SportsThe Big Winners and Losers of the Rio Olympics
Some shirtless. Some not.
The Olympics are awesome because I can declare them to be awesome even though I’m already struggling to retain a single thing about the first week of events at Rio. By next week, everything except for whatever NBC decides to air to aid the redemption of Ryan Lochte will permanently fade away, like a last quiet jeah in the wind. Here are the big winners and losers from Rio. Shouts to everyone not included in it.
I’ve been thinking about the context of Usain Bolt’s accomplishments as an Olympian a lot, but the most impressive thing—aside from the fact he only takes up about a minute of my time every four years—is just how pristine his athletic narrative is. He came, he saw, he danced on his opponents, and he conquered. In an era where everything that does and doesn’t require analysis, he simply ran a straight line from story to success and it never veered off that path. Also he might have scheduled a bunch of tweets to be sent out from his Twitter account immediately after his races (or maybe a well-compensated social media coordinator is behind this, but facts don’t matter so let’s keeping this moving) and adopted Canadian Andre De Grasse as the Memphis Bleek to his Jay-Z. Bolt owned the Olympics just as we thought he would.
Meet Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak. Vital stats: 16-years-old, first Canadian to win four medals at an Olympics, got an Instagram follow from Drake, went back to Toronto and went to Canada’s Wonderland (think: Six Flags but for the 6ix) to hang out like any teenager would, then flew back to Rio to be Canada’s flag-bearer at the closing ceremonies. To put this all in perspective, when I was 16 I failed my drivers license exam three times in Toronto and needed my mom to drop me off at Wonderland and anywhere else I wanted to hang out.
Aly Raisman’s floor exercise routine
[puts on GYMNASTICS ANALYST dad hat]
This, this routine here is spectacular [Ed. Note: Which we cannot embed because NBC is trash]. Anyway, just watch how Aly is able to defy gravity while keeping her momentum in mid-air as she generates enough lift to…—[gets hit in the face by an errant rhythm gymnastics ball]
The mostly reserved Olympics athletes from China had their coming out party at these Olympics, especially Fu Yuanhui:
China’s basketball team went 0-5 at the Olympics but my man Yi Jianlian got himself back in the NBA on a one-year deal with the Lakers. That’s a win.
Even though "gold medals matter more than NBA championships" is the basketball version of broke people saying money isn’t everything, Carmelo’s Q rating went way up in Rio. When the documentary he shot at a favela during his Olympics trip drops, it’s going double platinum with no features.
OLYMPICS MELO FOR LIFE.
The sport of handball
Handball was my favorite sport to randomly turn on, like hockey and soccer got together and made a sport that was quirkier and more engaging. Shouts to handball. We need more handball on national television in some capacity.
The gold medal for best celebration
The gold medal for best way to root for Usain Bolt at home
The gold medal for best entrance
When you’re so good at tweeting you end up getting an invite to Rio. For all of us who spend countless hours crafting the most beautiful content on our timeline, I feel like this is a legitimate goal we should aspire to. A dream come true.
Also shouts to: the Brazilian men’s soccer team, the women’s soccer final, Michael Phelps and the Michael Phelps stare, Simone Manuel, Ibti Muhammad, the Fiji Men’s Rugby Sevens team, Abbey D’Agostino, Michelle Carter, everyone on the Refugee Olympic team, Ashton Eaton, Monica Puig, Shaunae Miller’s victory dive, Allyson Felix, Katie Ledecky, the Team USA women’s basketball team for being the actual Dream Team, Zac Efron, and this stunt from Simone Biles:
After all the blood, sweat, and jeahs he poured in to be the second most popular U.S. male swimmer of his era, Lochte went ahead and won the gold medal for most airtime devoted to an airhead, basically turning into Rob Gronkowski except he (1) made it impossible for Americans to ever have a good time in Brazil again, and (2) cost his friend $11,000 and—possibly himself—millions of dollars in sponsorships. (Not to mention a shot to represent his country at the Olympics again.) The most expensive broski party night ever. Jeah.
Everyone except Al Roker in this video
Everyone who had a problem with Gabby Douglas
Imagine all the important matters that should incite outrage in this world and then imagine everyone being upset because Gabby Douglas didn’t put her hand to her heart during the national anthem and seriously, this was the most ridiculous non-story story to come out of the Olympics. Everybody chill.
The American sprinter’s controversial Olympics career reached its deservingly strange end in Rio when the 4×100 relay team was disqualified after having finished third in the race. Gay has the second best 100 meters time in history behind Usain Bolt at 9.69, and once ran a 19.58 in the 200 meters, but he finishes his career without an Olympic medal. None. Zero. This is coming off the 2012 Olympics when the relay team won the silver medal but was later stripped of it after Gay failed a drug test in 2013.
Tonga’s flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua
I was conflicted on where to put my man Pita because he went viral as the shirtless flag-bearer to open the Olympics and had the ladies on The Today Show thirsting, and then made a comeback at the closing ceremony last night. But in between, he took a 16-1 loss in the first round of taekwondo. I flipped a coin and put him in the losers section.
I secretly root for Novak Djokovic because he is the face of the Uniqlo brand, so imagine my disappointment when he was ousted in the first round of the Olympics. I had to spend the next two weeks looking at the closet full of perfectly color-coordinated Uniqlo cotton dress shirts in shame. I’m disgusted.
Japan really just came through with the Super Mario + Doraemon cameo at the closing ceremony. I cannot wait for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Bring on the Studio Ghibli inspired opening ceremony. I’m here for the return of the F-Zero soundtrack. Make Usain Bolt un-retire so he can carry the Olympic torch through Shibuya crossing. Let’s make "athletes travel across Japan in search of seven Dragon Balls" an official event. I’m about to time travel to 2020.