Rio 2016 venue: Olympic Stadium, Pontal, Sambódromo (Maracanã Zone)
Competition dates: Aug. 12-21
Medal events: 47 (24 men’s and 23 women’s)
Olympic introduction: 1896 (Athens, Greece)

The world’s No. 1 track and field team hopes to win as many as 30 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Team USA stayed atop the medal count at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, winning 18 medals, including six golds. Two American athletes turned in record performances at Beijing Olympic Stadium with 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton surpassing his own world record in the decathlon and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor shattering the American record in the triple jump and narrowly missing the world record.

Team USA returns with many veterans and defending Olympic champions, but as always there will be surprising newcomers who make the team. Veteran medalists include four-time Olympian Allyson Felix, defending Olympic decathlon champion Eaton, defending Olympic gold medalist Taylor, four-time Olympian and 2004 marathon silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, 2008 Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt and defending Olympic champion Jenn Suhr. Olympic 4x100-meter gold medalist and world record holder Tianna Bartoletta made the team in both the women’s 100 and long jump, having won the gold medal in the long jump at the IAAF World Championships last summer. World champion Joe Kovacs made his first Olympic team after claiming the gold medal in the shot put in Beijing, while other Olympic newcomers include Trayvon Bromell, Emily Infeld, English Gardner, and Jenna Prandini – who each won medals at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Team USA has been exceedingly successful in the relay events in the last Olympiad, twice capturing the golden baton at the IAAF World Relays, and setting four American records and two world records in the 2015 edition. In total, one world record and five American records were set in Olympic events last year, including the men’s 4x100, the men’s 3,000 steeplechase, the women’s 1,500, the men’s triple jump and the decathlon.

Team USA scored its biggest Olympic medal haul at the 2012 Olympic Games with 28 medals (nine golds, 12 silvers, seven bronzes) in London, making its most successful Olympic appearance since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The 2012 Games were also of historic significance for the U.S. team, which dominated the track and field competition in both medals and points scoring ahead of Russia and Jamaica in both measures.

Athletes To Watch
Tianna Bartoletta 
Bartoletta unleashed a world-leading and personal best 7.14 meters in the final round to earn the gold medal in women’s long jump at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, 10 years after taking the crown in 2005 at the event in Helsinki, Finland. She is also the reigning world-record holder and Olympic gold medalist from the women’s 4x100-meter in 2012. She will compete in both the 100 and the long jump for Team USA in Rio, and is a member of the women’s 4x100 pool.

Ashton Eaton
Eaton won the 2015 USA Track & Field Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award after improving his world record in the decathlon to win the gold medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. Eaton, the 2015 IAAF World Male Athlete of the Year, scored 9,045 points to top the field by more than 300 points. In the process, he set a world championships decathlon record of 10.23 seconds in the 100-meter, and broke a 40-year-old world decathlon record with a time of 45.00 in the 400.

Allyson Felix 
Felix won the 2015 USA Track & Field Jackie Joyner-Kersee Female Athlete of the Year award after winning three medals at the 2015 IAAF World Championships. She extended her legacy as one of the most successful female athletes in IAAF history, winning the women’s 400-meter in 49.26 for Team USA’s only sprint gold medal. She also took silver in the 4x100 and 4x400 to register the second-highest medal count in IAAF World Championships history with 13, including nine golds.

Joe Kovacs 
Kovacs won Team USA’s first gold medal of the 2015 IAAF World Championships after tossing 21.93 meters in the shot put on his fifth attempt to defeat two-time defending champion David Storl of Germany. He is also a two-time USA Track and Field outdoor champion and won the IAAF Diamond League in 2015.

Christian Taylor 
Taylor won gold in the men’s triple jump at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, in which he set an American record of 18.21 meters, just missing the world record that has stood for 20 years. His jump marked the second longest in history and the best by any man in 2015. He is the defending Olympic gold medalist in the event and the favorite heading into the Rio 2016 Games.


  • Olympic champion Allyson Felix will make her fourth – and possibly final – Olympic appearance after earning her first individual gold medal in the 200-meter at the London 2012 Games. Felix had an immensely successful 2015, winning three medals at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing and setting a personal-best time of 49.26 en route to gold in the 400. She will take to the track in the 400, and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays for Team USA. With a gold at the Games in Rio, Felix will become the first female track and field Olympian in history to win five Olympic gold medals.
  • There are four teenagers who are making their Olympic debuts in Rio this summer. The two youngest members of Team USA, Sydney McLaughlin (16 – will turn 17 on Aug. 7) and Vashti Cunningham (18), will look to continue the U.S. trend of young Olympic medalists, following in the footsteps of Allyson Felix, Erik Kynard and Brigetta Barrett. High jumper Cunningham won her first world championships medal indoors in Portland, Oregon, defeating a field of competitors nearly twice her age. She has been nearly unstoppable since winning the IAAF World Youth gold medal in 2015, earning Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year and setting a world junior record in the 400-meter hurdles (54.15) at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
  • Switching from the youngest members of the U.S. team, Bernard Lagat and Meb Keflezighi (both 41) are the elder statesmen of Team USA in 2016, with Lagat becoming the oldest running-event Olympian in U.S. Olympic history. The Rio Games will mark Lagat’s fifth Olympic team (2000, 2004 representing Kenya; 2008, 2012, 2016 representing the U.S.). Keflezighi will be competing in his 26th career marathon (appropriate considering the 26.2 mile distance) in Rio, and has noted that the 2016 Olympic marathon will be his last.
  • Tori Bowie switched her focus to sprinting in the summer of 2014, taking to the track after competing in long jump at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland. She won the bronze medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing and looks primed for success in Rio. She will compete in the 100- and 200-meters, and is also a member of the 4x100 pool.