The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil came to a close on Sunday night, and for Team USA, the choice of flag-bearer was an easy one to make.
After Michael Phelps led his country into the Maracanã Stadium just over two weeks ago, there was perhaps no better athlete to lead the Americans out in the closing ceremony than Simone Biles, the dominant gymnast who scored four gold medals (including the top prize in the team and all-around competition) and one bronze in her first-ever Olympic Games.
Biles quickly became a sensation within the stadium, with athletes from around the globe clamoring to snap a selfie with her, despite the drizzling rain.
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Other countries also used their closing ceremony flag-bearer position to showcase young standout talents who impressed at the Rio Games. 16-year-old swimmer Penny Oleksiak, who won four medals at her first Olympics, including a gold in the 100m freestyle, carried the Canadian flag, while Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos, a 22-year-old sprint canoeist who overcame an adversarial childhood to win three medals in Rio, represented his home country of Brazil.
Tonga taekwondo star Pita Taufatofua, who became a sensation during the opening ceremonies, even got his time in the spotlight, appearing onstage alongside representatives from other nations.
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U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman, who took second place behind Biles in both the all-around competition and the individual floor exercise, snapped her own pics with her “silver medal squad” behind the scenes of the closing ceremonies. Raisman posed with fellow gymnasts Madison Kocian, Danell Leyva and Laurie Hernandez, all of whom are also taking home silver medals from Rio.
Leyva also made an appearance in a hilarious video posted by teammate Sam Mikulak as the U.S. men’s gymnastics team got pumped up for the ceremony.
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As some sports ended their competition in Rio over a week ago, a few of the U.S.’s top athletes, like Katie Ledecky, celebrated the close of the Olympics from the comfort of their couch at home.
“Taking in the Closing Ceremonies from home!” Ledecky tweeted, alongside a patriotic pic. “Thank you Rio for giving us a very special Games!”
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