Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi Win Their Fifth Gold as Team USA Beats Japan, Finish Tokyo Olympics Undefeated
Team USA has won its seventh consecutive gold medal in women's basketball!
On Sunday at Saitama Super Arena, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi became the first Olympic basketball players, man or woman, to win five gold medals in the sport. The 12-player U.S. squad defeated Japan 90-75 and finished first in the tournament while Japan made its first appearance in an Olympic final and won silver.
Bird's fiancée Megan Rapinoe, who won bronze with USWNT, was in the stands proudly cheering on the team.
Since the 1992 Barcelona Games, the U.S. women's basketball team has been without a single loss and now ties the U.S. men's basketball team's record for most consecutive Olympic golds in a team sport with seven (The men won the first seven golds from 1936-68 after basketball's Olympic debut).
Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, who are both national champions at UConn and decorated WNBA stars, are not the only ones adding to their gold collection. Coach Dawn Staley previously won Olympic gold with the U.S. women's basketball team in 1996, 2000 and 2004. (Both Bird and Staley have the distinguished honors of being flagbearers at a Summer Games.)
"Sue and D, what they've done for USA basketball is extremely special. The fact that they're going for five straight golds is insane and I think for the rest of us as players, we want to make sure we put them in the best possible position to get that gold," Breanna Stewart, who is Bird's fellow Seattle Storm teammate and now two-time Olympic gold medalist, said prior to the game.
"I think everybody here wants to win gold for [Bird and Taurasi], for us, for everybody that started this streak and got us here," said Brittany Griner, also now a two-time Olympic gold medalist. "I mean, there's a lot of different reasons why we want to win this gold medal. So I think you're going to see some really good basketball in that gold medal game."
A'ja Wilson, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Saturday, was 8 years old when Bird and Taurasi won their first gold — now Wilson is an Olympic gold medalist alongside the dominant duo.
Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.
Days before the gold medal game, Bird reflected on how Tokyo's pool play has been different from her prior Olympics (2004 Athens Games, 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games).
"This Olympics I'm pretty sure will be the hardest. Right away within a couple of days, you're already in knockout rounds and that's probably from a U.S. standpoint to be honest because a lot of these teams they train," the WNBA icon explained. "We used to use pool play as our training because we didn't really have practice time. So from one game to the next we were just hoping to get better come the quarterfinals. And all of a sudden I feel like we blinked and we were in the quarterfinals. So it's a good sign that we're playing better now, but yes, this makes it harder for us."
In Japan, Team USA defeated Nigeria, Japan and France in group play. Then in the quarterfinal round they took down rival Australia before winning against Serbia in the semifinal.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.