NEWS

2016 Rio Olympics: The 9 Biggest and Most Scandalous Moments

by Lynda Brendish and Jennifer Drysdale 3:00 PM PDT, August 21, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

The 2016 Rio Olympics are nearly over, but it's been an eventful fortnight. You expect drama inside the stadiums, but this year some of the most memorable moments happened outside the competition.

Here's our rundown of nine of the most major highs and lows, including some already notorious scandals.

WATCH: Simone Biles Finally Meets Zac Efron

The Biggest

1. Simone Biles and Aly Raisman Win Everything

Photo: Getty Images

Simone Biles, who was confirmed to serve as flag bearer for Team USA during Rio's closing ceremony on Sunday, won everyone over with her gymnastic dominance, bubbly personality and super relatable crush on Zac Efron. Together with veteran Olympian Aly Raisman, the two quickly became gymnastics superstars, making headlines for their impressive feats as well as their adorable friendship. Biles took home five medals total in Rio, four golds and one bronze, while Raisman took home one gold and two silvers.

PHOTOS: Final Five Live Large in Rio

2. New Dad Michael Phelps Assumes His Final Form as a Dolphin

Photo: Getty Images

Michael Phelps proved again that he can swim all the distances faster than everyone else. After winning gold in the 200-meter individual medley in Rio, the swimmer officially became the most decorated Olympian ever, beating out a 2000-year record held by Leonidas of Rhodes. His 3-month-old son Boomer nearly stole his thunder but that's understandable, because seriously, look at this face:

Photo: Getty Images

3. Usain Bolt Makes Winning Look Easy

Jamaican runner Usain Bolt sprinted into history books and our hearts when he became the first athlete to win three straight Olympic titles in the 100m event. What's more, he made it look easy, as seen in a now-iconic photo of Bolt mid-race, smiling as he apparently lopes towards victory. Even Prince Harry congratulated Bolt in one of our all-time favorite royal tweets, shared by Kensington Palace's official account.

NEWS: U.S. Swimmer Simone Manuel Makes History With Olympic Gold in 100m Freestyle

4. Team Refugee Swimmer Yusa Mardini is More Badass Than We Can Handle

Photo: Getty Images

Olympic glory is cool and all, but Yusra Mardini -- the Syrian swimmer competing as part of the first ever Refugee Olympic Athletes Team -- is a true hero. The 18-year-old swimmer and her sister saved the lives of 20 people fleeing their war-torn homeland when they jumped into the Aegean Sea and pushed the sinking boat for three hours to safety. They don't give out medals for that kind of thing, but if they did, she'd surely get gold. Mardini won her heat of the 100m butterfly with a time of 1:09:21 but didn't qualify for the finals, but to us, she's very much a winner. After all, this is a woman who trained in pools that were being bombed in Damascus. "Sometimes we couldn’t train because of the war," she told The Independent earlier this month. "And sometimes you would be swimming in pools where the roofs were [blown open] in three or four places." Seriously, this woman is amazing.

5. Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Can't Stop Being Adorable

We're more used to very serious game faces Olympic athletes than unbridled enthusiasm, but Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui went viral wither her exuberant post-race interview. The 20-year-old was over the moon at beating her personal best time, before even realizing she had also won bronze in the race -- which she was told by the interviewer on camera. Just try and not smile along with her!

6. Kiribati Weightlifter David Katoatau Shimmies for Climate Change

David Katoatau, the 32-year-old weightlifter from the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati, may not have won any medals, but he did become a worldwide fan favorite due to his enthusiastic dance moves from the competition floor. But Katoatau's dances have a serious message, as he hopes to bring attention to the threat that climate change poses to the low-lying islands that make up his home country. "I don't know how many years it will be before [Kiribati] sinks," he told Reuters.

Biggest Scandals

NEWS: Goodbye to Michael Phelps, the Greatest Olympic Swimmer of All Time

7. Hope Solo Offends Entire Countries of Sweden and Brazil

Photo: Getty Images

Knowing how to be a good loser is an integral part of good sportsmanship, but that's a lesson Hope Solo apparently missed, as her response to losing to the Swedish soccer team was to call them "a bunch of cowards."

"I don't think they're going to make it far in the tournament," Solo said after the match. "I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They're moving on, and we're going home."

The 35-year-old soccer player won't make a name as a psychic either: Sweden went on to win silver.

But poor sportsmanship wasn't the only scandal the soccer star caused. After posting pictures of her "#zikaproof" insect repellant defense kit to Instagram, Solo was jeered by Brazilian fans with "zika" chants during her match.

8. Gabby Douglas Gets Bullied

Photo: Getty Images

Shamefully, Team USA gymnast and gold medalist Gabby Douglas was bullied online. The hate started when the 20-year-old was photographed without her hand over her heart while the national anthem was played during a medal ceremony. The negativity forced Douglas to take a step back from social media, but both fans and celebrities stepped up in a big way using the #LOVE4GABBYUSA hashtag to send her support

RELATED: 5 Craziest Moments From Past Olympic Closing Ceremonies

9. Ryan Lochte and #LochteGate

Photo: Getty Images

The 32-year-old swimmer took home gold medal in Rio but it was the time he spent out the pool that made headlines. Lochte first turned heads last week, when he alleged that he and three other U.S. swimmers, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen, were robbed at gunpoint on their way back to the Olympic Village. Outrage quickly turned to suspicion when Brazilian police called Lochte and his teammates "vandals, not victims," and Lochte couldn't seem to keep his story straight. Brazilian officials attempted to seize Lochte's passport for further questioning, but the Olympian had already returned home to the U.S. -- and began trying to remedy his image, including a sit-down interview with NBC's Matt Lauer

As further information and video tape came to light exposing untruths in the story, social media took up the cause with #LochteLied and #LochteGate hashtags. In the end though, we are all Al Roker determinedly focusing his feelings on the matter into some serious swizzling of our caipirinhas:

SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET