ByPri Figueiredo, writer at
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Pri Figueiredo

After 16 days of competitions, great crowds and broken records, another Olympic cycle ended this Sunday with the closing ceremony for the 31st Games. Rio de Janeiro - and the Brazilian people in general - proved to be a very hospitable city, in spite of some setbacks.

Even if you managed to stay tuned on most of the Games, it was virtually impossible to follow every single one of the events happening in multiple venues throughout Rio. Plus, there were some pretty controversial and cool things happening outside the courts and fields as well.

Here are five of the most emblematic - an unforgettable - moments in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

1. Michael Phelps vs Joseph Schooling

The American swimmer left the summer games as the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals total - 23 gold ones.

Phelps and Schooling - 2008 / 2016
Phelps and Schooling - 2008 / 2016

But Phelps did more than leave his mark on Olympic records and history when he tied in second place in the 200m butterfly, behind Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling. Schooling, as many before and after him, had Phelps as an icon and inspiration for years. But, unlike others, Schooling had the chance of not only swimming side-by-side his idol, but of also beating his master.

2. Usain Bolt

Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

At Rio 2016, Bolt became the first track athlete to win the triple-triple (three Olympic golds in three Olympic games) in an individual discipline. Although the 'Lightning Bolt' didn't break his own Olympic or world records in Rio, he still retires as the fastest man alive - and adored by the crowds in Rio.

3. Ryan Lochte

Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports
Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports

After gaining some attention for winning the men's 200 medley and the 4x200 freestyle relay, US swimmer Ryan Lochte managed to attract an even bigger spotlight after what turned out to be a media fiasco. Lochte, along with three other swimmers from the USA team, claimed they had been victims of armed robbery in Rio. He changed his story - and even issued a public apology - when the other swimmers admitted to having lied about the whole story.

At 32 years old, Lochte could have very well ended his career on a high note - and without becoming a bad internet meme.

4. Yelena Isinbayeva


The former Russian pole vaulter came to Rio not as an athlete, but as a potential candidate for the Olympic Committee. Following a doping investigation, Russia was banned from competing in track and field competitions in the Rio Olympics - impeding Isinbayeva from closing her career in the 2016 Games. Upon being elected by over 5000 voting athletes, Isinbayeva stated:

"It is very important for me because I was preparing for this Olympics for a long time and unfortunately I was not able to participate. It is a kind of compensation."

5. Simone Biles

She was professional, flawless and all grown-up as she performed her gold-medal routine on the floor, but Simone Biles giggled like a true 19-year-old teen when she met Zac Efron. Efron flew to Rio specifically to meet the US Final Five gymnasts, and continued to hang out with the girls after their first meeting - going out for pizza and french fries. Simone won a gold medal, but I dare say Zac Efron made her much happier!

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games closed in a beautiful - though long - ceremony, much in the tone of the Opening one. As the Olympic flag flies to its new home in Tokyo, Rio still has the responsibility of hosting the Paralympic games in September.

In spite of the terrorism threats and of some security problems, Rio hosted a pretty good edition of the Olympics. And, regardless of the criticism it's received, it has changed Rio de Janeiro for the better - and forever.


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