BEIJING - Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are familiar faces by now, so seeing the gymnasts side-by-side on the medals stand Tuesday was nice, but nothing new.
For that, get to know another American gold-medal winner, freestyle wrestler Henry Cejudo.
The son of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Cejudo was 4 when he last saw his dad. His mom raised six kids and often struggled to make ends meet. The family moved more times than anyone remembers.
He got into wrestling as a youngster because his older brother Angel was good at it, good enough to get invited to live at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Only halfway through high school, Henry went with him.
The kid became a national champ at 17, then defied conventional wisdom by blowing off college to study nothing but wrestling. Yet last year, at the world championship - his first senior-level international event - he didn't win a single match.
Now he's the world's best in the 55-kilogram division, the youngest American ever to win an Olympic wrestling gold medal. That's saying something, because his was the 50th gold won by U.S. wrestlers; swimming and track and field are the only sports to produce more.
His story is packed with vines of inspiration for all kinds of people to grasp. The parts he hopes resonate most: Dream big, work hard and never give up.
'Anybody can do it,' he said. 'It's just a matter of seeing it, believing it and just working at it, and achieving it. ... The guy who went 0-1 (at the world championship) just won the Olympic title.'
Cejudo's gold and Johnson and Liukin finishing 1-2 in the balance beam were among the highlights for the U.S. delegation at the Olympics on Tuesday. Another gold medal came in the 100-meter hurdles, but it wasn't from the expected sprinter, Lolo Jones.
Jones was leading the pack, then hit the second-to-last hurdle and wound up seventh. Gold instead went to Dawn Harper, who grabbed the last spot on the American squad at trials.
'This is a kid nobody knew,' said her coach, Bob Kersee. 'Now she's an Olympic gold medalist. It's breathtaking.'
With 205 of the 302 medals decided, the United States is atop the medals table with 79. Check out the distribution: 26 gold, 26 silver and 27 bronze. Talk about diversity.
China is close behind with 76 total medals, but 43 of them are gold. Other than the U.S., no other delegation has that many. Russia is closest with 42.
Track and field
Sanya Richards was on the medals stand and she wasn't happy about it. She didn't like the color: bronze.
The favorite in the women's 400 meters, Richards led in the stretch but faded at the end, ruining what would've been a great comeback from an illness that cost her most of 2007. Britain's Christine Ohuruogu won, with Jamaica's Shericka Williams taking silver.
Johnson and Liukin went 1-2 in the all-around also, but it was the other way around. In fact, Johnson came into the balance beam finals with three silvers.
While Johnson finally got her gold, Liukin's fifth medal of these games matched the most ever for an American female gymnast at a single Olympics. Mary Lou Retton did it in 1984 and Shannon Miller in 1992.
The United States got its only men's individual medal when Jonathan Horton took silver on high bar.
Sylvia Fowles had 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Americans on their latest rout, a 104-60 victory over South Korea that placed them in the semifinals. The Americans have made the medal round in every Olympics they've entered, and have won 31 straight games since losing in the 1992 semifinals.
The Americans advanced to the medal round with a 4-2 victory over Taiwan, powered by John Gall's go-ahead homer and a solid outing by pitcher Brandon Knight.