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 15, Aug. 23, 2008.
With U.S. men having swept the medals in the 400-meter and taken gold in the 400-meter hurdles, too, there was little suspense when the American athletes showed up for the men’s 4x400 on Day 15 of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008.
With freshly minted 400-meter gold medalist LaShawn Merritt leading off, then 400 hurdles champ Angelo Taylor taking the baton to David Neville, the 400-meter bronze medalist, Team USA was on its way. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 gold and 2008 silver medalist in the 200, closed things out.
With a time of 2:55.39, Team USA won the gold medal in Olympic-record time. The Bahamas, in second place, crossed the line 25 meters, or nearly three seconds, behind the Americans.
The women’s 4x400 was more competitive, as 400-meter bronze medalist Sanya Richards had to overtake the Russian runner in the final 100 meters to secure gold. The U.S. team, which also included Mary Wineberg, Allyson Felix and Monique Henderson, battled with Russia and Jamaica throughout.
With the two relay gold medals, Team USA finished the track and field competition with 23 medals, the most of any country. Only the men’s marathon remained, in which the U.S. would not medal.
On the penultimate day of competition in Beijing, the focus continued to shift to the team events, which were now in the medal rounds following several days of competition.
In women’s basketball, four-time Olympian Lisa Leslie won her fourth gold medal as Team USA defeated Australia 92-65 in a rematch of the previous two Olympic gold-medal games. With the win, Team USA extended its Olympic winning streak to 33 games.
“It’s awesome to experience this for the fourth time,” Leslie said. “We didn’t leave anything for anyone. We were the team that played the best basketball this whole Olympics.”
The women’s indoor volleyball team fell just short of matching the gold medal, falling in four sets to Brazil in the final match. It marked the only volleyball event in which Team USA didn’t finish with a gold medal in Beijing, following wins in men’s and women’s beach and a soon-to-come win in men’s indoor.
With baseball and softball having been eliminated from the Olympic program following the Beijing Games, Team USA finished baseball competition on a high note, defeating Japan 8-4 to win the bronze medal.
In the only individual medal on Aug. 23 for Team USA, Chaunte Howard took the bronze in women’s high jump. She originally placed sixth in the event but was recently upgraded after athletes who finished above her were caught doping.
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.