With more than 100 total medals, the U.S. got help from everywhere. Here are a few of the performances that came out of the blue:
Anthony Ervin: The 35-year-old swimmer with the crazy back story came to Charlotte four months ago to fix his start. A barracuda in the water once he gets there, Ervin had finished fifth in the 2012 Olympics in the 50-meter freestyle in large part because of a terrible start off the blocks. Working with coach David Marsh, he tweaked it just enough and won the 50 free this time in a stunner.
Kristin Armstrong: At age 42, she came out of retirement to win her third gold medal in cycling in the women’s individual time trial. Asked why she would try to become the champion again after already winning gold in Beijing and London, Armstrong answered: “Because I can.”
The women’s hurdlers: The U.S. finished 1-2-3 in the women’s 100 hurdles, as Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin made it a clean sleep for the Americans. Rollins won in 12.48 seconds.
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The men’s shot putters: Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs went 1-2 in the shot put for the U.S., with Crouser setting an Olympic record along the way. They were the first pair of American shot putters to win gold and silver in the same Olympics since 1996.
Helen Maroulis: The first women’s wrestling gold for the U.S. women ever came on Thursday, when Maroulis beat a three-time Olympic defending champion from Japan for the title in the 117-pound weight class.