Latin America & Caribbean

Rio Olympics: Cutest animals, and other alternative prizes

Who were the sorest losers, who showed the truest sporting spirit, and which uninvited animal guests were the cutest? As the Rio Olympics has ended, take a look at our alternative prizes.

Most confusing race for spectators

Women's marathon

Hang on. Didn't she just run past?

The women's marathon featured one set of triplets and two sets of twins.

Liina, Lily and Leila Luik competed against each other for Estonia. The country was allowed to send three marathon runners to the Games - the three it stumped for just happen to be identical.

Image copyright EPA

"I am happy when my sisters are doing well," one of them told the BBC back in May. We're not sure which one, though.

German twins Anna and Lisa Hahner crossed the finish line holding hands in a show of sisterly love and support - or a trivialisation of the sport, if you ask some po-faced officials and newspaper columnists in their home country.

Image copyright Getty Images

The fastest of the identical sisters running in the marathon were Kim Hye-song and Kim Hye-gyong of North Korea - they ran together every single step of the way and finished at exactly the same time, down to the hundredth of a second.

Image copyright AFP

But because there's no space for joint results, they were logged as arriving tenth and eleventh.

Hye-song's name is first in the official rankings. There's no word on how Hye-gyong feels about that.

Neatest redemption

Brazil football team

Image copyright Getty Images

Who could forget the merciless 7-1 drubbing that Germany's football team handed out to their hosts two years ago, at Rio's World Cup semi-finals?

The Olympics gave Brazil a chance to get their own back on the world champions. The score wasn't as astounding - just 5-4 - but hey, they beat Germany on penalties. Hardly anyone ever gets to say that.

Special mention has to go to Brazil's Neymar. He scored the winning penalty, just weeks after Brazil fans had been crossing his name off their shirts in disgust at a dry spell from the star forward.

Brazil beat Germany on penalties to lift gold

Brazil's footballers exorcise demons

Worst losers

Ah, this is a good one. We had a few stellar contenders here. This is what we settled on for the top spots.

Gold - Coaches for the Mongolian wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

Absolute scenes. Here's what happened.

Ganzorig was winning. He was leading against his opponent, Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan, by seven points to six, and was on his way to a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling for his weight class.

But he celebrated too soon - he danced around Navruzov for the last 18 seconds and, alas, the judges penalised him for not engaging in the fight. Then, after his corner appealed, the judges just gave the medal to Navruzov.

Ganzorig's coaches exploded with rage, took their shoes off to throw them at the floor, and ended up stripping in protest.

He didn't get the medal back.

Watch the footage here (UK viewers only)

Silver - Robert Bauer, German footballer

Image copyright Reuters

Oh, dear.

As his country lost to Brazil in the men's football finals, Germany midfielder Robert Bauer held seven fingers up in clear reference to that World Cup game two years ago when the shoe was so firmly on the other foot.

Possibly not Bauer's finest moment.

He has since apologised and we have to say, his apology was quite classy.

On Instagram, he wrote: "During the game I acted emotionally. If I have offended anyone with this action, I offer 1,000 apologies.

"It was a huge pleasure to play football in this country that is so receptive and with such happy people.

"I congratulate all the Brazilian people for the gold medal."

Classiest of all, he wrote it in Portuguese.

Bronze - Hope Solo, US women's football

Image copyright Reuters

It was 16 years since the US women's soccer team had lost at the Olympics, so you can see why it hurt.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo didn't respond too magnanimously, though. After her team lost to Sweden on penalties in the quarter finals, she told reporters the Swedes had been "a bunch of cowards" and "the best team did not win".

She later tweeted that "losing sucks".

Athletes who failed to accept their losses

Cutest animal pitch invasion

Gold - Capybaras on the golf course

Image copyright AFP

What's a capybara, I hear you ask. Only the biggest rodent in the world.

No wait, that makes them sound worse than they are.

Imagine a giant guinea pig that's really good at swimming, and you have the capybara.

They roamed across the Olympic golf course and were spotted in the background during training and competition.

There is a lot of water around the course, so it makes sense.

Image copyright Reuters

Silver - Owls at the golf course

Image copyright AP

What else is there a lot of on the golf course?


Enter the burrowing owl.

These wide-eyed critters made their homes in Olympic golf bunkers - and stayed throughout the Games.

Bronze - flying fish at the rowing lagoon

This intrepid fish was spotted on the BBC's footage of the rowing at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Team GB rower Lizzy Yarnold tweeted a screen-grab.

Olympics venues deal with some unusual visitors

Most impressive breakthrough

Simone Biles, USA, gymnastics

Image copyright PA

At the London Olympics in 2012, there was no Simone Biles. She was still 15 years old, waiting in the wings for her moment.

And isn't this her moment.

Now, she is the USA's golden girl. Biles won four gold medals and one bronze at Rio, and has captured imaginations around the world with her stunning artistic gymnastics and her smiling, bubbly personality.

Why Simone Biles is the best at the Games

Who is Simone Biles?

Most uplifting story

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Media captionTeam Refugee: Swimming for survival

Yusra Mardini, refugee team, swimming - she competed in Rio a year after fleeing Syria and having to swim to save her life.

Most lovable athlete

Image copyright AFP

Fu Yuanhui, China, swimming - her expression of joy at winning bronze and the fact she broke a sporting taboo by discussing her period won her plenty of fans in Rio.

How Chinese athletes opened up on social media

Marked political moments

When Ethiopia's Feryisa Lilesa made a protest gesture

Image copyright Getty Images

Lilesa's gesture might mean nothing to you, but in Ethiopia it expresses solidarity with a tribal group that has suffered brutal police crackdowns.

Lilesa said: "The Ethiopian government is killing my people so I stand with all protests anywhere."

He said he might have to move to another country after speaking out.

When the Egyptian left the Israeli hanging

Image copyright AP

Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was sent home from Rio after he refused to shake the hand of an Israeli opponent Or Sasson, the IOC said. But Egypt's judo federation said he had come home when he was scheduled to.

El Shehaby had been under pressure at home to withdraw from the bout altogether and went for the softer option - but his pointed gesture was booed by the crowd.

All the times locals protested against Brazil's president

Image copyright EPA

Brazil is in the midst of a massive political crisis. The president who expected to oversee the Games, Dilma Rousseff, was suspended from office pending an impeachment trial. Her supporters booed the interim president Michel Temer and displayed banners with the words "Fora Temer" - Portuguese for Temer Out.

Newest competitors


Image copyright Getty Images

Judoka Majlinda Kelmendi won gold.

Not bad for the country's first-ever appearance at the Games - but then, Kelmendi had already competed at Olympic level. In 2012, before Kosovo was recognised at the Olympics, she fought under the Albanian flag - she has dual nationality, and the geopolitics are complicated - but did not make it past the preliminary rounds.

Refugee team

Image copyright AFP

IOC president Thomas Bach said the 10 refugee athletes who competed under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were selected to "send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world".

They included marathon runner Yonas Kinde, who said the team competed "as equal human beings".

None of them won any medals. But runner Yiech Pur Biel, who escaped civil war and then lived in a refugee camp for 10 years, said the important of the team went beyond winning.

Before Rio 2016 even began, he said: "Sport gave me a sense of belonging. Even if I don't get gold or silver, I will show the world that, as a refugee, you can do something."

Most impressive individual records

Gold - Michael Phelps, 23 medals (not in these Games but in total, obviously)

Image copyright EPA

Silver - Usain Bolt, the treble treble

Image copyright PA

Bronze - the highest-achieving Olympic couple ever

Image copyright PA

Most sportsmanlike behaviour

Gold - Nikki Hamblin and Abbey d'Agostino, who helped each other after colliding in the 5,000m, and were rewarded for their behaviour

Image copyright EPA

Silver - 50km race walker Evan Dunfee of Canada, who chose not to appeal for a bronze medal, despite being eligible to do so, saying he "would not have been able to receive that medal with a clear conscience".

Image copyright Reuters

Bronze - Lee Eun-ju and Hong Un-jong, the gymnasts from South and North Korea who posed for a selfie despite their countries' animosity

Image copyright YONHAP

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