Olympics 2012: Gold, Silver and Bronze Are the New Black

ESSENCE salutes the African-American athletes who triumphed at the London Games.
Yolanda Sangweni Aug, 13, 2012

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For the first time in 16 years, the U.S. women’s 4×100 relay team walked away with a gold medal. Sprinters Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison also set a new world record, completing the race in just 40.82 seconds.

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Gabby Douglas made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Individual All-Around final. She also took home gold in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team final.

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This tennis duo prove two forces are better than one. The Williams sisters reclaimed their title from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with another gold medal in the women’s doubles this year. Just a day earlier, Serena grabbed the gold in women’s singles, beating Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.

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Boxer Claressa Shields, 17, made history by becoming the first American woman to ever win a middleweight title. Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Shields’ story is inspiring in and out of the boxing ring.

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The U.S. Women’s basketball team — which includes Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore — took home three consecutive gold medals.

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Track and field golden girl Allyson Felix won three gold medals, making her the first U.S. woman to do so since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.

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Besides her team wins, track and field star Sanya Richards-Ross won the gold medal in the Women’s 400m final.

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Mississipi native Britnney Reese won a gold medal Women’s Long Jump Final

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The U.S. men’s basketball team — which includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Jevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, and more — took home gold.

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Swimmer Lia Neal, 17, won a bronze medal in the women’s swimming 4×100 meter freestyle relay.

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Lashinda Dermus is all smiles after winning the silver medal in the Women’s 400m Hurdles.

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Kellie Wells won the bronze medal in the Women’s 100m Hurdles Final.

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Jason Richardson celebrates after winning silver in the Men’s 110m Hurdles Final.

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Besides her team wins, track and field star Carmelita Jeter won the silver in the Women’s 100m Final

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Destinee Hooker and Foluke Akinradewo pose with teammates Logan Tom and Courtney Thompson after winning silver in the Women’s Volleyball gold medal match.

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The U.S. women’s 4×400m relay team, (L to R) Sanya Richards-Ross, Francena McCorory, Allyson Felix and DeDe Trotter brought home two gold medals.

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Wrestler and certified eye candy (you’ll have to excuse us) Jordan Burroughs celebrates winning gold in the Men’s Freestyle 74 kg Wrestling Final.

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Besides team wins, track and field athlete Justin Gatlin won the bronze medal in the men’s 100 meter final.

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Michael Tinsley kisses the silver medal he won in the Men’s 400 meter hurdles.

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Aries Merritt won a gold medal in the Men’s 110m Hurdles Final.

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Erik Kynard celebrates after winning the Silver medal in the Men’s High Jump Final.

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Reese Hoffa took home a Bronze medal in Shot-Put.

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Christian Taylor took home gold in the Olympic Triple Jump.

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Track and field star Janay Deloach kisses the bronze medal she won in the Women’s Long Jump Final.

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Swimmer Cullen Jones has earned three medals at the London Games: Gold in the men’s swimming 4×100 meter medley relay, Silver in the men’s swimming 50 meter freestyle, and Silver in the men’s swimming 4×100 meter freestyle relay.

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Track and field stars Bryshon Nellum, Joshua Mance, Tony McQuay, Angelo Taylor pose with the Silver medals they won in the men’s 4×400-meter relay.

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Terrence Jennings took home a Bronze medal in Olympic Taekwondo.

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Ashton Eaton took home Gold in the Men’s Decathlon.

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Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey won silver in the Men’s 4 × 100m Relay Final.

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Will Claye won Bronze in the Men’s Long Jump Final.

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Like her teammate Lauryn Williams, Jeneba Tarmoh did not run in the 4×100m race, but she did win Gold.

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She may not have raced in the women’s 4×100m race, but Lauryn Williams won a Gold medal. It’s complicated.

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Dawn Harper won Silver in the Women’s 100m Hurdles Final.

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Fencer Maya Lawrence (pictured with teammate Susie Scanlan) celebrated winning a Bronze medal for Women’s Epee Team Fencing Finals.

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As part of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Sydney Leroux took home three Gold medals.

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