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Aug. 7 Report: U.S. women’s water polo team achieves three-peat after defeating Spain for gold

By Talia Massi, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication | Aug. 07, 2021, 2:10 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. women's water polo team celebrates winning gold at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Three-peat = achieved. 

The U.S. women’s water polo team won Olympic gold for the third straight time by defeating Spain 14-5. 

Only two players have been a part of all three Olympic wins: Maggie Steffens (Stanford, water polo) and Melissa Seidemann (Stanford, water polo). 

"I don't think it's fully sunk in yet. I'm just proud of this moment,” Steffens said to reporters. 

Of all the rostered players, all but three scored at least one goal in the game. Maddie Musselman (UCLA, water polo) was the lead scorer with three goals.  

Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson (Princeton, water polo) saved 11 of 15 shots. Despite her performance, she chose to credit success to the entire team who made the gold medal win possible. 

“Just looking at how we scored, how we blocked. Every single person had a contribution to this win, had a contribution to this whole journey and that's a reflection of our team environment,” Johnson said to reporters. “Everyone's going to contribute, everyone's going to do their best, everyone's going to bring it in the moment that it matters, and that's just really cool to be a part of.”

Tokyo talk

- The U.S. men’s basketball team defeated France 87-82 to win gold. After losing to France in the Olympic opener 83-76, Team USA was hoping not to repeat that particular moment in history. Instead, it won its fourth-straight gold medal. Kevin Durant (Texas, basketball) led the team with 29 points, six rebounds and three assists.

- Molly Seidel (Notre Dame, cross country) won bronze in women’s marathon. The bronze win occurred in just her third marathon ever. Seidel was shocked, but said mostly she is honored to have represented Team USA. Although she wants to continue to keep running the “short races,” she “loves (running) this race.”

- The U.S. women’s 4x400-meter relay earned gold. The team features track stars Sydney McLaughlin (Kentucky, track and field), Dalilah Muhammad (USC, track and field) and Athing Mu (Texas A&M, track and field). The team finished three seconds ahead of Poland (silver).

- The men’s 4x400-meter relay team also won gold with Michael Cherry (LSU and Florida State, track and field), Michael Norman (USC, track and field), Bryce Deadmon (Texas A&M, track and field) and Rai Benjamin (USC & UCLA, track and field).

- The U.S. men’s baseball team earned silver after a 2-0 loss to Japan.

- Kyle Snyder (Ohio State, wrestling) won silver in men’s freestyle 97kg, and Sarah Hildebrandt (King, wrestling) won bronze in women’s freestyle 50kg.

- Jordan Windle (Texas, diving) and Brandon Loschiavo (Purdue, diving) finished ninth and 11th in the 10-meter platform finals, respectively.

Looking ahead

The U.S. women’s volleyball team takes on Brazil for gold on the final day of Olympic competition at 12:30 a.m. EDT. 

Quote of the day

“I know there’s a lot more in life than sports. It’s just icing on the cake to be able to do what you love and have the opportunity to play for a gold medal,” – Kaleigh Gilchrist (USC, water polo)

Talia Massi, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Talia Massi is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.