Our Top 5 Moments in the Rio Pool
The Olympics are officially in our rearview mirror -- although the standout U.S. swimmers are still doing the media rounds like Simone Manuel talking about her historic achievement here:
Or Señor Phelps having some fun on the entertainment circuit already with this appearance on America’s Got Talent:
So it’s a good time to write up our top 5 moments in the pool from Rio in ascending order!
5. Anthony Ervin - Ervin grabbing gold in the 50m freestyle was just an incredible achievement. The oldest member of the U.S. team at 35 has retired once already back in 2003 after winning gold in 2000, when some members of the current team were just learning to swim! He took eight years off and even though he qualified for London, he didn’t exactly seem like a gold contender this go round. But his 21.40 just edged out Florent Manadou by a one one-hundredth becoming one of our favorite moments at the Games.
4. (Tie) Maya DiRado / Simone Manuel – There were a lot of terrific gold medalists for the U.S. including Lilly King and Ryan Murphy but Maya Dirado’s gold in the 200m backstroke and Simone Manuel’s 100m freestyle gold were true Olympic moments where the athletes’ emotions and reactions are more golden than the actual swims themselves. Dirado’s pure joy at being the surprise winner in the 200m back while Manuel’s emotional post-race interview about her historic achievement make us a believer in the Olympics again despite all the negative stories – and we hope her success encourages a whole generation of African-American swimmers to come!
3. Phelps’ Final Individual & Relay Swims – Watching Phelps swim his last individual race (100m fly) and last Olympic race (4x100m medley) will become moments in time where you will remember where you were while watching. The greatest Olympian of all time coming to the end of his career. The fact that Phelps lost in the 100m fly to someone who idolized him and had posters of Phelps growing up only further symbolized Phelps' incredible impact on a generation of swimmers and the sport’s popularity over the past two decades. The final relay gold epitomized Phelps' and U.S. swimming's dominance that helped make him the most decorated ever.
2. Katie Ledecky – All of Ledecky’s swims were noteworthy for the tension around her pursuit of world records and, except for the 200m, the results were never really in doubt. That’s how dominant, at age 19, Ledecky has become. But her subsequent performances made it all look so easy in a sport that all of us know too well, is anything but easy. The sky's the limit for Ledecky and we can't wait to grab our popcorn and watch in 2020!
1. Phelps in 200m IM – No one has ever questioned Phelps dominance in the pool as the most decorated swimmer of all time but some Olympic historians have wondered if other Olympic feats have been more impressive. They especially point to those athletes who don’t have multiple events or relays to compete in and have won the same Olympic event four times in a row. Well, Phelps heard that talk and matched it, winning his fourth consecutive gold medal in the 200m IM, one of the sport’s toughest events. It was as if he was saying “there’s nothing else I can do to top this.” Mr. Phelps, you are certainly tops in everyone’s book now!
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