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5 Weird Things From the 2016 Summer Olympics

August 23, 2016

They’ve closed up shop in Rio, and all we’re left with are the memories…and these oddities specific to this year’s Olympics.

  • Swimmers and divers skilled enough to compete in the Olympics are probably the least likely people on Earth to drown in a pool, and yet at the Rio Olympics they were watched over by lifeguards. Under Brazilian law, large swimming pools are required to have a lifeguard present. More than 70 were hired for the Olympics.
  • Remember back when Olympic athletes who won a medal were given a bouquet of flowers as they stood on the podium to receive their gold, silver, or bronze? It’s a thing of the past. At the Rio Olympics, flowers were scrapped as organizers deemed them wasteful and unsustainable. Instead, athletes received a little trophy consisting of a green base and multi-colored arches—a three-dimensional rendering of the two-dimensional logo of the 2016 Olympics.
  • Race-walking is an Olympic event. It’s different from running—walkers must have one foot on the ground at all times or risk disqualification. Nor is it easy: Olympic race-walking involves a 50-kilometer course. French race-walker Yohann Diniz came in seventh out of 48 athletes, averaging a speed of 8.24 miles per hour. Even more impressive: Diniz’s body broke down along the way. During the walk (in 81 degree heat), he suffered from a spontaneous case of diarrhea, and then blacked out…then got back up and finished the race.
  • Mongolian wrestler Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran almost made to the medals podium as the bronze finisher, until officials penalized him after his last match for intentionally avoiding his opponent for 18 seconds. Mongolian wrestling team coaches Serenbaatar Tsogtbayar and Byambarenchin Bayaraa were so incensed…that they stripped off all of their clothes and sat down on the wrestling mat in protest.
  • Japanese high jumper Hiroki Ogita could’ve won a medal in his event. But during a qualifier, he unfortunately grazed and knocked down the bar, disqualifying him immediately. Or at least part of him did—his, uh, male part.
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