In 1984 Mary Lou Retton won the first American gold medal in the all-around gymnastics event, helping to popularize the sport in this country.
Valerie Brisco-Hooks became the first Olympic runner to win both the 200-meter and 400-meter events, and Joan Benoit won the first women’s Olympic marathon.
In 1992 Jackie Joyner-Kersee became the first woman to win gold in the heptathlon in two successive Olympics (she also won a silver in this event in 1984). The heptathlon includes seven events, such as the hurdles and long jump, to indicate best overall track-and-field star.
In 1994 Bonnie Blair won her third straight gold in the 500-meter speed skating event and her second gold in the 1,000-meter event. She was the first woman to win five gold medals in the winter games.
In the 1996 games the U.S. women’s teams won gold in gymnastics, basketball, softball, and soccer. Also, swimmer Amy Van Dyken became the first U.S. woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics.
In 1992 Kristi Yamaguchi became the first Asian American to win a gold medal in figure skating. Stacy Allison was the first American woman to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, in 1988.