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DNAFit's Rio Olympics Round Up

The Summer Olympic Games are over for another cycle, and we’re feverishly counting down the three years and eleven months until the next edition in Tokyo. The Rio games were special for all sorts of sporting reasons, as you will see in our round-up of the first Olympic Games to be held in South America.


The Good:


Usain Bolt’s triple triple


Usain Bolt cemented his claim as the greatest sprinter of all time in Rio, winning the 100-200-4x100m relay triple for the third consecutive time, a feat that no-one has even come close to achieving. Whilst all three performances were a far cry from his best – his time in the 100m final was 0.18 seconds slower than his own Olympic record, set in London – nevertheless it was a dominate performance from Bolt, who never really looked like losing. In what is almost certainly his last appearance at the Olympic Games for Bolt, he kept his 100% record from finals, the only two blemishes being his defeat in the heats of the 2004 Olympics as a 17-year old, and the fact that he might well lose his 4x100m relay gold from 2008 after team-mate Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance.


Michael Phelps and his 23 gold medals


Where Bolt became the arguably the best track athlete in history, Michael Phelps smashed the record for all-time Olympic Gold medals, winning 5 golds to take his tally to 23. He also won a silver in the 100m Butterfly, taking his tally of total Olympic medals to 28, just over three times that of Bolt.


Mo Farah’s double double


From a British perspective, Mo Farah did his best to emulate Bolt – where Bolt’s triple-triple is helped by the ability to compete in a relay, Farah’s Double Double of Olympic 5000/10000m wins was an impressive show of dominance by arguably the greatest British distance runner of all time – made all the more dramatic by the fact Mo was tripped by his training partner Galen Rupp during the 10,000m, picking himself up to cross the finish line in first. It’s been a tough few years for Mo with questions being asked about his connections to people accused of doping, and it would be a shame if any truth were to be found in that, which would take the gloss off some amazing distance running performances.


Great Britain’s medal haul


When hosting an Olympic Games in their own country, the home nation tends to perform better than normal – the so-called “host nation effect”. The reasons for this are varied – national governing body’s tend to have more funding available for a home Games, and the crowd support undoubtedly helps. At both the Sydney and Athens Olympics, GB had come 10th in the medal table. This improved to 4th in Beijing, and then to 3rd in London, which was expected to be the peak. However, Team GB became the first nation ever to better their medal haul at the Olympic Games immediately after hosting it, overhauling China to take 2nd place in the medal table. Again, the reasons for this will be varied, and Lottery Funding certainly will have helped, but perhaps this is the legacy that the country required following 2012. The target now is to cement this place in Tokyo 2020, and perhaps one-day overhaul the USA at the top of the table.




It’s easy to get caught up looking just at medals, especially when Great Britain are doing so well, but in doing so sometimes we lose a little bit of the spirit of the Games. Not everyone can go to the Olympics and win medals, but the Olympics are more than just that; they’re a chance for people to come together and compete against the backdrop of ideals such as fair play and unity. And nowhere was this clearer than in the heats of the women’s 5000m, where New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and the USA’s Abbey D’Agostino became entangled, with both athletes falling over. Hamblin lay on the track, devastated, until D’Agostino went over to her, encouraging her to get up and finish the race. Upon getting to her feet, Hamblin worked with D’Agostino, who had injured her knee in the fall, urging her on to finish too, waiting at the finish line to ensure her new friend was alright. Whilst neither of these athletes won the traditional Olympic medal, they were both awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship, as well as being a reminder to us all despite our individual goals, we can always help someone else in need.



The Bad:


Ryan Lochte’s adventures with Brazilian police


In complete contrast to Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte has come out these Olympics very badly. Despite winning a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay alongside Michael Phelps (his 12th Olympic medal overall), what happened next may well tarnish his image forever. Whilst on a celebratory night out, and no doubt under the influence of some amount of alcohol, Lochte and some of his team mates became embroiled in an argument with some local security guards; the guards wanting money to pay for damages caused by Lochte. This led to quite a heated argument, in which Lochte initially claimed he was threatened with a gun and robbed, although subsequent investigations have shown this to be false. Having been caught lying, Lochte was dropped by all four of his biggest sponsors, and has a black mark against an otherwise successful career, in which he has won 12 Olympic medals.



The great Russian doping scandal


Following years of allegations of an extensive state-supported doping programme within Russia, in 2015 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) finally got around to an official investigation into these claims, which was published in November 2015. The results were damning, indicating widespread doping amongst Russian athletes, as well as cover-ups perpetuated by officials and coaches. Based on the findings of this report, WADA asked that the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) be banned from all international competitions until they complied with WADA regulations, something with they did not do. In June, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked each International Sporting Federation to consider banning Russian athletes in their sports on a case by case basis – which led to all but one Russian athlete being banned, along with some canoeists, cyclists, modern pentathletes, rowers, weightlifters and wrestlers. Russia were still able to send a team to compete in other sports, and came 4th overall in the medal table, but the whole experience has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths, especially given the lack of backbone shown by the IOC during this process.





The IOC have not come out of these games smelling of roses. We’ve had reports of extreme levels of lavishness on behalf of the IOC, including the fact that members receive US$900 per day spending money, and get transported around Rio is expensive cars in their own private lane with a police escort. Given the fact that the average wage in Brazil is around US$600 per month, you can see how this might have annoyed some people. In addition to which, tickets and merchandise were vastly over-priced, leading to many venues being almost empty during competitions. The Brazilian public overall were not big fans of the Games, which cost a lot of money to host – money which could have been spent elsewhere. This in turn has led to a huge crisis facing the Paralympic Games, as the organising committee have essentially run out of money, and unable to pay for teams to travel to compete. All in all, many people are unhappy with the IOC, which seems decidedly out of touch with reality right now.

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