08:45 Aug. 22, 2016
2016 Olympic Games will be remembered with a series of records
The Rio Olympics have ended in a blaze of color with a carnival-inspired closing ceremony at the Maracana stadium. Some 50,000 spectators braved the wind and pouring rain of Brazil's tropical winter to see the August 21 event, which featured the parade of athletes and the symbolic handover of the Olympic flag to 2020 hosts Tokyo.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach officially closed South America's first Olympiad after 16 days of competition featuring more than 11,300 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team. "These were a marvellous Olympics in a marvellous city," Bach said before the flame in the Olympic cauldron was extinguished. "Over the last 16 days, a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life."
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike received the flag from the IOC president, signalling the transition to the 2020 Olympics. A showcase of the Japanese capital included Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dressed as computer game character Super Mario, popping out of a green pipe that he allegedly used as a shortcut to get from Tokyo to Rio.
The Rio Olympics had many memorable moments, including the comeback of 31-year-old American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won five gold medals and one silver to reinforce his distinction as the most decorated Olympian of all time.
The world's fastest man, Jamaica's 30-year-old Usain Bolt, secured a sweep of the sprint titles with three more golds.
Majlinda Kelmendi made Olympic history for Kosovo, winning a gold medal in women's judo and becoming the first athlete from the Balkan nation to win an Olympic medal. Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan won the men's hammer event, handing the Central Asian nation its first-ever Olympic gold medal. And Kimia Alizadeh returned to Iran with a bronze medal in taekwondo -- the first Olympic medal won by an Iranian woman.
But for many in soccer-crazed Brazil, the best moment happened when Neymar scored the winning penalty in the shootout as Brazil beat Germany to win their first men's Olympic football gold medal.
But perhaps the biggest embarrassment was felt by U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, who claimed he was robbed at gunpoint. Police later discovered Lochte fabricated the story after he and his teammates vandalised a gas station bathroom following a drunken night.
The Olympics were not affected by any major incidents, but safety concerns, a diving pool turning green, and the Russian doping controversy frequently overshadowed the sports action.
The biggest loser of the Rio Olympics is probably Russia, which finished fourth in the medals table behind the United States, Britain, and China. The Russian athletes are bringing home a total of 56 medals - 19 golds, 18 silvers, and 19 bronze - a far cry from the 82 medals they picked up at the 2012 Olympics in London.
The Russian Olympic team was decimated with nearly 120 athletes barred from competing in the wake of a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency describing systematic doping in Russia involving the main state security agency and the country's main anti-doping laboratory.