The US women's national soccer team (USWNT) came into the Tokyo Olympics with two goals: to get redemption after a disappointing performance at the 2016 Games, and to become the first soccer team in history to win World Cup and Olympic titles in succession. The gold medal may have eluded them this time, but after adding a bronze medal to their collection, the US remains the most decorated nation in the history of the Olympic tournament.
To date, the USWNT have made the podium at six of the seven Olympic soccer tournaments, bringing home a total of four gold medals, one silver, and now one bronze. In 1996, they won the first-ever Olympic gold for women's soccer, defeating China 2-1 on their home turf in Atlanta. Four years later, they picked up a silver medal in Sydney, Australia, after falling to Norway in the final. After that, the team went on a winning streak, collecting gold medals in three consecutive Olympic Games. They defeated Brazil in 2004 and 2008 and Japan in 2012.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio, however, were not so kind to the American women. For the first time at any major international tournament, the USWNT did not even make it to the semifinals. Instead, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals during a penalty shoot-out with Sweden, the eventual silver medalists. It was a stunning loss, but the team quickly reclaimed the spotlight, clinching their fourth World Cup in 2019.
The USWNT arrived at the Tokyo Olympics as the gold-medal favorites, but after a slow start in group play — and a disappointing loss to Canada in the semifinals — they ended up in the bronze-medal match against Australia. They won that game 4-3, with veterans Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scoring two goals each.
— Additional reporting by Karen Snyder Duke