The 2021 Summer Olympic Games conducted in Tokyo will be remembered in the United States as the year American women  inspired a nation . U.S. women athletes won 66 medals, more than half the total for all American Olympic competitors.

It was women who helped the USA take home the most medals of any country. They also enabled Team USA to edge out China by one for that all-important tally of gold medals. Winning the most golds and overall medals are viewed as an across-the-board viory for any nation competing in The Games.

Consider that if American women athletes were their own country, they would have ranked fourth in the world. The inspirational take-aways exemplified by specific athletes played out in their incredible stories. 

For example, Valarie Allman won gold for discus throwing. Prior to becoming a track & field competitor, Valarie’s first career was as a dancer, touring nationally while still in high school. She opted to join her school’s track team only because it was a way to get invited to her school’s annual spaghetti dinner for throwers. It turns out her talents for discus were world-class.

Inspirational lesson: Never be afraid to try something new.

Team USA gymnast Jade Carey ended her Sunday competition with a crushing defeat. She broke down in tears after a minor slip in the vault landed her an eighth-place finish. However, Carey shook it off and came roaring back to dominate in her floor event the next day. She took home the gold medal for her country.

Inspirational Lesson: Just keep going even after you’ve been knocked down hard and things appear hopeless. 

Allyson Felix is the most decorated track & field U.S. Olympic athlete in history. She has nailed down six gold medals and three bronze. But she’s also known for her fierce advocacy for female athletes who are also mothers. 

Felix took a bold stand against one of her major sponsors, Nike. She broke a nondisclosure agreement that legally restricted her from talking about the Nike policy of reducing sponsorship pay for pregnant mother athletes. She risked her career going up against the athletic brand giant by publishing an article in the New York Times. Nike backed down and changed the policy.

Inspirational Lesson: Speak up for what matters and make your voice heard even when the consequences for doing so are severe.