Women Won Most of Team USA's Medals — and Have One of the Highest Hauls of All Countries
The U.S. women have competed so well at the Tokyo Summer Olympics that if they for some reason decided to form their own country, their medal haul would be among the highest in the world.
The female athletes on Team USA have collectively earned about 60 percent of the total 113 medals, including feats in fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, track and field, water polo, wrestling and more. (By contrast, countries like Australia, Italy and Japan have 46, 40 and 58 medals respectively, all less than the U.S. women.)
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"I think we've been showing up on the track [and] off the track in all of the ways," Felix said. "So to me, I loved it. I love seeing it."
The excitement of seeing the other women compete alongside her was its own kind of motivator, Felix said.
"Sitting back and watching each woman perform, it was inspiring — it was like, okay, who's up next then? Kind of like a buzz," she told PEOPLE. "So it was really, really cool."
As USA Today notes, the share of Olympic women in the U.S. has been increasing for years, with female athletes making up a majority of the roster starting with the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Starting in 2008, at the Beijing Games, the women began to win more medals than the men.
Both trends have continued — something athletes and experts told USA Today was due in large part to Title IX, which since 1972 has legally required women and girls have equal access and treatment to athletics in any school receiving federal funds.
One member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's board of directors told USA Today that "as Team USA celebrates its Olympic performances, one must acknowledge how almost 50 years ago, in an effort to elevate women in our society, Title IX empowered generations of women to compete, to lead, to win and to inspire."
Swimmer Katie Ledecky, one of the stars of the U.S. team in Tokyo, said much the same.
"Title IX has had a huge impact on women participating in sports and the evidence of that is clear with the results of women at the Tokyo Olympics," she told USA Today.
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"For progress to continue, we're going to have to continue to advocate for equality for female sports," Ledecky told the newspaper, "[and] not be afraid to speak out, to pursue legal and political remedies and have a seat in corporate boardrooms, and not be timid about participating in those processes that will continue to bring change."
* With reporting by LINDSAY KIMBLE
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.