Rio de Janeiro: The Maracana Stadium rang with abuses.
The entire 120-plus minutes that Team Brazil was trying to avenge its drubbing at Germany’s hands during the World Cup semifinal, the nearly 70,000-odd crowd, out of which 90% locals, was engaged in using rash language every time Germany had control over the ball.
The atmosphere was just the way one can expect in Rio, until a dramatic penalty kick by Neymar sent this soccer-crazy country into a frenzy. A 1-1 (5-4 shoot-out) victory came just after Neymar picked up the ball and kissed it before placing it on the penalty spot. “That’s it,” Neymar said, before quitting captaincy.
Neymar did it before an electric crowd which also included the nine-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt.
Unlike Neymar’s squad, the US women’s basketball team stretched it to six straight in a row.
But Bolt has proved to the world that his feat may be difficult to match for any other human in the near future. He completed an unprecedented third consecutive sweep of the 100, 200 and relay 4x100m sprints, an accomplishment that further elevated his status.
“I’ve proven to the world I’m the greatest. This is what I came here for. That’s what I’m doing. This is why I said this is my last Olympics --- I can’t prove anything else,” Bolt said.
US female gymnast Simone Biles picked up her third gold medal of the Olympics on Sunday by winning the vault competition. Though, she, too, got a ‘scare’ when India’s Dipa Karmakar successfully executed “the vault of death, Produnova” a bit earlier.
Biles’ compatriot and known swimmer Ryan Lochte would be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Lochte hit the news all week over his ever-shifting claim that he and his three teammates were robbed at gunpoint.
Police, claiming that it was a cooked-up story, charged him for being intoxicated.
The Rio Games were not bad from the point of view of dope cheating. Barring a weightlifter from Kyrgyzstan, a swimmer from China, cyclist from Brazil and canoeist from Moldova, who tested positive for drugs, Rio Games would be remembered as ‘pretty clean”.
In the badminton arena, Spain’s Carolina Marin would be remembered for ending Chinese domination in the shuttle game and India’s PV Sindhu also be credited for this sweep.
From the Indian perspective, Sakshi Malik and Sindhu stand out.