So the Summer Olympics are over for another 4 years – although we still have the Paralympics (and Winter Olympics) to look forward to.
It has been a very successful one for Team GB in terms of medals won. Britain is the 1st country ever to win more medals in a Games following a home Games with 67 medals beating 65 from London 2012. We had success in the usual sports like Cycling and Rowing but also in sports we were not expected to win like Javelin and Trampoline. Team GB won more medals in different sports than any other country – I believe 15 different sports.
As a result of the success, we finished 2nd in the medal table – although you could argue China underperformed and not doing well in sports they usually are good at like gymnastics and swimming. Chances are though, it will be much tougher in Tokyo 2020 to do as well when its likely China will do better, Russia may do better (who knows!) and Japan will probably do better with it being a home Olympics for them.
There were many moments I enjoyed, some involving Team GB and some others. Of course watching Usain Bolt win all the golds and do the “Triple Triple” was amazing. It was great to see Brazil win the football. It was great seeing Mo Farah win 2 medals – just amazing.
Speaking of Usain Bolt, he seems like he’s good at everything – and not just his ability to pick up woman. He appears to type of person good at all sports – and if you believe what you read, maybe with no that much training (apparently has never run a mile, just eats loads of chicken nuggets) – but I digress, what I was going to say is that it turns out he’s good at throwing the javelin. There was a video showing him throw it 56 metres. Of course nothing compared to actual javelin throwers but as a comparison, Ashton Eaton who won the decathlon threw javelin just under 60 metres.
I loved how great we did at cycling – living in Manchester, it feels a bit more special being close to the “medal factory. Also the Brownlee brothers wining gold and silver. Its incredible their dominance in the triathlon – they’re on another level. Nick Skelton winning gold and was oldest medal winning in Rio and oldest Brit in a century – and special mention to his horse who I think is called Big Star(?). Nick is 43 years older than Ren Qian, the youngest medal winning in Rio, who , to make you feel old (maybe) was born this century and has won an Olympic gold medal. So many other great moments that I have forgot.
Arguably the best was the women’s hockey and the Team GB women. I sort of got into it and took more of an interest after London 2012. And similar to women’s football, the women in hockey always seem to give 100% – unlike the men’s football team in particular. In Rio 2016, the Team GB women were unbeaten winning 8 games out of 8. It was literally blood, sweat and tears. In the semi final, I couple players went off after getting hit in head/face. You know its a tough sport when they stop play to wash the blood off the pitch – and she came back on the pitch later on in match!
The final of the women’s hockey was almost fitting with how it went. Netherlands were the better team in normal time but Team GB didn’t give up and it went to penalties. And then sudden death penalties – such drama. It was a great performance by all but special mention to keeper Maddie Hinch.
It was a shame there was no Team GB Football team, not for the men or women but the organisations couldn’t come to an agreement or something like that. Although if we did have football team in Olympics, hopefully we would have reacted better than Hope Solo did when US lost. She called the Sweden team “cowards” – although she did say afterwards she was a bad loser (no sh*t). But also in that game, just before a penalty she delayed the kick to change gloves. Everyone thought it was just time wasting and trying to put off Swedish player. Poor sportsmanship. Sweden of course went on to win.
(UPDATE: Hope Solo has been suspended from US national team for 6 months. It was also reported some of her team mates including Alex Morgan, were not happy with her comments about Sweden).
As I mentioned earlier though, it was great to see the Brazil Men’s football team win. In a place like Brazil where football is so big, it was perfect. Made even more perfect with Neymar scoring the winning penalty. It didn’t start well for them – I think after 2 games they had no won and scored no goals. Worked out OK in the end!
There was disappointment for Team GB, it wasn’t all good. It was a shame for Tom Daley to not get into the final. He may not be the best in the world but had a chance for a medal in the individual event. I would have loved Jess Ennis-Hill to win gold. It all came down to the last event in a way and “losing” by a few seconds. Although the woman who won, Nafissatou Thiam, did brilliant and was actually a well deserved win.
Also, it was horrible for Lutalo Muhammad who literally came within a second of winning gold medal – I am sure you have heard about it and maybe seen his “post-match” interview. It was heartbreaking. Saw him in interview next day and although still gutted, he was at least able to smile.
During Rio 2016, we also saw some great sportsmanship. For example Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin – who because of what happened got given award for show of sportsmanship. With 2km to go Hamblin tripped and accidentally knocked over D’Agostino. D’Agostino got up first but instead of carrying on, she checked Hamblin to make sure she was OK. Hamblin was on the floor and didn’t look like going anywhere – but Abbey told her basically to get up, this is the Olympics. They both carried on although D’Agostino was more injured – seriously it turned out with a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament but she still finished race. Hamblin waited for her at the end and they hugged.
And I want to mention Yohann Diniz. The poor guy who had “stomach problems” in the 50km walking event – but still carried on. I think one of his opponents stopped to actually check he was Ok when he was on the floor. The walking in the Olympics seems a brutal event. In some events, athletes almost make it look easy (sure its not). And after running 10k (Mo Farah) or a marathon or something like that they seem OK afterwards. In the walking, athletes all seem to collapse. Some people make fun of walking in Olympics but they speed they manage is amazing and the mental focus. Its incredible. The winner walked 50km in 3h40m! (A marathon is about 42km and although professional can do this in about 2h10, this is faster than most of us can run!).
There was another good moment when we say North Korea and South Korea athletes “getting on”. Two gymnast took a selfie. Nice moment –
And also when Brazil’s Rafaela Silva won gold in the judo. She is from one of Rio’s poorest places, the place called City of God. She was disqualified in London 2012, called an embarrassment afterwards. So was sort of a fairytale story seeing her win in Rio 2016.
But some negatives of the games including the booing from the crowd. It happens in football (and sort of other sports like tennis) but seems wrong in Olympic events. Nothing wrong with supporting someone from your country but seemed to go too far on occasion. The biggest incident of this was probably the pole vaulting and the booing of Renaud Lavillenie. He was booed during the final – eventually won by a Brazilian athlete. He was then booed during medal ceremony – not on! – the poor guy looked like he was about the cry. Actually, he pretty much did. Afterwards he did compare crowd to a Nazi crowd but apologised for that comparison and said it was said immediately after the medal ceremony. He was consoled afterwards by Thiago Braz (who won gold) and Sergey Bubka (pole vault legend).
However, its sort of an end of an era – both for GB and sport as a whole. For Team GB, many legends of sport are retiring – or certainly Rio 2016 is their last Olympics. Athletes like Jess Ennis-Hill, Kate Richardson-Walsh, Bradley Wiggins are unlikely to be competing in Tokyo 2020. And we are not likely to see people like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in Tokyo 2020. Incredible athletes who are almost super-human with what they have won and the records broken. We won’t get to see Phelps “death stare” again in an Olympics!
However, its not all doom and gloom with some stars like gymnast Simone Biles and South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk who broke Michael Johnson’s 17 year old 400m world record.
Now, although the actual sport were very good, with great action, entertainment, results, achievements the actual running of Rio 2016 didn’t go totally smooth.
We already knew about problems like the dirty water and athletes told not to drink the water and some Team GB athletes talking about accommodation and things like toilets not flushing and the food being horrible. And then we had things like the diving pool turning green, many empty seats (likely because tickets were very expensive), the whole Russia state sponsored doping “issue”, an official ticket touting. And then you had Ryan “douchebag/bro” Lochte – although thats not Brazil/Rio’s thought and feel sorry for them. Actually many people were sorry about him:
But its worth remembering that Ryan Lochte has always been a douchebag. But he probably doesn’t know because he’s so stupid:
And I also thought about how so much money was spent and how many people in Brazil are very poor and how money could be spent better. And that looks to be a problem now for the Paralympics with poor ticket sales and talk about some events may even be cancelled.
Dan Walker – star of Rio 2016? 😉
Away from the sport, did anyone else watch the BBC4 coverage? A lot of the coverage was with Dan Walker. Already a fan of his from watching him on things like MOTD, Football Focus, listening to him on radio but him on Copacabana beach and all the stuff happening was great. Probably most famous is Maria and the hen party. But also the bin men on the beach and the couple “reading a book”. 😉 Well done Dan!
So anyway, thank you Rio. Great job as always with the coverage BBC. And thank you to all the athletes
who took part. Apart from Ryan Lochte.