Putting Team USA’s 121 medals, 46 Rio golds in Olympics perspective

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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The United States ended the Rio Olympics with a remarkable 46 gold medals, 37 silver, and 38 bronze combining for 121 medals.

That’s great, you say, but what does it mean? Well, good thing we’re paid to help put things in perspective.

For one, the difference between the first- and second-place teams is gigantic. The 51-medal dropoff from the United States to China is the largest total since 1984, and the seventh best all-time.

The total is the third-most medals in a single Olympics for the United States, and the eighth overall amongst all nations. Moreover, the 121 is the most by a single nation since the Americans hauled in 132 medals in 1988.

The 46 golds are tied with 2012 for the most U.S. golds in a single Olympics, and gave the Americans the ninth-biggest gap between first- and second-place gold winners since 1984. The U.S. had 19 more golds than Great Britain.

The picture above, by the way, comes with an amazing story. Read about the U.S. women’s water polo team and their amazing gesture to a coach who’s been through a tumultuous summer here.