Team USA for the win! The American athletes donning stars and stripes in Japan have scored plenty of medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
The summer games, which started on Friday, July 23, kicked off in Japan with Olympians Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez holding the flag at the opening ceremony. The basketball player, 40, had four Olympic gold medals before the 2020 games, which were postponed one year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Alvarez, 31, is on the USA baseball team for the Tokyo games, but the Miami Marlins infielder won a silver medal in 2014 at the Sochi Olympics as a short track speed skater.
The two stars, and their fellow American athletes, are expected to earn even more bling from the summer games. After the 2016 Rio games, the United States of America had the most all-time medals of any country in the world with nearly 3,000 pieces of hardware.
Among the early winners this year are Katie Ledecky, who won a silver medal on Monday, July 26, in the women’s 400m freestyle. She also scored the second-fastest time in the history of the competition at 3:57.36.
Once the athletes earn their respective medals in Tokyo, they can celebrate with their favorite cheat meals. Married foil fencers Lee Kiefer and Gerek Meinhardt plan to give in to their fast food cravings after competing this year.
“There’s definitely going to be more than one cheat day after Tokyo,” Meinhardt, 30, exclusively told Us Weekly before heading to Japan to compete alongside his wife, 27. “It’s going to be, like, a whole week of getting burritos and basically everything that I think about every day but try not to eat.”
Kiefer, who is a medical school student, was one of the early gold medalists, earning her hardware on Monday, July 26.
Most of Team USA, however, doesn’t have their spouses or family members with them in Japan. Due to the pandemic, no spectators are allowed at the games, so Olympians and Paralympians must leave their loved ones behind — which has been a huge hurdle for some to overcome mentally. Paralympian and sitting volleyball star Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, for example, is spending her largest span of time yet away from her son, Duke, 3, while in Tokyo.
“It’s a big sacrifice to leave him for so long,” the Oklahoma native, 25, explained to Us ahead of the games. “We’re going to be gone for about three weeks. So, it’s just the longest I’ve been away from him, but I’m really excited. I think it’ll be fun for him to watch, especially, like, on the TV and on that stage. I think it’ll be cool.”
Watch the Tokyo Olympics on NBC, and keep scrolling to see all the medals for Team USA: