8 unforgettable moments from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

Posted at 4:42 AM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 04:42:07-04

The Olympic Games are nearly always historic in their feats of athletic prowess. But aside from the sporting events are amazing displays of human nature, tales of intense rivalries and record-breaking performances that keep the world watching as its most elite athletes compete for the gold.

As this year's games come to a close, here are the eight most unforgettable moments from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro:

Fu Yuanhui's Quirky Antics

Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui may have walked away from Rio with only a bronze medal, but she stole the hearts of millions all over the world with her post-swim interviews that displayed her modesty, charisma and quirky facial expressions.

After placing third in the women's 100-meter backstroke with a time of 58.95 seconds, Yuanhui reacted with a mixture of surprise and elation, as if she didn't know she was capable of swimming that fast.

"What? I came in third?" the 20-year-old asked. "I didn't know!"

Yuanhui also made headlines when she broke a taboo and spoke publicly about the difficulties of competing with menstrual pain. When she missed the post-race interview after the 4x100 meter medley final, she later explained that she felt tired because she had gotten her period the day before.



Prior to the Olympics, Yuanhui had about 550,000 followers on Weibo, China's main social media platform, The Guardian reported. But after showcasing her personality, that number skyrocketed to more than 6 million followers.

Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse's Post-Race Smiles

The fastest man in the world, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, and Canada's Andre De Grasse grinned at each other on the track of the 200-meter semifinal as De Grasse closed in on Bolt's lead.

In true big-brother, little-brother fashion, Bolt pointed an index finger at De Grasse as he smiled, his expression seeming to say, "You almost had me."

Bolt arrived in Rio seeking to achieve an Olympic "triple triple" in track and field, after winning gold in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4x100 meter relay in Beijing London and Rio -- and he reached his goal.

But, he acknowledged the bright career De Grasse has in front of him, calling the 21-year-old "great" and "talented."

U.S. and New Zealand Runners Helping Each Other Up

During the 5,000-meter race, U.S. runner Abbey D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin both stumbled onto the track after D'Agostino clipped Hamblin from the back with about 2,000 meters to go, according to the BBC.

As Hamblin lay on the ground after falling on her shoulder, D'Agostino told her to "get up" to complete the race. Hamblin then hung back to encourage D'Agostino, who hobbled to the finish line with an injured ankle.

A series of photos showed the women helping each other and later embracing at the finish line. Social media characterized the event as an embodiment of true sportsmanship.

Joseph Schooling Beating Michael Phelps

When 21-year-old Joseph Schooling bested Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly, a photo taken eight years ago surfaced of a young Schooling standing next to Phelps, already an Olympic hero. Soon after came the headlines about how Schooling grew up to beat Phelps, but neither seemed to mind. Cameras caught the two embracing in the pool immediately after the race.

Phelps had won gold in the event in Athens, Beijing and London, but in Rio, Schooling not only knocked Phelps down to silver, but he beat his record by clocking in at 50.39.

“As a kid I wanted to be like him,” Schooling said, adding that Phelps was "the reason" he wanted to be a "better swimmer." Phelps tied for second place with Hungary's Laszlo Cseh and South Africa's Chad le Clos at 51.14.

With his historic win, Schooling also brought Singapore its first gold medal.

Simon Manuel Becomes the First Black Female Swimmer to Win Gold in Individual Event

U.S. Swimmer Simone Manuel made history when she won the gold for the 100-meter freestyle, becoming the first black woman to win Olympic gold in an individual swimming event.

During her post-swim interview, an emotional Manuel explained that she hopes to be an inspiration for generations to come.

"This medal is not just for me," she said. "It's for a whole bunch of people who have come before me."

"It's for all the people who come after me ... who believe they can't do it," Manuel continued. "I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it."

During her medal ceremony, tears streamed down Manuel's cheeks as she mouthed the words to the "Star Spangled Banner."

Manuel also won gold for the 4x100 meter medley, silver in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay and silver in the 50-meter freestyle.

Weightlifter David Katoatau's Dancing Celebration

Kiribati's David Katoatau may have finished sixth in the men's 105-kilogram Group B final, but that didn't stop him from performing a celebratory dance the moment the weights hit the floor.

The dance itself appeared to be jovial and lighthearted, but the reason behind it is far more gloomy.

Katoatau's home on the central Pacific Island of Kiribati was destroyed in 2012 during a cyclone, Reuters reported, and some scientists have predicted a catastrophic effect on its 21 inhabited islands due to extreme coastal erosion. Katoatau danced at the Olympics to raise awareness about climate change and to bring attention to his storm-battered homeland.



For the past couple of years, Katoatau has been dancing at Olympic competitions, he told Reuters. If climate models are correct and the world's oceans rise by up to six feet by 2050, Kiribati could cease to exist by the 2048 summer games.

Michael Phelps' Angry Face

Before the semifinal for the 200-meter butterfly, Michael Phelps glowered at his rival, South Africa's Chad Le Clos, as he warmed up directly in front of him.

Le Clos beat Phelps in the same event during the 2012 games in London, forcing the most decorated Olympian of all time to accept one of his only three silver medals for the event. But, Phelps obtained sweet revenge in Rio, besting Le Clos and taking the gold.

Once screenshots were taken of Phelps' "angry" face, social media exploded into a medley of Phelps-themed memes with the hashtag #PhelpsFace.





Shaunae Miller's Dive to the Finish Line

In an unprecedented move, the Bahamas' Shaunae Miller dove for over the finish line for the gold in the 400-meter race, beating U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix. Miller landed hard on her chest and stayed on the ground for several minutes after the finish. When the official result game in, she was handed the Bahamian flag as she lay on the track.

Miller and her coach later said that the dive was unintentional. But, even if it wasn't, it would not have been against the rules, as they allow a runner to leave her feet as she crosses the line.

Fans of Felix took to social media to object to the gold medal being awarded to Miller.







Honorable Mention: Tonga's Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer

Millions all over the world swooned during the Olympics opening ceremony when Tonga's flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, walked on the stadium floor sans shirt and wearing a ta'ovala, a traditional Tongan dress worn by both men and women.

Taufatofua, a 32-yer-old taekwondo competitor, boasted an oiled upper body during the Parade of Nations, which enticed fans even more.