After 17 days of 306 medal events, 42 sports, 206 competing countries and over 3,000 hours of BBC coverage, the 2016 Olympics have now reached a jubilant conclusion. 

Against all the odds, Rio de Janeiro managed to pull off a memorable Games.

The Zika virus, declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), plagued South America and prompted at least 18 athletes to withdraw from their competitions, while more than 150 medical professionals petitioned for the Olympics to be moved or postponed. 

Amid corruption revelations across the country, Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff was suspended for 6 months in May following charges of government account manipulation. The senate has recently voted 59 against 21 for an impeachment trial which is likely to take place at the end of August.

Doping accusations came to the forefront last November and the entire Russian track and field team was suspended from all international competitions. Russian Paralympians have now subsequently been banned ahead of their Games which begin 7th September. 

Of major concern to the aquatic competitors, Rio’s waterways were alarmingly contaminated with human sewage, necessitating swimmers and rowers to take extreme preventative action in order to avoid serious illness. For visitors to Rio de Janeiro looking forward to a swim at the beach, the advice was emphatically “Don’t put your head under water.”

And low ticket sales were a cause for concern, with just 5.7m of a total 6.5m tickets having been sold as at 15th August (day 11), according to the Financial Times. Despite more than half the tickets costing less than $30 (£23) many of the spectator seats have been empty – while Jessica Ennis-Hill gave it her all in the heptathlon, the arena was only a third full. Worrying statistics indeed for Rio’s Olympics budget target, especially when you consider that every athletics event was a sell-out at London 2012. On the plus side, at least spectators could still spontaneously buy tickets on the day.

As host nation, Brazil would be keen to earn a respectable medal count. 

Rafaela Silva did not disappoint. Casting aside memories of disqualification in 2012 for an illegal hold, she secured Brazil’s first gold medal of the 2016 Games in the women’s judo. Rafaela also became the only judoka in Brazilian history to earn both Olympic and World Champion titles.

And once the rain finally stopped, pole vaulter Thiago Braz da Silva added 11cm to his previous personal best to set a new Olympic record of 6.03m, also winning a gold medal for his country.

Popular lightweight boxer Robson Conceicao earned Brazil a third gold medal after judges unanimously scored him the champion.

Brazil’s Bruno Schmidtt and Alison Cerutti also won the men’s beach volleyball while sailors Martine Grael (following in her father’s footsteps) and Kahena Kunze saw off New Zealand to win gold in the women’s 49er FX race.

Proving the nation’s passion for the game, Brazil beat Germany in a tense football penalty shoot-out, while the men’s volleyball team whitewashed Italy on the closing day to bring Brazil’s gold medal tally to seven.

Brazil also won six silver and six bronze medals. 

Great Great Britain!

Demonstrating outstanding effort and prowess, Team GB way exceeded UK Sport’s imposed target of 48 medals by finishing 2nd on the table behind the United States and narrowly beating China with 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze.

Mo Farah won his 10,000 metre race even after taking a tumble, divers Jack Laugher and Chris Mears won the synchronised 3-metre springboard competition despite the pool being a very off-putting shade of green, and flag-bearer Andy Murray gave another tremendous performance to retain his London 2012 title. Nation’s favourite Jessica Ennis-Hill scored silver in her heptathlon title defence.

Here are 9 Olympic highlights that should make every Briton proud this summer:

1 Triumphant tourists: Rio 2016 was Great Britain’s most victorious Olympics ever. Team GB’s previous best overseas result was 47 medals at Beijing 2008 but they smashed that with a haul of 67, also beating London 2012’s success of 65.

2 Golden couple make medal history: Cyclist Laura Trott, 24, became the most successful British female Olympian in history winning four gold medals, while her fiancé Jason Kenny matched Sir Chris Hoy’s gold tally of six.

3 A British first: Elated Burnley girl Sophie Hitchon, 25, became the first British female ever to win an Olympic medal in hammer throwing. She scored bronze, setting the new British record of 74.54m. Denise Lewis said: “It is simply, simply fantastic what she has achieved here. We love the big stars of the sport but what I love is when someone surprises us and delivers on the big occasion.”

4 Winners before the klaxon sounded: Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark’s toils in the early stages of the Games paid off - all they had to was cross the line in the final 470 dinghy class challenge to become gold medal winners. 

5 Record breakers: Great Britain set 6 Olympic and 3 world records. 

In track cycling finals, the men set both a new Olympic record of 42.44 and a world & Olympic record of 3:50.265 in the team sprint and team pursuit respectively, while the ladies registered a new world & Olympics high of 4:10.236 in their team pursuit. Jason Kenny beat his previous Olympic record in the men’s sprint with a time of 9.551, and Rebecca James also sped home in a women’s sprint Olympic best 10.721 to win her second silver at Rio 2016. 

Adam Peaty set a world & Olympic record of 57:13 in the men’s 100m breaststroke swimming final.

6 Brothers in arms: After years of healthy sibling rivalry, Brownlee brothers Alistair, the eldest by two years, and Jonathan finished six seconds apart to bring back both gold and silver triathlon medals for Team GB. This is the first time since 1960 that a familial double-act has dominated the world in an Olympics event.

7 Golden oldie: At 58, Nick Skelton proved you don’t have to be a youngster to do your nation proud. Defying doctors who said he would never ride again after he broke his neck in 2000, he is now the second oldest to win gold for Great Britain and cut an emotional picture on the winner’s podium.

8 Gracious in defeat: Not afraid to bare their souls, the likes of Lutalo Muhammad and the 100m men’s relay team missed out on the top spots but openly shared their disappointment and ongoing commitment with us all, holding their heads high for Team GB.

9 Back-to-back gold: Nicola Adams was the first female to secure this honour for Team GB, while unstoppable Mo Farah achieved a historic ‘double-double’. While he sacrificed precious early years with his children he says he did it all for them and has now won them one gold medal each. He has now decided to quit the Games but certainly leaves on a glorious high note.


Summary table of Great Britain’s medals:

EVENT

GOLD

GOLD WINNERS

SILVER

BRONZE

TOTAL

Cycling

6

Jason Kenny

4

2

 

 

 

Women’s team pursuit

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s team pursuit

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s team sprint

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Trott

 

 

 

Rowing

3

Men’s eight

2

0

 

 

 

Helen Glover & Heather Stanning

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s coxless fours

 

 

 

Gymnastics

2

Max Whitlock

1

3

 

Swimming

1

Adam Peaty

5

0

 

Athletics

2

Mo Farah

1

4

 

Canoeing

2

Joe Clarke

2

0

 

 

 

Liam Heath

 

 

 

Diving

1

Chris Mears & Jack Laugher

1

1

 

Golf

1

Justin Rose

0

0

 

Tennis

1

Andy Murray

0

0

 

Equestrian

2

Charlotte Dujardin (& Valegro)

1

0

 

 

 

Nick Skelton (& Big Star)

 

 

 

Rugby sevens

0

 

1

0

 

Sailing

2

Giles Scott

1

0

 

 

 

Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark

 

 

 

Trampoline

0

 

1

0

 

Shooting

0

 

0

2

 

Judo

0

 

0

1

 

Badminton

0

 

0

1

 

Boxing

1

Nicola Adams

1

1

 

Triathlon

1

Alistair Brownlee

1

1

 

Hockey

1

Women’s field hockey team

0

0

 

Taekwondo

1

Jade Jones

1

1

 

2016 TOTAL

27

 

23

17

67

2012 TOTAL

29

 

17

19

65

 

And finally a round of applause for the refugees.

For the very first time a ‘Refugee Olympic Team’ was selected for the Games, comprising ten athletes with “no home, no flag and no national anthem” who have all overcome their own personal crises. They did not win any medals but came out in the opening ceremony to rapturous applause and are considered winners just by being there, giving a glimmer of hope to all other refugees around the globe that they, too, can follow their dreams.

That same sentiment applies to anybody out there that wants to do more, achieve more, but is holding themselves back. Be inspired, be brave and believe in yourself.