By: Carter Caldwell
This past summer the Games of the XXXI Olympiad took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, encompassing more than 11,000 athletes from 207 nations worldwide. During the Games, American swimmers Ryan Murphy and Katie Ledecky delivered world-record worthy results, and with their teammates they were able to garner 121 medals, 46 of which were gold, earning the US its second consequential win in the games. Other swimmers of note include Ryan Lochte, although it was not his performance that constituted headlines so much as it was his controversial actions; Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event; and of course, Michael Phelps, who, in his fifth Olympics, solidified his title as the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals
Internationally, Usain Bolt, Katinka Hosszú, and Jason Kenny each took 3 gold medals home, and 2020’s host country Japan brought home a record 41 medals, led by gymnast Kōhei Uchimura. The games, set to begin on July 24, 2020 with the motto “Discover tomorrow,” are expected to include upwards of 12,000 athletes. However, fans should know that greats such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt may not be included in that figure, as both will be approaching their mid/late-thirties at the time of the games. Shockingly, 19-year-old breakout star Simone Biles is also unsure of a return to the game, with her family saying Tokyo is so far, while some gymnasts are questioning whether Biles will be too old to compete in four years.
So as 2016 draws to a close and athletes take a break, up-and-comers jump at chances to replace old faces, who struggle to remain relevant, the Olympic games have proven to capture the attention of the world better than any other sporting event, and it is certain that 2020 will not fail to repeat that.