The 2016 Olympic Gymnastics competitions in Rio were some of the most spectacular, memorable and most watched of all time. Over the course of the competitions nearly 200 hugely talented gymnasts, male and female, flipped, leaped, twisted and soared for the crowd, a crowd that was enthusiastic – and vocal – every second of the way.
There were some moments though that stand out as truly memorable, the kind that will be repeated in highlight and clip shows for years to come. Here are some of our favorites of them:
The Brazilian Teams’ Performances
Both the Brazilian men and women impressed everyone when they qualified for the team finals by placing in the top eight. The ladies team eventually finished in that eighth place while the men finished sixth and picked a bronze and two silvers in individual events along the way.
What was most memorable though is the heart and pride each of the gymnasts displayed and the way their home crowd reacted. In two weeks, the ten athletes become national stars and national heroes in a country where soccer rules supreme, and the fact that it was so obvious that the gymnasts appreciated every cheer they garnered was a joy to see.
Oksana Chusovitina’s Vaults
The first time that Oksana Aleksandrovna Chusovitina competed at the Olympic Games in 1992 she was 17 years old. In 2016 she’s 41 and the mother of a teenage son and yes, she was back at the Olympics again, representing Uzbekistan as a vault specialist. She finished 7th in the final and made history as she did it, performing the Produnova, the world’s most difficult vault and drawing praise from young women like Simone Biles who were not even born when she competed in her first Olympics!
Andreas Toba’s Team Spirit
Just moments before the horrifying fall that broke French gymnast Samir Ait Said’s leg another male gymnast, Germany’s Andres Toba, also took a fall that injured his knee and threatened to knock him out of the competition as well.
However, although teams come to the Olympics with alternates who are ready to step in if one of the five team members is injured before the competition starts. But once qualifications begin, an alternate can no longer be swapped in. So Germany faced the prospect, it seemed, of trying to reach the team final with just four men.
Toba, however, knew that he was needed. So with a heavily strapped knee he completed a clean and impressive pommel horse routine, at the end of which he was carried from the floor by his grateful teammates, who carried on to the final and a seventh place finish that would not have been possible without Tobas’ grit.
Simone Biles and Aly Raisman’s 1 2 Floor Exercise Punch
As they are known for their electrifying floor work a lot was expected of Biles and Raisman in the event but the performances they delivered stunning, gravity defying routines that earned Simone 15.933 points and Aly 15.433 and the gold and silver medals respectively and the awe and admiration of the whole world.
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