Breaking Down Barriers In Rio: Highlights From The 2016 Summer Olympics
Start writing a post

Breaking Down Barriers In Rio: Highlights From The 2016 Summer Olympics

Athletes from all over the world achieved historic firsts and overcame obstacles to get to where they are.

Breaking Down Barriers In Rio: Highlights From The 2016 Summer Olympics

This year's Olympics have been incredible, from the sports to the stories. Now that they're over, here are some of this year's highlights from the Rio Olympics.

1. #BlackGirlMagic

American swimmer Simone Manuel won a gold metal for the 100-meter freestyle, becoming the first black woman to do so.

"It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality," said Manuel in an interview with Centric. "This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on."

In gymnastics, Simone Biles and Gaby Douglas just won gold medals in both team and individual competitions.

Immediately, the comparisons to famous male athletes began, but Biles was not having it.

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” said Biles according to Yahoo. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”

In shot put, Michelle Carter became the first American woman to win a gold medal, also beating her personal record.

“Everybody wants to come out and win the gold. Sometimes it takes a personal best, sometimes it doesn’t,” said Carter in an interview with the Washington Post. “To be able to have all those pieces finally come together that you’ve been working on . . . it’s a great feeling.”

2. Firsts

Manuel, Biles and Douglas were not the only ones to achieve historic firsts this year. Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first Filipino woman to win an olympic medal.

This is the Philippines' first Olympic medal since 1996.

Brazilian Rafaela Silva also took home a medal this year in women's judo, Brazil's first gold medal in 2016.

If it wasn’t for judo, I don’t know where I’d be now,” Silva said, according to the Huffington Post. “I could still be playing in City of God, but thanks to God, I got involved in sports ― and here I am, world champion and Olympic champion."

Although American biker Chris Mosier did not compete in Rio this year, he can still claim to be the first transgender Olympic athlete to be featured in a Nike commercial.

"I didn't know if I would be competitive against men; I just did it," said Mosier according to CNN. "I've learned a lot about myself and also had the opportunity to further the conversation on trans inclusion in sports."

3. Bringing awareness

Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte has long been criticized for his weight. However, that didn't stop him from competing in Rio and creating a conversation about fat shaming.

"I know my body is fat, but I will lose the weight and when I go to Canada for the World Championships… I will show them." said Habte in an interview with iNews.

World-renowned American swimmer Michael Phelps has also been bringing awareness to an issue, depression, by discussing his time in rehab between the 2014 Olympics and this summer.

"I was in a really dark place," said Phelps to Sports Illustrated. "Not wanting to be alive anymore."

By talking about his experiences openly, Phelps brings light to a serious mental illness.

4. Overcoming adversity

American swimmer Kathleen Baker had to work hard to find a doctor that would help her get to the Olympics, since she has been diagnosed with Chron's disease for six years.

"I found doctors who weren’t going to be just like, ‘You’re Kathleen with Crohn’s disease.’ I need to be Kathleen the swimmer with Crohn’s disease," said Baker in an interview with the New York Times.

In spite of the disease, Baker was able to swim in Rio and took home a silver medal.

Of course, no one had more to overcome than the members of the refugee Olympic team.

For swimmer Yusra Mardini, who currently lives in Germany, her sport may have even saved her life, since she and her sister had to push the boat that was taking them away from Syria for three hours.

"I remember that without swimming I would never be alive maybe because of the story of this boat," said Mardini according to SB Nation. "It’s a positive memory for me."

The refugee team competed in three sports: running, swimming and judo.

“These refugee athletes will show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit," said international Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach according to Al Bawaba.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

21 EDM Songs for a Non-EDM Listener

Ever wanted to check out EDM music, but didn't know where to start? Look no further! Start here.

21 EDM Songs for a Non-EDM Listener

If you have been following me for a long time, then you know I write about two main things: relateable articles and communication media based articles. Now, it is time for me to combine the two. For those of you that don't know, I am a radio DJ at IUP, and I DJ for a show called BPM (Beats Per Minute). It is an EDM, or electronic dance music, based show and I absolutely love it.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!

A man with a white beard and mustache wearing a hat

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Keep Reading...Show less

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me

This one's for you, Spock.

6 Things Owning A Cat Has Taught Me
Liz Abere

Owning a pet can get difficult and expensive. Sometimes, their vet bills cost hundreds of dollars just for one visit. On top of that, pets also need food, a wee wee pad for a dog, a litter box with litter for a cat, toys, and treats. Besides having to spend hundreds of dollars on them, they provide a great companion and are almost always there when you need to talk to someone. For the past six years, I have been the proud owner of my purebred Bengal cat named Spock. Although he's only seven years and four months old, he's taught me so much. Here's a few of the things that he has taught me.

Keep Reading...Show less

Kinder Self - Eyes

You're Your Own Best Friend

Kinder Self - Eyes

It's fun to see all of the selfies on social media, they are everywhere. I see pictures with pouty lips, duck lips and pucker lips. I see smokey eyes, huge fake lashes and nicely done nose jobs, boob jobs and butt lifts. Women working out in spandex, tiny tops and flip flops. I see tight abs and firm butts, manicured nails and toes, up dos and flowing hair. "Wow", I think to myself," I could apply tons of make-up, spend an hour on my hair, pose all day and not look like that. Maybe I need a longer stick!"

Keep Reading...Show less

Rap Songs With A Deeper Meaning

Rap is more than the F-bomb and a beat. Read what artists like Fetty, Schoolboy Q, Drake, and 2Pac can teach you.

Rap artist delivers performance on stage
Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

On the surface, rap songs may carry a surface perception of negativity. However, exploring their lyrics reveals profound hidden depth.Despite occasional profanity, it's crucial to look beyond it. Rap transcends mere wordplay; these 25 song lyrics impart valuable life lessons, offering insights that extend beyond the conventional perception of rap music.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments