Rio Golden Favorites: US Women’s Basketball and Soccer Teams

US Women's soccer team 2016

292 women will represent the United States at the Rio Olympics. That is more than the 263 men on the US team, and more than the total team rosters of 196 of the 206 other nations competing in Rio.

Ever since the United States passed a law (Title IX)  in 1972 barring sex discrimination in education programs receiving funds from the federal government, girls have been able to develop their athletic skills to the point where US women have become dominant in team sports.

Before women’s softball was removed from the list of Olympic sports, US women had won three of the four gold medals from 1996 to 2008. The US Women’s basketball team has won 7 of the past 8 Olympic championships, including the past 5. The US Women’s soccer team has won 4 of the 5 Olympic competitions ever held, including the last 3.

The US women’s basketball team over the past five Olympics are 41-0. With WNBA stars Brittney Griner, Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi on the team, it is likely, as NPR put it, that the toughest challenge they will face is in their intersquad scrimmages.

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(L-R) Elena Delle Donne, Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, and Sue Bird

The women’s teams from Australia and Spain will be the toughest competition for the US as those teams have players with considerable international experience. But no one is expecting anything less than gold for the female cagers from America.

The US women’s soccer team is also a near lock on gold in Rio. Not only are they Olympic champions, they are also world champions after their 5-2 destruction of rivals Japan in the 2015 FIFA World Cup. On top of that, the Olympics feature only 12 teams, half of those which compete in a World Cup. Thus, powers like Japan and Norway did not make the cut. However, Germany will be on the Brazilian pitches, and will post the biggest threat to the US. Rivals France and Brazil will also be looking to depose the US.

With stars Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn, the US Women’s soccer team is expected to romp to its fourth straight gold medal.