Thank You, Rio

Day 234

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

– Hebrews 13:2

I had planned to title today’s post for the closing of the 31st Olympiad in Rio “Gold Rush.” I was going to share the highlights of the games, and review some of the gold medal moments that I haven’t written about yet, but then I watched the closing ceremony and changed my mind.

There’s no doubt about it – these Olympic Games have made many spirits rise, and just as many tears fall. They have inspired and captivated me more than any other Olympic Games in recent history. I’m not sure if it was the raw talent, the positive attitudes of the athletes, the natural beauty of Rio’s sandy beaches and rain forests, the spirit of kindness and sportsmanship, the awe-inspiring moments, the fact that the Olympic athletes were such a diverse group of men and women of all ages, some combination of all of the above, or if it’s something else entirely that’s had such an impact on me.


music noteBlog Beats: Copacabana by Barry Manilow


I changed my mind about the theme of this post when I saw Japan’s performance at the closing ceremony tonight. Brazil faced some major concerns heading into the 2016 Summer Games. Among other issues, they didn’t have the kind of funding that other host countries have had in the past, and by the looks of the show that Japan put on tonight, not as much as their successors either – from the glimpse of what’s to come in Tokyo in 2020, it is sure to be spectacular, and you can bet that Japan will spare no expense.

Maybe that’s what has made the biggest impression on my subconscious – the underlying message that anything is possible, despite the obstacles. In the spirit of the Olympic Games, Brazilians pulled all of their resources together, and hosted the games in the best manner possible. That’s what it’s all about – not winning, but taking part; that’s the most important thing.

At the end of the broadcast, the commentator reflected on a similar thought. Synchronicity. “There’s a word in Brazil that captures an idea – ‘Gambiarra”, he said. “The idea is that somehow in the end, things will come together.” And things did come together in the end – Brazil brought the world together in a glorious celebration of joy and sportsmanship, with generosity and grace. I am grateful for the hospitality that Brazilians have shown the world for the last 17 days.

“When someone shows you hospitality, it is customary to express your gratitude upon departure.”

– Rajni Kurichh

Thank you, Rio, it’s been an awesome ride, one that won’t be forgotten any time soon. These Olympic Games have marked history many times over. Legends Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have both concluded this chapter in their lives with glory, going out in record-breaking style. The host nation had some glory of their own, Brazil brought a nation to tears winning the gold medal that meant the most – their 1st Gold Medal in soccer in Olympic history. There are many more priceless moments from the 2016 Rio Summer Games – take a look at this short video that captures many of those precious memories: Remembering The Titans of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Here are some photos of the most memorable moments of the 2016 Olympic Games, many of these moments were captured by the BBC – you can read the full article here.

Rio 2016 Letters
The Rio 2016 letters in the now iconic font of the games.
Rio 2016 Olympic Logo
The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Logo.
Olympics Rings Rio Closing Ceremony
Fireworks display with the Olympic rings at the opening ceremony in Rio 2016.
Copacabana
The center of much activity of the 2016 Olympic Games; beautiful Copacabana Beach.
Fireworks at Rio Closing Cermony
Color, celebration and festivities at the closing ceremonies in Rio.
Fireworks Rio Closing Cermony
A spectacular display of color and celebration, closing out the Rio Summer Games in 2016.
Penny Oleksiak 100m Gold
Rising Canadian star, 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak, wins Canada’s first gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Oleksiak tied with Simone Manuel to take the gold, setting a new Olympic record of 52.70 seconds.
Penny Oleksiak Takes Home 4 Medals
Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, from Toronto, holds up her four medals, a gold, silver and two bronze, she won at the 2016 Summer Olympics before a news conference, Sunday, August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Rio 2016 Flags Closing Ceremony
Flag bearers leading the closing ceremony in Rio 2016.
Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony
Athletes make their way into Maracana Stadium for the closing ceremony in Rio 2016.
Team Canada Closing Ceremony Rio 2016
Team Canada, waving goodbye to Rio at the closing ceremony, clad in maple-leaf mittens.
Mo Farah retains 10,000m title
A nation gasped when he tripped and fell, but despite taking a mid-race tumble, Britain’s Mo Farah became the first British track and field athlete to win three Olympic gold medals as he retained his 10,000m title with a thrilling victory. Photo Credit: BBC
Tonga's flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua Opening Ceremony
One of the first Olympic moments to go viral happened when Pita Taufatofua, Tonga’s flag-bearer, appeared at the opening ceremony. The taekwondo athlete emerged topless, wearing traditional Tongan dress and apparently covered in baby oil. It did not go unnoticed. Photo Credit: BBC
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana won gold in the women's 10,000m
The first world record inside the Olympic Stadium went to Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, who smashed the previous record by more than 14 seconds to win gold in the women’s 10,000m. Photo Credit: BBC
Closing Ceremony
After the competition, came the party as Rio produced a carnival-style closing ceremony full of music, dancing and colour. Photo Credit: BBC
Joseph Schooling won 100m butterfly
Singapore’s gold medallist Joseph Schooling, who idolised Michael Phelps as a child, managed to get the better of his hero in pool, winning the 100m butterfly ahead of Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laszlo Cseh – who finished joint second. A photograph of a young Schooling, then just 13, with Phelps at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 quickly went viral. Photo Credit: BBC
Chinese diver Qin Kai proposing to fellow diver He Zi
Chinese diver He Zi had just collected her silver medal in the 3m women’s springboard final when fellow diver Qin Kai entered the podium presentation. He duly got down on one knee, produced an engagement ring and proposed. She said yes. Photo Credit: BBC
Brazil's Soccer Team Gold Medal Moment
Brazil exorcised the demons of their 7-1 defeat by Germany in the World Cup semi-final in Belo Horizonte in 2014 by beating them in a penalty shoot-out to win the Olympic gold medal. The match had finished 1-1 after extra-time and star striker Neymar, who missed the World Cup humiliation because of injury, scored during normal time before converting the decisive penalty and bursting into floods of tears. Photo Credit: BBC
Katie Ledecky 800m Gold World Record
Where’d they all go? American swimmer Katie Ledecky dominated in the pool, taking nearly two seconds off her own world record to win the women’s 800m freestyle final in eight minutes 4.79 seconds – finishing nearly 12 seconds clear of the rest of the field. She also won the women’s 200m freestyle, the 400m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Maria Lenk Green Pool
Are you sure it’s ok to dive into that? The colour of the water at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre became a major talking point, after it turned from aquatic blue to a murky green overnight. Games organisers blamed chemical levels in the water. Photo Credit: BBC
Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D%22Agostino in 5000m
The true Olympic spirit shone out when New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin (left) and Abbey D”Agostino of the USA helped each other out after colliding in their heat of the women’s 5000m. D’Agostino tore her anterior cruciate knee ligament in the incident but both runners insisted on completing their race. They were both handed places in the final but the injury prevented the American taking part. Photo Credit: BBC
Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse finishing men's 200m semi-final
Unperturbed Bolt, once again, shows his gregarious personality by pointing in admiration at Canada’s Andre De Grasse as both men cross the line – in first and second place respectively – in the men’s 200m semi-final. Bolt went on to win the final, of course. Photo Credit: BBC
Rafaela Silva won Brazil's 1st gold in Judo
The first golden moment for the host nation – the story of Brazil’s 57kg judo champion Rafaela Silva shone a light on some of Rio’s poorest residents. From one of Rio’s toughest neighbourhoods, the so-called City of God, Silva was disqualified at London 2012 and later labelled an embarrassment. Her victory marked a fairytale rise. Photo Credit: BBC
Track Cyclists avoid a nasty crash
One of the images from the track cycling came when Laurine van Riessen, of the Netherlands, managed to avoid a nasty crash with France’s Virginie Cueff by riding up and along the barrier at the side of the track. Such was the extent of her precautionary action, she became almost horizontal. Photo Credit: BBC
Japan Thanking Rio Closing Ceremony 2016
Japan gives the world a glimpse of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games, with thanks to the 2016 hosts, Rio de Janeiro.

I hope the amazing display of excellence in both athleticism and attitude we’ve witnessed in Rio continues to inspire you until we meet again in Tokyo in 2020. Farewell, and obrigado por tudo, Rio.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2 Replies to “Thank You, Rio”

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