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Sun Sets on the Rio Olympics

In pictures: Rio’s stunning Olympic closing ceremonyPolitical crisis, drug scandals, funding issues and Zika - on the run-up to the games, those were preserving space in the headlines.

That would be until the sport finally took over. And when it did, Rio's tranquility would prove a stunning back drop on a spectacular Olympic games.

16 days, 27 world records, 307 gold medals and countless moments that will live long in the memory, as Brazil opened it's doors to the world and delivered.

Image: QZ.com
Yes, there were some scares such as the bullets in the equestrian arena and a suspicious bag near the cycling finish line, but the people of Brazil were undeterred. Slowly, but surely, their hearts warmed to the incredible spirit of the Olympic games.

Christ the Redeemer watched over the heartbreak and the history, and stood as the remaining figure while the athletes and spectators began to depart. Many will stay, such as the national heroes who won gold, and the people in the favelas who experienced the magic at a distance - Rio will still have its problems to fix, but there is hope.


When the pressure was on, the challenge was relished. It wasn't the most savvy or modern games, nor the most well executed, but it had its own feel to it: the colour (barring the green on the diving pool), the vibrant emotions and the Brazilian fans who were ready to roar on their own (or boo those who weren't - and the judges who scored them low).

Image: Newsela.com
This Olympics will be remembered as the last time we saw Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps in action at the games. The true greats on the track and the pool bowed out of the competition by performing just as they had throughout their careers - victories and gold medals. The Jamaican completed a historic "triple triple", while Phelps finished at 23 gold medals. But the voids they will leave behind have potential to be filled, with Wayde van Niekerk smashing the 400m record and Joseph Schoolingg stunning his idol with a thrilling performance.

Image: FOX Sports
With the country's hopes on his shoulders, Neymar would hand the hosts an incredible gold medal in the men's football, gaining revenge on Germany from the World Cup semi-final in Brazil two years ago by braving the shootout in a dramatic final. That euphoria would be matched in judo and boxing arenas, when the ovation was wild.

Image: The Guardian
Elsewhere, the USA's dominance continued. The rising of a new star, Simone Biles, swept the opposition aside as she won 4 golds and a bronze in her first Olympics, seeming untouchable at times as she twisted and turned her way to immortality. As expected, the Americans would finish top of the medal table, going on to dominate on all frontiers, of course including the basketball clean sweep.

Image: FanSided
In second came Great Britain, who enjoyed their most successful overseas Olympics which began with a sensational world record breaststroke by Adam Peaty, Justin Rose fulfilling the quest to become the first modern Olympic golf champion, a women's hockey gold, Laura Trott and George Kenny highlighting velodrome excellence and so much more - not without forgetting Mo Farah's incredible double. Speaking of golf, another new addition to the helping of sports was rugby sevens - in which the Fiji men won the country a first title.

Image: PA
China swept table tennis and lived up to their traditions, but would be knocked off their perch by the Brits and finished third on the medal table. The Russians finished on 19 gold medals - even after a ban on a significant amount of athletes. But their involvement nonetheless continued to stir up talk of doping; with previously proven drug cheats put under heavy fire when returning to competition.

Image: AFP
In a nutshell, the Olympics were spectacular. 16 days seem short, but this had everything. Rio's legacy will be about how a country rallied together against the controversy and stacked odds to let the athletes perform to the best of their ability.

As a site, TheSportMatrix went for the ambitious and we believe we managed it: Live coverage for all 16 days along with the Rio Roundup articles by a team of two writers.

It concluded with a carnival, a party and a lot more colour in the closing ceremony. The athletes' village may not be luxury, but the views around the Maracana as the fireworks shot out can not be compared. Handing over to Tokyo, the job was done - and what a job it was.

In pictures: Rio’s stunning Olympic closing ceremony

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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: Sun Sets on the Rio Olympics
Sun Sets on the Rio Olympics
Parting thoughts on the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic games
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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2016/08/rio-2016-sun-sets-on-olympics-after-16-days-of-amazing-sport.html
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2016/08/rio-2016-sun-sets-on-olympics-after-16-days-of-amazing-sport.html
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