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2016 Olympics Review: Breaking Down the Top Moments and Performances

By Kory Walker in Sports
| August 12, 2016 12:00 am PDT
Rio Olympics Unofficial Logo 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics have been going on for a week now in Rio, and to this point they’ve provided fans of over 200 member nations the entertainment (and then some) they were hoping for.

The fully loaded Rio Olympics are still running until August 21st’s closing ceremonies, but so much has happened in just the first week that we need to stop, pause and collect our breath.

A whopping 11,000+ athletes are competing in 28 sports that branch out to an insane 306 specific events, making this 17-day journey an unforgettable one, just on the surface alone.

Some of the legendary performances we’ve seen in the first seven days beg for a recap, however, as does some of the high level success for the countries involved.

We’ll do our best to re-hash all of the biggest moments and everything else you may have missed in the first week of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Let’s dive in:

2016 Rio Olympics Medal Standings (Top 10 Up to August 12th)

  1. United States – 38 Overall, 16 Gold, 12 Silver, 10 Bronze
  2. China – 31 Overall, 11 Gold, 8 Silver, 12 Bronze
  3. Japan – 22 Overall, 7 Gold, 2 Silver, 13 Bronze
  4. Russia – 19 Overall, 4 Gold, 8 Silver, 7 Bronze
  5. Great Britain – 16 Overall, 4 Gold, 6 Silver, 6 Bronze
  6. Australia – 15 Overall, 5 Gold, 4 Silver, 6 Bronze
  7. Italy – 12 Overall, 3 Gold, 6 Silver, 3 Bronze
  8. France – 12 Overall, 3 Gold, 4 Silver, 5 Bronze
  9. South Korea – 11 Overall, 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
  10. Germany – 8 Overall, 4 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze

After one week of Summer Olympics action, the United States has proven far and away it’s the country to beat, as they’ve been powered by sensational performances by Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky in Swimming, as well as the women’s Gymnastics team.

Over the course of the first week, USA has thoroughly dominated, obtaining 38 total medals and a whopping 16 Gold medals. No one is remotely close in the Gold medal department, but China is easily the next best country in the field, currently sitting just seven total medals behind the United States.

If Team USA can keep up this pace, they’ll easily finish the 2016 Summer Olympics with the most total medals and most Gold medals. They also currently have the most Silver medals and are in contention for the most Bronze medals, as well.

Top Medalists at Rio

  • Michael Phelps – Swimming (USA) 4 Gold
  • Katie Ledecky – Swimming (USA) 3 Gold, 1 Silver
  • Katinka Hosszu – Swimming (Hungary) 3 Gold
  • Kohei Uchimara – Gymnastics (Japan) 2 Gold
  • Simone Biles – Gymnastics (USA) 2 Gold
  • Chang Hye-jin – Archery (South Korea) 2 Gold
  • Ryan Murphy – Swimming (USA) 2 Gold
  • Penny Oleksiak – Swimming (Canada) 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
  • Sarah Sjostrom – Swimming (Sweden) 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
  • Madeline Dirado – Swimming (USA) 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Each of these individual performances have been impressive, but there’s no doubt that the story of the Rio Olympics has been the continued success of arguably the best Olympian (and possibly most dominant athlete) of all-time – Michael Phelps.

Phelps has remained as dominant as ever even at age 31, securing four Gold medals thus far and giving himself a record 22 Olympics Gold medals. In addition, Phelps won the 13th individual event of his brilliant Olympic career, pushing him past Leonidas Rhodes, who apparently held the record (12) for over 2,000 years.

Now standing firmly alone atop his Olympic throne, Phelps can still vie for a fifth Gold medal before the Rio games are through. He’s likely to retire promptly after the games are over in Rio, but even if that’s true, the living legend is one that may never be surpassed.

More Greatness

Phelps takes the cake by a wide margin, but he wasn’t even the only impressive USA swimmer in the first week of action. Women’s swimming star Katie Ledecky has also racked up some impressive hardware, as she crushed it in four events, claiming a Gold medal three times and Silver in another.

The medal count is obviously impressive, but it may be the fashion Ledecky claimed the 800m freestyle heat that wowed us all the most. Take a look; no one else was remotely close:

That was just a nice illustration of her dominance, but we get a good feeling Ledecky will let the actual medals she’s won do most of the talking.

Ledecky and Phelps weren’t alone in the Swimming department, though. Katinka Hosszu (3 Gold medals) from Hungary and Ryan Murphy (2 Gold medals) from the United States also deserve a shoutout.

It may actually be Canada’s Penny Oleksiak that is quietly one of the more dominant swimmers at Rio, though. She only took one Gold, but she placed successfully in four different events. Sarah Sjostrom and Madeline Dirado were right behind here, with both nabbing a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal.

Gymnastics Star

Right behind Phelps and Ledecky, there is the amazing story of women’s Gymnastics superstar, Simone Biles. Biles absolutely destroyed the women’s all-around individual event, winning by 2.1 points.

The Gold medal continued a three-year run of dominance in the event for Biles, who arguably has vaulted herself to the “greatest Gymnast ever” conversation. Biles may need some more Olympic success to live up to that label, but she’s secured two huge Gold medals already and at 19 years old, more could be coming her way.

Some of Rio’s Best Moments


Olympic History

There was also some more history being made at the 2016 Rio Olympics that we can’t forget to touch on – Simone Manuel won the Gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle race in Swimming, making her the first African American female to win Gold in an individual swimming event.

It was a nail-biter performance, but Manuel made history with the clutch win. It’s unfortunate that it took so long for an African American woman to win an individual swimming event, but we tip our cap to Manuel for making history, nonetheless!

USA Womens Gymnastics

One of the best parts of Rio so far (at least for USA fans) has been more dominance from the Women’s United States Gymnastics squad.

Easily one of the deepest, most talented and most versatile lineups ever pieced together, this year’s women’s Gymnastics team left nothing to the imagination, crushing the next closest competitor (Russia) by 8.2 total points and claiming Olympic Gold.

Top Seeds in Tennis Go Down

Rio has been a pretty good stage for some crazy upsets, but few places had as much damage as the Rio tennis tournament, which quickly saw star tennis players Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams bow out relatively early.

It’s a disappointing run for the top players in the men and women’s tennis game, but it certainly makes this year’s Olympics a bit more interesting when it comes to the tennis courts.

Phelps Face

The internet nearly broke thanks to Michael Phelps making a weird face while preparing for competition on the sidelines. It created an instant meme that may have seriously outdone the Crying Jordan memes.

Not Fit to Be Seen

There were also some ugly moments at the Rio Olympics that we don’t care to show you, but can’t help but point out. There was the case of Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan destroying his left arm during competition, Gymnast Ait Said breaking his leg during competition and even fellow USA gymnast Gabby Douglas throwing Simone Biles some unwarranted shade after her big win.

We don’t really need to see any of that again (or the first time around), but it happened and it’s there to look back on, thanks to Rio.

What’s to Come

The best part of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio? They’ve really just begun.

We still have the finishing touches to be put on numerous team events, including men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball and more.

Team USA is fully expected to take Gold in men’s basketball, but even that could be somewhat in doubt with Australia giving them a serious fight in their most recent contest. While the United States is still the heavy favorite, we’ll all want to keep an eye out on Australia, Argentina, Lithuania, Croatia and maybe even Spain – if they can somehow overcome an odd 1-2 start.

In addition to the big team events still waiting to be played out, Olympics fans also have plenty of individual competitions left to check out, ranging from Gymnastics, Swimming, Boxing, Wrestling, Taekwondo and much more. The first week of the 2016 Summer Olympics of Rio have been insane, which arguably sets us up for an even better second half.



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