The Opening Ceremony was not reflective of this year’s Games overall.
I feel the need to provide this disclaimer because apparently many viewers were less than impressed – if not straight-up disappointed – with Rio de Janeiro’s performance in officially opening the 31st Olympiad. Gisele walked too slowly down her almost-mile-long runway. The athletes’ outfits were not exactly haute couture (although I disagree with ESPN’s unforgiving take on some of the best- and worst-dressed teams). No one here could watch it truly live – until every U.S. time zone is in prime time.
But let’s also take note of the budget restrictions imposed upon the Brazilians, both tangible and intangible. Financial crisis and political turmoil are just two of the many insufferable odors lingering in the air in Rio de Janeiro. Fernando Meirelles said that to spend a ton of money on their Ceremony performances would be “tacky” in light of the economic stress under which the host country is operating. “In the end, I feel good that I am not spending money that Brazil hasn’t got,” he said.
However, so far, Team USA has certainly done us proud as the recipient of the most medals overall at this stage. Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky made history in the pool. The “Final Five” of the women’s gymnastics team maintained their title on top by winning the second consecutive gold medal for the team all-around event. However, 19-year-old Olympic “rookie” Simone Biles denied her teammate Aly Raisman the individual all-around gold, although Aly took home the silver this time and only barely missed the podium in 2012. Her performance was incredible – she definitely brought the house down.
Phelps won his 22nd Olympic Gold in the 200m individual medley—his fourth consecutive gold in the event. After an otherwise tight race with teammate Ryan Lochte and Kosuke Hagino (Japan), Phelps took off in the final lap in what can only be described as unreal.
But we can’t win everything. The U.S. women’s soccer team failed to defend its seat at the top of the ranks in the soccer world as Team USA women were eliminated by Sweden in the shootout of their Friday afternoon game. Missy Franklin placed seventh in her heat of the 200m backstroke—the event for which she won the gold in 2012—and thus failed to qualify for the finals. Ryan Lochte also failed to medal in the 200m IM final. (In case you were wondering why Lochte’s hair is greenish-blue, it’s because the chlorine dyed it after he had bleached it.)
Other awesome accomplishments include Ethiopian runner Almaz Ayana, who shattered the world record time in her 10km run; her time this morning was more than 13 seconds faster than the previous record set in 1993. Fiji won its first Olympic medal ever when it beat the Brits for the gold in the men’s rugby sevens event.
Also, the Jamaican house in the Olympic Village threw a killer party the other night.
But the Olympics aren’t over yet. Saturday morning at 9:30, track legend Usain Bolt will run in the preliminary round for the Men’s 100m race. The men’s final for the 4×100 Medley Relay will be Michael Phelps’ last Olympic event ever—and perhaps a chance for him to snag yet another medal. Coverage for that (plus other swimming events) will take place at 9 p.m. Saturday, August 13.
Libby Scattergood is a senior in the McDonough School of Business.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.