September 2016

Athletes Achieve Fantastic Firsts at the Summer Olympics

Simone Biles carrying the U.S. flagSimone Biles carrying the U.S. flag

Simone Biles carrying the U.S. flag
American gymnast Simone Biles (center) carried the U.S. flag in the Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

Athletes accomplished many firsts in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During two and half weeks of competition, people around the world watched the best of the best compete in many different sporting events. On the evening of Sunday August 21, the Olympics ended with a closing ceremony in Rio’s Maracanã Stadium.

For the closing ceremony, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles was chosen to carry the American flag. During the games, Biles became the first American gymnast to win five medals during one Olympics. She won four gold medals and one bronze. Because of her upbeat personality and positive attitude, 19-year-old Biles is very popular with the other athletes. Many of them stopped to take a selfie with her during the closing ceremonies.

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt made history in this year’s games with an unprecedented three-peat. This means that for the third Olympics in a row, Bolt has won gold in each of the track and field events he competed in, the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4×100-meter relay.

American swimmer Michael Phelps made history of his own by ending the games with a career total of 28 medals. He has won more medals than any other Olympian in history! The United States dominated the swimming events. Nineteen-year-old Katie Ledecky won four gold medals and one silver. Simone Manuel won two golds and two silvers. When she won her first gold in the games, she also became the first African American woman to win a medal in an individual swimming event.

Many Brazilians enjoyed watching their national soccer team win its first-ever Olympic gold medal in the country’s most popular sport. They defeated Germany, the team they had lost to in the 2014 World Cup.

Some other highlights of the Olympics didn’t involve winning a medal. When New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin fell during a woman’s 5,000-meter heat, American runner Abbey D’Agostino went down as well. Instead of being upset, D’Agostino offered to help Hamblin and encouraged her to keep going. Later in the race, D’Agostino fell again. This time Hamblin was there to support her. Neither of the women won the race, but they showed true Olympic spirit through their good sportsmanship.

Over all, it was a good Olympics for the U.S. team. America won the most Olympic medals of any country with 121 total, including 46 gold! That is the most medals ever won by a single country in the Olympics.

Brazil did a great job of hosting the games. Sports fans everywhere look forward to the next Summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, Japan, in 2020.

Image credit: ©Matt Dunham/AP Images

Related Link

Question 1
Which of the following athletes did not win a medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics?

Question 2
Which nation won the most medals in the 2016 Summer Olympics?

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