11 Incredible Things Women Did At The 2016 Summer Olympics In Rio

Records rocketed towards the sky at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and women led the way for what might be the most successful Games for us yet. There were too many incredible things women did at the Olympics in Rio to count; and it was, overall, a year where we demanded a place next to men — not behind them. While it's true that media coverage still too frequently reduces women athletes to their physiques or their relationship statuses, women have boldly claimed other titles: Olympian, winner, medalist, record-breaker, all-around badass.

You don't have to be a competitive athlete (or an athlete at all, for that matter) to be inspired to the core by these brilliant women. Their work ethic, determination, discipline, and motivation can be applied to any facet of your life: Work, love, sports, you name it. They transcend all boundaries, and urge us not to judge them for the way their bodies look, but rather to focus on what they can do, and not to zero in on who they're dating, but rather to focus on their accomplishments. They demand that we look at the years of loyalty they've paid to their crafts, and what they've worked so hard for — and rightfully earned.

The highlights reel from the 2016 Olympics in Rio is a lengthy one, and these are just some of the memorable achievements that'll go down in the history books.

1. Simone Manuel Was The First African-American Woman To Win Gold In An Individual Swimming Event

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She is aware of how groundbreaking this is, but also hopes that one day, race won't matter. Manuel told USA Today, "I want to be an inspiration, but I would like there to be a day when it is not 'Simone the black swimmer.'"

2. American Women Won The Most Medals

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Team U.S.A. took home the most medals overall — 121. Women were responsible for 61 of them. They also took 27 of our 46 gold medals. Heck yes.

3. Olympic Weightlifter Sarah Robles Saved The U.S. From A Lifting Medal Drought

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Robles brought home Team U.S.A.'s first medal in women's lifting in 16 years: A bronze, in the +75 kilogram weight class.

4. Claressa Shields Made History With Two Olympic Boxing Gold Medals

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She's the first American to do this — man or woman. She won her first gold in 2012.

5. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad Was The First Team U.S.A. Athlete To Compete Wearing A Hijab

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She sent a powerful message to women (and men) everywhere: You can be whatever you want to be.

6. Gymnast Simone Biles Won Five Medals In A Single Olympics, And Four Of Them Were Gold

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These four golds make her one of just four gymnasts who have ever done this. And she's the only American.

7. Track And Field Athlete Michelle Carter Broke An American Record

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She became the first U.S. woman to take home the gold in the shot put.

8. Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana Destroyed A World Record

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The world record for the 10,000 meter race had gone undefeated since 1993. Ayana shattered it by more than 14 seconds with a finishing time of 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds.

9. Women Won The United States' 1,000th Summer Olympics Gold Medal

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And that final win was thanks to the women's 4x100 medley relay in swimming.

10. 19-Year-Old Katie Ledecky Beat Her Own World Record In The 800-Meter Freestyle

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11 seconds separated the gold medal winning swimmer from the silver medalist. This was her fourth gold medal and fifth overall for this Games.

11. Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, And Kristi Castlin Achieved An Olympic First

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They finished gold, silver, and bronze in the women's 100-meter hurdles. This was the first time a single country dominated the podium for this event — ever.