I’m going to miss the Olympics. It was always there for me in the past 17 days through thick and thin. Turn on any channel and there was an Olympic champion. Didn’t matter the sport, just that it was on, and the best in the world were always competing.
The final days of the games held some of the most exciting moments not only in Rio, but in the Olympics, period.
Brazil (finally) won a gold medal in soccer after 112 years of never winning one, defeating Germany on Saturday evening. It was not only Brazil’s first gold in soccer, but it was also vengeance — revenge for the 7-1 beatdown Germany handed the Brazilians in the 2014 World Cup. The match went into penalty kicks, and Brazil’s favorite son, Neymar, hit home the final kick to win it all, leading to the most tearful celebration in sports.
Both the U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams won gold over the weekend. The men claimed victory after smashing the Serbs 96-66 and the woman slapped Spain with a 101-72 win.
But these events pale in comparison to the excitement stirred by the Mongolian wrestling coaches, who after their wrestler was robbed of a bronze medal, stormed the wrestling mat and stripped their clothes off in protest. The coaches, wearing nothing but their skivvies, were escorted off the premises by security and sent off by a stadium of fans chanting “Mongolia.”
That’s what we’re really going to miss about the Olympics.
Green pools, fake robbery claims, government corruption, nude Mongolians — the excitement and hilarity didn’t begin and end with the sports alone.
Every Olympics can be the same; sports are played, and people you (mostly) never heard of win medals. But look a little deeper. It’s always more than that. Call it a distraction, or call it an attempt at world peace, but the world came together in a figurative game night that highlighted everything the human race is good for. Sure, they might have swept the problems under the rug, hid the favelas from the camera’s view, and Brazilian fans literally booed a French pole-vaulter to tears for winning a silver medal, but like I said, it highlighted everything the human race is good for.
So, what did we learn during the past 17 days? Sports is more important than the well-being of many people. It’s entertaining as hell. The United States produces some gold medal-winning machines. And never underestimate the power, will, ability, and stupidity of humans.
It’s been over for barely eight hours, and I miss the Olympics like a good friend. I suppose the only thing left to do is wait for Tokyo’s turn in 2020 — that is, if we survive the inevitable zika epidemic we’ll face once these athletes bring it back to their homelands across the globe. It was nice knowing ya, human race.
Final medal count: United States won 212 medals, 46 of which were gold. China took home 70, Great Britain with 67, and Russia 56.