NBCSports.com looks back at the 2010s decade this week. Here are six Olympic teams (in team sports) that dominated the last 10 years …
U.S. Men’s Basketball 2012, 2016 Olympic titles 2010, 2014 World titles
The successors to the Redeem Team kept the U.S. Olympic dominance intact in London and Rio, going undefeated under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony have to be the MVPs, going one-two in scoring for the Americans at both Games. Anthony became the first U.S. man to earn three Olympic basketball titles and broke LeBron James‘ career U.S. Olympic points record. The decade ended on a sour note, with the Americans losing in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals in September under new coach Gregg Popovich.
U.S. Women’s Basketball 2012, 2016 Olympic titles 2010, 2014, 2018 World titles
Undefeated in FIBA competition in the 2010s, winning every Olympic and World Cup game by double digits and by an average of 32 points per game. Former University of Connecticut stars Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles were part of every major international roster. Their college coach, Geno Auriemma, was at the helm through the Rio Games. Since, Dawn Staley succeeded Auriemma. Another UConn great, Breanna Stewart, took MVP at the 2018 World Cup.
Canada/U.S. Women’s Hockey Combined to win every Olympic and world title in the 2010s Two Olympic finals decided in overtime or shootout
Canada had the edge by winning two of the three Olympic titles. The U.S. owned the rivalry at the world championships — winning six of seven titles. These two national teams define women’s hockey, and so they both belong on this list. It began in Vancouver, where 18-year-old Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice, fellow Olympic rookie Shannon Szabados stopped all 21 U.S. shots and the Canadians celebrated on ice with Molsons, cigars and at least one ice-resurfacing machine. In Sochi, the U.S. squandered a one-goal lead with a minute left, with Poulin scoring the equalizer and the overtime winner. Canada nearly completed a perfect Olympic decade in PyeongChang, giving up a third-period lead and falling in a shootout that went to an extra round. The U.S. was led by stalwart forward Hilary Knight, twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando and 20-year-old Olympic rookie goalie Maddie Rooney.
Russia Synchronized Swimming 2012, 2016 Olympic titles Won all 10 world titles in the 2010s in technical/free routines
Russia owns every Olympic gold medal this millennium in synchronized swimming, which is now called artistic swimming. The dynasty draws from Russia’s balletic traditions. If the program was weak in any aspect, it was from a lack of male synchronized swimmers. But not anymore. The mixed-gender duet events aren’t part of the Olympic program yet, but two debuted on the world championships program in 2015. It wasn’t until this past summer that Russia swept those gold medals.
U.S. Women’s Water Polo 2012, 2016 Olympic titles 2015, 2017, 2019 World titles
The Americans are 149-4 dating to 2015, not dropping a game at an Olympics, World Championship, World Cup or a World League Super Final in that span. They’re currently on a 65-game win streak. They have three games left in 2019, looking to finish 37-0 to complete the first perfect calendar year during the current reign of dominance. Adam Krikorian has been head coach for the entire decade with a bevy of talent at his disposal. The most prominent is Maggie Steffens, a member of every title team this decade at the Olympics, worlds, World Cup and World League.
Honorable Mention: Sweden Women’s Curling and Canada Men’s Hockey.
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