By Maria Singh
After 16 days of intense competition, the world watched Rio de Janeiro light up its famous Maracana Stadium as a final celebration and farewell to the 2016 Summer Olympics, and students and staff at Cal Poly Pomona are weighing in on the games.
The Games of the 31st Olympiad featured a first-time entrant refugee team and approximately 11,000 athletes from 206 countries, but it was the U.S. that topped the medals chart once again.
Danelle Bishop, the head coach for CPP’s women’s basketball team, described the games as an event that not only she can draw inspiration from, but an event that can inspire her team, as well.
“I’m always trying to see, whether it’s the Olympics or something else, what the type of character the players and coaches show,” said Bishop.
To Bishop, however, the Olympic Games mean much more than a win or a loss.
“I mean, I think right now the Olympics is the perfect time just considering everything that’s going on in our nation,” said Bishop. “I think right now, I feel like it’s kind of bringing the United States together, regardless of your race, religion or political views. We can all come together and cheer for the same kind of goal to do well and that part right now, for me, is something that’s pretty special.”
For the country of Brazil, this year’s Summer Olympics proved not only to be historic, but controversial, as well.
Though Brazil became the first country in South America to host the Summer Olympics, political and economic turmoil sparked speculation over the country’s financial instability, regarding security and infrastructure preparation.
In addition, fears concerning the Zika virus, Russia’s doping scandal and U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s alleged robbery claims all took center stage at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
CPP mathematics professor, Sean Smith, provided insight on some of the concerns that surrounded the Games.
“A few years ago, part of the reason the Olympic Committee gave it to Rio de Janeiro is so that they’ll make some improvements,” said Smith. “They didn’t just want to go to a city like Los Angeles that was already prepared. They wanted Rio de Janeiro so then they could spend money on the infrastructure and upgrading their power lines.”
In addition, Brazil is expected to see a rise in tourism to surge their economic status.
According to a survey conducted by the ministry of tourism, 87.7 percent of foreign tourists who attended the games hope to come back to Brazil.
But despite the negativity, Smith, who was once a track and cross country runner in high school, viewed the Games as nothing short of miraculous.
“I like to see what people are actually capable of,” said Smith. “Like with track, I like to see just some of the times they can run a mile. It’s like, ‘Wow, I can never do that.’ It’s nice to see what a human can achieve and it’s neat because some of it, you can see some of the physics of it.”
Viewers around the world were also able to witness legends in the making, such as U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky.
However, the world also bid goodbye to some of the most famous and celebrated Olympians. U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian, while Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt ended his Olympic career still widely regarded as the fastest man in the world.
Erin Hagan, a fourth-year sociology student and guard for CPP’s women’s basketball team, explained that the best part of the Olympics, in her opinion, is the competitiveness in trying to win a medal.
“It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said Hagan. “I think it’s just learning that you have to always give your best and just getting on that main stage of the Olympics “at least you got there.”
And even though Brazil drew its curtains closed to a summer filled with colorful dances and samba rhythms, Olympians around the world continue their hard work and dedication in preparation for the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Courtesy of Sungah Choi
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