(L-R) Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor celebrate after winning gold medal at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 21, 2008 in Beijing.
From the thrilling Opening Ceremony to Michael Phelps’ iconic eight gold medals, the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 were truly unforgettable. Relive the 10-year anniversary of the Games through Aug. 24 as TeamUSA.org recaps the daily highlights from Beijing. Here’s a look at Team USA's performance on Day 13, Aug. 21, 2008.
With a left-footed blast from outside the box, Carli Lloyd drilled in the game-winning goal just six minutes into extra time.
In a steady rain, Kerri Walsh Jennings landed the decisive spike.
And on the track, LaShawn Merritt came out of the curve and didn’t slow down.
With 13 total medals, three of them gold, Aug. 21 was Team USA’s biggest medal haul during the Beijing Games. There was no shortage of iconic performances among them.
Lloyd’s goal against Brazil at Beijing’s Worker’s Stadium gave the U.S. women’s soccer team a 1-0 win and its second consecutive Olympic gold medal. It also marked the first of many clutch championship-game heroics for Lloyd.
At beach volleyball, Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor were unstoppable in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,000, defeating the Chinese team of Jia Tian and Jie Wang to win not just their 108th consecutive match, but also their second consecutive Olympic gold medal.
“The rain makes it better,” shouted Walsh Jennings afterward. “We felt like warriors out there.”
Merritt, meanwhile, made teammate Jeremy Wariner, the defending Olympic champ, look like he was running in place down the final stretch of the men’s 400-meter, winning by almost one second. Wariner still took second, while fellow American David Neville completed the medal sweep.
Two more U.S. women’s teams won silver medals, though both results were bittersweet.
In water polo, the favored U.S. team stormed back from a 4-0 deficit only to fall 9-8 to the Netherlands in its gold-medal game.
The heartbreak was more lasting in softball. After outscoring opponents 57-2 in the first eight games in Beijing, Team USA lost a 3-1 stunner to Japan in the gold-medal game, marking the only time the U.S. failed to win softball gold since the sport was added to the Olympics in 1996. Making the result more devastating was the fact that softball had been removed from the Games after 2008, so as far as the players knew, this was it.
“It hurts a lot,” said slugger Crystal Bustos. “You train your whole life and want to win. ... As far as the big picture, it hasn’t sunk in yet.”
With semifinals wins else where, however, the U.S. women’s basketball and volleyball teams created gold-medal opportunities for themselves.
Some standout performances on the track also highlighted Day 13.
In the women’s 200-meter, Allyson Felix finished second to win her first medal of the Games and match her result from 2004.
David Payne and David Oliver took second and third in the men's 110-meter hurdles, a race overshadowed by the absence of China’s Liu Xiang, the defending Olympic champion and one of the most popular athletes in the host country, who had to withdraw during the heats due to injury.
In taekwondo, siblings Mark Lopez (silver) and Diana Lopez (bronze) each won medals.
Equestrian Beezie Madden rounded out the medals for Team USA with her bronze in individual jumping. She had previously won a gold medal in team jumping earlier in the Games.
Chrös McDougall covered the 2008 Games for the Olympic News Service. He has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.