In the first half of the Millennium Olympic Games, women athletes have broken world records, captured countless medals and participated in the debut of many events, previously open only to men. US women athletes are taking their place in Olympic history along with their international competitors. Stacy Dragila, pole vault world champion and record holder, became the first woman ever to receive a gold medal in this event with her 15 foot, one inch vault on her first attempt.
Women’s water polo also debuted in the 2000 Olympics, giving water polo veterans like Maureen O’Toole (US) a chance to compete for the most coveted athletic prize. With just 1.3 seconds left in the final match against the Australian team, the US faltered and let the Aussie’s final shot at the goal slip past the defense for the game winning point. The Australian’s gold, American’s silver and the Russian’s bronze medals are the first ever awarded in the history of women’s water polo. Sprinter Marion Jones is on her way to quintuple gold, a never before achieved goal for a woman track and field athlete, with her 10.75 second 100-meter sprint to win the gold. Diver Laura Wilkinson came from 8th place to win the gold on the 10-meter platformthe first gold for the US in this event since 1964. The US women’s softball team came roaring back from a three game losing streak to win the gold in a 2-1 victory over Japan. The US women’s soccer team is also on their way to a gold medal game after beating Brazil 1-0. They will play Norway in the final match, a team they beat 2-0 in the opening round. Tennis sensation Venus Williams is continuing her 31-match winning streak, beating teammate Monica Seles. Venus will play Russia’s Elena Dementieva for the gold. Venus, and her sister Serena have advanced to the semifinals in women’s tennis doubles.