Rio 2016: Olympic Firsts
If you’ve been tuning into the Olympics over the last few weeks, you know that Black athletes from every corner of the earth have been slaying left and right. Even if you haven’t been watching, chances are you haven’t been able to escape the great and inspiring news on social media. That includes making history, breaking longstanding records and setting new ones, championing body positivity, retiring on the highest of high notes (we see you, Usain Bolt!), and a whole host of other Olympic firsts that make us proud. It’s fitting that this games would be filled with so many groundbreaking firsts, considering that Rio de Janeiro is part of a first as well. The jewel of Brazil is the first South American city to host an Olympics. It’s been a great one.
Check out some of the outstanding historic feats that these medal-winning athletes from the U.S. and beyond have made in Rio. Congrats to all of the Olympic athletes!
Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Catlin
The three hurdlers made history, with Rollins leading the first-ever USA sweep of the 100-meter hurdles. Ali took home silver, Catlin earned bronze.
Simone Biles is the first…Simone Biles. The gymnastics phenom won five medals in Rio – four gold and one bronze for vault, floor exercise, individual and team all-around, as well as balance beam. She is the first U.S. gymnast to win four gold medals in a single Olympics.
Swimmer Simone Manuel took home a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle, making her the first African-American woman to win gold in individual swimming. But the medals didn’t end there. She won gold in the 4x100m medley relay, silver in the 50-meter freestyle and silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
In Rio, the world’s fastest man became the first track athlete to win three Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter relay. Talk about retiring with a bang.
I don't know where to begin. Yesterday I repeated three things to myself all day. The first was that the Lord will only put things in front of me that I can handle. The second was one touch at a time and the third was that out of many I AM the one. It's been one long and difficult year. A lot of naysayers. A lot of people said I fell off, but I never lost sight of my goal. I really felt that everything I was going through would only make me stronger for this moment. Thank you to my family @julesmith001 @meeks1019 , to my friends who've stayed with me all the year and picked me up when I was down (a special shout out to @jpth75 whose kept me calm during our stay here and in between matches), to my fans old and new, and most importantly to my coaches and teammates. You pushed me to be better everyday and it's you that I rely on each day for support. I had one goal yesterday.. To inspire. I wanted children all over the world to look at my performance and see that all things are possible and that with the right amount of passion, hard work, and a lil bit of luck you too can be great. This is just the beginning. Thank you all again!
Daryl D. Homer
Fencer Daryl D. Homer is the first American in 112 years to win a medal in men’s sabre fencing. He took home the silver medal for Team USA.
Yesterday I saw my biggest dream come true, competing at the Olympic Games. I am overwhelmed with happiness and feel so blessed for the opportunity to represent the United States on the world's biggest stage. I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support throughout my journey. What a blessing to become the first American Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab! I am hopeful that this monumental moment in our history continues to encourage unity and respectful dialogue. All praises to the most high. Team USA and proud! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #TeamUSA #ibtihajinRio #alhumdulillah
The first American athlete to compete and win a medal at the Olympics wearing a hijab, Muhammad won a women’s team sabre bronze medal.
Team USA basketball player Carmelo Anthony became the country’s all-time leading scorer in Rio. Exactly how many points has he scored? A total of 293.
Hailing from Venezuela, track and field star Yulimar Rojas made history as her country’s first female athlete to win a silver medal at the Olympics for the triple jump.
Words can not express how I feel or I just haven't found the words to express how I feel! This has been an amazing journey. It wasn't easy, but worth it. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) has never been so real to me as it is right now. Thank you to you all for every message, picture, shout out, and double taps! It doesn't go unnoticed! Thank you! 😘❤️☺️ #ThankYouJesus #MySupport #ShotDiva #TeamUSA #USATF #ThrowingByFaith
Carter not only followed in her father’s footsteps, a fellow shot put Olympian, but she also exceeded him by making history. She is the first American woman to win gold in shot put.
A Kenyan-born athlete competing for Bahrain, Ruth Jebet won gold in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, Bahrain’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport.
Wayde van Niekerk
Not only did this South African athlete win his country’s first gold medal of the Rio Olympic games, but he also broke a 17-year record held by Michael Johnson by winning the 400-meter in 43.03 seconds. Pure gold.
I AM OLYMPIC CHAMPION. This photo is fitting because, I couldn't do this by myself. God helped me achieve my ultimate goal. I've been missing that elusive GOLD from my collection. And now that it's here! I am humbled, thankful! It's wasn't easy getting to this point. But I kept believing and fighting; that one day I will have a breakthrough. I am 2016 Olympic champion! 😩
As his gold medal attests, Kerron Clemont crushed his competition in the 400-meter hurdles, coming in at 47.63 seconds, a season best.
Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson became the first woman since FloJo to complete the 100 and 200-meter sprint doubles. Thompson won gold in each race.
Tianna and Brittney
Marking the first time the U.S. went first and second in the women’s long jump, Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese took home gold and silver medals, respectively.
High-jumper Mutaz Barshim won a silver medal, the first ever for Qatar.
Gracias a Dios, por brindarme la oportunidad de representar a mi país y dar la salud y vida, gracias Ubaldo (entrenador) por permitirme soñar. @alexan325 (esposo) haces parte de mi vida y todo este proceso, sin ti nada hubiera sido posible. Gracias a mi familia por hacer de mí lo q soy hoy, gracias Colombia. Gracias Fabricio por ayudarme, Harlin. Gracias a Simona del mar por brindar la cálida acogida a mi familia en su excelente y cálido hospedaje. GRACIAS COLOMBIA 💛💛💙❤️
In an epic, slay-all-day display, Colombian triple jump athlete Caterine Ibarguen made her gold-winning jump look like a brisk walk in the park. She nabbed Colombia’s first Olympic gold medal.
The proud distinction of being Brazil’s first gold medalist in the Rio Olympic games goes to judoka Rafaela Silva. The hometown champ, who endured countless spouts of racism and sexism from a young age, made history.