The first week is not even over yet, but the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio have been filled with great moments already. Every time I turn the TV on, something either makes me laugh, cry or shriek out in anticipation, and I’m just watching from Bartlett, IL – I’m sure the emotions in Rio are much, much higher.
Because it’s the event that’s taking up 90 percent of our endurance news right now, I thought it was only appropriate that I dedicate a second column to the Olympics. But this time, instead of being opinionated, I am just going to highlight what my favorite moments are so far. And I had to do six, because five wasn’t enough.
*Disclaimer: I have not watched Wednesday’s games yet, and I do not watch every sport, so this is completely based on what I have seen. And they’re all the mainstream sports, so I apologize, table-tennis fans.
1. Lilly King and Her Awesome Judgment
By now, I’m sure most have heard of the rival between American swimmer Lilly King and Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova. Efimova was recently accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, but got out of it in order to compete. Later, after the Russian placed first in her semi qualifying round, she held up her finger in a “number one” fashion, in which King responded by wagging her finger at the screen and said “I’m here to compete clean for the U.S. and that’s what I’m going to do.” Obviously, King was widely respected for speaking out on a controversial topic and standing up for what she believed in. My favorite part of the whole thing, though, is when they competed in the semifinals later, and King won with Efimova closely behind, she DID NOT raise her “number one” finger again, despite all the viewer’s expectations. I thought that showed her sense of maturity and humbleness, even as Efimova looked at her in disgust.
2. ALL of Kerri Walsh-Jenning’s Celebrations
Since I can remember watching the Olympics, beach volleyball was my favorite sport to watch. I was one of the thousands of fans of the Kerri Walsh – Misty May team, and continue to support now Walsh-Jennings whoever she plays with. Heck, she’s almost 40 but has the body of a 20-year-old, and her blocks and kills always give me the chills. She truly is a riot to watch, but not only when she’s playing. Every single time either her or April Ross score a point, she yells and celebrates as if she has just won the whole competition (which she probably will for her fourth time). Some may say her intensity is obnoxious, but I think it’s admirable that she’s so involved and in love with the same sport she’s been playing for decades, and always gives 110 percent. Don’t worry girl, I’d be screaming and jumping right next to you if I were there.
3. Obviously Michael Phelps’ Mean Face
I have to mention the classic Michael Phelps meme that’s been used to describe pretty much EVERYONE’s anger at any given moment: it was before his 200-meter butterfly on Monday night, and he sat down listening to his headphones with his hood up, obviously wanting to be left alone. But when South African rival Chad le Clos interrupted his pre-race routine, by “rudely” walking by, Phelps was not having it, and gave him the death glare of all death glares. Check out the memes people have made, they’re hilarious.
4. Ally Raisman’s Parents
If you remember from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, every time American gymnast Ally Raisman was performing, the cameraman would flash to her parents, who were very nervously sitting in the crowd. Four years later, and they still are very uneasy, and I hate to laugh at their discomfort, but watching them rock back and forth which every move their daughter makes is very entertaining. What’s even funnier to me is I know, that if I had enough talent to make it to the Olympics, my parents would be the same way.
5. Ally Raisman saying she almost vomited
Another moment I loved also involving Ally Raisman was when the microphone was left on the team after the conclusion of Sunday’s competition. I am not sure if this was done on purpose or not, but I absolutely loved it because it made the five seem like real girls, not just the beautiful athletes that they are. And when Ally said, “When we walked out here, I almost vomited,” I laughed out loud. I feel like her and I could be great friends.
6. The celebration of the swimming relay
When Michael Phelps led Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian to win the 4×100 freestyle relay Sunday, their awards ceremony was one of the cutest I have ever seen – in fact, my dad told me to watch it because each of the four had a completely different reaction, based on their different experiences and personalities; Phelps stood there proud, but after winning his 19th gold, he sort of knows how the business went; Dressel just realized he was at the Olympics; Adrian stood off to the side like “this is pretty awesome, dude,” and 19-year-old Held was a sobbing mess. But hey, so were my dad and I when Phelps reached over and hugged him. “And that’s what the Olympics are all about,” direct quote from my dad.
Oh, and quick shout out to Boomer, Phelps’ son, who is going to deal with criticism for his name and be expected to be a champion swimmer when he’s older. Hang in there, buddy. I can’t swim well either.