Women's 400 medley relay team wins United States' historic 1,000th gold medal

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Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Dana Vollmer and Simone Manuel won No. 1,000 for the U.S. (Reuters)
Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Dana Vollmer and Simone Manuel won No. 1,000 for the U.S. (Reuters)

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RIO DE JANEIRO – The U.S. women’s 400-meter medley relay made history Saturday night, winning gold for themselves and No. 1,000 in American Summer Olympics history.

The quartet of backstroker Kathleen Baker, breaststroker Lilly King, butterflyer Dana Vollmer and freestyler Simone Manuel etched their names into the books by holding off Australia for the victory in Olympic Aquatics Stadium, winning in 3:53.13. Denmark won the bronze.

The victory continued a huge performance by the American swimmers, who have dominated the competition. The U.S. ended the Olympics with 33 swimming medals, its most since 2000 in Sydney.

An unexpected long jump gold medal earlier Saturday night gave the U.S. women’s relay a shot at the milestone gold. Coming into the night it appeared that honor could fall to Michael Phelps and the U.S. men’s medley relay, which was right after the women. That’s one mark that Phelps will have to do without as he heads into retirement as the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

The United States has won by far the most medals of any country in Summer Olympics history.

“One thousand golds for Team USA is a nice number,” Manuel said.