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USA women’s volleyball sweeps Brazil for first Olympic gold medal in team history

The team that beat the USA for the gold medal in both 2008 and 2012 gets run off the court in Tokyo.

USA’s Andrea Drews and USA’s Foluke Akinradewo react after a point in the women’s gold medal volleyball match between Brazil and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on August 8, 2021.  Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

In a dominating performance that avenged the ghosts of the past against their biggest international rival, Team USA women’s volleyball beat Brazil 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) to capture the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Annie Drews was the offensive star with 14 kills on 24 swings, but it was the three-time Olympian Jordan Larson that controlled the game with her passing, defense, and swings from the left side. Setter Jordyn Poulter had only one option to give the last kill of Tokyo to, and Larson went angle and crashed to the court in a heap of emotion.

At no point was this match close. The USA was an unconscious 46/97 on attacks (hitting errors aren’t tracked in Olympic play), had eight blocks, and simply out passed, out worked, and were the better team. Brazil defeated the United States in the gold medal game at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, but at no point was this match in doubt.

At the start of the tournament Team USA was +300 to win the gold medal, tied with Serbia but behind both China and Italy. Despite the loss of starting opposite Jordan Thompson to injury during pool play, as well as a couple without Poulter who was well-replaced by Micha Hancock, they improved in every match of the tournament.

Head coach Karch Kiraly, who becomes the only man or woman to win a gold medal in indoor volleyball and beach volleyball as a player as well as a coach, also allowed to be disclosed during he that he is recovering from colon cancer.