Why US women are likely to outperform the men again at the Olympics

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The Americans are favorites in most team sports, and the gymnasts are as strong as ever. But staying ahead of the rest of the world remains a challenge

The Year of the Woman, the headlines proclaimed throughout the 2012 Olympics. Globally, participation was up to 44.3% of the total athletes at the Games, and several countries that had previously balked at sending women finally did so.

For the USA, women were a slim majority of the teams participants there were 269 female athletes compared to 261 men. But, strikingly, they were a stronger majority of the medalists and the breakout stars. US womens teams won gold in basketball, soccer, all-round gymnastics, the rowing eights, and water polo. They also took silver in indoor volleyball and swept gold and silver in beach volleyball. Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt won five medals each while Allyson Felix won three golds. In the final tally, the USA won 58 medals in womens events, a record for a non-boycotted Olympics, according to Sports-Reference.com.

In 2016, expect more of the same. US women are favorites in most team sports, Katie Ledecky leads a swim team that is as strong as ever, and the gymnastics squad includes reigning Olympic champion Gabby Douglas and three-time world champion Simone Biles.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/19/us-womens-sports-olympics-rio