Ryan Lochte (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - What went right and what went wrong at the 2106 Rio Games, the first Olympics to be held in South America.
Big names, big performances
- Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt didn't put a foot wrong in Rio,
unlike other members of the swimming and athletics fraternity. Phelps
took his gold medal haul to 23; Bolt to nine with a 'triple triple' of
100m, 200m and 4x100m titles for the third Olympics. Both men have now
retired as Olympians, leaving potentially gaping gaps in the Games
Zika, no fear
- Leading tennis players, the world's top four golfers never made it
to Rio, fearing the health consequences of the mosquito-borne disease.
As it turned out, the stories proved more dramatic than the facts.
- For the first time, a team of refugees took part at the Games. IOC
president Thomas Bach said they were treated like "rock stars" in the
athletes village with competitors asking for selfies. It was 10-strong
and included Congo's Popole Misenga who won over the judo arena crowd by
making the second round where it took a world champion to beat him. The
team also featured Yusra Mardini, a teenage swimmer from Syria who
braved a Mediterranean crossing in a leaky dinghy, and compatriot Rami
Anis who fled the war-ravaged nation in 2011 to avoid being enlisted
into the army.
Kosovo appeared at its first Olympics and took only two days to get
its first gold - Majlinda Kelmendi in the judo. Fiji got their first
medal by winning the rugby sevens. Tennis player Monica Puig gave Puerto
Rico their first gold at a Games; hammer thrower Dilshod Nazarov did
the same for Tajikistan as did Cheick Sallah Cisse for Ivory Coast in
- The United States and Australia sent teams to Rio that had more
women than men. The US had 292 women in their squad and 263 men while
Australia had a 212/207 split.
Safe and sound?
- There was little escape from the daily, grim tally of shootings and robberies in the crime-plagued city.
On the night of the opening ceremony, two people were fatally shot near the Maracana stadium.
An Australian photographer lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of
equipment in an Ipanema coffee shop and then saw the thief two days
later wearing his Olympic jacket with accreditation number. AFP also
lost a lot of equipment.
Chinese 110m hurdler Shi Dongpeng lost his laptop computer to another
well-planned thief. The man vomited on Shi and was chased by a Chinese
journalist who was with Shi who went to the restroom. When he returned
his belongings had disappeared.
Portugal's Education Minister Tiago Brandao Rodrigues was held up at knifepoint.
Is there anybody there?
- Swathes of empty seats were a major source of embarrassment for
organisers, particularly with some events seemingly sold out and no
tickets available to buy on the official website.
Track and field was hit with the 60 000-seat stadium appearing no more than a third full on some occasions.
The behaviour of Brazilian fans also caused concern
French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie was booed during competition
and on the podium when he took silver behind Brazil's Thiago Braz da
Brazilians also jeered opposing teams at the gymnastics and chanted
"Zika" at US and Swedish women's football team goalkeepers during games.
Brazilian and Argentinian fans even fought at the tennis.
Brazilian experts said it was a question of culture and that their sports fans are the same in domestic competition.
Men behaving badly
- Ryan Lochte was condemned as the ultimate 'ugly American abroad'
for his made-up story that he and three teammates were robbed at
gunpoint. In fact the four swimmers had only been stopped by security
and made to pay compensation for drunkenly vandalising a gas station
European Olympic chief Patrick Hickey was arrested at his luxury
hotel and then detained in a high security prison, facing charges of
involvement in a ticket scam, ambush marketing and conspiracy over the
sale of Rio Olympics tickets at inflated prices.
Boxers Hassan Saada of Morocco and Namibia's Jonas Junias Jonas were
arrested on charges of "sexual assault" on chambermaids working in the
Not the best kept village
- Rio's image was battered even before the Games started when
cost-cutting led to economies in the village. The Australian team at
first refused to stay in the sprawling complex, claiming it was unsafe
The British team employed their own plumber while Japanese athletes
were reported to be carrying out their own household repairs. A lot of
teams said though that, while basic, the village was just fine.
STARTED WRONG... ENDED RIGHT
- Brazil set the target of being in the top 10 in the medals table
and did not make it. Judoka Rafaela Silva got the hosts only gold in the
first week. They ended with six. But thank goodness for Neymar. The
football team started with lacklustre 0-0 draws against South Africa and
Iraq and were roundly lambasted by their diehard fans.
But Brazil got it right on the night when, superstar Neymar scored the winning penalty in a shootout victory over Germany.
It was the hosts' first football gold and was also sweet revenge for
the humiliation of their 7-1 World Cup semi-final loss to the same
opponents two years ago on home soil.