Usain Bolt

Rio 2016: The moments that made the Games

While Rio 2016 endured more than its fair share of problems, the Games produced some iconic moments of sporting greatness that will live long in the memory.

From Neymar's penalty that lifted a nation, to Usain Bolt's 'treble treble' and Michael Phelps' 23rd gold, here we bring you 10 standout highlights.

 

Diving for gold... on the track

The women's 400 metre final went down to the wire, but Shaunae Miller's dive for gold saw her pip Allyson Felix to the line by 0.07 seconds. 

The Bahamian runner lunged for the line in an apparent desperate bid to claim top spot on the podium and was subsequently at a loss to explain her actions.

"My mind went completely blank and the next thing I was on the floor," she said

 

Athletics' new star

One of the greatest displays of athletic prowess came in the men's 400m final as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk upstaged his more fancied rivals with a truly sensational performance to win gold and break the world record.

Van Niekerk, who started from lane eight, left pre-race favourites Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt in his wake, triumphing in a stunning time of 43.03secs.

In doing so, he shattered Michael Johnson's world record of 43.18secs, set by the American – in the stadium for Van Niekerk's staggering run – in August 1999.

 

Olympic spirit shines through

Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and American Abbey D'Agostino warmed the hearts of many with their sporting actions after an unfortunate incident in a women's 5000m heat.

The pair fell with around 2000m to go, but were able to finish the race after helping each other through the closing stages.

D'Agostino's efforts in completing the remaining laps were quite remarkable given it was subsequently revealed she had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a meniscus tear and a strained medial collateral ligament.

The International Olympic Committee recognised Hamblin and D'Agostino's actions with the Pierre de Coubertin award – named after the father of the modern Games – for fair play and sportsmanship.

 

Love conquers all

It has been a good Games for Olympic couples.

Cyclists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott amassed five gold medals between them as Great Britain dominated the velodrome, while hockey stars Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh became the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic gold in the same final.

French boxer Tony Yoka triumphed against Joe Joyce to win super-heavyweight gold on Sunday, adding to the lightweight title won by fiancee Estelle Mossely.

 

Neymar delivers Brazil's golden moment

This was the one that mattered for home fans.

After their humiliating exit in a 7-1 defeat to Germany at the World Cup two years ago, Brazil were determined to claim a maiden Olympic gold in the men's football tournament.

Fate pitted Brazil and Germany against one another in the final and it was Barcelona attacker Neymar who fired the hosts in front at the Maracana, before Max Meyer levelled matters.

And, with Nils Petersen having missed Germany's fifth spot-kick after two goalless extra-time periods, the golden boy of Brazilian football kept his cool to spark delirium in the stands and across the country.

 

Greatest Olympian enhances his legend

Phelps – the most decorated Olympian of all time – added to his stunning haul in Rio by winning another five gold medals, taking his overall tally to a staggering 23.

The American now has 28 Olympic medals to his name, but the emergence of a new US swimming hero also caught the eye.

Katie Ledecky proved herself to be a dominant force in women's swimming, winning four gold medals and a silver, all the while setting new world records in the 400m and 800m freestyle.

 

New sports earn their place

A host of high-profile withdrawals – including the likes of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy – threatened to cast a shadow over golf's first involvement in the Games since 1904.

However, both the men's and women's competitions proved worthy inclusions in the Games programme, with Justin Rose and Inbee Park emerging as the eventual champions.

Rugby sevens, meanwhile, added an entertaining dose of high-intensity action to the first week of the Games and saw Fiji collect their first Olympic medal with victory in the men's tournament.

 

Mongolian wrestling coaches' strip protest

The Olympics were winding down when two Mongolian wrestling coaches sensationally removed their clothes in protest at the result of a bronze-medal bout on the last day of action.

Mandakhnaran Ganzorig was deemed to have deliberately not engaged in the dying seconds of the 65kg freestyle encounter with Ikhtiyor Navruzov, prompting the award of a decisive penalty point to the Uzbek.

Ganzorig's coaches reacted furiously, storming onto the mat and taking off their clothes, with one of them placing his onto the judges' table. A further penalty point – and the bronze medal – was consequently given to Navruzov.

Wrestling was also responsible for one of the shock results of the Games, as Japan's Saori Yoshida suffered only her third defeat in 14 years of competition when she ws beaten to gold by American Helen Maroulis in the women's under 43kg weight class.

 

Arise, Sir Mo?

Mo Farah attracted calls for a knighthood after defending his Olympic titles in the men's 5000m and 10,000m.

Farah recovered from a dramatic mid-race fall to clinch gold in the longer distance, before producing a trademark strong finish to hold off a late charge from Paul Chelimo over 5000m.

The Briton is now set to switch his attention to the marathon ahead of Tokyo 2020, bringing the curtain down on his dominance of distance running on the track.

 

Bolt's 'treble treble'

Bolt came into Rio 2016 under immense pressure to deliver in what were his final Games, but the 'treble treble' never looked in doubt.

Having won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m crowns in Beijing and London, Bolt picked off the events one by one without being truly tested.

The only disappointment for Bolt, perhaps, was that he was unable to achieve the new 200m world record he so craved, but few would argue with his assertion after that final: "I'm number one!"