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Everything that happened at the Rio Games

Posted by on August 22, 2016
Bolt’s triple treble, GB’s great medal haul, Phelps’ showstopper, Lochte’s shenanigans, Fiji’s first gold, boos, empty seats, a green pool: we’ve got it all

The Brazilian flag waves off the 2016 Olympics during Sunday’s closing ceremony.
The Brazilian flag waves off the 2016 Olympics during Sunday’s closing ceremony. Photograph: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

The big picture

Rio was thrilled to be hosting the Games; then not many people turned up to watch them; then the football gold and a beach volleyball win went Brazil’s way and the firecrackers came out again. And now life goes on for the people of Riomuch as it did before.

Jamaican and general all-round favourite Usain Bolt won and won and won to take his triple treble (not triple triple or three-peat, if you please), and also finished in a dead heat with himself for image of the Games. Was it this?

Canada’s Andre De Grasse, left, and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt smile at the finish line in the semifinal of the men’s 200 meters at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt at the finish line in the semifinal of the men’s 200m. Photograph: Frank Gunn/AP

Or this?
Usain Bolt, Andre De Grasse (again), and the rest in the men’s 100m semi-finals.
Usain Bolt, Andre De Grasse (again), and the rest in the men’s 100m semi-finals. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Elaine Thompson made it another Jamaican double with her wins in thewomen’s 100m and 200m.The diving pool went green, but there was nothing to worry about: it definitely wasn’t urine. And that sewage-soaked sailing bayFineas long as you keep your mouth shutLack of wind meant sailors weren’t at much risk of tipping in anyway.Also at no risk of sinking, despite the heavy metals clanking round his neck, was Michael Phelps, retiring – probably – from his fifth Games with five more golds and a wallflower silver to take his record tally to 23 golds, three silvers and two bronzes. Add in the celestial Simone Biles (four gymnastic golds, one bronze), and the pair carried off almost one-fifth of Team USA’s 46 golds between them.Just as greedy were the British track cycling team, every one of whom won a medal. How did they do it, panted left-behind rivals. Here comes the science part. Also: money.A fistful of countries got their hands on Olympic golds for the first time: Singapore’s Joseph Schooling held off Phelps for his; VietnamPuerto Rico,KosovoJordan and Fiji joined the ranks too.South African swimmer Chad Le Clos tried some mind trickery but was seen off by the Phelps face. More successful were his compatriots on the track: Caster Semenya, who bent back the finger-pointers with her win in the women’s 800m, and Wayde van Niekerk, who stylishly crashed through Michael Johnson’s 17-year world record in the men’s 400m.
The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller dives across the finish line ahead of Team USA’s Allyson Felix to win the gold.
The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller sprawls across the finish line ahead of Team USA’s Allyson Felix to win the gold. Photograph: Morry Gash/AP

And the podium of controversies? The booing of French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie as local hero Thiago Braz da Silva boinged his way to gold has to be on there, but pipped by the boxing judging row (succinctly precised by Irish boxer Michael Conlan: “They’re fucking cheats”), and Shaunae Miller’s legal but startling dive across the line to deny Allyson Felix 400m gold.Least fun was had by Russia, denied a track and field team after systematic doping, fourth in the medal table nonetheless, but on the end of some pointed criticisms for Yulia Efimova’s success in the pool, its boxers’ efforts in the ringand, well, generally.But China runs it close in the dissatisfaction stakes: “the worst Olympic flop”scolded state media as the national team finished a lowly … third.The most politically charged moment of the Games was very 2016: South Korea’s Lee Eun-ju’s selfie with gymnastics competitor Hong Un-jong of North Korea.
2016 Rio Olympics - Gymnastics trainingREFILE - CORRECTING ID OF SOUTH KOREAN ATHLETE 2016 Rio Olympics - Gymnastics training - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 04/08/2016. Lee Eun-Ju (KOR) of South Korea (R) takes a selfie picture with Hong Un Jong (PRK) of North Korea. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Lee Eun-ju takes a selfie with Hong Un-jong. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

And the special award for lack of sportsmanship goes to Ryan Lochte and his three partners in time-wasting for what the swimmer called “shenanigans” and the Brazilian police called vandalism and false testimony.

Team GB roundup

Two was the magic number: second in the overall medal table; two more golds for the unbeatable last-lap kick of Mo Farah; two for gymnast Max Whitlockand for cyclist Laura Trott; and 2012 doublings-up for Andy Murray, boxerNicola AdamsJade Jones in taekwondo, triathlete Alistair BrownleeCharlotte Dujardin (and horse Valegro), rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, and Trott and Farah again. The men’s rowers took two golds, in the four and the eight.

Olympics 2016 day fifteenMo Farah shows off his two gold medals earned in wins in the 10,000 and 5,000m after the ceremony for the mens 5,000m during day fifteen of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero on August 20th 2016 in Brazil (Photo by Tom Jenkins).
The golds came marching two by two: Mo Farah shows off his medals.

Second has more painful connotations for Lutalo Muhammad, who dropped to silver with a kick in the head – it’s taekwondo, it’s allowed – in the final, well, second. And for Jessica Ennis-Hill, who ended just 35 points off a heptathlon double gold, but took her second place with pride and praise for her vanquisher, Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam.Jason Kenny (despite the bonus point for remembering to bring his bag for life) mucked up the pattern with his three cycling golds, but that’s doubled his overall haul to six, so this tortured motif still works. Ruining it completely is Bradley Wiggins, a 2016 gold hoisting him to the status of the most decorated British Olympian of all time: eight medals, five of them of the best variety. Katherine Grainger followed suit to become the most decorated British woman, a silver in the women’s double sculls powering her to five medals from five Games.
Laura Trott and fiancé Jason Kenny show off two of the 10 Olympic gold medals they have won between themselves, at the Rio Olympic Velodrome on Tuesday.
Gold medal cyclists Laura Trott and Jason Kenny: you might have heard they’re getting married.

In a generously-medalled Games, there was room for some firsts, too. Getting Team GB on to the gold medal list was Adam Peaty in the 100m breaststroke. The women’s hockey team clinched two firsts: a breakthrough gold and the first same-sex married couple (Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh) to win alongside each other. Nick Skelton won his first individual equestrian gold at the age of 58. Sixteen-year-old Amy Tinkler won her first medal – and Britain’s first for a woman on the gymnastics floor – with a bronze she called “crazy”.
More: Um Mundo Novo? The Olympic rings leave Rio, rustier but brighter
Justin Rose took the first gold since golf was invited back to the party. SailorsHannah Mills and Saskia Clarkand Giles Scott, won their first golds before they even crossed the finishing line. Jazz Carlin was GB’s first double medallist in Rio, with two swimming silvers. Liam Heath won his first gold in a kayak, Joe Clarke his first in a canoe (yes, they’re different). In the first Olympic outing for rugby sevens, Britain came second, but nobody could mind because gold belonged to Fiji.Britain’s most successful Olympic diver twisted to a gold and a silver, and we learned that his name was Jack Laugher and not Tom Daley. We also learned – and then some immediately forgot – the existence of Daley’s diving partner, Dan Goodfellow. In the interests of non-hypocrisy let’s add Laugher’s gold-winning synchroniser, Chris Mears, here.Total: 27 gold + 23 silver + 17 bronze = 67 medals and 2nd place overall.

Team USA roundup

So, yes, America won. A weighty 121 medals, eclipsing China’s 70 and Britain’s 67 with almost embarrassing ease. Will Team USA miss Phelps in 2020? Given he had a – flipper-sized – hand in just six of the 33 swimming medals won in Rio, they’ll probably get by. After all, there’s still Katie Ledecky (aged 19, four golds, one silver), Simone Manuel (20, two golds, two silvers, already a history-maker), Lilly King (19, two golds), Ryan Murphy (21, three golds) and, oh, too many others to list. It’s a pity the names of Ryan Lochte and co could prove the more memorable.

Michael Phelps: hanging up his goggles.
Michael Phelps: hanging up his goggles. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Team USA was a lap ahead of anyone else in the athletics stadium too, with 32 medals, 13 of them gold, and two of those belonging to Allyson Felix, now the most decorated athlete in US track and field history. A one-two-three for Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin in the women’s 100m hurdles was verging on boasting. Justin Gatlin came into the stadium to boos and left withone silver, in what must surely be his final Games.Wins in the men’s and women’s basketball were utterly expected. Defeat in the women’s beach volleyball and football, and early departures for Venus andSerena Williams (as well as golds for the athletically geriatric Kristin Armstrongand Anthony Ervin) were not.But even the absolutely predictable can be unbelievably beautiful, as Simone Biles and the rest of her final five proved over and over and upside down and over in the women’s gymnastics. Online attacks on Gabby Douglas showed the uglier side.Total: 46 gold + 37 silver + 38 bronze = 121 medals and 1st place overall.
Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 11RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Simone Biles of the United States competes during the Women’s Floor Final at Rio Olympic Arena on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Flipping heck: the incredible Simone Biles. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

On the more humorous side…

Why yes, that is Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe dressed as Super Mario at the closing ceremony. Just 1,432 days until Tokyo 2020 and there’ll be no plumbing issues there. And the stadium will be made of Tetris blocks.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is Super Mario, just because.



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