Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Top Moments of the Rio Olympics

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Collected by: Lime Green Giraffe Social Media Director, Avery B.

            Can you believe it’s only been a few months since the 2016 Summer Olympic Games? Wow! Time flies by fast when you’re already looking ahead to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea or the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in 2020.
            To look back on an exciting month full of athletics, records, and gold medals, and maybe even show you a few moments you might have missed during all the festivities, the staff here at the Lime Green Giraffe has compiled some of our top moments of the Rio Olympics. Enjoy!

Usain Bolt Strikes Again!

In his final Olympics, Usain Bolt, representing Jamaica in Track and Field, didn’t fail to live up to expectation. He won gold in the 100-meter sprint, the 200-meter sprint, and the 4x100-meter relay, becoming the first and only person to win all three sprint events at three consecutive Olympics. And even as he ran for his final wins, he still had time to smile and pose for cameras. Talk about an impressive finish!

A Beautiful End to Michael Phelps’ Career

The end has finally come for an impressive career spanning five Olympic Games. Michael Phelps finished his Rio Games with three individual medals, a gold in the 200-meter medley, a gold in the 200-meter butterfly, and a silver in the 100-meter butterfly. He also won a team gold in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay and the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, as well as another gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay. This adds five gold medals and a silver to his 28 total medals, 23 of which are gold, the highest medal count for any Olympian ever. He was even named Male Athlete of the Olympic Games! There’s no doubt that this legacy in Olympic swimming will live on even after Phelps retires.

An Even More Beautiful Michael Phelps Meme
While his magnificent closing chapter is something no one can forget, Phelps’ game face may just be what most people remember from these Games. After Chad le Clos, a swimmer from South Africa, narrowly beat Phelps for the gold in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics, the two have had a rivalry. When le Clos began to dance and shadow box before the 200-meter butterfly Rio semifinals , well, let’s just say that Phelps was not impressed. His angry scowl exploded on the Internet and is now a lovely meme. It’s made all the better in the fact that Phelps beat le Clos in the semifinal and eventually took gold in the finals.

Simone Manuel Makes History!
The 20-year-old swimmer from Texas made Olympic history, when she became the first African-American woman to win gold in an individual Olympic swimming event. Simone tied with Penny Oleksiak of Canada for gold. She also set a new world record of 52.70 seconds. Coming off of her win, Simone says that she was “super glad with the fact that [she] can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport.” Simone also won a silver in the 50-meter freestyle, a silver in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, and another gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay. The Rio Games were not her first Olympics, and after seeing her spectacular showing in Rio, who knows what she’ll accomplish down the road. She’s definitely one to look out for!

The “Iron Lady” Dominates
Katinka Hosszu of Hungary is a champion swimmer and a five time the world champion, but she has failed to grab a medal at the past three Olympics. However, she returned to Rio strong and won gold in the 400-meter individual medley. In doing so, she demolished the previous world record by 2.07 seconds. In addition, she won gold in both the 100 meter backstroke and 200 meter individual medley. It’s no wonder that her strong swimming has earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady!”

Newbie Katie Ledecky Steals the Scene
It was definitely a big Olympics for swimming, with another American female making our list. Everyone had high expectations for Katie Ledecky coming into the Games after she won gold in London as a 15-year-old, and she did not fail to disappoint. Her first gold medal was in the 400-meter freestyle, and she also set a new world record time of 3 minutes and 56.46 seconds, breaking the previous record that she also set. Ledecky also won gold in the 200-meter and 800-meter freestyle, again setting a world record in the 800-meter and becoming the first woman in 48 years to sweep the freestyle events. She also grabbed a gold in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay and a silver in the 4x100-meter free relay. Even after all this success, she was also named the Female Athlete of the Olympic Games. Talk about a champion!

Mo Farah is Back Again
Mo Farah, the 33-year-old track runner from Great Britain, won his fourth Olympic gold as he defended his wins from 2012. He became the second man in Olympic history to win both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter track events at consecutive Olympic Games. This firmly establishes his legacy as Britain’s most successful track and field athlete of all time and one of the world’s most successful distance runners. Sweet!

Memorable Golds for a Few Countries
A total of 10-countries won their first gold medals ever at the Rio Olympics. What a cause for celebration!

  • Bahrain won their first gold with Ruth Jebet in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
  • Fiji declared a national holiday when its rugby team grabbed gold after winning against Great Britain in the finals.
  • While Kuwait didn’t send a team to the Olympics, Fehaid Al-Deehani, who competed as an independent athlete, became the first Kuwaiti with a gold medal after winning the double-trap shooting event.
  • Ivory Coast won the gold in Taekwondo after Cheick Sallah Cisse landed an important kick a second before the end of the fight.
  • Jordan, similar to Ivory Coast, won its first gold medal and only Olympic medal in Taekwondo with competitor Ahmad Abughaush. 
  • In its first Olympics, Kosovo grabbed a gold medal when Majlinda Kelmendi won her judo competition.
  • Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig won a gold medal in tennis.
  • Tajikistan got a gold in the men’s hammer throw, as well as its first track and field medal thanks to Dilshod Nazarov.
  • Vietnam’s Hoang Xuan Vinh has now won half of his country’s medals, including gold in the 10-meter air pistol competition.
  • And Singapore…

Joseph Schooling Beats His Idol
Singapore's first ever gold medal is thanks to Joseph Schooling. He actually swims at the University of Texas, but competed for his home country during the Rio Olympics. He won his gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly, beating Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos of South Africa, and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, who all tied for silver. Schooling set an Olympic record of 50.39 seconds, but the awe inspiring part for him was beating Phelps, who has been his idol. Schooling even has a picture with Phelps taken after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Schooling comments that he's "just ecstatic. I don't think it has set in yet. It's just crazy."

First Ever Olympic Refugee Team
Even when their home countries are war torn and chaotic, these refugee athletes manage to still persevere. The first ever Olympic Refugee team competed in this year’s Games. The team was made up of 10 athletes from countries like South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They competed in judo, track and field, and swimming. One swimmer, Rami Anis received a standing ovation when he achieved a personal best. While none of them medaled, they all represented hope and inspiration for millions of fellow refugees around the world.

In Gymnastics, Simone Biles Reigns
It's hard to believe the Rio Games were Simone Biles’ first Olympic Games after you saw her execution and skill level, but it's true! Simone Biles walked away from her first Games with five medals to add on her to previous three consecutive world championship titles. As part of the "Final Five", named for the last Olympics under the tutelage of renowned gymnastics coach Martha Károlyi, Biles won a team gold. Individually, Biles won a gold in the all-around and a gold in the vault, as well as a bronze on the beam. Considering her success at these Games, we guess that she will probably be back in Tokyo to continue doing what she does best: striking gold.

Allyson Felix Swipes Historic Number of Medals
It was a Games to remember for Allyson Felix, a track and field runner on Team USA. She won a gold in 4x400 relay, a gold in the 4x100 relay, and a silver in the women's 400-meter race. These medals bring her grand total to six gold medals and nine total medals in her Olympic career. She is the third woman to win three Olympic gold medals in the same track and field event, which is the 4x400 relay for Felix. She is also tied for the most decorated track and field woman Olympian and is tied as the third most decorated track and field Olympian ever. In addition to all of these, her six gold medals leave her tied for fifth among all women in any Olympic sport. That's a lot of titles to remember and definitely a lot to be proud of!

British Couple Become the King & Queen of Cycling
British cyclists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott were undeniably the king and queen of the cycling track. After the Rio Olympics, the couple who recently got married, have a total of ten gold medals between the two of them. Trott now has four golds, making her the most decorated British female Olympian ever. Kenny now has six golds to his name, leaving him tied for most decorated British male Olympian. They have certainly earned the title of the most successful Olympic couple in history!

Two Shattered World Records
Ethiopian track and field competitor Almaz Ayana broke the reigning world record to win the women’s 10,000-meter race. The record stood since 1993 but Ayana beat it by about 14 seconds. Seven other runners set national records coming behind her and creating a momentous race.  On top of the momentous occasion, this was also the first world record broken inside the Rio Olympic stadium. Also in track and field, Wayde van Niekerk from South Africa broke the men’s 400-meter race world record by fifteen hundredths of a second. He revealed that he was inspired by Usain Bolt back in a training camp in Jamaica. Bolt apparently told van Niekerk that he would break the world record. And Bolt was right!

Amazing Show of Support Earn Rare Sportsmanship Award
Sometimes it’s not about the win at the end of the race but your attitude during it. Literally. Abbey D’Agostino of Team USA and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand embodied the true spirit of sportsmanship during the women’s 5,000-meter race. During the race, D’Agostino stopped to help Hamblin to her feet after a fall that tripped them both. They then continued on, but D’Agostino soon collapsed in pain due to a torn ACL among other injuries. This time, Hamblin stopped and helped her up, encouraging her to keep going just as D’Agostino had done to her. They both eventually finished the race and due to their selfless actions, they received the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin award, also known as the International Fair Play Trophy. While neither of the women medaled, they captured something even better: the true spirit of the Olympics.

Watch Out for the American Women
The U.S. as a whole dominated the Rio Olympic Games but the U.S. women especially ruled. The 2016 U.S. Olympic team included the largest women’s delegation in Olympic history, with 292 women to 263 men. Out of the 121 medals brought home by Team USA, women took 61 of them. Out of the 46 gold medals, American women earned 27 of them. If the American women were competing as a separate country, they would have ranked third overall in the medal count. That’s what we call girl power! 



Wow, what an Olympics! Who else is already eager for the 2020 Games in Tokyo? Let us know your favorite 2016 moments in the comments below!


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