waiting a while” to give her the rings necklace, and finally found the perfect opportunity after trials in St. Louis. This thoughtful present is just one way Simone and Jordan have solidified their powerful bond. “Having [Simone] by my side 24/7 and giving me encouraging words every day definitely helped, and it was very motivational,” Jordan told The Today Show before Tokyo. “Very happy to have someone like her.”
Even though the Summer Games are over, Simone and Jordan still have their twin necklaces to remember the journey and the friendship they built along the way. Shop similar necklace styles for yourself, ahead.