Olympic sports highlights: Final day
Sport gets its youngest
U.S. Olympic champion
Kyle Snyder's run to a world title in 2015 was so surprising that some wondered if it was a fluke. Snyder showed he's for real when he added an Olympic title to his burgeoning resume. Snyder, the youngest world champion in U.S. history, is now the sport's youngest U.S. Olympic champion. The 20-year-old beat Khetag Goziumov of Azerbaijan 2-1 for gold at 97 kilograms (214 pounds) during the men's freestyle tournament. "I was happier than I've ever been on a wrestling mat," Snyder said. "I try to value just my effort, value my improvement and value the love that I have for the sport. That drives me every day." As a freshman at Ohio State in 2015, Snyder lost in the NCAA championship match. Six months later, at 19, he won the world championship in Las Vegas. He claimed an NCAA title at the heavyweight division this year then beat 2012 gold medalist Jake Varner at the Olympic trials in April. Snyder knocked off the world's best a week before he heads back to class for his junior year at Ohio State.
Shields becomes first U.S. two-time gold medalist
Claressa Shields had Olympic gold around her neck and a secret keepsake in her warmup jacket pocket. She reached in the pocket, pulled out her first gold, from 2012, and slipped that medal over her head. Two Olympics, two gold medals. She beamed as she held the medals in her hands, a reminder that she stood atop the medal stand not only as the best in the world in her class but as the only American two-time boxing gold medalist. "I'm going to let the world know, and they'll never forget that I have two Olympic gold medals," she said. "Just in case anybody had any questions." Shields, 21, breezed through three unanimous decision victories in the tournament. She thumped Dutch fighter Nouchka Fontijn in convincing fashion to wrap up back-to-back middleweight gold. Shields hatched the two-medal celebration last month to combat perceived disrespect as well as to celebrate. "I felt left out. I felt left out because I was like, wow, I'm the first woman to ever win an Olympic gold medal and I didn't really get any recognition for it," she said.
The waited-for route brings expected gold
The U.S. men's team ended up right where expected. Saving their best for last in a tournament that had been tough, the Americans convincingly won their third straight gold medal, beating Serbia 96-66 on Sunday. After a few close calls earlier in the Olympics — half of their eight games were decided by 10 points or fewer — this was no contest. Kevin Durant scored 30 and helped the Americans jump out to a huge lead by halftime. Paul George said he and his teammates took out their frustrations on Serbia after hearing all the talk about them being less talented than previous U.S. squads and not blowing teams out. "We did a good job of bottling all that up and unleashed it on Serbia," George said. It was the final game with the national team for Mike Krzyzewski, who took the Americans back to the top and leaves with them there after becoming the first coach to win three gold medals. Carmelo Anthony also picked up his third gold to go with a bronze, becoming the most decorated male in Olympic basketball history. Anthony checked back into the rout in the final minutes so he could grab a seventh rebound, passing David Robinson for the U.S. record with the 125th in his Olympic career. He had already become the leading U.S. career scorer earlier in the tournament, capping an Olympic career that began with disappointment as a member of the U.S. team that finished third in 2004. The Americans haven't lost since, winning 25 straight in the Olympics. During a postgame interview with NBC, Anthony, 32, teared up, saying this was his final appearance in the Olympics. "I committed to this in '04. I've seen the worst, and I've seen the best," he said. "I'm excited for me but also for the other guys who have never experienced anything like this."
Marathon, volleyball join the medal table
Galen Rupp (below), running his second marathon — his first was at the Olympic trials — took the bronze medal, the first U.S. medal in the event since Meb Keflezighi won silver in 2004. He finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 5 seconds, 11 seconds behind silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopa. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won in 2:08:44. "The marathon, it's a real special event," Rupp said. "I don't think I really truly understood that until I started doing them." Keflezighi finished fourth. … The men's volleyball team came back from two sets down to take the bronze with a 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13 win over defending champ Russia. "I was a little worried," said team captain David Lee, one of two players on the 2008 gold-winning team. "If you saw the looks on some of the guys' faces, it just didn't look like we were in the game yet. But we just turned on a switch."
U.S. BRONZE ROUNDUP