The Tokyo Olympics have officially come to a close, and while we hope that three years from now we get a more normal-looking games in Paris (i.e. fans in the stands), we have plenty to cheer as Penn Staters with several former athletes doing work during the final week of the games.
David Taylor, Haleigh Washington, and Micha Hancock led the way by earning gold medals. Taylor earned gold in a most dramatic fashion, getting a two-point takedown with 15 seconds left in the final round against Iran’s Hassan Yazdani to win 4-3. Taylor becomes the first-ever Nittany Lion wrestler to bring home a gold medal.
Washington and Hancock meanwhile, were part of the United States’ first-ever gold medal-winning squad in women’s volleyball, impressively sweeping Brazil in three straight sets 25-21, 25-20, and 25-14. Washington and U.S. head coach Karch Kiraly even had a viral video-worthy scream of joy together during their post-game interview with NBC, as you can see below.
"Not only are they badasses, but they are now GOLD MEDALISTS!"— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 8, 2021
Hear from coach Karch Kiraly and Haleigh Washington after winning GOLD! #TokyoOlympics x @USAVolleyball x @TeamUSA x #OlympicHERstory pic.twitter.com/yUtR3rxWV9
Former Nittany Lion basketball player Tom Hovasse did a masterful job as head coach of Japan’s women’s basketball team, leading the host country on a Cinderella run all the way to the gold medal match. Unfortunately for Coach Hovasse, the clock struck Midnight as the juggernaut U.S. team led by Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi was just too much to handle, defeating the Japanese 90-75 to win their seventh consecutive gold medal.
Also racking up medals was Joe Kovacs, who once again, brought home silver for the U.S. in the shot put, with fellow American Ryan Crouser taking home the gold after throwing for an Olympic record of 23.3 meters (76.4 feet), and Alyssa Naeher and assistant coach Erica Dambach bringing home a bronze for the U.S. in women’s soccer after defeating Australia 4-3.
Congratulations once again to all the former and current Penn State athletes and coaches who had the chance to strut their stuff on the global stage! Let’s do this again a few years from now, shall we?