Our 2016 Olympic Heroes
August 22, 2016
Since the start of the 31st Summer Olympiad, our 558 American athletes have been setting records and making this country proud. As we say goodbye to the summer Olympics for another four years lets take a moment to recognize the Mindful Heroes who have surpassed expectations, broke records, made history, and inspired millions.
- Michael Phelps. In his last Olympics, Phelps didn’t disappoint. He became the first swimmer in history to win gold medals in the same event four Olympic games in a row. In all, the most decorated Olympian of all time leaves the 2016 Olympic Games with six medals (five gold and one silver). This brings his total to 28 Olympic medals with 23 of them being gold medals.
- Ibtihaj Muhammad. Born and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey, Muhammad won a bronze medal in fencing at Rio, her first Olympic games. She has also made history as the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal in the Olympics and the first U.S. woman athlete to compete wearing a hijab.
- Simone Biles. Biles is only 19 years old and she has been breaking records left and right recently. In all Biles won five Olympic medals this year (four gold and one bronze). She became “the first African-American gymnast to win the world all-around title” and she’s the first American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. She’s also the most decorated American gymnast ever with 19 World/Olympic medals.
- Helen Maroulis. Maroulis, the 2015 world wrestling champion, made a monumental achievement in her first Olympics. After defeating the three-time Olympic champion from Japan, Maroulis became the first-ever American gold medalist in women’s wrestling.
- Michelle Carter. Thirty-one-year-old Carter made Olympic history becoming the first American woman to win gold in the shot put category. Olympic greatness definitely runs in the family. Her father, Michael Carter, is not only her coach but also a shot put silver medalist from the 1984 Olympic Games. Michael and Michelle are the first U.S. father-daughter combination to both win Olympic medals.
- Simone Manuels. Manuels, a swimmer from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for first place in the 100-meter freestyle category and set a new Olympic record. With this amazing performance, Manuals becomes the first African-American woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming. In all, she leaves the 2016 Olympics with four medals (two gold and two silver).
- Ryan Murphy. As a student from the University of California-Berkley, Murphy made his Olympic debut this year with quite a splash. Murphy broke the World and Olympic records for the Men’s 100m Backstroke category and won three gold medals in Rio.
- Ashleigh Johnson. Johnson was the goalkeeper for this year’s U.S. women’s water polo team. They got their second straight gold medal win and they are the first women’s water polo team to win back-to-back gold medals. Johnson is also the first and only African-American woman to compete in an Olympic water polo team.
- Aston Easton. After his phenomenal performance this year, Easton has repeatedly been called “the world’s greatest athlete.” At the Olympics, he won his second consecutive gold medal for the 10-event decathlon. He scored 8,893 points, tying the Olympic record set by Roman Sebrle in the 2004 Olympic Games.
- Ryan Crouser. In his first Olympics, Crouser won the gold medal in the shot put category and set the new Olympic record (22.52m or 73 feet and 10 3/4 inches). Crouser comes from a family of Olympic athletes as well—his father and uncle, Mitch and Brian, went to the Olympics in the 1980’s and 1990’s.