Team USA, whose 600-plus athletes competed in hundreds of events over 19 whirlwind days here, staged a thrilling comeback in the final hours of the 2020 Olympics to top the gold medal table for the third Games in a row.
The US entered today trailing China 38-36 in the gold medal column.
US women’s basketball beat Japan in their final, and American cyclist Jennifer Valente won gold in her race, to pull the US level.
And then, US women’s volleyball won their first-ever Olympic title to clinch the nation’s spot atop the gold medal table for good.
The final US total of 113 was by far the most of any nation.
But it paled in comparison to the American haul five years ago — 121 total, 46 of them gold, in roughly 30 fewer events in Rio.
The gold medal tally in particular, prior to this weekend, had been relatively underwhelming, and lagged behind China’s for much of the Games.
Excluding host countries, the US has now topped both the overall medal table and the gold medal table at every Olympics since it hosted the Games in Atlanta in 1996.
Tokyo will pass the baton to Paris this evening after staging a Games that was delayed by Covid-19 and dismayed a sceptical public but nonetheless still delivered its share of drama.
The closing ceremony, which kicks off at 4:30pm Sri Lanka time, will cap two weeks of Olympic action that was watched by millions of people around the world but seen in person by a select few because of a pandemic that will stalk the host country long after the athletes have left.
Japan mounted the world’s biggest sporting celebration in the face of a plague that has infected more than 200 million people and killed 4.3 million around the world, and — propelled by the delta variant — began spreading through Tokyo at a record rate just as the Games were getting underway.