The romance of Olympic Games goes beyond medals. Picking moments is a dangerous vocation but there were a few at Rio that can be cherished. The images of Usain Bolt’s supreme athleticism to outrun everyone while stealing a glance at competitors will continue to enthral. The inimitable Phelps’ last lap of honour will be the ultimate picture of human triumph. The only other image that could have outshone the great Bolt and Phelps was the world record run of South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk over 400m. The Fijian team’s first gold in rugby sevens is a pinup. The Olympic was also a unifying factor for athletes from North and South Korea.
The Ryan Lochte’s night of drama and revelry that ended in unsavoury moments for Team US will haunt them for a while. The sight of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray fighting for that chunk of metal for their country was endearing. The gold of Brazilian soccer and volleyball teams will cleanse the dourness of World Cup loss. And of course, who can forget the diminutive gymnast Simone Biles’ feat? Overall, amidst beauty and tinges of chaos, Brazil withstood the test of the Games. There were no reports of Zika, nor was there any incident that could jeopardise the beauty of the Games. All the negative publicity that threatened to cripple the Games was exorcised. A logistical nightmare for any, a developing country hosting the Games was never meant to be easy. China had shown the way and Brazil followed. It had its share of controversies during the build-up, especially with the Western media, but overall it was a good performance that can be lauded.
For India, it was one of worst Olympics. The count in London was six on the medals tally. This time, they ended with just two even after going with over 100 athletes. The unheralded Sakshi and plucky Sindhu saved the blushes for India. Narsingh Yadav’s controversy where the officials tried to bulldoze their way has not left the side even now.