Rio Olympics 2016: The Greatest Show on Earth Records were broken, history was made. By: Saima Sultana


The flame went out on the 2016 Olympics in Rio on 21st August, bringing to an end 16 remarkable days of sporting action. Brazil proved they know how to throw the best party on earth at the 2016 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad were declared open in spectacular fashion on 5 August, as host city, Rio de Janeiro welcomed the world to what promises to be an incredible two weeks in the latest chapter of the Olympic story. The Opening Ceremony took place in Brazil’s iconic Maracanã stadium. The event proved a celebration of global diversity as well as Brazil’s past and present, its history, diversity and grand musical traditions. More than 10,000 athletes, representing 207 nations, competed in 31 sports in Brazil, with 306 sets of medals awarded over the course of the Games. 2,102 is the number of gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the athletes competing in the Olympic Games. Yes, it is important to contest. Athletes from Bangladesh also joined at the Earth’s Greatest Show, but couldn’t make their way to win. It’s true that they tried but participation for participation’s sake has never been the Olympic motto. It clearly states: faster, higher, and stronger. Among much other news a piece of good news for Bangladesh was that Margarita Mamun, a Russian gymnast of Bangladeshi origin, won gold in women’s individual all-around rhythmic gymnastics event. Born in Moscow to a Bangladeshi father, Abdullah Al MamunShipar from Durgapur Upazila in northern Rajshahi district, she called it “a victory for two countries” after winning individual all-around Olympic gold. The 20-year-old Margarita goes by the nickname of ‘The Bengal Tiger’.  A lot has happened during those 16 days of the Olympics. Records were broken, history was made, legends confirmed and superstars born.

A series of mishaps and near-misses included stray bullets, robberies, an attack on a media bus, serious crashes in the cycling road races, empty seats, booing crowds, broken toilets in the Athletes’ Village and a pool mysteriously changing color. In competition, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles lit up South America’s first Olympics with standout performances. Rugby sevens, new to the Games, captured global audiences. The host nation only won seven gold medals while Britain claimed more gold medals than China or Russia.

However with all the mixture of good and bad activities, from Usain Bolt to Michael Phelps, two of the most popular Olympic sports, sprinting and swimming, saw their two biggest stars captivate audiences, we take a look at the 2016 Games.

Some notable milestones

  • Japan’s Kohei Uchimura became the first artistic gymnast in 44 years to successfully win back-to-back Olympic all-around titles. He also helped Japan take team gold for the first time since the Athens Games in 2004.
  • South Korea completed a clean sweep of archery’s four gold medals for the first time to continue its dominance in the sport. Of the last 36 archery golds available (over nine Olympics), South Korea has won 23 – that is 76.67%.
  • Britain’s Mo Farah became the first man to complete the 5,000m and 10,000m double at back-to-back Games since Finland’s Lasse Viren at Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976.
  • Team GB’s Andy Murray became the first-ever player to defend an Olympic individual tennis title on the same day that Justin Rose won the first Games golf gold in 112 years.
  • World-record holder Ashton Eaton of the USA became the first man to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the decathlon since Britain’s Daley Thompson at the 1980 and 1984 Games. Eaton took the gold by equalling the Olympic record points tally of 8,893.
  • Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson became the first woman to complete the sprint double at the Olympic Games for 28 years, following Florence Griffith-Joyner in Seoul in 1988.
  • China’s Wu Minxia became the first diver to win five Olympic golds when she sealed victory in the women’s 3m synchronized springboard event with Shi Tingmao.
  • Simone Biles won four golds and a bronze, making her the most decorated U.S. gymnast ever in a single Olympics.
  • Sprinter Allyson Felix took two golds in relays and a silver in the 400 meters. That boosted her to six career golds, the most in the track by any woman from any country, and nine medals overall in her four Olympics.
  • Katie Ledecky hauled in four golds and a silver as she smashed the world record in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyles along the way. At just 19, she could be even better in Tokyo in 2020.

Records fall

  • 27 new world records were set in Rio within the seven Olympic sports that recognize them – archery, athletics, modern pentathlon, track cycling, shooting, swimming, and weightlifting.
  • American Ledecky claimed two of those, in the women’s 400m and 800m freestyle.
  • The women’s team pursuit cycling record was broken three times during the course of the event in Rio by Great Britain Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Laura Trott.
  • In athletics, Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old men’s 400m record was broken by South Africa’s Wayde van Niekirk, while Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana smashed the women’s 10,000m record, clocking 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds to take 14 seconds off Wang Junxia’s 1993 time.
  • Gold medallist Anita Wlodarczyk broke her own world record in the women’s hammer, setting a new distance of 82.29m – the sixth time the Pole has set a new record in the event.
  • China, which has surged as an Olympic force since it first competed in the 1984 Summer Games, has been dropping off. The country went from a peak of 100 medals in Beijing in 2008 to 88 in London to 70 in Rio.
  • Nearly a third of the Russian team was barred from Rio due to a doping scandal, and that’s reflected in the medal count. Russians won 77 medals in London and just 56 in Rio.
  • New Zealand and Jamaica were once again the biggest overachievers. New Zealand, home to just 4 million, won 18 medals, up from 13 in London, and in a range of sports that included rowing, sailing, cycling, canoeing, rugby, golf and track and field. Jamaica, with fewer than 3 million people, relied on its blazing sprinters to win 11 medals, just one short of its tally in London.
  • The host country usually gets a significant medal boost, but Brazil received a relatively modest one, going from 17 medals in London to 19 in Rio. But it was the country’s best showing ever. And Brazil did win its first Olympic gold in soccer on a penalty kick by Neymar. There’s no way you can measure that in numbers.

In Rio Olympic 2016, Michael Phelps ends a record-breaking career with 23rd Olympic gold medal and we doubt even Michael Phelps couldn’t imagine an ending this good. Phelps finished a career that spanned five Olympics with 28 medals, 23 of them gold. No other athlete in any sport has more than nine gold medals. Since the start of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, about one person in 2 million has won an Olympic gold medal. Michael Phelps now has 23 of them — more than double the number of gold medals won by any other individual in the history of the games.

It is not every day that a man plunges into the pool and comes out with a once-in-a-lifetime performance! Michael Phelps not only mastered the technique but made this an everyday feat as well. The most celebrated athlete and the most decorated Olympian ever in the history of the sports, Phelps with his unwavering determination and rock-solid focus went on to create tidal waves in the chlorinated and non-chlorinated world with his immaculate effort, which is clearly visible from his career graph which reached the zenith of success. Phelps has created a whopping 39 world records, 29 in individuals events and 11 in the group, to become the only swimmer ever to do so. Additionally, he established a world mark by being the only Olympian with the most Olympic gold medals (23), the only Olympian with 13 gold medals in individual events and the only Olympian to win 8 gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Interestingly, the man who created ripples in water was initially afraid to put his face underwater as well. Phelps not only overcame this fear but also challenged the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that he was facing as a child to become a master at what he loved doing—swimming! Throughout the career, what distinguished him from his contemporaries and colleagues was not his back to back victories or undefeated feats, but his will to better his own records and transform the way swimming was looked upon as a sport by the world at large!

Michael Phelps At Olympics – In a Nutshell

  • Michael Phelps has participated in 5 Olympics and has won a total of 28 medals (23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze).
  • His first Olympics was the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney at the age of 15. He was the youngest male to a U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years. Sydney Olympics was a learning experience for Phelps, he did not win a medal but managed to the finals and finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly.
  • At the 2004 Athens Olympics, he won 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals. He won the gold medals in 100 m butterfly, 200 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 400 m medley, 4×200 m freestyle, and 4×100 m medley. He won the bronze medals in 200 m freestyle and 4×100 m freestyle.
  • At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he won 8 gold medals. He won them in: 200 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly, 200 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 400 m medley, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×200 m freestyle, and 4×100 m medley.
  • At the 2012 London Olympics, he won 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals. He won the gold medals in 100 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 4×200 m freestyle, and 4×100 m medley. He won the silver medals in 200 m butterfly and 4×100 m freestyle.
  • At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he won 5 gold medals (200 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×200 m freestyle, 4×100 m medley) and 1 silver medal (100 m butterfly), taking his overall Olympics medal tally to 28, which includes 23 gold medals.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt, two words and nine letters undoubtedly reminds us about the greatest sprinter in the history of mankind. A living legend, he has won nine gold medals in track and field events in Olympics; a feat which no other person has achieved before. He has achieved the “triple-triple” and is the first man to win gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games in 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay events. He won these events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics, and the 2016 Rio Olympics. During his early days as a runner, he didn’t really believe in his abilities and was quite laid back with his approach towards sports. However, over the years, the many coaches with whom he teamed up with, shaped him into a great runner. This talented athlete’s career suffered a setback when he was eliminated in the first round of 200m at the 2004 Athens Olympics. But, Bolt didn’t give up and made a comeback with outstanding performances. He made his mark in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he won gold medals in 100m, 200m, and 4x100m events. He repeated this feat in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics and ensured his place as the greatest sprinter in the annals of athletics history.

Usain Bolt At Olympics – In a Nutshell

  • Usain Bolt has participated in four Olympics Games and has won 9 gold medals.
  • At the 2004 Athens Olympics, he was hampered by a leg injury and was eliminated in the first round of the 200 meters.
  • At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he won gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, with the timings of 9.69 seconds, 19.30 seconds and 37.10 seconds respectively.
  • At the 2012 London Olympics, he repeated this feat once again. He won 100m in 9.63 seconds, 200m in 19.32 seconds and 4x100m relay in 36.84 seconds.
  • At the 2016 Rio Olympics, he once again won the gold medals in all the three events and achieved the “triple-triple”. He won 100m in 9.81 seconds, 200m in 19.78 seconds and 4x100m relay in 37.27 seconds.

It was ultimately a lavish and vibrant closing conclusion to a sporting event that has captivated the globe for the past 16 days. For all its faults, Rio has nonetheless delivered.  History has been made for multiple countries, Britain included, while the spectacular settings of Rio de Janeiro, from the Copacabana beach to Sugarloaf mountain, brought a wonderfully unique quality to the Games that no other country could ever look to emulate.


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