The First Female Gold Medalists, Week 6: Basketball & Cycling

Excerpts taken from Team USA’s article dated March 24, 2016. 

This week, we head to Los Angeles, California. Here, we finally reach the year that American women win gold on American soil. Yes, that’s right – it took 84 years for this to occur – and after that, there was no stopping them!

1984, Los Angeles – Basketball – Team U.S.A.

The U.S. women’s basketball team had been defeated by the Soviet Union in the final of the 1983 world championships, 84-82. Following the defeat, much of the U.S. team would stay together to compete at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. The Soviet-led boycott meant the two world powerhouses would not get a rematch, however, and the U.S. rolled over the competition to its first gold medal. Coached by Pat Summitt and led by Cheryl Miller, the team won the final over Korea 85-55, its closest game in the tournament.


1984, Los Angeles – Cycling – Connie Carpenter

Carpenter’s first Olympic experience came when she was a 14-year-old speedskater in 1972. Also a national crew champion while attending the University of California at Berkeley, cycling was her true forte. She won 12 U.S. cycling championships, more than any other cyclist in history at the time, and four medals at the cycling world championships. In the first-ever Olympic road race for women, at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, she out-sprinted fellow American Rebecca Twigg for gold.