Wrapping up the 2016 Summer Olympics
Thanks to the Zika virus, contaminated water, unsafe living conditions and security issues, the prominent storylines leading up to Rio 2016 weren’t exactly ideal.
Luckily for the athletes, fans and International Olympic Committee, all of these concerns didn’t prove to be too devastating to the games overall.
There was a green tinged diving pool and some unfortunate health concerns in the race-walk, but for the most part the focus in Rio was on the competition, and there were plenty of storylines to follow there.
Canada exceeds its Olympic Aspirations
Rosie McClennan captured Canada’s lone gold medal in London 2012 and carried the Canadian flag into Rio in hopes of repeating that performance. Not only did McClennan defend her gold medal, but Canada also added three other gold medals in Rio.
The Canadian Olympic Committee entered the 2016 Games with the hopes of taking home 19 medals overall, one more than they did four years ago. With the help of young stars-to-be in Penny Oleksiak and Andre de Grasse, Canada cruised past that mark and racked up 22 medals.
Oleksiak contributed to four medals in the pool and became the first Olympian born in the 2000’s to reach the podium. After striking gold in the 100m freestyle, the 16-year-old Toronto native was selected as Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremonies.
De Grasse added three medals on the track and was arguably the most consistent sprinter in Rio, behind Usain Bolt and even started up a budding friendship with the Jamaican superstar. With Bolt’s Olympic future up in the air, the 21-year-old de Grasse may represent the future of sprinting.
Legends Continue to Grow
If Bolt does indeed decide to retire, he will end his Olympic career with some awe-inspiring accomplishments. First, there is the obvious feat of becoming the first athlete to capture three consecutive gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100 relay. No other sprinter has accomplished that two Olympics in a row. Bolt also holds the current world record in all of these events.
The 29-year-old has nine gold medals and has never lost in a sprinting final. It’s difficult to argue against Bolt as the greatest sprinter of all-time.
Michael Phelps is another Olympic legend whose career may have wrapped up in Rio. The American Swimmer added to his already ludicrously full trophy mantle by adding five more gold medals and a silver in the 2016 games.
His 28 career Olympic medals in 30 events are the most all time. Rio may have truly marked the end of an era, as Phelps and Bolt have been the faces of the Summer Olympics for the past three games.
The Curious Case of Ryan Lochte
Rio wrapped up with one of the more bizarre stories of the Olympics, involving Ryan Lochte and his late-night trek to a local gas station.
The 32-year-old American swimmer originally described a scenario where he and a few other American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by Brazilian authorities. As it turned out, Lochte and his teammates vandalized a local gas station before being confronted by security.
The backlash from Lochte dishonest recount of the incident cost him major sponsorship deals with Speedo and Ralph Lauren. Lochte will not be straying from the public eye anytime soon, as he is expected to join the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.
For all the concerns and angst leading up to Rio, if the most memorable gaffe is a green pool or an athlete’s late-night antics outside of competition, it’s safe to say the Games can be considered a success.