Russia reigned supreme yet again in the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the Rio Olympics, but athletes from all over the world dazzled the Olympic Arena with their mastery of the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. Watch some of the most memorable moments.
Yana Kudryavtseva, the three-time world champion, is toppled by fellow Russian Margarita Mamun
Kudryavtseva was nearly unbeatable over the last four years, making history by winning her first all-around title at age 15 at the 2013 World Championships, then claiming the title again at the next two Worlds. In 2014 and 2015, it was Mamun--Kudryavtseva's close friend and training partner--who won silver. Kudryavtseva looked primed for another victory at the Rio Olympics, but in the last moments of her clubs routine she dropped the apparatus. Mamun was nearly perfect in her own routines, allowing her to win the Olympic gold.
Laura Zeng matches record for best-ever finish by a U.S. rhythmic gymnast
While Zeng's qualifications score put her in 11th place, just a few tenths of a point away from advancing to the 10-woman final, her clean performances were reason enough to celebrate. She matched the previous record for highest Olympic finish by a U.S. rhythmic gymnast, set by Valerie Zimring at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Russian rhythmic gymnastics group win a fifth straight Olympic gold
With their precise and complex routines, the five women of Russia's rhythmic gymnastics group showed why no other country has won the Olympic group title since 1996.
U.S. rhythmic gymnastics group make their first Olympic appearance in 20 years
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the U.S. was granted a berth in the rhythmic gymnastics group competition because they were the host country. At every Olympics since, the U.S. fell short of qualifying a group--until Rio. While the U.S. group didn't advance to the final, they recovered from a shakey ribbons routine to cleanly execute their hoops and clubs routine. While awaiting their scores, the five women tearfully hugged as they realized how much they accomplished simply by earning a place on the Olympic stage.
Rhythmic gymnasts put on a show with creative musical choices
Rhythmic gymnasts, both group and individual, are allowed to use music with lyrics for one of their routines. While classical music was still a popular choice, other gymnasts opted to perform to songs by Queen, the Rolling Stones, Fergie and even Madonna.
Against the backdrop of a very, very green arena in Rio de Janerio, gymnastics history was made and records were broken. Two athletes proved they were the best in the world and possibly of all time, young talents proved they were medal-worthy, and a 41-year-old gymnast proved she's absolutely timeless.
Watch some of the most memorable, emotional and awe-inspiring moments from the gymnastics competition at the Rio Olympics.
The Final Five win team gold
Simone Biles and Aly Raisman win gold and silver in the all-around final
Biles is the fifth U.S. female gymnast to win the all-around title at the Olympics, but she stood apart in how decisively she claimed gold: her margin of victory of 2.1 points is larger than the winning margins from 1980 to 2012 combined.
After a disappointing all-around final at the London Olympics saw Raisman lose the tiebreaker for bronze and finish fourth, 22-year-old Raisman finally got her well-deserved spot on the Olympic all-around podium. She also won a silver medal on the floor exercise.
Simone Biles wins two more golds and a bronze medal in the event finals
After winning both team and all-around gold, Biles proved her greatness three more times by claiming medals in three out of four event finals. She showed power and control to win gold on vault, incredible amplitude and style to win gold on floor, and admirable mental toughness on beam to recover after a mistake and claim bronze.
Kohei Uchimura leads the Japanese men to a long-awaited gold in the team final
While Uchimura has won six consecutive all-around titles at the world championships in addition to the all-around gold in London, the victory he wanted more than anything was gold in the Olympic team final. Outscoring all their rivals, the Japanese men fulfilled that dream in Rio.
King Kohei is unexpectedly challenged by Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev in the all-around final
Uchimura and Verniaiev went head to head throughout all six events in the men's all-around final, with the young Ukrainian--who has never won an all-around medal at the world championships--maintaining a slim lead going into the last event, the horizontal bar. Uchimura proved his supremacy once again, winning gold while Verniaiev proudly accepted silver.
Great Britain's Max Whitlock follows up all-around bronze with two golds in one day
After joining Uchimura and Verniaiev on the all-around podium, Whitlock pocketed two more medals within hours of each other on the first day of event finals. A British gymnast hadn't won an all-around medal since 1908, and before Whitlock's victories on floor and pommel horse, a British gymnast had never won an Olympic gold medal.
U.S. men rebound from disappointing team and all-around finals to claim three apparatus medals
While the U.S. men's gymnastics team finished off the podium in the team and all-around finals, Alex Naddour and Danell Leyva made the most of the last few days of gymnastics competition, the event finals. Naddour, who was an alternate on the 2012 Olympic team, won a bronze medal on the pommel horse. Leyva, who was originally named an alterate for the Rio squad but was brought in to replace John Orozco after an injury, won a pair of silvers on the parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Beloved Brazilian gymnasts repay the cheering crowds with three medals
The fans in the Olympic Arena made no secret of their love for their hometown athletes, roaring with joy for the Brazilian gymnastics teams. The feeling was mutual, as shown by the emotinal reactions of Diego Hypolito, Arthur Mariano and Arthur Zanetti, who each claimed a medal in the event finals.
41-year-old Oksana Chusovitina competes in her seventh Olympics
Showing she's still competitive with gymnasts half her age, Uzbekistan's Chusovitina qualified for the vault final and finished seventh.
On Wednesday morning, five tennis legends – Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – sat down at the St. Regis Hotel in New York to discuss an exciting new annual tournament, the Rod Laver Cup. Together, the players on stage had accumulated a total of 60 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic medals.
Similar to golf’s Ryder Cup, the Laver Cup will pit six of the best European tennis players against the same number of stars from elsewhere in the world. The tournament will include both singles and doubles matches.
Sweden’s Borg, who won 11 Grand Slam titles between 1974 and 1981, will coach the European team; the United States’ John McEnroe, Borg’s rival and a seven-time Grand Slam winner, will lead the other team.
Nadal and Federer have already committed to the event, which is set to debut September 22nd, 2017 in Prague, the Czech Republic.
At the New York-based press conference, Federer and Nadal touched on a number of subjects, from their childhood memories of Laver to their predictions concerning the US Open – which begins Monday, August 29.
But they also reflected on their Olympic experiences and their thoughts on the Rio 2016 Games.
At the most recent Olympics, Nadal won gold in men’s doubles alongside compatriot and childhood friend Marc Lopez. He just missed out on a medal in men’s singles, losing to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals and then Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the Bronze Medal Match.
It was the Spaniard’s second Olympic medal, having won gold in men’s singles at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“It was a very important event, especially after what happened with my wrist,” Nadal said during a panel discussion moderated by Bill Macatee. “I didn’t have the chance to practice much before the Olympics starts. So right then, to have a chance to win a gold in doubles – especially with one of my best friends like Marc – very, very special for me. Unforgettable moments as much for me as for him … I was very happy the way I competed in Rio in all aspects.”
He added: “You go to the Olympics, and finally you win a medal, it’s just the most important thing you can do.”
But while Nadal won big in Rio, Federer missed the Games due to a nagging injury sustained in January. While with his family, Federer twisted his knee and suffered a torn meniscus.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner took several months off from professional tennis, but returned to London’s Wimbledon Championships in July, where he reached the semifinals. However, the Swiss suffered an unfortunate fall during his semifinal match against Canada’s top ten-ranked Milos Raonic, which required immediate medical attention.
Shortly before the Rio Olympics, Federer announced he would not participate in the Games – nor would he compete for the rest of the 2016 season. But he still managed to follow all the action in Brazil, even finding himself enamored with a sport other than his own.
“For some reason, I watched a lot of volleyball," Federer said at Wednesday's press conference. "I guess it depends on when you tune in, what event is on."
Reflecting on his own Olympic experiences, Federer smiled.
“Medals were a significant part of my life,” said Federer, who – aside from Rio – has played at every Games since Sydney 2000. (Though he didn’t earn a medal at that tournament, he did meet his wife, Mirka.) "It's really representing your country, and I enjoy that in a big way. Winning the gold in Beijing in doubles was a huge surprise to me, I think equally what it was to Rafa this year. And I went on to win the US Open, so I wish Rafa all the best - that he can do the same."
In addition to doubles gold at Beijing 2008, Federer took home singles silver at the London 2012 Games after falling to Great Britain's Andy Murray in the final.
"It was just unbelievable to do that," Federer said. "You had that combination of the Olympics being held at Wimbledon. It was just so crazy ... Unfortunately, I couldn't finish it off against Murray, but he deserved it. He had a great reaction after his loss in the Wimbledon finals [in 2012], so for me that was like gold."
When asked whether he would participate in tennis’ singles or doubles competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Games, Federer declined to comment. But regardless of whether Federer makes an appearance in Japan, the Swiss star clearly holds the Olympics close to his heart.
"There's a lot of memories that come out of the Olympics," Federer said. "I've always enjoyed them."
It seemed like almost every day, wrestling history was being made in Rio.
Mijain Lopez joined Aleksandr Karelin as the only athletes to win three straight gold medals in Greco-Roman wrestling, Kaori Icho became the first four-time gold medalist in Olympic wrestling, and Kyle Snyder became the United States' youngest gold medalist.
But perhaps the most memorable history-making feat will be Helen Maroulis' takedown of Saori Yoshida. Both were reigning world champions entering the highly-anticipated gold medal clash, but Yoshida is the most decorated wrestler ever, with 13 world titles and three Olympic gold medals. Maroulis ultimately defeated the Japanese legend to secure Team USA's first-ever gold medal in women's wrestling.
Re-watch the top moments from this year's Olympics below.
Judo provided plenty of memorable action at the Rio Games.
For Team USA, two athletes reached the gold medal match in their division: Kayla Harrison and Travis Stevens. Harrison repeated as Olympic champion in the women's 78kg weight class, sending her out on top after what is likely to be her final judo competition. Stevens ended up with silver in the men's 81kg division, giving him his first Olympic medal in three appearances.
Meanwhile, the rest of the field provided exciting match-ending ippons, huge upsets, historic gold medals and, of course, just a little bit of controversy.
Re-watch the top moments below.