Game-Changing Olympics

Marian Isbell '19

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The U.S. dominated the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze medals, taking home 121 overall. Some countries, however, experienced their first victories ever in this year’s Games.

Monica Puig won the only gold medal in the history of Puerto Rico at the Rio Games. She emerged victorious from single women’s tennis at only 22 years old. Upon receiving the medal, she cried with jubilation as her country’s anthem played throughout the stadium. Puig is also the first woman to win a medal for her country.

Joseph Schooling, a 21 year old swimmer, won the first gold medal for Singapore. Schooling beat Michael Phelps, his idol, in the men’s 100 meter butterfly, setting an Olympic and World Record with a time of 50.39.

Hoang Xuan Vinh, a forty-one year old shooter, won the first gold for Vietnam at the men’s 10 meter air pistol competition, as well as a silver medal for the 50 meter air pistol.

Fiji’s men’s rugby team won the only medal, and first gold, for the country. They won in a landslide victory of 43 to 7 against Great Britain.

Majlinda Kelmendi won in women’s judo, which is a martial art branch that originates from Japan. She competed in the 52kg (115lbs) category, and finished with the first gold, the first medal, and is the first female to win a medal for her country of Kosovo. Furthermore, this was the first time the newly established country ever entered the Olympics and was Kelmendi’s first time participating in the Games.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will not only be remembered for the astonishing achievements made by the participating countries, but also for its incentive to include those who did not have the luxury to compete for their home teams. Team Refugee was created this year in hopes of bringing together various hard-working, deserving, athletes that have been forced to leave their home countries due to violence and poverty. The team of ten competed in various sports, including swimming, judo, and the triathlon. They emerged victorious by showing the world that all Olympians are part of something greater than their homelands.

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