RIO DE JANEIRO — When Simone Manuel touched the wall to clinch a gold medal Saturday night, it was a moment 120 years in the making.

The U.S. women’s 4×100-meter medley relay team of Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Dana Vollmer and Manuel – winners at the Rio Games on Saturday night – is being recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as delivering the nation’s 1,000th gold medal in Summer Olympics history.

By their count, anyway. Keeping count of the gold total is not as exact a science as one might think.

The count accepted by the U.S. Olympic Committee coming into the Rio Games was 977 gold medals, and even that was adjusted a bit in recent weeks over a debated medal from the 1904 St. Louis Games. That means the gold medal in the women’s eights on Saturday morning was the 21st for the Americans in Rio, and No. 998 overall. Some sites say there’s a few more, some say a bit less. The USOC count is the accepted one.

And the relay win was No. 23 in Rio, so by the USOC’s count that made it official.

“A gold medal is like a newborn baby,” said long jumper Jeff Henderson, who put the U.S. on the brink with gold No. 999 earlier Saturday night. “It’s just lovely.”

Lovely, 1,000 times over now for the Americans.

“A remarkable achievement made possible by the culture of sport that is the fabric and foundation of Team USA,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said Saturday night.

James Connolly won the first for the U.S. in 1896, and of course no one has added more to the total than Michael Phelps, a 23-time gold medalist. Illustrating how not-so-simple this medal-counting business is, the official info portal for the Rio Games even has a different number than the USOC, saying the one the Americans will recognize as No. 1,000 is really No. 1,001.

Whatever the real number, the U.S. is the first to reach four figures – in a landslide. The Soviet Union remains No. 2 on the all-time summer gold list, and no other nation has even reached 500.

“Here’s the significance: The next four best nations had 1,004 gold medals coming into Rio,” said Bill Mallon, an Olympic historian. “You add up the next four and they barely have more than we do.”

At its current rate, China wouldn’t reach 1,000 golds until 2100. Germany wouldn’t get there until 2204.