Held from August 5, 2016 to August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Summer 2016 Olympic games will go down in history books. As the first Olympic games to be held in a South American city, it was clear from the beginning that Rio 2016 would be historic.
During these games Men’s Rugby returned to the Olympics after 92 years. The diving pool mysteriously turned green and Usain Bolt’s iconic shot of him grinning at the camera while running a race spread through Twitter like wildfire. The first Refugee team competed in the games, and while they did not take home any medals, the team, and the games themselves, made a statement, showing “solidarity with the world’s refugees.”
With every historic moment comes some scandal, such as Ryan Lochte’s infamous robbery claims and The Daily Beast’s controversial article about Grindr and the Olympic athletes.
World records were broken by Katie Ledecky, who competed in the women’s 400 and 800-meter free style. Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to take gold in an individual swimming event. Throughout the games, she won two gold and two silver medals, while breaking both Olympic and American records. And finally, Simone Biles became the first U.S. gymnast to take home 5 gold medals at one Olympics. She also became the first U.S. woman to ever hold the World Championship and Olympic all around titles simultaneously.
Michael Phelps swam his last Olympic race in Rio 2016, retiring with 28 medals total and 23 of them being gold. He won 5 gold medals and one silver in Rio.
The United States brought home the most medals with an inspiring 121, breaking down to 38 bronze, 37 silver, and 46 gold. Simone Manuel shows that although these wins are significant, the Olympic medals are something much larger than her or the other athletes when she says that her win is “for a whole bunch of people that came before me and have been an inspiration to me. It’s for all of the people after me, who believe they can’t do it. And I just want to be an inspiration to others, that you can do it.”
The Summer Olympics will return in 2020 in Tokyo.
THE LADIES BRING IT HOME
Many women were the first in their country to medal in their sport. Sakshi Malik was the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal in wrestling, while Kaori Icho, from Japan, was the first woman to win 4 straight gold medals in wrestling. Sara Ahmed was the first Arab woman to win an Olympic medal in weightlifting, and Oksana Chusovitina made history at 41, by being the oldest woman to compete in Olympic gymnastics.
The women of the United States made Rio 2016 the Olympic games to remember. Michelle Carter became the first American woman to win gold in shot put, while Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal while wearing a hijab. Jenny Simpson took home the first Olympic medal in the women’s 1500-meter race, and Emma Coburn won the U.S. their first medal in women’s 3000m steeplechase. Sara Robles won the first U.S. weightlifting medal in 16 years.