The Team USA women’s sitting volleyball team earned Paralympic gold over China in four sets on the final day of competition in Tokyo, bringing a historic end to the Games for the U.S. athletes.
That’s because the feat completes a never-before-seen sweep of women’s Paralympic and Olympic volleyball medals by one country, as the Americans also earned Olympic gold in indoor volleyball and beach volleyball earlier this summer, according to NBC Sports.
“Women can do anything they put their mind to, and USA Volleyball has the strongest women in the world,” Team USA member Katie Holloway said after the gold medal match. “It is incredible to be in that place. We are so grateful to be among the most powerful women in the world in volleyball.”
China and the United States have come to dominate women’s sitting volleyball since it was added to the women’s field in the Paralympics in 2004. China won the first three Paralympic gold medals in 2004, 2008, and 2012, but the U.S. snapped their streak in 2016—and defended their Paralympic title in Tokyo this year.
Four-time Paralympians Holloway and Heather Erickson led Team USA in scoring with 20 and 21 points, respectively. Three-time Paralympian Monique Matthews contributed 19 points.
After the victory, Erickson told reporters that staying in the moment—not looking ahead to what may happen, or focusing too much on what already did—was key to staying on top.
“Focus on what we can do right now in this moment,” she said, according to Team USA. “And today, we did a really good job of refocusing ourselves.”
Lora Webster, who has been a member of all five Team USA rosters at the Games and competed in Tokyo while pregnant with her fourth child, contributed six points to the victory. After the historic win, she thanked the team’s fans for their support.
“I’m speechless,” Webster wrote on Instagram. “I simply want to say thank you…to the ones who watched us at the wee hours of the morning, and the ones who recorded and watched it later, [to] those of you who discovered the Paralympics for the first time ever and became fans! And those who have been there all along, I love you.”
The women’s sitting volleyball final wrapped up a prolific run for Team USA at the Paralympics in Tokyo. Team USA ended the Paralympics ranking third in gold medals won (with 37, behind China and Great Britain ) and fourth in total medals earned (with 104, behind China, Great Britain, and the Russian Paralympic Committee).