A closer look


Celebrating the women of Team USA and their success

Since the beginning of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, women have played a significant role, pushing the envelope of competitive excellence and equality on and off the field. Be sure to read these inspiring stories of the women of Team USA who are featured in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum.

1996 Women’s Soccer Team

Women’s soccer was added to the Olympic Games for the first time ever and while it was only an eight-team competition, it was a rousing success capped by the U.S. 2-1 victory over China in the gold-medal game.

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Bonnie Blair

Speedskater Bonnie Blair was well known for her throng of family and friends and she gave them plenty to cheer about, winning five gold medals and one bronze over four Olympic Winter Games.

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Helene Madison

“Queen” Helene Madison was one of the first American female swimming stars, winning two individual gold medals and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay gold at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games.

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee won six Olympic medals (three gold), started four years on the UCLA women’s basketball team and was named the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated.

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Joan Benoit

Joan Benoit had knee surgery 17 days before the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials, but finished first at the Trials and won gold in the first-ever Olympic women’s marathon at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

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Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton scored perfect 10s on the floor exercise and vault to win the individual all-around gold medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

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Micki King

Micki King hit her arm on the board on her ninth dive of the 3-meter springboard at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games and finished fourth. She won gold at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games.

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Tenley Albright

Tenley Albright contracted polio at age 11 and doctors wondered whether she would walk again. Six years later, she won an Olympic silver medal in figure skating and would win gold four years after that.

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