Five Thoughts about the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

The 2016 Rio Olympics are coming to a close and the world will have to wait another four years to see the extravaganza of the summer games. No matter what sport is your favorite, the Summer Olympics are usually always filled with tremendous memories that will live forever. And this year was no different. Despite plenty of criticism, Rio delivered a pretty memorable event and I would have to say that overall the games were a success. And after watching a lot of events I otherwise wouldn’t, here are five things that I took away from the Rio Olympics.

1. Let’s not try to debate who is better between Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Let’s just accept that both are two of the greatest Olympians ever.

Phelps, already the best Olympic swimmer of all time, returned to the summer games in Rio and added six medals to his collection. With 28 Olympic medals (23 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze), Phelps is undeniably the best Olympic swimmer in history.

Usain Bolt entered the Rio 2016 Olympics with six Olympic gold medals. And he just added three more golds to bring his total up to nine in his Olympic career. There were reports of an injury that might have hampered the Jamaican, but he proved that to be wrong. The track superstar leaves Rio as the greatest speedster in Olympic history and he set a precedent that is unlikely to be matched.

Phelps and Bolt are two of the best Olympians in history. It is almost impossible to compare the two because of the different events they have competed in. And they don’t need to be compared. Let’s just appreciate what they did and that we got to witness history from these two greats. It’s like comparing Michael Jordan to Tom Brady. Two greats in their respective sports, but the two just can’t be compared. I don’t want to judge who is the best. I want to enjoy the fact that I seen the best swimmer and runner in Olympic history.

2. USA teams did what we all thought they should. Mostly.

The USA Women’s Basketball team was the first to complete the goal. They beat everyone in their way to the gold medal game against Spain, which they won by 29 points. Elena Delle Donne, Breanna Stewart, and Diana Taurasi led the USA Women’s Basketball team to gold and right where we thought they would end up.

The Men’s basketball team did the same and beat Serbia 96-66 in the gold medal game. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant helped lead the USA to their fifteenth gold medal in men’s basketball and kept the USA’s dominance alive. Many doubted if this version of the team could finish the job, but they proved that their collective individual talent was still too much for the teams from the rest of the world.

The disappointment of the Olympic Games for the USA came from the Women’s Soccer team. They came into Rio the winners of the last three gold medals, winning four overall. This year, they failed to win any medal after losing to Sweden in penalty kicks. Now don’t get me wrong, it stings even more for the US that the men’s team couldn’t even qualify for the Olympics. But the women were a sure shot and failed to even medal in Rio. This failure is sure to raise some eyebrows at some changes that may need to be made before the team prepares for their next event.

3. Windows can close fast when it comes to Olympic stardom.

At the London games in 2012, Missy Franklin was the star in the swimming pool for the USA. This year, she was a forgotten piece on Team USA. She was not able to live up to what she accomplished in 2012 and is now basically an after thought. Swimmers like Katie Ledecky, Maya DiRado, and Lilly King have passed her by and not looked back.

The same thing has happened to gymnast Gabby Douglas. She won the hearts of Americans with her performance in London in 2012 and was sure to follow that performance up with more gold medals in Rio. But when the gymnastic events began in 2016, Douglas was just another member of Team USA. The spotlight was now on Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. Even newcomer Laurie Hernandez shined at times in these games. But Douglas was basically just there. Many thought she wouldn’t make the team. But she did due to the coach’s decision. But when the Olympics close, it will be Biles positioned as the USA’s star gymnast, not Douglas.

4. There are some sports that I wish I could see more of!

When it came down to team sporting events at the Olympics, I didn’t invest too much time in basketball or soccer. I also won’t watch a lot of baseball or softball when those sports return. I wanted to watch something different. So, I found the oddest things I could. I looked for events that rarely show up on the guide on my TV. And that means that I watched as much handball, water polo, field hockey, and rugby as I could.

Rugby will come on TV every now and then, but mostly in the middle of the night. And if I am not invested in a particular team, it’s hard to root for anything. But pulling for a country, I could do. The other sports are never on any channel and it was a blast watching them. Hell, if I wasn’t so lazy, old, and out of shape, I’d love to try play some handball or field hockey. But if I could get these events on TV a little more, I would be a happier man.

5. After all the doubting, Rio did a good job for the most part. And you were rewarded with a gold medal in the sport you are most known for.

Congrats go to Brazil for the job they did hosting the summer games. Sure, the country is not perfect but they were given a task and with the games ending, they did a good job completing that task. Now, will the country be hurt in the long run by this: probably. But for now, my hat goes off to Rio on a good job of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Besides a green pool for divers and that damn Ryan Lochte, Rio did great and was rewarded with a gold medal in men’s soccer. This was the one trophy that Brazil never got and they finally did it on the foot of their star Neymar. It was a good moment and I was happy for the Brazilian fans that they got to witness this.

Congrats to Brazil on that gold medal and all that they have accomplished over the last 16 days. It was a wonderful event to watch and I am sure most would agree. And now it is time to wait for four years and see what happens in Tokyo in 2020.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.