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Now that the Rio Olympics are officially over, there are four years for the world to reflect on the memorable games before Tokyo in 2020. Despite the concerns heading into Rio, the past two weeks were a success. These are only ten of the thousands of moments in Rio that stuck out the most and will be spoken about for the next four years.

10. Michael Phelps beats Chad le Clos to Regain Title

Michael Phelps has won a lot of medals in his career, but the medal he won in the 200m butterfly, beating Chad le Clos, was a defining one in his career. Four years ago, Chad le Clos of South Africa edged out Phelps to win gold in this same event, one that Phelps normally dominated in. Phelps wanted to prove to the world he could win this event and show he was the best again. When Phelps beat the South African swimmer, his celebration was more extravagant than normal, showing how important this medal was for him and for his reputation.

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9. The Greatest 10k Race In History

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana stunned the world by demolishing the 23-year-old women's 10,000m record by 14 seconds, finishing with a time of 29:17.45. She beat the previous record held by China's Wang Junxia in September of 1993. Not only did her gold-winning performance break the record, but those behind her did as well. Seven runners in the race set national records, and the other two medalists recorded the third and fourth fastest times ever in the event. It was one incredible race.

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8. Katie Ledecky Demolished Competition and 800m Freestyle World Record

Katie Ledecky, the world's greatest upcoming swimmer, had a dominating Rio performance, especially in the women's 800m freestyle. In the 800m, she beat her own world record by two seconds, lowering the time to 8:06.68. At that race, she also became only the second woman ever to sweep the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events in a single Olympics. It seems as if we have the next Michael Phelps on our hands with Ledecky.

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7. Fiji Win's First Olympic Medal

Rio held a particularly memorable milestone for the country of Fiji, who won their fist Olympic gold medal ever. After competing in 14 summer games, the rugby team finally brought home a gold medal to their home country in a 43-7 win over Great Britain. This was an incredible achievement for the country. 

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6. Helen Maroulis's Upset Win for First Women's Wrestling Gold for USA

American wrestler Helen Maroulis made history in the U.S., winning America's first women's wrestling gold medal. Maroulis won in an upset victory over Japan's Saori Yoshida, a 13-time world champion and three-time reigning Olympic champion. Maroulis handed Yoshida only her third loss in 14 years and made history for the United States.

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5. End of an Era for USA Men's Basketball

The final day of the Olympics was bittersweet for USA Men's basketball, who defeated Serbia in a 96-66 win for the gold medal. Although their gold medal victory was a joyous occasion, the program said goodbye to two incredible members of USA basketball: Carmelo Anthony and Coach Krzyzewski. Carmelo announced in an emotional post-game interview "This is it for me." Melo is the leader for USA Olympic basketball in points scored, field goals made, games played and rebounds. Coach K is also retiring from USA basketball, the winningest coach in Olympic history and the only Olympic basketball coach to lead a team to 3 gold medals.

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4. Simone Manuel's Historic Moment

Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to medal in an individual swimming event. She set an Olympic and American record when she tied for gold in the 100m freestyle. She then continued to win medals in the 4x100m medley relay, 50m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay. Her historic moment will go down in African-American, Olympic and American history. She became an inspiration to so many.

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3. Usain Bolt Wins 9th Gold Medal

Usain Bolt, the fastest man ever, also made history in Rio, becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive gold medals in three events in three consecutive Olympic Games. The charismatic runner finished his Olympic career with a "Triple-Triple" and a perfect record in the finals of races. The Olympics will never be the same without him.

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2. Neymar and Brazil Soccer's National Moment

The Brazil men's soccer team won their first ever gold in team history. Brazil beat Germany 5-4 in penalty shots. It all came down to a final shot by Brazilian hero Neymar who connected and won the game. It was an incredibly emotional moment for Neymar, the team and the country. With all the difficulties Brazil faces, this was exactly what the host country needed to bring hope to their country in a sport so valued.  

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1. Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino Embody What the Olympics are About

By far the greatest moment of the Olympics was a demonstration of what the Olympics are about: peace, unity and a celebration of togetherness. Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and Abbey D'Agostino of USA had never met before their 5,000 meter Olympic race. During the race, the two collided and both ended up seriously injured, but were not willing to give up their Olympic dreams. The two runners helped each other up and finished over a mile of the race together, helping each other every step of the way. Although the Olympics may be about competition, they are ultimately about union and peace. These two runners portrayed that perfectly when finishing the race together.

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Work Cited:

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/sports/olympics/soccer-brazil-germany-neymar-live-score.html?_r=0
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/21/sport/olympics-key-things-day-16-sunday/
  • http://news.stanford.edu/thedish/2016/08/15/simone-manuel-makes-history-at-the-olympics/
  • http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/11/sport/fiji-rugby-olympics-sevens-rio-2016/
  • http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/katie-ledecky-defends-800m-free-title-win-4th-gold-medal-rio-olympics

Published by Lia Assimakopoulos