There are those who live for the grand drama of sports — the spirited battles, the storied rivalries, the photo finishes, the come-from-behind victories, the agony and the ecstasy in all its guises. The type of drama that the Olympics is supposed to celebrate.
Then there are those who prefer to bake the drama until it’s a few shades pettier, racing with blinders on into silly feuds, scams, and international incidents by lying to police about drunken behavior. You know, that kind of thing.
While the 2016 Games in Rio provided a dose of the former, it certainly seemed to excel even more at the latter. Here are all those who medaled in pettiness in Rio 2016.
Ryan Lochte: The Ugly American Sure, there were always signs that Ryan Lochte was a bit of a — hmm, no use parsing words now — douche, but at least he was America’s douche and a harmless one at that. In those innocent times, we met his calls of “jeah” and bottle-bleached hair with, “Aww, how adorable.”
And then he discovered the line between harmless and harmful.
Lochte and three teammates first claimed that they had been robbed at gunpoint while out on the town celebrating the end of the swimming competitions and Lochte’s gold in the 4x200m relay. Upon further investigation, local police determined that the U.S. swimmers had indeed gotten into a confrontation at a gas station, but only after vandalizing a bathroom and urinating on the floor.
Lochte’s teammates eventually confessed that the bleached one’s original story — in which he came off as the brave American on foreign soil — was a complete fabrication, and the ex-golden boy has since admitted to “over-exaggerating the story.” Lochte has managed to keep his sponsorships with Speedo and Ralph Lauren… for now. Update: Lochte was officially dropped by both sponsors today.
Hope Solo vs Zika and Hope Solo vs Sweden The biggest winner of Lochtegate? Hope Solo.
The American goalkeeper seemed poised to emerge from these Games as our biggest villain in the Rio Olympics — at least to the rest of the world. First she poked fun at Brazil’s Zika crisis on Instagram, which prompted local fans to chant “Zika” whenever she took the field. Then, after the U.S. was ousted from play by Sweden, she dubbed the Swedes “cowards,” a petulant show of bad sportsmanship that even has Solo’s teammates ruffled.
“That’s not our team, that’s not what this team has always been, that’s not what this team will be in the future,” teammate Megan Rapinoe told USA Today. “We’re gracious, we’re humble and we play the game a certain way — whether we win or lose.”
Germany Roasts Its Own Twin Athletes For Crossing the Finish Line Holding Hands Anna and Lisa Hahner, two blonde twins from Germany, both made the nation’s marathon team, and when they crossed the finish line they did so holding hands. If they were American, perhaps we would have gone wild over the idea. Imagine the Facebook video headlines: “These Twin Olympians Crossed The Finish Line in the Most Heartwarming Way.” But the Hahners are German. The Germans come to win, and win the Hahners did not. They came in 81st and 82nd, and their time was 15 minutes behind their personal best.
“It looked as though they completed a fun run and not [an] Olympic [race],” German Athletics Federation director Thomas Kurschilgen said to reporters.
The German public has criticized the pair, claiming that they staged the moment to raise their profile and provide publicity for future endeavors. The Hahners, however, say that the moment happened purely by chance and that they had received very little funding from the German Athletics Federation in the first place.
The Brazilian Diving Team Sex Scandal The Brazilian team faced their own marathon scandal of sorts, centering on what the media has dubbed a “marathon sex session.”
Ingrid Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso came to compete as a synchronized diving team, but the night before their event, Pedroso claims that Oliveira banned her from the pair’s shared room in the Olympic village. Oliveira wanted the room so she could hook up with Brazilian canoeist Pedro Goncalves, and Pedroso ended up snitching her out to team officials. The next day, the pair came in last in their event.
According to reports, the drama was the final straw in a partnership that had already grown tense, and the pair decided to go their separate ways after the embarrassing performance.
Angry Wrestling Coach Strips in Protest Mongolia’s Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran was on his way to securing a bronze medal for wrestling, but then he got hit with a penalty for celebrating his victory too early. The loss in points ended up handing the medal to his opponent Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzo.
Mandakhnaran was understandably upset, but it didn’t compare to his coaches’ outrage. The coaching team took the mat to stage an impromptu Magic Mike set in protest, incredibly.
Guys, leave the Olympic stripping to U.S. gymnast Danell Leyva.
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