September 29, 2016 3:58 PM EDT

President Barack Obama toasted America’s dominant female Olympic athletes at the White House on Thursday.

The White House hosted a celebration for the almost 600 U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who competed in Rio. A theme throughout the event was the team’s diversity, as Obama recognized the two American track and field athletes who raised their fists in a Black Power protest during the 1968 games and the relatives of the black members of the U.S.’ 1936 Olympic team at the ceremony.

Obama also made sure to congratulate the American women, who claimed 61 medals, 27 of them gold, besting the American men’s total medal count.

“2016 belongs to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “No question.”

The women were widely expected to be dominant before the Olympics, with a lineup featuring gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky, who both took home four gold medals each. However, throughout the Olympics, media coverage and social media chatter showcased the sexism female athletes face.

“As a father of two young women, for them to have that example of health, drive, competition, persistence and strength, it makes me really proud,” Obama said Thursday.

Write to Samantha Cooney at

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