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U.S. Women's Volleyball Team Wins First Ever Olympic Gold Medal

Brazil's Fernanda Rodrigues shoots while playing the United States during the gold medal match in women's volleyball at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday.
Brazil's Fernanda Rodrigues shoots while playing the United States during the gold medal match in women's volleyball at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday.

TOKYO — On the final day of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the U.S. women's volleyball team did something it had never done before: win a gold medal. The squad defeated Brazil 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) at Ariake Arena.

It was the sixth volleyball medal for the United States. It had previously won three silver and two bronze and it was the fourth Olympics in a row that the U.S. had medaled. But this was the most complete effort of any previous team. The U.S. lost just one of its eight matches in Tokyo.

"Growth. It's all about growing. No matter what happens, whether you win or whether you lose every game, it's all about growing and getting better," said U.S. player Haleigh Washington. "We did that so well, and by the end, we were executing and I think we did an amazing job of that execution and doing what we do best, which is playing USA volleyball, baby."

Like the U.S., Brazil entered this match undefeated at these Olympics winning its seven previous times. "Unfortunately, today was our moment to feel defeat and it hurts like hell but I'm very proud of everything we've done," said Fernanda Rodrigues who won silver and was playing in her final Olympics for the Brazilian national team.

For the U.S., Annie Drews led the scoring for the team with 15 points. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 14 and Jordan Larson scored 12.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

USA's players celebrate their victory in the women's gold medal volleyball match between Brazil and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena.
Yuri Cortez / AFP via Getty Images
USA's players celebrate their victory in the women's gold medal volleyball match between Brazil and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena.

Corrected: August 7, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
In the original story, we said the U.S. had won all eight of its matches at the Tokyo Olympics. The U.S. lost one match to the Russian Olympic Committee