Rio 2016: Prep Perspectives

Rio+2016%3A++Prep+Perspectives

This August, the world was mesmerized by the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For the United States, some of the most memorable stories came out of swimming.  The American swim team was tarnished by a scandal involving Ryan Lochte, who claimed he and three other swimmers were mugged at gunpoint in Rio.  It later came out that Lochte was not mugged, but rather stopped by security guards after vandalizing a gas station. When I asked Prep swim coach Jen Daiker for her opinion of Lochte, she described him as an “unintelligent, horrific athletic representative that deserved to lose his sponsors.”

Ryan Lochte is “an unintelligent, horrific athletic representative that deserved to lose his sponsors.”

— Jen Daiker

American swimmer Lilly King will be remembered more positively for her gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke.  The race became symbolic of the tension surrounding Russia’s use of performance-enhancing drugs.  King’s rival, Yulia Efimova of Russia, failed a drug test earlier this year but was still allowed to compete.  King’s gold-medal finish set a world record and affirmed her stance against cheating.

Events like swimming and gymnastics enjoy popularity in the United States, but many other countries embrace Olympic sports that gain little attention here.  I talked to a few Prep international students about their impressions of Rio 2016.

Eena Cheng and Beryl Zhou, both seniors from China, said the most memorable moment was when Chinese badminton player Lin Dan lost to Malaysian Lee Chong Wei in a tense semifinal match.  Lin had bested Lee in 2008 and 2012, so this defeat was a bitter surprise.

Jennifer Lee, a senior from South Korea, told me that Koreans were especially moved by Park Sangyoung, a 20-year-old Korean fencer.  Park went into the Olympics ranked 21st after an injury, but still managed to advance to the finals.  With minutes to spare and his opponent a single point away from the gold medal, Park repeated the words “I can do it” under his breath.  He returned to the match to score an incredible five points in a row, clinching the gold medal.

I can do it.”

— Park Sangyoung

No matter which country you are from or which sport you enjoy, there is something to be found in the Olympics.  Now that Rio is over, we can begin to look ahead to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.