Usain Bolt’s epic photo
Ali standing over Liston. Jordan taking off from the free throw line. Pete Rose diving into third. And now Usain Bolt caught in his natural state, grinning back at the competition he so easily bested during Sunday's 100-meter semifinal at the Olympics down in Rio. Legs ablur, perfect stride, confident smile ? it's just a perfect moment captured.
Abbey D’gostino represents the Olympic spirit
Abbey D'gostino and Nikki Hamblin's encouraging moment during the 5,000-meter gave everyone ALL the feels. After Hamblin took a tumble on the track, D'Agostino assisted her to her feet and then realized she too was injured. They both persevered through in a touching show of support that made the entire world remember what was actually more important than winning.
Phelps wins 23 golds
Michael Phelps came into the Rio Games as a champion and also left the games as one, but he hasn't always been on this pedestal of greatness. Following his triumph in London four years ago, trouble found Phelps (think: DUI, bong photo on social media) in what many assumed was a fall from grace. He cleaned up, pushed harder and earned his 23rd and final gold medal in these games, proving to everyone that a setback could only be a setup for something greater.
The best Olympic selfie
For all the controversy surrounding the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the power of the Games to connect and inspire is still unrivaled. And sometimes, the most impactful moments can come away from competition, like when gymnasts Lee Eun-ju of South Korea and Hong Un-Jong of North Korea came together to take a selfie.
LOVE was in the air these past two weeks, with several Olympians proposing to their partners in what could arguably be the most epic international proposal possible. Charlotte Dujardin (left), Qin Kai (right), and Tom Bosworth figured that the only real hardware that mattered during these games were engagement rings, and all popped the question (or finally agreed to get married) to their significant other. Swoon.
Simone Manuel makes history
Emotion meets critical historical flashbacks with Simone Manuel. Manuel's 100-meter freestyle marked the first time an African-American woman won in an individual swimming event. A big deal considering that not many years ago, whole swimming pools would be drained if a black person dipped their toe in the water. This was a win worth smiling about.
Simone Biles and the Final Five dominate
Lets face it ? we love Olympic gymnastics and Team USA gave us everything we've been missing these past four years. Simone Biles made history wining four golds (the most any gymnast has ever won at one Games) and the Final Five took the team gold for the second year in a row, sending out their legendary coach Marta Karolyi with a memorable last Olympics.
Katie Ledecky does Katie Ledecky things
Did we expect anything else? Swimmer Katie Ledecky is fast. Real fast. She took home four gold medals and one silver, breaking world records in the 800-meter and 200-meter freestyle. The record that Ledecky broke in the 800 was also set by her. Just wow.
Helen Maroulis shocks the world
Girls wear singlets, too. Helen Maroulis won gold in wrestling, the first time an American woman has done so. What's better than winning gold? Beating a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated female in the history of women's wrestling. This was Maroulis' first Olympics.
Team USA 100-meter hurdle sweep
A truly golden moment for Team USA. Americans Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin won the gold, silver and bronze medal in the 100-meter hurdles. This is our favorite kind of sweep and it's the first time any country has ever done so at the Olympics.
Wayde van Niekerk wins gold for his mother
A generation can make all of the difference. Odessa Swarts of South Africa wasn't allowed to qualify for her national team because of apartheid. Years later, her son Wayde van Niekerk qualified, won gold in the 400-meter sprint in Rio and broke a 15-year-old world record. Color does not define this family. He said following the win, "When I got over the finish line, I felt like a proud South African, not a proud colored South African".
Fu Yuanhui’s reaction
Fu Yuanhui of China didn't take the gold in her swimming events, but her priceless reactions throughout the Games make her the most lovable athlete in Rio. In her qualifying heat for the 100-meter backstroke, she thought she didn't make the final. Her contagious enthusiasm wins our vote for gold.
Stranded Nigerian soccer team beats Japan
The Nigerian soccer team arrived in Brazil hours before its match against Japan and still won 5-4. And here we are making excuses as to why we can't make it to the gym.
Countries earning first golds
There were many historical firsts at these games, but for the countries of Puerto Rico, Fiji, Singapore, Vietnam, Jordan and Kosovo, a special congratulations is in order as their firsts were golden. They earned their first-ever gold medals, with some being the first medals EVER for the country.
In what goes down in history as top scandalous moment from Rio, famed swimmer and socialite Ryan Lochte was held up at gunpoint following a night out in Rio, but then he wasn't. Confused? Jeah, we all are. Lochte apparently "overexaggerated" the story and he wasn't held up but actually wrecked havoc at a gas station. The IOC is now investigating.
Where politics meet the Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit is lost. This was the case when Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands following his defeat with his Israeli opponent Or Sasson. Despite this demonstration of poor sportsmanship to the world, this is a big "no-no" in judo, where respect is a big part of the sport.
Mongolian strip show
Say what? Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran of Mongolia suffered a loss in wrestling, and his coaches were pretty upset about it … so much so that they took to the mat and provided us all a strip show, shoes and all. We've seen our fair share of sore losers these Games but this might just take the cake.
Boxing refs sent home
The AIBA boxing federation has dropped a number of judges and referees at the Rio Olympics after a review of decisions at the Games. After 239 Olympic bouts, the federation said “less than a handful” of the decisions were not at the level expected. “The concerned referees and judges will no longer officiate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” the body said, adding that the results of all the bouts would stand.
Hope Solo and the coward remark
Hope Solo is no stranger to controversy and these Games proved no different. Following Team USA's loss in a shootout against Sweden, Solo commented that her opponents "played like a bunch of cowards.” Oh. Sore loser much?
Race walker poops his pants
Race walking got pretty intense this year. Yohann Diniz of France was the race favorite and was in the lead for much of the competition until he collapsed from what appeared to be gastrointestinal issues. The issues appeared to be internal and external. Embarrassing as this is, it's quite common in long distance racing (it even has a name: runner's trots). Despite the setback, Diniz completed the race in eighth place.
Fans might have been excited about the Games, but the attendance said otherwise. The marquee events had great crowds but large swarths of empty seats were noticeable at many events. Sheesh. Brazil, did you know that an Olympics has been taking place for the past two weeks?
USA 4×100 baton drop
The United States women's 4×100-meter relay team crossed the finish line last in its qualifying heat at the 2016 Olympics after the baton exchange between Allyson Felix and English Gardner was impeded by a runner in an adjacent lane. Felix was set to hand off to Gardner for the third leg of the relay when Felix appeared to make contact with Brazilian runner Kauiza Venancio in the lane to her right. Felix, slowed by the contact, grimaced, and lunged to get the baton to Gardner, but couldn't reach Gardner's outstretched hand. Felix threw the baton out of desperation, and it tumbled to the track. The U.S. filed a protest immediately after the race, and the protest was successful.
Williams sisters make early exitsNever say never! Venus and Serena Williams have gone 15-0 at the doubles tournament, winning gold medals at the past three Olympic Games. This time, they lost in the first round to Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Athletes compete in rain
Rain doesn't stop this show. Track athletes competed during rainstorms in Brazil and coincidently enough, several athletes were disqualified because of error. Blame it on the rain?
Green fart pools
Pools in the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center turned green within 24 hours of them reflecting a shiny blue. The cause? A worker dumped hydrogen peroxide into the pools, turning them green and apparently making them "smell like farts," quite embarrassing for Olympic officials. A lot can change in 24 hours.
Dutch cyclist crash
Dutch cyclist Annemiek Van Vleuten was in the lead of the road race when she took a scary tumble that fractured her spine. This story has a happy spin to it, Van Vleuten has already gotten back on her bike and has started the healing process.
Gabby Douglas shaming
Gabby Douglas was a serious victim of cyber bullying these Games, a major difference from four years ago when she was praised for being an Olympic goddess. This time, her hair was the least of the comments, but rather her patriotism and support of her teammates (or according to social media, her lack there of).
Olympic champion belly flop
You don't hear this everyday: an Olympic diver who belly flops during competition. Russian diver Ilya Zakharov was the defending Olympic champion in the 3-meter springboard, until his belly flop in the semifinal round sent him packing. Some things we just can't understand.
Hyperextension gone wrong. Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan was in second place when he lifted the weights above his head. Shortly after his arm went backward, resulting in what appeared to be a dislocated elbow. OUCH!
In a horrifying injury none of us saw coming, French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a gruesome leg break during his vault qualifying round early into the Olympics. The footage went viral and is not for the faint of heart.