This post, "Celebrate The Dream Team's Gold With 10 Other Historic U.S. Teams" was originally published on Team USA Volleyball.
By Emily Reinwald | Aug. 08, 2017, 11:59 a.m. (ET)
Members of the Dream Team take their place atop the podium for the medal ceremony at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992 on Aug. 8, 1992.
The U.S. men’s basketball team at the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992 was the first to feature NBA players. Dubbed the Dream Team, the squad went on to dominate Olympic competition like no basketball team had ever done before en route to their gold medal. Stacked with an entire roster of players that would go on to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Dream Team is one of the most iconic teams in Team USA history. But it’s not the only one.
Exactly 25 years to the day since the Dream Team won gold, we take a look at 10 other teams who deserve that same moniker in their respective sports.
1) Women’s Water Polo, 2008-Present
The U.S. women’s water polo team has been one of the most dominant teams of this decade. Since losing in the final of the Beijing Games, the team has won three world championships, been crowned World League champions eight times, took home gold at the Pan American Games in both 2011 and 2015, and has won two world cup titles. Oh, and they haven’t lost a match at the Olympics since 2008, becoming the first women’s team to win consecutive gold medals.
2) Women’s Eight, 2006-2016
From 2006 to 2016, the women’s eight of U.S. Rowing won every world and Olympic title. That’s 11 consecutive titles. For a decade, the women who rowed for Team USA were simply unbeatable, even as the crew members changed.
3) Final Five, 2016
USA Gymnastics has consistently sent strong teams and athletes to compete in the Olympic Games, but none have been as impressive as the Final Five who won gold in Rio. Anchored by Simone Biles, Team USA blew the competition out of the water, winning the team competition by 8.209 — the largest margin of victory since the new scoring system was instituted in 2006. Biles also added a golds in the individual all-around, the floor exercise and the vault as well as a bronze on the balance beam. Two-time Olympian Aly Raisman took silver in the all-around and floor, while Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian earned silver medals on balance beam and the uneven bars, respectively.
4) Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, 2004-2012
The greatest beach volleyball pair of all time was simply unbeatable at the Olympics. They first won gold in Athens in 2004, then became the first beach volleyball duo to repeat as Olympic champions when they won in Beijing. May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings did not lose a single set in their first two Games as a team. In London, they only lost one set in the entire tournament and took home gold for the third time.
5) Four-Man Bobsled, 2010
Led by the late Steven Holcomb, the U.S. four-man bobsled team won gold at the Olympic Games Vancouver 2010, ending Team USA’s 62-year gold medal drought. Steve Mesler, Curtis Tomasevicz and Justin Olsen composed the rest of the team known as the “Night Train.” The team’s first run set a new track record, but it didn’t last long; they broke it again the next time on the track. The Americans posted the three fastest times of the competition and went onto to beat out Germany by 0.38 seconds for gold.
6) 4×100-meter Freestyle, 2008
Going into the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, the U.S. hadn’t won the 4×100-meter freestyle since 1996. Michael Phelps needed a gold medal here if he wanted to beat Mark Spitz’s record of seven Olympic golds at one Games. Before the event, Alain Bernard, the anchor of the French team, claimed his team would “smash” the American team, which included Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and captain Jason Lezak. With 50 meters to go and a 0.6 second lead over Lezak, it appeared Bernard would make good on his word. But Lezak staged perhaps the greatest comeback in swimming, out-touching Bernard at the wall and recording the fastest 100-meter freestyle leg ever: a blistering 46.06 — almost a second and a half faster than Phelps’ leg. It was a storybook ending for the Americans, and one that allowed Phelps to break Spitz’s record.
7) Women’s Soccer, 2004
While the 1999 World Cup team may be the most iconic U.S. women’s soccer team of all time, the Olympic team at the Athens Games was always destined for gold. After losing in Sydney in 2000 then failing to defend their World Cup title, the team composed of iconic veterans was determined to regain their place atop the podium. A glance at the roster and it’s clear why this team was one of the best in history: Brandy Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Heather Mitts, Heather O’Reilly, Christie Rampone, Briana Scurry, and a young Abby Wambach, who scored the winning gold — with her head, of course — in overtime of the final. The Olympic final was the last international match for Fawcett, Foudy and Hamm, a trio of pioneers in the sport.
8) Women’s Softball, 2004
At the Barcelona Games, the U.S. men’s basketball team beat its opponents by an average of 44 points. Fast forward 12 years to Athens, and the U.S. women’s softball team proved itself as the most dominant team in the world by winning its third consecutive gold medal and outscoring its opponents 51-1 over the course of nine games.
9) 4×100-meter, 1992
Anchored by one of the greatest track and field athletes of all-time, Carl Lewis, the U.S. men’s 4×100-meter team not only won gold at the Barcelona Games, but also set an Olympic record that stood for 20 years.
10) Men’s Ice Hockey, 1980
Heading into the Olympic Winter Games Lake Placid 1980, the roster of the U.S. men’s ice hockey team was the exact opposite from the later Dream Team that took Barcelona by storm in 1992: every single player was an amateur. This team often came from behind in their Olympic matches, unlike the basketball team which demolished every opponent. But when you think about the best, most iconic and inspiring teams in Team USA, the 1980 men’s ice hockey team responsible for the “Miracle On Ice” is atop the list. The squad famously defeated the heavily-favored Soviet Union and went on to beat Finland to clinch Team USA’s first ice hockey gold medal in 20 years.