As the Olympics enter its last days, btw brings you some highlights.
Earlier this month, you read news of some of the challenges facing the organizers of the games in Rio as they prepared. How is everything going now that everything is in full swing? On the positive side, the Zika virus (which we covered last week) has proven not to be as significant a risk as was once thought, mainly due to the mild temperatures. Crime has also been minimal (despite the high-profile mugging of U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte), thanks to the presence of 85,000 police and military personnel patrolling. However, some are critical of what the amount of training exhibited by the Olympic staff and a lack of professionalism on the part of these Olympic representatives. Water issues plagued some of the indoor water events like diving. Explanations have been contradictory (from an excess of algae to an excess of hydrogen peroxide).
Here is an excellent medal tally that reflects all of the winners so far. As of this writing, the U.S. leads with 84 total medals awarded. With 25 gold medals now to his name, American swimmer Michael Phelps has dominated much of the Game’s first half media coverage. Simone Manuel, 20, part of the USA 4 x 100-meter swimming medley team, has also gained global notice by becoming the first African American woman to win gold in swimming. Superstar gymnast Simone Biles executed the sport’s most difficult routines and became the first gymnast to earn 4 gold medals in one Olympics.
Second to the U.S. in the medal count is China with 51. Five of those medals were for diving, two for Shi Tingmao and three for Cao Yuan. Great Britain has earned most of its gold medals in cycling (12 out of 50). One of the most popular non-American athletes has been Jamaica’s famous sprinter Usain Bolt, who won his 7th gold medal earlier this week by winning the 100 m race for the third Olympics in a row.
Underdogs and Other Notables
Back in the Spring, btw brought you news of the first-ever all-refugee Olympic team. While none of the athletes have earned any medals, the mere presence of this team at these Games is being held up as a symbol of Olympic spirit. Puerto Rico won its first gold medal ever when Monica Ruig defied great odds and won women’s singles in tennis. Competing in her seventh Olympics, 41-year-old Oksana Chusovitina represented the Republic of Uzbekistan and became the oldest gymnast ever to compete in the games. On the other end of the spectrum, swimmer Guarika Singh, 13, is the youngest athlete competing in Rio.