As the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro come to close tonight, it’s time to look back at what, in my opinion, were the most significant parts of this summer’s Olympic Games.
Controversy leading up to Olympics
There was no shortage of concern for Olympic athletes in the months leading up to Rio. Several notable athletes dropped out of the Olympics over concern about the Zika epidemic raging across Brazil and Southern America. Team USA basketball even decided to live on their own personal mega yacht during the Games rather than stay in the Olympic village, in what was one of the biggest power moves of all time. The other major concern during these Olympics was the safety of the players, which is illustrated perfectly by the picture above of protesters greeting athletes at the airport. Despite these major concerns, there were fortunately no major incidents that harmed any of the participants.
USA Swimming Dominance
Between the men’s and women’s teams, the United States racked up 33 medals, including 16 gold, in swimming alone. Australia was the next closest with 10 swimming medals (3 gold). Of course, the two biggest stories were Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Phelps, 31 years old and playing in his 5th Olympics, added six more medals this summer, including five gold, to bring his record-breaking totals up to 28 career medals and 23 golds. My favorite Phelps race was the 200m Butterfly Final, in which he avenged a previous Olympic loss by winning gold and destroying rival Chad Le Clos who failed to even medal at the event. Ledecky was arguably more dominant this Olympics, racking up 4 golds and 1 silver by destroying not only the competition, but the record books. This was never more obvious during her performance in the 800m freestyle, in which she won by an absurd 12 seconds over the silver medalist while smashing the world record.
USA Women’s Gymnastics
Out of all the Olympic events, gymnastics will always be the one I’m most impressed with. The USA women’s gymnastics team set out to dominate again, this time led by a record breaking performance from 19 year old Simone Biles. I’m pretty sure my bones almost broke just by watching her floor exercise routine. That amount of athleticism and coordination is mind-boggling. She took home five medals this Olympics and became the first gymnast in US history to win 4 gold medals at a single Olympics. Fellow American, and Massachusetts native, Aly Raisman added 3 more medals to her total in her second Olympic stint following London in 2012.
Usain Bolt’s Triple Three-peat
Usain Bolt can run 100 meters before I even finish typing this sentence. The Jamaican once again established his dominance by winning the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100 relay for an unprecedented 3rd straight Olympics. He finished with a world-record breaking 9.58 seconds in the 100m this time. Just to put that in perspective, 100 meters in 9.58 seconds translates to TWENTY-TWO AND A HALF miles per hour. Usain Bolt can literally run faster than I can bike. He will go down as the fastest man on earth.
Team USA dominates basketball
My favorite thing to watch in the Olympics every year is the USA Men’s basketball team. Team USA had its struggles with some games early on in group play, but when it mattered most they came through led by Kevin Durant’s 30 points in a 30 point blow out win over Serbia for the USA’s third straight Olympic gold medal and record-breaking 76th consecutive win in international play. It will be the end of an era for Coach K, the only coach to win 3 gold medals, and Carmelo Anthony, the only player to win 3 straight gold medals. On the women’s side, Team USA was able to capture it’s 6th straight gold medal by dominating Spain in the gold medal game.
FINAL MEDAL COUNT
Let me know your favorite moments from the 2016 Rio Olympics in the comments down below.
Thanks for reading,