The GOAT, still
Michael Phelps has his 23 golds, and Simone Biles is being called the greatest gymnast ever, and Katie Ledecky is smashing records — and yet Usain Bolt, with his unprecedented third consecutive Olympic gold in the 100 meters, and with more golds yet to come, may be stealing the spotlight from everyone. Via The New York Times.
Faster, higher, stronger
After Bolt’s win, the question can’t be avoided: Are today’s athletes stronger, faster, bolder and better than ever? You knew, of course, there’d be a TED talk to provide the answer.
The dark side
There are at least two sides to Olympic glory in Rio. As one woman from a poor Rio neighborhood put it, “The rich play, and we die.” Meanwhile, street crime comes to the Olympics as robbers point a gun to Ryan Lochte’s head. Via The New York Times and USA Today.
Americans are doing so much winning in the Olympics that we’re nearly tired of them winning — or maybe not. E.J. Dionne looks at American Olympic champions and wonders why our politicians can’t match them for persistence, diligence and grace. Via The Washington Post.
If you can’t quite wrap your head around the 1,000 gold medals the American team has now won in the modern Olympics, we’ve got the breakdown for you. It might help. Via Bleacher Report.
And in the ultimate internet story: NBC News has 23 things to know about Michael Phelps and his 23 golds.
Simone Manuel’s gold in the 100 meters — the first swimming gold for a black woman — is more than a swimming story. It’s the story of Jim Crow and the years of segregated swimming pools and a young girl who wanted to quit swimming because there was no one in her swim meets who looked like her. Via The BBC.
You throw, girl. A shot-putter’s story of how she became the Shot Diva. Via The New Yorker.
2,000 years later
Before Michael Phelps — way before Michael Phelps — there was Leonidas of Rhodes, who held the individual record for most Olympic wins (no gold medals, just wreaths from olive trees) for 2,168 years.
Photo credit: drcliffordchoi, Creative Commons, Flickr