With the closing ceremonies now over, and athletes heading back to their respective countries, the post-Olympic boom has begun.
Medal-winning athletes are making the rounds on morning and late-night talk shows, cashing in on endorsement opportunities, and maybe even enjoying some well-deserved rest. And lots of those successful American athletes are women.
When the U.S. Olympic team entered the London stadium to open the 2012 Games, the commentators made note that this is the first time in history that the American team was comprised of more women than men. It only makes sense that U.S. women captured more than 50 percent of the American medals, including 29 gold, bringing home team titles in gymnastics, water polo, basketball, rowing and soccer, not to mention relay titles in swimming and track and field, the gold in doubles tennis, and sweeping gold and silver in beach volleyball.
U.S. women struck gold in the boxing ring and judo arena, and even on the shooting range.
The accomplishments are another feather in the cap for Title IX, the education amendment that ensured greater opportunities for women in sport. But beyond the sheer success of the U.S. women are so many amazing stories behind these amazing athletes.
Many of the U.S. women are not only Olympians, but also moms, including Kerry Walsh Jennings, who added two sons to her family since the 2008 Games. Cyclist Kristin Armstrong gave her toddler a shout-out in her post-gold-race interview; that's just to name a couple. While the debate continues about whether or not women can have it all, these athletes are proving they can have most, if not all, as working moms and world class competitors.
And these "wonder women" stories go well beyond U.S. borders. This was the first time in Olympic history that every nation in attendance brought women to compete, even Saudi Arabia, where it is actually illegal for girls to play sports.
From another part of the world, Malaysian shooter, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi made headlines, competing in the Olympics while eight months pregnant.
And on the German gymnastics team, former Russian stand-out, Oksana Chusovitina, mother of a 12-year old son, was competing in her sixth Olympics at the age of 37.
The driving principals of sport: self-improvement, goal-setting, team building, competition; these must be just some of the things that call women from all corners of the globe to compete.
The Olympic Games gave us an international stage where women, and especially American women, would shine. Certainly there were countless wonderful and inspiring stories about male athletes, but with every Olympic Games, women are capturing a greater share of the world's admiration, and setting an example for little girls on every continent.
All around the world, being a girl who plays sports is becoming more and more cool, and nowhere is that more evident than right here in the USA.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.