The 2016 Rio Olympics have come and gone leaving us with memories of triumph, joy, and heartbreak. Before we say our final goodbyes and look towards the next summer games in Tokyo we wanted to reflect back on the moments that inspired us in Rio.
Katie Ledecky and Simon Biles had huge expectations placed on them leading up to games. They came into the games the as leaders of their individual sports and left in the same fashion. Night after night these women took down the competition and brought home Gold for the USA. Both women took home five medals- Ledecky earned 4 gold and 1 silver, and broke two world records in the process and Biles took home 4 gold medals and 1 bronze. Talk about girl power!
Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt made their last Olympics (they claim - but we have heard this all before) extremely memorable. Michael Phelps came out of retirement for his 5th games to once again rule the pool and earned 5 gold medals and 1 silver. Thus increasing his total to 23 gold medals and 28 Olympic medals and reinforcing his title of the most decorated Olympian of all time. Usain Bolt came back for his 3rd Olympics looking again for the title of the fastest man in the world - and he got it. Bolt came away with 3 more gold medals increasing his medal count to 9. Both men have contributed so much to their individual sports and neither those, or the Olympics, be the same without them.
There were many firsts of the Olympic games but none quite received the reception like Fiji did. The team took home gold in the Men’s Rugby Sevens - giving the country its first ever Olympic medal. This was the first time the sport was played in the Olympic Games and the country was so overjoyed with the result that the prime minister declared a national holiday!
The Men’s Brazilian soccer team had the nation behind them as they took on Germany for the gold medal. The fate of the 1-1 match was finalized through a penalty shoot out where both sides were on edge. Brazil’s Neymar landed the final penalty kick securing a gold medal for the host country and offered some redemption over the 2014 World Cup performance when Germany kicked Brazil out of the semi-final. This incredibly memorable match gave Brazil their first men’s soccer Olympic gold medal and will surely be remembered in games to come.
After colliding in the women’s 5000m track event, New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino of the USA were awarded with a special Olympic sportsmanship award. D’Agostino tore ligaments in her knee but both women were intent on finishing the race together. Neither were awarded individual medals but their humanity and sportsmanship are a symbol of the Olympic spirit as was recognized as so. This was also the first time we was saw athletes compete under the olympic flag for the Refugee Olympic Team. It gave displaced athletes a place to compete and bring global attention to the magnitude of the refugee situation around the globe. There were no medals won in these games for the team but the athletes were undoubtedly heroes of the 2016 Olympic Games.