Each country has its own Olympic stories regarding athletes who are noteworthy of something other than their sports results. It puts some people in the spotlight when you normally wouldn't be paying attention.
For the last several years, runner Christophe Lemaitre has become an important symbol in France. The fact that he became the first white athlete in history to run the 100m in under 10 seconds made him a hero, but it is his personal background that made him important to everybody. He has an extreme lisp, which made school absolute hell for him starting in the 5th grade. Everybody made fun of him and rejected him through his entire adolescence, and since he is extremely shy, he was unable to talk back. The educational staff made believe that nothing was happening, and he never told his parents what he was experiencing.
Sports became a revenge for him and when he became successful, many of his former classmates, even the worst ones, pretended that they were his friends.
In any case, he has become extremely active in the struggle against bullying in school and is now the principal symbol for the cause. Millions of people who would normally have no interest in the Olympics are rooting for him. Unfortunately, Usain Bolt is still participating, too.
Four U.S. swimmers have been in the news a lot lately as the authorities in Rio try to determine if their story of being robbed at gun point while in a cab at a gas station is credible. Yesterday a judge in Brazil ordered the swimmers to surrender their passports and two of the young men were removed from a plane before they could leave the country. One swimmer had already left on Tuesday after he'd completed his last event, and is supposedly back in the USA. The whereabouts of the fourth swimmer are unknown, or not being released to the public.
Though I certainly have no idea what is true about the case, one of the swimmers was my neighbor for a year. The nicest thing I can say about him as a neighbor was that he was a very poor decision-maker.
And so the Olympiad is already ending. For something that costs so much, it seems like two weeks is too short even if that is already excessive for most of our attention spans, but that's because there are too many ridiculous sports. I found myself watching "speed shooting" the first couple of days because a French champion was obviously going to win a medal. WTF? Of course when you think of ribbon dancing or synchronised swimming... the whole event should probably be cancelled.
I'm going to send the link to my eight year old grandson (who has a congenital hearing loss and wears hearing aids). As we were waiting at the airport today he was reading about the Paralympics in the newspaper and he was confused because he knew the regular games had ended. He'd love to see this video.