AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

All gold medals are special, of course.
A very special one, though, awaits an American athlete _ potentially coming as early as Friday.
With 16 gold medals so far in these Rio Games, the U.S. Olympic Committee says it is now up to 993 golds all-time in Summer Olympic competition. And with 24 golds set to be claimed on Friday, it could be the big day where someone wins No. 1,000 in Team USA history.
The Americans will be the first to get to that number of golds. No other nation comes close.
Among the gold-possible sports for the U.S. on Friday: men's archery, women's shot put, equestrian, fencing, rowing, shooting and swimming. And since later in the day would seem to be the most logical time for a seventh gold to come, it very well could be Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps adding to their medal hauls in a milestone way.
The USOC will pay tribute to gold No. 1,000 when it comes, though plans for how it will be celebrated haven't been completely finalized.